When Jay Mahoney arrived in Rye earlier this summer, he spotted a kestrel sitting on a branch in a tree right behind the house.
When Jay Mahoney arrived in Rye earlier this summer, he spotted a kestrel sitting on a branch in a tree right behind the house. “I told my wife that I hoped it would stay, but I didn’t see it again the few times I checked.”
But after reading the obituary of Ken Cook in The Rye Record, Mahoney began thinking about some of the things he’d learned about observing nature from Cook. “I met Ken around 2005 at Edith Read Sanctuary, where he was a dedicated volunteer and I was retired and had just started to do nature photography. We became friends. I would walk with him on the trails and sometimes he would transport me, and my camera equipment, in the utility vehicle that he used on the Sanctuary grounds.
“One of the things Ken taught me was to stay in one place and observe, rather then moving around so much looking for subjects. When you sat on one of the benches he had helped to install, you saw things that you would miss when hurrying from location to location. Seeing his obituary reminded me of his suggestion. I decided to apply it on my own property and soon saw the kestrel flying over the meadow behind the house.
“It was always coming from the right of my property. I found trees it would perch in and soon found that there were actually a male and a female. Through the camera lens I saw they were carrying mice and voles in their talons, which led me to look for a nest, which I found a few days later in the rafters of my neighbor’s house. One day I photographed the kestrels carrying nine different rodents to the nest. If I hadn’t seen Ken’s name in the paper, I might have missed all of the action.
“The kestrels have fledged and I recently observed two males and two females. In further observations, I also found two wren’s nests, two robin’s nests, and a white-throated sparrow nest.”