The Lesser Kestrels of Matera #10

When a Lesser Kestrel lands on a wire outside our bedroom window I know what I want to do. I want to get a shot of it with the out-of-focus shape of a satellite dish surrounding it:

Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s a perfect symbol of the contrasts in Matera: a city continuously inhabited since the Stone Age, with modern technology and amazing wildlife. Lesser Kestrels are spectacular birds. This male is clinging on with one foot and holding an Italian Wall Lizard with the other. It’s a fine balancing act. Maybe if you can fly like a Lesser Kestrel, then mere balancing on a wire is like sitting in a fireside chair for an Olympic gymnast:

Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

When another male comes it’s great to have a close-up view of those beautiful heart-shaped spots on his breast plumage

Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Their colouring is a mystery. Why would a bird which is only distantly related to the Common Kestrel, the one found in the UK, look very much like it? Coincidence or mimicry?

Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

This one is like Philippe Petit, the high-wire walker who walked between the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral and the twin towers of the World Trade Centre:

Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I must check to see which other buildings he walked between to see whether they have been destroyed as well.

Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I’m loving seeing it respond to the challenge by opening and closing its wings and spreading its tail. Here, its tail is split by the wire:

Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s much easier to perch on a TV aerial:

Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Their co-ordination on landing is fabulous. So much of their brain must be taken up by flight control, balance and vision, I’m surprised there’s any skull-space left for anything else:

Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The one thing there must still be room for is joy:

Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

And that’s what I’m feeling, seeing them.

More Lesser Kestrels in Matera

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Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The Lesser Kestrels of Matera #6 Matera. Just look at it. Isn't it magnificent? What a city! The ancient heart of the stone city of Matera… read more
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Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Lesser Kestrels on the rooftops We're on a residential street in the middle of a city. In a wall there's a hole in the stonework… read more
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Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Grillaio in Matera The Lesser Kestrel is such a disappointing English name for such a fantastic bird. The Italians call them Grillaio, after… read more
The Lesser Kestrels of Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The Lesser Kestrels of Matera #4 Photography still includes the principal fields of taking and developing images; it's just that now they are digital and the… read more

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