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Kestrels again

Just seen a red, black and white-headed woodpecker (Pileated), land nervously on the bird table.

This is a first–they are such shy creatures.

He managed a half-minute feed before a jealous Jay galumphed him off.

These jumbo jets of the bird world–recent arrivals–scatter all before them; the whole structure rocks as they land and take off.

The table has seen less activity lately.

Partly because the weather has improved–so there is food for the birds in the newly- awaked fields and hedgerows.

But there is another factor: Our kestrels are back!

Well, we can’t be sure that they are the same couple who raised their youngsters in the loft last year but we like to think they are.

The grill in the little round window that offers a shaft of light to the loft–an oeil-de-boeuf (bull’s eye)–at some stage got pushed aside, offering enough room for a cozy nest box.

Last year we saw them settled in–then missed most of the action, while we crisscrossed America during the month of May.

(Missed the Spring in the Tarn too–never again!)

This afternoon photographer Meredith stealthily caught five hatched chicks moving together in a blur of white feathers–like a mini moshpit at a rock concert.

Mum and Dad spend the day on allez-retour trips into the countryside behind the house bringing back tidbits for the new arrivals.

We watch from the terrace holding our breath, not daring to move, as the returning bird approaches.

Alice our neighbor says as long as the birds think you are otherwise engaged it will carry on regardless.

We spot the bird about two hundred meters out, floating in on the air currents–but with a target to hit.

As it gets closer to home, we see it judging the distance, using its wings for balance–like a tightrope walker with a long pole steadying themselves on the wire before skipping onto the launch pad.

Suddenly it veers off to the left.

It senses an alien presence–a sleeping Beau or two peeping-tom humans; then circles again and approaches as before.

At the last minute it veers off again–this time straight up and over the roof and out of sight.

We wait for a long minute–transfixed.

Here it comes again on a different approach–third time lucky.

This time, no hesitation–in it goes, folding itself into the opening–a brilliant soft landing.

Mission accomplished–cargo delivered.

But the mini mosh is never satisfied and a few moments later, it leaves again–and the hunt resumes.

 

 

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