Juvenile Territorial Squabbles - Accipiter vs Falco

Discussion in 'Nature' started by bill_thorlin, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. This is something of a cautionary tale - when you think you have it all sussed
    and know what is going on "Mother Nature" shows you that you don't.

    For a number of years we have had resident Kestrels in control in our locale
    but late last year a pair of Sparrowhawks moved in and took control. This year
    they were hunting very regularly and frequently in the likely time for feeding
    young and there were a number around after fledging.

    There was a lot of the ke-ke-ke calling ( such a wimp call for a predator )
    going on and I thought it offered a chance to get some shots so I set all my
    gear up and kept it ready so that I could nip out quickly in the car to where
    they were and give it a try. With all this planning it ended up that the best
    chance I got was on the top of the telegraph pole ( the birds not me ) right
    near the house !

    The next twist in the tale was that having assumed they were all Sparrowhawks I
    was not totally convinced when looking through the lens but thought no more of
    it. When I got the prints back I got a surprise - it looks very much to me that
    it is a juvenile Sparrowhak and Kestrel disputing ownership of "this bit of

    What think you ?

    ( Accipiter Nisus & Falco Tinnunculus )
  2. And a another one.
  3. ( such a wimp call for a predator )
    Hi, Bill. In this context you should hear the call of the noble bald eagle (very soft twittering). Nice pictures, but as far as I can tell, both photos show two kestrels and no sparrowhawks....
  4. Hi Mark - always a pleasure to hear from you. Thank you for the compliment. I would love to hear the Bald Eagle call - maybe one day :) Have just booked a week next year on the Isle of Mull hoping to see White Tailed Sea Eagle for the first time and Golden Eagle and otters again ( I am a lucky man - the Memsahib has become an addicted birder ).

    The lower one is definitely a Kestrel but the other one still confuses me - these raptors are one of those great problem areas, witness all the postings on this forum.

    ( I am in the embryonic stages of scanning and up-loading - I hope you do not all live to regret this ! )
  5. Try this URL for a sound clip... didn't work on my machine, however: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/ Bald_Eagle_dtl.html#sound
  6. Bill, You may need to consider a dSLR. Cheers!
  7. When one comes out that meets my requirements and fits my lenses I must just think about changing - until then I am happy where I am thanks all the same.
  8. Hi Bill,

    Lovely shots there, it's not easy to capture moments of action with birds of prey.

    I would have to say that they both look like kestrels to me.
    If you compare the markings in the tails and the wings you can see matching stripes. For instance the left wings in the first shot, where the feathers separate, show the tell tale kestrel stripes on both birds. I don't think a sparrowhawks wing feathers would open up so much. Also the chestnut brown back is apparent, whereas it would be more muted grey-brown on a sparrowhawk.

    The hovering positions of the birds also suggest kestrel, I would expect more of a fast swooping "drive-by" attack if a sparrowhawk were involved. It may well be a couple of this years' fledglings arguing over who gets the territory.

    On the subject of wimpy predators, a month or so ago I photographed a trio of kestrel fledglings ganging up and taking on a fearsome and savage prey together - flying ants! On a very hot day the cliffs at Godrevy were swarming with them and these three jokers were hopping along the path pecking up as much as they could. I think they have a bit to learn yet.

    Best wishes,
  9. Hi Bill, It is better to enjoy what you do than wait for a dSLR that fits your requirments. I understand what you are saying.
  10. Hi Matt - good to hear from you again. Thanks - at least it was not all serendipity :) It looks as if opinion is swinging in favour of Kestrels.

    At least they were being opportunistic and hopefully did not get stung. We have had a number of ant invasions this year - makes a change from wasps.

    Will be in Devon from Sept. 21 and hope to go whale watching on the Saturday - hope the weather is kind and the sea flat.

    Best regards

  11. Vivek - do not worry you have not ruffled my feathers :)
  12. Oh well, I didn't realise that you are that old! Feather and all..

    Cheers, Bill!

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