Despite the setback of 2013, with one of the coldest springs on record, Kestrels seem to be faring much better this summer. Although a few traditional sites have been lost, any that are breeding seem to be doing very well.
Accessing a new Kestrel nest (under licence from the NPWS), discovered in an old fireplace in a derelict castle near Killarney. See below (M.O'Clery).
The nest featured in the photo above. One of the later nests this season, still with a full clutch of five eggs, near Killarney, 28th May 2014 (M.O'Clery).
A female Kestrel delivers a Bank Vole to a nest site in an old church tower, on the Dingle Peninsula, 6th June 2014 (M.O'Clery).
Below, have a look at some footage from inside a nest box near Castlegregory. Three chicks are doing well, with regular food deliveries. In this clip, the female arrives with what looks like a young Bank Vole, and returns just two minutes later with another. It is unlikely she has caught two in such a short time, rather the male will have caught it and the female taken it from him to bring to the nest. Either way, these well-grown chicks have no problem bolting down their meal.
Two prey deliveries to young Kestrels, Castlegregory, 7th June 2014 (Video: Michael O'Clery).
Have you seen any Kestrel activity in Kerry this week? Please let us know... text Michael O'Clery at 087 9711519, or email firstname.lastname@example.org - thanks.