This co-operative adult female Peregrine Falcon, took a break from preening to give me a glance over her shoulder. Then she turned around to show me her other side. You gotta love the stare!... I imagine that is the last thing you want to see if your a Green-winged Teal or some other small waterfowl species!
"Hey buddy, did I say you could take my picture?"
I was also treated to views of as many as 4 perched Prairie Falcons on this trip. While I love watching the Peregrine Falcon, it is widespread in distribution so I get to observe these birds often. I rarely see Prairie Falcons so was thrilled with the opportunities to study these birds up close and personal again.
It's always better to review comparative field marks on live birds in the field rather than just with images in a book. I was reminded of how much lighter the brown-backed Prairies are compared to an immature Peregrine Falcon. I was able to admire the thin brown "moustache", and noted the Prairies appeared slimmer-winged to me in flight. It also appeared that the wingtips fell short of the tail tip on the Prairies which made me wonder if the Prairie Falcons have proportionately longer tails.... or perhaps Peregrines are comparatively longer through the wing. In flight Peregrines certainly appear very long in the primaries. Hmmmm?!?... another little puzzle to research. Regardless, it makes birding fun. No matter how long you've been at it, there are always new things to discover and learn!
female American Kestrel puffed up on a drizzly morning
While I saw MANY American Kestrels, I only photographed this one. Given the lighting (or lack there of) in the early morning drizzle/misting rain, I should have selected another one to photograph. Of course, as I've stated before I'm always a birder first and photos are almost an afterthought with me. Often, I'll be soaking up the view and suddenly remember, "Oh yeah I have a camera...." This is one of the things I love about digiscoping, it allows me to still be a birder first and foremost and I can quickly & easily pull my little point & shoot camera from my hip and fire away.
This little female Kestrel just seemed so photogenic (in a miserable sort of way) that I couldn't resist! American Kestrels are fairly ubiquitous across the United States and while they prefer agricultural areas and fallow fields, they can be found in suburban areas, city parks, and even in the middle of busy city intersections at times. This female shows the typical pale, "brick-colored" wings and back. Males are downright gaudy with a brighter red back and blue wing coverts contrasting with black flight feathers.
I saw 2 Merlins on this trip and even had a wonderful opportunity to photograph a stunning male of the lighter "prairie" sub-species, but chose to photograph the Yellow-billed Magpie on the same tree first. Both flew after 2 quick images of the magpie, but I at least still have a vivid memory of the scene! Good birding all!