Saturday, February 18, 2012

kestrel ~ 02/18/12 ~ Fort Ord

male American kestrel
Falco sparverius

Yup, I've reached a new low (or is that high?) for crappy photos, especially of birds. Never mind the massive early-blooming silver bush lupine, the coyote brush, the coast live oak, or the dried bit of telegraph weed, there is a kestrel in this pic. Can you find it? Perched on the coyote brush?

When we went to Palo Corona back on January 2, 2012, I spotted several kestrels and was unable to capture any pictures of them. I love how brightly colored the males are with their light-colored breast, slate grey wings, and brown backs. The mere fact that I can actually recognize them is because I've flipped through every single page of the handful of bird books I now have in my possession (some are on permanent loan from a dear friend). It's a sharp learning curve for me to ID birds, but it's been fun.

8 comments:

Imperfect and tense said...

That's one way to learn! It worked for me as a child, but when questioned on how I know a species' ID, I can only answer "Because that's what one looks like." I'm now re-learning the 'why', which is just as much fun. Enjoy!

Randy said...

I have found that it is nearly impossible to get decent photos of bird species without specialized equipment. Sometimes you can get lucky, but I do not lug stuff around like tripod, telephoto, and all that on hikes. Come to think of it, the only tele I have only fits my old school Nikon F2. A museum piece! But your comments did made me laugh ;-)

Randy said...

Oh by the way, I did spot the kestrel but it's a good thing you id'ed it for me.

Cindy said...

If you are into smartphone apps, iBird helps id birds by appearance and calls. I carry it around in my pocket when I am working in yard and am starting to get better at bird calls as a result and my phone is kinda dirty and scratched up too. I can't figure out why kestrels scream so much when they are flying around. You'd think they were warning their prey with all that racket. Maybe they are saying "This is my territory, this is mine! Mine, mine, mine!!!" in kinda a smallest-of-all-the-raptors type complex. Some of the best birders I know ID birds by just the image shown exactly in your photo - that small white oval perched on top of brush.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Graeme, what are you saying? I'm still very much like a child learning about life around me. I'm never sure about the 'why' as you put it. I was very pleased that I could tell a young couple about an oak titmouse they were oohing and awing when we visited Pinnacles National Monument this past holiday weekend (posts forthcoming). Flipping through bird books has actually helped me quite a bit, since I didn't know a lick about birds before this.

Randy, yep, I'm not even going to try to compete with folks with massive lenses as long as my arm, which actually has become my running joke on my blog as an explanation for my crappy photos. I can barely tolerate toting around a pocket point-and-shoot while hiking. And, yes, my intended jokes are often so dry most people don't recognize them as being humorous. Btw, the kestrel was easier to see in real life.

Oh, Cindy, we consider our cell phones as dumbphones. I even turned off our ability to text, because I was tired of paying for solicitation texts of how we could reduce our mortgage - we don't have a mortgage! Granted, we do have 7 computers between the 2 of us. Disturbing. Oh, I need some help. Can you tell the difference between coyote scat and pet dog poop?

Imperfect and tense said...

Good for you, Katie! I think what I meant was... if a bird is sitting like it is in the book, I'm ok. But if it has its back to me, I have to learn all the little plumage clues that WERE in the book but that I didn't notice :o(

Yep, lifelong learning!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Dang, Graeme, I was just recently thinking about how pictures and descriptions don't always capture my attention in the same way... Oh, now I remember, it was about a cardinal meadowhawk: http://nwdragonflier.blogspot.com/2012/02/seeing-red-cardinal-meadowhawk.html

Imperfect and tense said...

Yeah, dragonflies are just as bad! Thanks for the link, I needed a bit of quality odo time. Two months to go before the next flight season!