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:
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:
When another male comes it’s great to have a close-up view of those beautiful heart-shaped spots on his breast plumage
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?
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:
I must check to see which other buildings he walked between to see whether they have been destroyed as well.
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:
It’s much easier to perch on a TV aerial:
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:
The one thing there must still be room for is joy:
And that’s what I’m feeling, seeing them.