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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sunday Spain Bird of the Week #1: Common Kestrel

ROBERT'S NOTE: Early last year, James got to visit Spain as part of his study abroad program, and boy did he see some great birds! So, every week he's decided to write up a different European species as part of an ongoing series we're calling the Sunday Spain Spectacular: Los Aves del Espagna - The Birds of Spain! ... it's a working title.

In January of 2011 I was fortunate enough to spend a semester abroad in the awesome Andalucían city of Seville. While it was an absolutely amazing experience, getting to travel through Europe and experiencing an incredible city, it also provided with some pretty sweet birding. Spain is in a bit of a butter zone for birds, getting both African species, common European species and some really cool migrants. In the four months that I was abroad I managed to get 115 life birds, including 58 within the extremely urban city of Seville. The first bird I saw was a Common Kestrel, which flew about in the fairly large city parkland, Parque Maria Luisa. 



Unfortunately this distant look from atop some sort of giant scaffolding was the best picture I ever got of this awesome bird, and it became a bit of a nemesis. I certainly had my chances. I may have gotten another shot of a bird circling the massive Seville Cathedral, but it is impossible to determine whether it is a Common Kestrel or the threatened Lesser Kestrel. Luckily I got a much better shot the Lesser Kestrel a few weeks later, but we’ll get there. 



I had a third chance when I encountered a Common Kestrel feeding on the ground in the Parque Alamillo. Unfortunately he was facing away from me and as I moved to get a good shot, that arch-nemesis of birders, a runner, scared him off. This left me out of luck, and the distant shot you see at the top of the page is the best one I got of the Common Kestrel. Don’t worry though, almost all of the other 114 bird pictures are a lot better! I swear!

  

Man, what a cool bird! The jealousy doesn't stop there - check back every week for a new Spanish bird and more awesome European birding adventures!

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