Posted in Atlantic Canada Birding

my brief aquaintance with the vagrant Eurasian Kestrel at Hartlen Point

my brief aquaintance with the vagrant Eurasian Kestrel at Hartlen Point Posted on March 28, 2015

The Eurasian Kestrel drew birders from all over North America. I personally met one birder from Wisconsin and one from Nevada who came to see this little hovering falcon girl. I almost feel guilty that I was more interested in looking for the Northern Harrier and the Snow Owls and just looking for a way to break up long winter days with some fresh air. Inevitably each time I took a jaunt around Hartlen Point she was there and easy to capture in photographs with little effort.

February 28th female Eurasian Kestrel (vagrant) Hartlen Point
February 28th female Eurasian Kestrel (vagrant) Hartlen Point
February 28th female Eurasian Kestrel (vagrant) Hartlen Point eating a rodent
February 28th female Eurasian Kestrel (vagrant) Hartlen Point eating a rodent

Our winter was mild up until March which brought thick freezes and deep snow to Nova Scotia.  Our little visitor almost made it to Spring but a hungry hawk took her out on March 20th.

We got hammered with about 50cm of snow that week and on March 19th I ventured down to Hartlen Point and walked knee deep in the snow, again looking for Snowy Owls and Harriers but the only birds I really got to see or photograph were the Kestrel and the Rough Legged.  They spend a lot of time in fairly close proximity to one another on that day, but having spent a lot of time down there in the course of a month I would have to say that was not unusual.  Little did I know this was her last full day on earth and I had her all to myself simply because it was not an ideal day to spend time outdoors.  Nature is an ever changing, unforgiving, unemotional, and fascinating circle of life.  I feel privileged to have gotten this close to a small piece of it.

March 19th female Eurasian Kestrel (vagrant) Hartlen Point
March 19th female Eurasian Kestrel (vagrant) Hartlen Point

The nemesis (Rough Legged Hawk) who reportedly took the Eurasian Kestrel out the next day.  With so many Snow Buntings and Horned Larks in the area my personal feeling is there was some territorial animosity involved in this killing, exacerbated by hunger of course.  Here is the Hawk harassing a flock of Snow Buntings.  The Kestrel and the Hawk vied for this spot daily.  Just my 2 cents as a very new birder.

Rough Legged Hawk stirring about the Snow Buntings at Hartlen Point on March 19th
Rough Legged Hawk stirring about the Snow Buntings at Hartlen Point on March 19th

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