Male American Kestrel resting near the shore of the Great Salt Lake

Male American Kestrel resting near the shore of the Great Salt LakeMale American Kestrel resting near the shore of the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

I was going to do a post about a Bald Eagle this morning but at the last minute had a change of mind and decided to work up this male American Kestrel that I photographed resting near the shore of the Great Salt Lake.

The causeway to Antelope Island State Park used to be a great place to find and photograph these handsome little falcons but over the past two winters I have not seen nearly as many. That may be because of a decline in the vole population, at least I hope they have moved to more fertile hunting grounds and that it isn’t because the kestrel population in Utah is declining.

This image was taken two years ago this month when the level of the Great Salt Lake was higher than it is now, if I were to photograph a kestrel on this same bush today the background would be that of the mudflats not the beautiful blue water seen in this photo.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


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  2. This is a lovely creature and such a beautiful capture … wonderfully colorful little guy!!!

  3. Jerry Liguori’s book, “HAWKS FROM EVERY ANGLE” arrived today! Wonderful! Just what I was hoping for! It illustrates (with realistic photos) what I actually see and explains the image, pointing out what to look for…and, equally important, what NOT to look for. I think I may be able to sort out some of these sightings after all. I may even be able to tell Sharpies from Coopers…eventually! The text is as good as the photos (which don’t get all hung up in coloration and feather detail but rely instead on more practical info like flying style and shape. I now believe there’s hope in ID-ing these high flying fellows, and will no longer refer to them all as red-tailed hawks. Love your book, Jerry!

    • Patty — That is one of the nicest endorsements, I’m so happy you like my book! That’s exactly what I tried to do with it…is show birds a little further out since the other guides don’t do that. I took it even a step further with “hawks at a Distance”, a real hawk watchers guide.

      Thank you Patty, and Mia! You both made my day.

      • Now that I have your book, Jerry, I’m about to go pro…I’ll start my new career identifying sharpies from Coopers…for a small fee, course(and, yes,I’ll give you a cut)… Will also check out the other guide you mentioned….still waiting for the Crossley book. According to your blog, you already met the self-proclaimed ” Best Bird Photographer” and “Best Wildlife Photographer”, and you can now include “About to be best hawk identifier”, Patty Chadwick!!!

  4. That has got to be one of the cutest, prettiest little raptors on wings…and one of the toughest, ounce for ounce! Wonderful image!

  5. I look at lots of images as we probably all do and keep trying to see what it is about yours Mia that I like more .. I think its the cleanliness of the shots. Everything in your images is meant to be there or you would not include it. This is no exception. A great photo!!

  6. Wonderful bird, gorgeous capture. I too hope that they are hunting happily elsewhere and will return.

  7. The blue background of the lake is beautiful and a reminder of our current water shortage in Utah, which is even worse in California — as biobabbler mentioned. We still get voles in our backyard and the vacant lot beyond still attracts kestrels — fun to watch them hover but the snow has put a stop to that for now.

  8. SUCH beautiful birds. Great at hovering, I might add. =)

    And, yes, re: drought. This is our rainy season, and there’s NONE. Freaky. Driest CA year on record.

    Hope we get something for all those plants and animals, et al. xo

  9. Absolutely gorgeous photo!!

  10. I’m so glad you chose to post the kestrel…I love them!

  11. Great capture! They’re such a pretty bird.

  12. One of my favorites.
    We haven’t been seeing them like we have in the past too. I miss them.
    Beautiful photo, Mia.

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