American Kestrel and Western Meadowlark


I got this photo of an elusive American Kestrel near the entrance to Spring Creek Park here in San Angelo, Texas.  As I drove up, it was high on a wire off to the right side of my car.  I stopped and contemplated how I would get the shot.  I couldn’t shoot out the passenger side from where I was sitting in the driver’s seat.  I was worried that it would fly off any second.  I decided to take a chance.  I drove slowly forward a couple hundred feet and made a U-turn and came back.  Miraculously, it was still there.  I was shaking as I slowly aimed my Canon EOS 7D with 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter out the window, supporting it with my Noodle.  I was able to fire off a half dozen exposures before he flew.  I failed to get the take-off, but I did get this handsome image.5413_web-kestrel-bob-zeller

There were many birds around that morning and I also came up with another shot of a Western Meadowlark.5425_web-meadowlark-bob-zeller

The meadowlark was beneath a tree along with several of it’s friends, and the lighting was tricky.

Both images are cropped heavily.  The kestrel was about 35 feet off the ground and probably a total of about 150 feet away.  The meadowlark was perhaps about 60 feet away on the ground.  Feel free to click on either image to see an enlargement.

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17 thoughts on “American Kestrel and Western Meadowlark

  1. It’s great to see a real photo of the Kestrel. I think I’ve only seen them illustrated in my field guides. So glad it stuck around for you!

  2. Two of my favorite subjects, Bob. Loved your “shaking” comment – as you know, I get buck fever in situations like this too. I was interested in your comment about making the u-turn and coming back for the bird. I’m convinced that if raptors see you turn around in a vehicle (even though they’ve let you close as you passed by the first time) it usually makes them nervous when they see you do it and they’ll often take off before you get as close as you did the first time. For that reason, I usually go far enough that they can’t see me turn around (past a hill, trees,etc) and then come back for the shot. They’re usually still there. IMO, it’s an effective strategy, at least in my experience.

    • I didn’t have to drive as far to turn around as you have to do there. We have lots more trees. But I agree with you, you have to make sure you do your best to have them not see you. Yes, I was shaking with excitement, “buck fever” as you put it. Isn’t wildlife photography fun??
      Love your comment, Ron, and thanks.

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