Thursday, 27 January 2011

A day with Peregrines...

An early(ish) start this morning saw me heading south and into a freezing cold and windy Derbyshire to a new site for a scoping exercise and some vantage point surveys. A morning touring the new site indicated that it was going to be an interesting site to spend a year at with a wide range of habitats and spectacular scenery.

I started my afternoon survey with moderate expectations given the location and the time of the year but after an hour or so started getting rewarded, firstly a Buzzard drifted into view, followed by a brief Sparrowhawk hunting the hundreds of Fieldfare, Redwing and Starlings. A flock of Common Gull wielded away which caught my attention, followed by a flash of grey as an adult male Peregrine shot through. As I got my scope on the adult male a flash of brown caught my eye, a juvenile female Peregrine was up too. These birds spent a good 10 minutes in aerial display, the female didn't seem particularly interested but the male was giving it a good go, even taking 30 seconds out to chase a party of Fieldfares across some fields - again to no avail! Eventually they both landed in a dead tree giving good scope views.

Male Peregrine © Trevor Wood 2011

A period of quiet was filled momentarily by a pair of Ravens that bobbed around for a brief spell, with a good 3 or 4 Buzzards up soaring about before it got lively again when the big juvenile female Peregrine returned over the site, this time it had its focus on a lone Wood Pigeon that was flying 50m in front of it. A burst of speed and a tightening of its wings saw it stoop towards its intended prey - and typically straight over a ridge and out of sight! It didn't make a catch as it appeared not long afterwards before flying off to bug some gulls!

An enjoyable day and I'm looking forward to a year in Derbyshire!

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