Kestrels, those high hovering falcons which appear like a stationary crucifix in the sky, seem quite common at present.
There can be all sorts of population dynamics and movements at work when birds appear common or scarce.
In the case of local kestrels, some move south in winter and some stay around on their breeding territories.
There is some evidence to suggest females are more likely to head south, often only as far as England, whereas males are more likely to stay put.
This should mean you are more likely to see male kestrels in autumn and winter.
However, that is not the whole story. Kestrels are found in numerous countries including north eastern Europe.
It would seem these northerly populations, certainly those living north of the winter snowline, are wholly migratory and all move south in winter.
This can cause an autumn influx locally, replacing the ones we lose to England.
It also seems juvenile Kestrels in their first winter are inclined to migrate further than adults. So a species thought of as common and fairly sedentary, in fact can be quite itinerant in its behaviour.
Maybe the kestrel you see hovering over the roadside verge in October is a Laplander. Whereas,maybe the one you see in Spring is a totally different individual and has just returned from the south of England ,Spain or even Africa.
My photograph shows a Kestrel from a hillside as he hovered, level with me and even sometimes below me.
This allowed perfect views of the bird’s technique of flying into the wind at the same speed as it is blowing,which is a very simplified explanation of a very skilled mastery of hovering flight. By George Hogg, Hogg Estate Services, Wildlife Management.