The Lesser Kestrels of Matera #8

It’s five o’clock in the morning and she’s calling immediately outside our window. I think she wants her mate. The tone is insistent and demanding. There’s a female Lesser Kestrel just outside our bedroom window in Matera.

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

The Puffin Whisperer has definitely booked the right room. We’re surrounded by Lesser Kestrels and don’t even have to move to see them close up.

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

Isn’t she beautiful? I particularly like one of their defining characteristics which means you can tell it’s a Lesser Kestrel and not a Common Kestrel; the white fingernails.

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

I shuffle up to another window and can see a dozen in the skies above us. A few of them fly past the cathedral tower:

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

There’s a male in distinctive plumage at eye-level to us.

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

The TV aerials dotted around make perfect perches.

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

Then something very exciting happens; a male arrives with an Italian Wall Lizard in its grasp:

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

The lizard has long-since stopped moving and is gripped firmly behind the head.

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

He lands on the wall in front of our small terrace.

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

He’s not about to let go of it. I suspect it’s a gift for a female.

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

This female is on the rooftop immediately opposite our room. I love the colours of the lichen and flowers which surround her:

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

The males have such smart plumage.

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

It’s not just TV aerials on which they perch. This is my favourite composition of a Lesser Kestrel on the weather vane:

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

We have all day to enjoy them, and a cold beer on the terrace in the late afternoon. Perfect.

More Lesser Kestrels in Matera

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