Saturday, December 31, 2011

Red Car Property: American Kestrel, Rare Sighting

Photo: Diane Edwardson, December 31, 2011, 9:59 AM.  American Kestrels used to be common in the neighborhood.  This is only the third time I've seen one in 2011, the last sighting was Christmas Eve at dusk atop Corralitas Drive.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Kestrels are the smallest falcons.  This one was about the size of a pigeon, only more aerodynamic. I was nearing the canyon from the Corralitas end of the Red Car Property, when the Kestrel swooped down and appeared to catch an insect in mid-air, about 20' in front of me & my dog, about 6' off the ground. 

I whipped my point & shoot camera out of my pocket and managed to get the great shot above.  After I shot a few frames, you could tell the Kestrel was not happy with me, and moved to a less visible branch even further upslope. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, December 31, 2011, 9:59 AM.  While the shot is blurry, the Kestrel is sitting on the same branch of a native California Black Walnut Tree as the close-up above.

Right now is a good time for bird watching, since Black Walnuts have dropped their leaves, and all the dead branches have blown out of other trees.  Friday, I had several encounters with small hawks - either Cooper's Hawks or Red-Shouldered Hawks on both Lake View Ave and Corralitas Drive.  Sadly, I had no camera in hand.

Keep those cameras handy and document your Red Car Property neighborhood wildlife encounters. Even if they're not sharp, they tell us a lot about what wildlife lives here. Send your photos to