Iberianature Forum

Birds of prey in Madrid

  • 9 Replies
  • 8298 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Technopat

  • *
  • Full Shroomy
  • ******
  • Posts: 3020
« on: March 18, 2008, 00:37 AM »
Greetings All,
As I looked out of the window this morning over the expanse of industrial estate buildings and empty solares (En. anyone?), I was pleased to see a bird of prey swooping elegantly past several times (or possibly a pair taking turns) at 2nd-floor height.
My thoughts turned immediately to Nick's Barcelona peregrines http://www.falconsbarcelona.net/Falco11/en_pagines/webcam1.html but they are clearly not (imho, at least) the same. Mine is/ sleeker, slightly smaller and their out-stretched wings form a perfect C, as in the waning crescent moon. Every now and then they would dive down at great speed as if they had spotted summat to snarf and would disappear from sight until some moments later, but whether it was the same one or not ...
My working hypothesis* is that they/it are merlins, but what are the chances of merlins in centralish Madrid in mid-March?

*Based on pure ignorance  :dancing:

Regs.,
Technopat
« Last Edit: March 18, 2008, 00:45 AM by Technopat »
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Dave

  • *
  • Full Shroomy
  • ******
  • Posts: 1302
  • León
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2008, 16:12 PM »
Hi TP
Here in Leon we have Lesser Kestrel, so it could be one of them.
Regards
Dave

Offline Clive

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Full Shroomy
  • *****
  • Posts: 3001
  • Sierra de Grazalema
    • Wildside Walking Holidays - Spain
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2008, 18:46 PM »
Hi Tp and Dave and all

Certainly sounds like a lesser kestrel as they prey on small insects and drop like a stone to catch them and take off again quite quickly in the way described.

Interesting to note that these birds are colonial and seem to be thinking about staying as residents in some places rather than migrating to sub sahara and Senegal areas in the winter...

A search here on the forum using the keywords lesser kestrel will bring up quite a few topics mentioning this beautiful falcon.

Clive
Explore the nature of Iberia at www.wildsideholidays.com

The beautiful town of Ronda, the City of Dreams?

The spectacular Caminito del Rey, El Chorro and Guadalhorce reservoirs El Camino del Rey

Offline Technopat

  • *
  • Full Shroomy
  • ******
  • Posts: 3020
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2008, 20:18 PM »
Greetings All,
Thanx for that – I had tentatively descartado (En. anyone) the kestrel as I associate it with hovering and my feathered friend(s) were sort of swooping and then diving en picado (En. anyone?).  But on Dave’s cue, zapped off to the RSPB web site and came across
http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/h/hobby/index.asp

which mentions that it’s very similar to a giant swift, both in flight and in crescent-shaped wings, so am plumping for that. The long thin tail also clinched it, as far as I’m concerned. Translates as Alcotán Europeo Falco subbuteo according the Sp. Wikipedia http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falco_subbuteo

On the off-chance that they’re territorial, kept a lookout for them same time, same place today but no joy. (Of course they might adelantar (En. anyone?) their hunting times and patch according to real time as opposed to man-made time and already have headed off). On the other hand, yesterday was blue-skied and almost sultry (Dave’s term) here. But today has been bitterly cold and very windy.

So are they likely to be in built-up Madrid, albeit low-rise buildings, at this time of year? And if not, what other similar b. of prey might it be?

You’ll-awaken-my-hitherto-undeveloped-interest-in-nature-birds-of-a-feather-yet regs.,
Technopat

PS.
Will check out search feature later
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Dave

  • *
  • Full Shroomy
  • ******
  • Posts: 1302
  • León
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2008, 12:25 PM »
Hi TP
Our Kestrels nest on top of a 10 storey block of flats, and they hunt over the river, although their favourite hunting grounds are the railway tracks, you will sometimes see them hunting with a group of swifts, looking like a larger version, when dark against a bright sky, the correct Spanish name is Cernicalo primilla (little kestrel) or Cernicalo comun (Kestrel).
Regards
Dave

Offline Technopat

  • *
  • Full Shroomy
  • ******
  • Posts: 3020
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2008, 14:05 PM »
Greetings All,
Fascinating sight today - high amount of bird activity (high level of bochorno = large number of insects?) and one of the resident pair of magpies (perches on one of three buildings and controls the territory formed by the triangle) chasing off starlings AND my yet-to-be-positively-ID kestrel/falcon. I was surprised to see the magpie swooping and scoring numerous direct hits on the bird of prey which just couldn't beat its wings fast enough to escape. Would it have been a young 'un to have been so easily intimidated or are those magpies forces not easily repelled?

Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline potes

  • *
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2008, 17:17 PM »
Hi TP

The site of a bird of prey receiving a good old fashioned beating from a smaller foe is a common enough phenomenon and the magpie is among the best there is for dishing it out regardless of the age of its adversary. For my money the mobbing of a bird of prey by a small gathering of sparrows wins every time.There is a small gang of them residing in the barn across the way from my home and woe betide any bird of prey that assumes that the sky above the village is common air space. To my knowledge they have been undefeated now for the past 8 years and they help explode the fighting myth of a good bigun will always beat a good Littleun.The only bird of prey that i have witnessed on a regular basis bothering to retaliate against its attackers are kites, most others just appear to accept their lot as tho its beneath them.     

Offline Technopat

  • *
  • Full Shroomy
  • ******
  • Posts: 3020
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2008, 20:54 PM »
Greetings potes,
I'd love to see those sparrows - one of my fav. animals.
Re. your
Quote
just appear to accept their lot as tho its beneath them.
the b. of p. in question (as yet unidentified :booklook: and :noidea: ) was not at all stoical about it all, s/he/it was definitely getting a hammmering in no uncertain terms.

Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline potes

  • *
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2008, 13:28 PM »
Hi TP

I couldn't agree more with your enjoyment of the humble Sparrow, for my money ounce for ounce they are one of the most entertaining birds around, for their dexterity and shear cheekiness they take some matching ( the black redstart could be considered as a worthy contender) After watching them getting up to all sorts of nefarious undertakings they always leave me with a smile and i admit to never quite feeling like that after watching other birds that are considered more illustrious. Lets hear it for the Sparrow :)   

Simon

  • *
  • Guest
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2008, 20:13 PM »
Hello all,

I've just stumbled across this post and I love it! having just about extended my birding lexicon beyond the big bird/little bird stage I'm at one with TP about identification. But that doesn't sop the wonder and excitement factor, however, it may even enhance it!

i too get great pleasure from watching small fry 'mobbing' (not that 'mobbing' TP, Eng. anyone?) large birds of prey. My own favourires are swallows chasing kites and buzzards ever upwards, to the evident apathy of groups of bee-eaters, and raven 'dive bombing' griffin vultures. We see both from our terrace pretty much daily in the relevant seasons.

rather more exiting. however, is the sight of 'our' kestrel stealthily attacking the swallows, or anything else for that matter, from beneath the branches of the olive trees around the village. I first saw this on TV, which illustrated the advantage of the low profile approach, i.e from the front the kestrel's approach is all but invisible, and now I see it all the time. I've even seen this from the victim's point of view as in the early mornings I often stand stock still in the olive groves for some time waiting for my dogs to do their 'business'!

Thanks once again

Simon