The Kestrel Tree - Ian Hufton
Male Kestrel

18.07.18

Rewind back to 28th June 2017. I was walking on the downs close to my home and by chance stumbled upon this family of Kestrels. The female adult was still bringing in food to two virtually fully grown chicks. Sure enough two healthy young Kestrels fledged the nest tree just one day later. I had it in my mind that I would visit the site again the following year in hope that they nested there again.

Coming forward to this year. I first started visiting the site in April and was pleased to see the Kestrels in the general area. I would predominantly see the female and she gradually started to spend more time in and around the hole. Cleaning it out and sometimes just sitting in there. As the coming weeks went by and the year moved into May it was evident that she was egg sitting. The hole in the tree is actually quite large and if I hadn't known she was in there it would have been virtually impossible to tell she was in there. By June I was able to catch very brief glimpses of tiny little white fluffy kestrel chicks. There were three in total, however they were so small and obscured I was unable to get any photographs of them. I would have to be content with watching from a distance with my scope. As the month progressed the female delivered an increasing amount of food to the rather now fetid hole. I can only assume the male was out catching and would pass prey to the female to deliver as I did not see him once come to the nest. As the chicks grew I could see that only two remained. I am unsure what happened to the third but presume the increasing appetite of the rapidly growing chicks meant that only the most dominant two survived.  Thankfully these continued to thrive and on the 04.07.18 they both successfully fledged.



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