At our hotel in Coral Bay, Western Australia, we saw some of the other lodgers looking up at the hotel roof, pointing and talking about something in the rafters. We asked them what they were looking at and they said that a pair of falcons were perched below the roof line. We had a look and we could see them; I grabbed my camera and captured a photo (above). We consulted Andrea’s bird-watching book and identified them as Nankeen Kestrels.
Later, after we checked into our room we found that their perch was just outside our window. That evening I slid the window open as quietly as I could and captured this photo of one of the pair as it carefully watched the trash-bin area – it was hunting for mice under the lights of the parking lot.
Over the next few days we watched the Kestrel pair as they perched, hunted and slept. On the eve just to the left of our window, if I hung outside I could see the Kestrels perched behind one of the air conditioning units. From this angle I could see them but they couldn’t see me; they were farther away but with my DSLR zoom lens I could get decent photos of them through the little porthole (below).
As we watched this pair of birds they provided quite a bit of entertainment for us. One day we saw one of them on top of the scuba shop’s radio antenna; it had captured a small mouse and it was ripping it to shreds making a nice afternoon meal of it. Each evening we would look through the window blinds and see the Kestrels snoozing, holding one foot up as birds do. I decided to try to capture a photo of one and had to slide the window open to get a shot. Of course, this woke the bird up but it kept one of its landing gear retracted as it carefully watched me (below).
Watching these magnificent falcons was a pleasure and really made us feel closer to nature. I was surprised how many tourists were so busy kayaking and swimming that they didn’t stop to notice all of the birds, lizards and fish that were around them. Next time you are traveling, take 15 minutes to sit quietly and see what wildlife comes your way.
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