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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Parliament pair- back at last

 July 14th

In fact they came back on the 4th and were seen and heard by many people at Parliament, I had planned to visit on the 7th but the monthly birders drink the night before put paid to that, a sore head no less.
Despite the constant rain I decided to visit, firstly to check and see if they were present and then also clean out the nest box balcony with Tom on Victoria Tower, whilst up there we observed some great action which I will relate later.
I am not going to talk about the weather despite being sick to death of it, much the same as everyone else; we it appears in and around London are getting off pretty lightly. In many other areas around the country people have had their homes flooded and lost much of their belongings. You can only sympathise with them, it seems the climate is changing; it is easily the wettest June/July that I can remember.

I was lucky this morning when I arrived, it was not raining and Big Ben was showing 4.35a.m, in fact the rain held off to around 10.00a.m.Hoping that they were present I waited in the semi darkness, at 4.40a.m no less than 3 juveniles came out from Victoria Tower, one with a pigeon wing, they were present!
They all eventually flew to Westminster Abbey and this was where the 3 stayed for a good hour, during that time I also located the Tiercel on prey feeding whilst one of the juv’s called his hunger to the world, the Tiercel ignored him.

Victoria Palace - 4.43am

Juveniles at play

Despite a good search I could not locate the adult Falcon or the remaining juvenile, Big Ben, Middle and Victoria Tower were all quiet, I suspect that both were at the nest site together.
Presently the Tiercel relinquished the remains of the pigeon, he must have gone out in the dark to get past me unless he was already on the Abbey roosting and the pigeon may well have been stashed prey. The leftovers were taken by one of the male juveniles and he high tailed it towards the river with the other 2 juveniles right on his tail, the time was 6.45am, that was to be the last I saw of them until later around 9.30am.
I searched Victoria Tower but it was quite obvious that they had gone, it was eerily quiet for one thing, anyone who is involved with juvenile peregrines will know that they make a racket.
I watched the Tiercel for a while, he again took another feral pigeon, on landing looking around rather bemused as no juveniles were present, he then decided to stash the pigeon.

Female Juvenile on the Abbey

Male Juvenile

Westminster Abbeys wide ledges - a favourite, Victoria Palace in background

Tiercel stashing another pigeon

I left him there and headed into Parliament and up Victoria Tower.
It was while me and Tom were cleaning up the balcony that we heard a juvenile calling, it came into view below us, a male labouring under the weight of a feral pigeon, it was obviously looking for somewhere to land and feed.
Unfortunately it made the mistake of heading out over the river towards the London Eye, this section is Lesser Black Backed Gull territory as they have young on the adjacent Portcullis House.3 dived at him and he went even lower but turned back for Parliament to my relief. I recalled an incident a few years back when a Falconer lost a Harris Hawk somewhere along the Thames when it was forced into the river by large Gulls. As the juvenile made for Parliament 2 of the Gulls carried on giving him a hard time, this was when the cavalry arrived in the shape of the Tiercel, he came from above and set about and then drove off the 2 Gulls off before escorting the juvenile back to the Tower.
As we both watched, the juvenile followed by the Tiercel flew underneath us pretty close, it was a stunning sight and my only regret was that I could not capture it on the camera, how often do you get to see one underneath you this close.
A good end to the morning, all we need now is sunshine.

The balcony,nestbox can just be seen

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