Birding is starting to pick up again after a long hot summer. The first day of fall was officially on September 22, although temperatures in Florida continue well into the upper 80s and 90s. But there’s a hope in sight: the lows are forecast to dip into the 60s this week! I’ve been working crazy hours again, so it’s been hard to find time for shooting. But I’ve been working on a project out by where my Burrowing Owls grew up. When I was last out there, I found two birdie surprises: a shrike and a kestrel!
I haven’t seen an American Kestrel out this way since early this spring, when Dyeyo and I first visited the owls to see if they were building their burrows. They are fairly skittish, flying away as soon as I approach. It’s a little surprising, given that they are small falcons. The image above was taken with the Beast and a 1.4x teleconverter, and it’s still pretty heavily cropped. I love the red, white, and blue colors of the kestrel. This one is a male (the females don’t have the blue on the wings). The kestrels are so pretty that you can almost forget that they are raptors!
The other bird who sat out on the fenceposts that afternoon was the Loggerhead Shrike. He, like the kestrel, looks like a pretty, sweet little bird. But he’s really vicious (kinda like a kitten I know!) The shrike will fly out to snatch his victims, them impale them on the barbed wire to eat. He was less skittish than the kestrel, and he let me stand watching him for a long time. I half hoped he’d snatch a grasshopper or something while I was there, but he didn’t. So it was a good day for the grasshoppers! :)
Want to learn more about nature photography at Lake County Backroads?
Check out my Lake County Backroads page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!