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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas Stuff

First of all, a very Happy Christmas to one and all.

I am now heading gracefully into semi-retirement, the obvious plus side to this is more time for London’s Peregrines, as it stands at the moment I have 3 nestboxes to place in January with a 4th box earmarked for the southern counties. Hopefully all will be accepted, peregrines never do the obvious and it is not always as straightforward as it looks, sometimes boxes are totally ignored seemingly for no reason whatsoever. More often than not though, if the box is placed near a known rest point on a core structure it is likely to be accepted.
This January as usual will be a fairly busy period with not only boxes and trays to place, but existing boxes cleaned out and fresh substrate replacing the old.

One of the very successful sites I am glad to say is Charring X, peregrines are messy and the video below shows not only the cleaning of the box but also the installation of the cameras. In HD the views of the pair and juveniles were stunning this year on the Wildlife Whisperer Web Site.

I visited one site last week where the pair due to their location have a large residence of Carrion Crows; as such the pair will not tolerate them, even on the fringes of their territory. Of all the pair’s that I watch this pair shows the most aggression towards them, much of this is due to the fact that many of the peregrines favoured rest/hunt pylons have crow nests on them.
In the presence of a peregrine, territorial pairs of Crows even at this time of year relax squabbling amongst each other and retain numbers to try and make life hard for peregrines.
I watched a confrontation last week where a pair of Crows have a nest on a pylon, even at this time of year the Crows feel the need to try and bait/ remove the peregrines from the pylon with others joining in to help.
Time after time a number of Crow circled the peregrines on the pylon, getting closer each time until the peregrines had had enough and drove them off.
This happened on a number of occasions and in the end there were 20 odd Crows sitting around at tree level waiting having given up.

Peregrine pair with Crows nest nearby

Falcon had enough

Crows going for ground

I also got the prey results last week for this particular site, these were very kindly forwarded by Ed Drewitt – see

Ed has been checking the prey for a number of years and without him much of the prey remains would not be known.
Some of the more interesting prey are listed below

Little Grebe
Ring Necked Parakeet - 2

The Coot I strongly suspect, as I know this pair hunts at night, was taken nocturnally as was the Little Grebe, this however is the first Coot I have recorded. Moorhen yes, they seem to be taken with some regularity at this and other sites, but Coots are a lot heavier and I suspect it was the Falcon who took it.Coots are a heavy bird, Peregrines are perfectly equipped to take larger prey nocturnally but they have got be able to carry it back to their core structure, or a resident high point that will give them the security to feed. I wonder if the Coot was possibly mistaken for a Moorhen at night?
Ring Necked Parakeets are now a firm favourite due to their sheer abundance in London.
The Swift also may also be a first as I cannot recollect another, although I know they are taken on other sites in London.

I am off to Parliament in the morning, weather permitting, hopefully some sunshine for a change,as I write this heavy rain and thunder so Boxing Day not looking too promising.


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