Bird convergence: Kestrel and hawk, geese and kestrel in downtown Holyoke

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

I captured the frame above after a Red-tailed Hawk landed on a telephone pole a little too-close-for comfort for an American Kestrel roosting on an Appleton Street building.

The kestrel made several passes dive-bombing the hawk, and soon the larger raptor flew away.

The kestrel then made the rounds of its usual perching spots along Race and Main Streets:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

Eventually the kestrel found a utility pole of its own, and a flock of Canada Geese buzzed it:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

Also today, I spotted a male and female House finch in Heritage State Park. Here are a few frames of the male:

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

  1. Lorrin said:

    Beautiful shots! I saw what looked to be an Eagle across from STCC on State Street yesterday. Either that or it was an incredibly large Hawk…

  2. Colleen said:

    Awesome pictures. I’m curious what type of camera and lens you use?

    • Thanks, Colleen.

      Since late March 2012 I’ve been shooting the majority of the photos for this blog with a Nikon D800 and 300mm / f4 lens. The 800 is a lot of camera, but I shoot in a lot of non-birding situations where its low-light performance and other features come in handy. As a birding camera, though, the 800’s high resolution (36 megapixels) means I can crop a ton if I’m too far away to get the shot I want. The kestrel / hawk shot in this post is roughly a 100% crop, as I was really far away when I spotted them. It’s only passable at best, but on a lower-resolution body I wouldn’t be left with a usable frame at all after that much cropping.

      The lens, in a lot of ways, is the more critical piece. The fixed 300mm lens is super sharp and not too expensive (about $600-$700 used). If I were on a tight budget, I’d get more of a mid-level body but I wouldn’t compromise on that lens.

      Thanks for reading!

      • Colleen said:

        Wow, that’s an impressive camera. I have a Canon Rebel with only half that megapixel capability. My lens is okay and I’ve been thinking about upgrading sometime, but now maybe I’ll just dream about 36 megapixels.

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