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Inspiring and Supporting Photographers of Australian Birds

Nankeen Kestrel

Nankeen Kestrel (Image ID 47207)
Photographed byJim Schultz on Sun 18th Jul, 2021 and uploaded on Wed 21st Jul, 2021 .
Resolution1400x1089
Viewed15
ID47207
CommentNB: I have done another MkII version of this image, saturating and darkening the colour of the skies to desired levels.
More than a dozen years ago I photographed a Nankeen Kestrel in just about the exact same spot near Lake McLarty, WA. A number of dead Swamp Paperbark trees are found here inside fenced pastures, on each side of the road. I knew kestrels were still around, but in the past, when I drove by, they were always hunting from trees far into the paddocks. This time I got lucky, as a female was hunting, the sun behind me, quite close to the road, dropping to the ground frequently for grasshoppers, which she took back up to the perch to eat. With the winter sun starting to sit low in the skies, I captured her just as she took off for another brief sortie, which proved not to be successful. The Nankeen Kestrel is a small falcon that frequents grasslands, farmlands and open woodlands, where it hunts for grasshoppers and other insects, small rodents and reptiles as well as small birds. Small prey morsels are eaten on the wing, whereas larger ones are taken back to a favourite perch. Hunting is done from an exposed perch or by hovering, dropping down on located prey. Pairs are resident and territorial, forming bonds and perhaps they’ll use the same nest site for several years. Lake McLarty (GPS), WA. Status (2016): Least Concern. Time of capture 15:00.
EquipmentNikon D850–DX Mode; GPS mounted, Nikkor AF-S 500mm f4G ED VR lens.
Technique: Camera rig support: Gitzo GT3543XLS Tripod, Dietmar Nill gimbal tripod head; standing on road in the open.
Exposure Mode: MANUAL 1/2500s at f6.3; ISO-320. Metering Mode: Center-Weighted; Focus Mode: AF-C & AF Area Mode: Dynamic, 9 points.
Post Processing: Nikon ViewNX-i for viewing, selecting file and Tif conversion; Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw/CC 2021 for resizing and cropping to 167%, selective sharpening and general post-processing inclusive of removal of halos; the skies were then selected using the 'Magic Wand' and saturated/darkened somewhat. Topaz Pro plug-in DeNoise was used for moderate blanket sharpening and noise control. ‘Australian Bird Guide 2019’ for species’ distribution confirmation, supplementary data and colour checks.
LocationLake McLarty near Estuary Park, Western Australia
Keywordsfemale, in flight, adult
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