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Goosanders and Kestrel

Friday, 9th March 2001, West Yorkshire

goosandergoosander TWO GOOSANDERS sit on rocks in the rapids on the river. They're adjacent to the little grassy island, only just showing above water today, which is where we first saw them a year ago. They were then regular until mid-April.

It just goes to show that it's worth wearing binoculars when you walk to the post office.

Last year we'd usually see immature birds (or females), but today two drakes, in striking black and white plumage, are passing the time of day here. One sits on a rock that is partially awash as water from the rapids swishes over it. The other one is standing and, with its combination of red legs and black and white plumage, it reminds me of a gaint-sized puffin (but with the wrong head of course).

kestrelkestrel swooping A Kestrel swoops past a tall chimney on the far side of the river, then turns and wheels about. I can't tell whether it is practising aerobatics or whether it has been caught in a vortex in the lee of the chimney.

kestrel feedingkestrel and crow It's flies across the river, pauses for a moment then swoops down into the rough grass on the bank. It's caught some prey, a vole perhaps. It takes it to a concrete fence post and starts to eat. After two or three minutes a pair of Magpies fly by, but it's a pair of Carrion Crows that swoop down on it and chase it from its perch.

As far as I can tell the kestrel takes the remains of its lunch away with it. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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