Kestrels and More

I remember thinking the Mare Island Preserve was relatively desolate, particularly in comparison to the number of shorebirds we’d just seen at the San Pablo Bay NWR. There were certainly a lot fewer birds, but the raptors were quite active.

Right after we saw the Kite and Northern Harrier encounter, we saw a number of kestrels sitting on the fence surrounding the restricted area, and just plain whizzing by:

Kestrel

We were event treated to the hovering act that first drew my attention to kestrels many years ago:

Kestrel hovering

This is the first time I’ve ever managed to capture a shot of the kestrel mid-air as it dove

Kestrel mid-dive

as I have always found it impossible to pan fast enough to keep the bird in the frame. Luckily this kestrel was hovering higher than I’ve ever seen before, which gave me a longer reaction time.

Driving out the gate we even flushed a pair of Red-Tailed Hawks that flashed by.

Red-Tailed Hawk

No wonder the tiny salt marsh harvest mouse that lives in the pickleweed is endangered. It needs all the shelter it can find to escape this kind of onslaught.

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