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29 May 2007 @ 09:31 am
The Falcon and the Vulture  




It's like comparing a Formula 1 car to a solar-powered cross-country voyager.

The Peregrine Falcon is probably the fastest moving bird ever. An amazingly quick flier and known to stoop at speeds in excess of 300 km/h! This bird is not all about speed, it can spot a pigeon five miles away and can bring down prey much larger than itself. A fantastic hunter. Whenever I come across this bird, I always watch in awe of what it can do - moving quickly in one direction, a master flip and moving as quickly in another direction. Truly a master of the air. Our air crafts need to go through a few hundred years of evolution to get to what the Peregrine can do I guess.

And then there is the vulture. Slow and calm, it is the master of the economy flight. The sit on high ridges, dive down and use their long and broad wings to get lift, and then use the thermals to soar high into the air. Almost effortless. Its flight is perhaps not as long distance as some of the albatrosses but the vultures hold the height record. Believe it or not, a Ruppell's Griffon was sighted at eleven thousand meters above sea level on the African plains once! It is as if the vultures fly for fun. Their landing is even better, they dive down and then gradually move upwards till they reach their favourite perching spot and time it so well that when they reach their perch they are almost stationary. Just amazing.

So, last weekend when I was watching these vultures putting on an air show, a Peregrine falcon showed up. It began patrolling the area and was very keen on some of the swifts and martins that were hawking insects in the air. And then something amazing happened. From what I could see, one vulture was moving towards a group of soaring vultures (thermals?) and the Falcon was flying quickly towards the vulture in the opposite direction. When they were just a few feet away from each other, they suddenly turned in opposite directions and the vulture stooped down and the falcon upwards avoiding a possible mid-air collision. I really do not know if it was as close as it seemed to be from the ground, but an amazing sight indeed.





The Peregrine Falcon patrols the area




Sorry for the abuse of the word 'amazing' - it truly was er... amazing! :)


 
 
 
depontideponti on May 29th, 2007 11:16 am (UTC)
How on earth did you manage these shots of such a fast-moving bird?

Thanks for sharing a not-common sighting!
Anush Shettyanushsh on May 29th, 2007 12:14 pm (UTC)
Amazing !!!
Praveen Garlapatipraveenkumarg on May 29th, 2007 12:52 pm (UTC)
The first picture looks as if the birds were pasted....
Nice pictures.
Yathinyathin on May 29th, 2007 01:16 pm (UTC)
Yep, I tried doing some noise reduction on that and it made it look like as if they are pasted!
priyatam on June 1st, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)
Great shots, the first one looks more of a static art piece!