This year I am focusing more on the Biology of the birds and wildlife I photograph.
For a decade or so my winter is a little more exciting when it comes to bird photography. It easier to locate and shoot the hawks and Kestrels. My fancy is photographing all wildlife. Due to weather, travel and my close proximity to world class bird habitat, winter is prime birding time. So off I go and chase the little (and) big critters that fly.
The American Kestral. Always at the refuge. Always hunting. Can’t miss their tail feathers flapping up and down just after landing on a branch or power line. They eat insects, small mammals, birds and reptiles. Not really a migrator here in Utah I see them year round. Just love the winter shots. The snow usually highlights their bellies. They can be more readily seen with no foliage in the trees. The photograph below is a male. The male has a much more distinctive coloring. Especially down his back. The spots are much more prevalent on the male. They nest in cavities. At the refuge there are a couple of man-made nests that have been used by the Kestrels. They only have about a two foot wing span. Man! they can fly. Seen often hovering over prey along roadways. They are naturally shy. A very long lens is the best bet to get good photographs of the Kestrels. The phot0 below is shot with a 600mm lens with a 2x converter producing a 1200mm image. They are so quick and make such sudden changes that I am usually shoot at least 800 ISO. I have found myself up in the 3200 ISO range (thank you Nikon and the D3s). I almost always shoot wide open to get the highest shutter speed possible. In auto focus mostly. Shoot in aperture priority. I love this bird, He is beautiful.
Look close at the bug wing just below the claws of the Kestrel on the branch….