Canary Islands Kestrels
My son asks me if I fancy going on a long-weekend holiday to the Canary Islands. I say yes. I have no idea where the Canary Islands are.
He’s the ultimate resource investigator. He’s done all the research, books the best deals and knows the route we’ll be taking. It’s fabulous. I ask his advice on what to pack. He says he’s just taking 10kg of photo gear wrapped in t-shirts. Sounds eminently sensible to me.
I’m feeling slightly freaked out that I’m on one of a series of volcanic islands off Africa. What do you think of the view?
We stop at Artenara at 1270m above sea level and I spot a bird of prey. It’s a Common Kestrel. They have got to be one of my favourite birds. Their ability to hover in blustery winds and keep their heads perfectly still is a super-power:
In Orkney they are known as Moosiehawks or Windcuffers. Cuffer means to hit. They’ve also been called Windhovers and Windfuckers, from the time when to fuck meant to beat or to strike, long before it took on an altogether different meaning. Windstriker; Windbeater. They’re great names.
What a fabulous introduction to the Island. The barren mountains are wonderful through the haze. It’s a landscape JRR Tolkien would populate with dragons. We don’t need them. We have amazing creatures here already.
The Kestrel is persistent. Here on Gran Canaria there’s a different subspecies of the Common Kestrel. It’s Falco tinnunculus canariensis. This time she’s looking up and across towards us, rather than down at a mouse.
It’s perfect hunting ground here for Common Kestrels.
I hope it’ll be great photograph hunting ground for us.
We’ve a long and winding road ahead of us. My son’s booked a cave for us to stay in.
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