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Kestrel eating a snake ...whole!

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Old Sunday 29th June 2008, 21:58   #1
Feathered one
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Kestrel eating a snake ...whole!

Have witnessed a Kestrel this evening, swallowing a snake in one piece. Can you please advise me if this is common food for a Kestrel.

I did manage to digiscope several pictures of the snake being swallowed, so will post them when I have photoshopped them, as taken from about 100 metres.

Malc
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Old Sunday 29th June 2008, 22:23   #2
KnockerNorton
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reptiles are a well-documented prey item, as are insects and earthworms, and other such non-mammal.
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Old Sunday 29th June 2008, 23:07   #3
Feathered one
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Anyone have any idea what snake this is.



Malc
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Last edited by Feathered one : Sunday 29th June 2008 at 23:16.
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Old Sunday 29th June 2008, 23:18   #4
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Don't know what snake it is but great photos, Malc.
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Old Sunday 29th June 2008, 23:47   #5
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looking at the tail of the prey makes me think its a slow worm ,great catch too (pic) i mean
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Old Monday 30th June 2008, 15:01   #6
gareth_blockley
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I would say thats a slow worm too. Excellent record of behaviour i'd never heard of!
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Old Monday 30th June 2008, 15:55   #7
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Originally Posted by kawwauser View Post
looking at the tail of the prey makes me think its a slow worm ,great catch too (pic) i mean
I thought so too.....going by the colour. Interesting pictures!
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Old Monday 30th June 2008, 18:36   #8
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I must say it took me by suprise too, I thought I was taking a picture of just a Kestrel, looking at it while taking the picture, I realised it was swallowing what appeared to be a snake. It had it under it's foot to start with, then started to swallow it facing away from me, it was only when it turned slightly, that I could snap the pictures.

The slow worm looks as though it has shed its tail while being caught, and I did wonder why the top half looked flattened, perhaps that is how the kestrel killed it ?.

The Kestrel was on heathland habitat at the back of where we live. Up until this Spring/Summer we had thought this area fairly devoid of many birds. But now the vegetation has grown up, many more places for birds to nest/ hide.
The heathland was always kept down to support the rare lizards supposed to be there.
Now we have seen Dartfords and many Linnets, Tree Creepers, Goldcrests and many more. Hope they don't cut down the vegetation too much in the future.

Thank you for all your input on this posting.

Malc

Last edited by Feathered one : Monday 30th June 2008 at 18:40.
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Old Monday 30th June 2008, 18:56   #9
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Nice shot I have seen them in spring on the south Devon coast with adders.
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Old Monday 30th June 2008, 19:21   #10
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Slowworms are frequently eaten by Common Kestrels in the Suffolk Sandlings. I have seen them hovering over Grass by the hide at Benacre Broad nr Southwold Suffolk in the 1990's. and catching Slowworms.
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Old Monday 30th June 2008, 19:28   #11
dan pointon
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Yeah would have to be quite a small snake for a Kestrel to nail whole, would it not?! Don't see many slow worms at all so perhaps there's the reason why
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Old Monday 30th June 2008, 19:35   #12
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Don't see many slow worms at all so perhaps there's the reason why
Think overall tidiness, pesticides and intensification in farming, cats etc all play larger roles . . saddened the other day when I flushed a magpie off a path, which had been in the process of finishing off a sloworm.
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Old Tuesday 1st July 2008, 11:09   #13
KnockerNorton
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Originally Posted by Feathered one View Post
.

The slow worm looks as though it has shed its tail while being caught, and I did wonder why the top half looked flattened, perhaps that is how the kestrel killed it ?.
It may have scavenged it off a road - hence the flatness? Kestrels frequently take carrion.
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Old Tuesday 8th July 2008, 02:22   #14
Andy in West Oz
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Well done, Malc, excellent pics.
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Old Friday 11th July 2008, 16:58   #15
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I watched a kestrel hovering and finding food on the mud which was exposed at low tide in what would have been the mid-stream of the River Blackwater near Maldon in Essex. It appeared to be going for small flatfish (dabs) although I can't be certain of this as I didn't have binoculars with me at the time. I thought it was pretty unusual-anybody else ever witnessed something similar?
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Old Thursday 24th July 2008, 19:50   #16
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Malc why don't you post your pics at the digiscoping forum? I'm sure digiscopers would love to see this. What equipment did you use?
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