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Sunday, 24 February 2013

Up Town

Saturday February 23rd

When I left the house in the morning at 5.30am, it was cold, 1 above showing in the car so I was not expecting much breeding activity, my plan was to visit 5 sites starting in Inner London and then work my way back home east.
I arrived at the first at 6.35am courtesy of London’s Roadwork’s, namely Blackfriars Underpass closed again, seems to happen every weekend, diversions or lack of just put you into more traffic. Added to that I was then cut up by a Bus badly, the camera rolled off the seat as I braked hard so quite cheerfully had a little chat with him at the next set of lights.
True to form though another Bus pulled out in front about a mile up the road, did well to stay calm but Christ do I dislike Bus Drivers, a law unto themselves so to speak.
Anyway, rant over, the first pair I arrived at both came out from roost simultaneously at 7.10am and assumed a high hunting position, signs looked good for pair hunting. The site has a massive population of feral pigeons; the pair were up waiting for these to emerge. After sitting in this position for 15 minutes with 3 blank sorties flown, both then flew a short flight to another position to hunt, this proved a good move as the Falcon latched onto a Feral Pigeon shortly after.
Whether it is a conscious decision to change the angle of attack on the ferals to gain an advantage I do not know, but the position change certainly worked as the 1st hunt proved successful.

After this both fed and then layed up, needless to say no spring like activity, after a while I decided to move on.

Due to the cold I did not have high hopes of locating other pairs as I headed back east, this proved correct with the 2nd and 3rd sites peregrine free, no doubt fed and laid up somewhere out of the cutting wind.

Site 4 however came up trumps, this is a site that bred successfully last year with a nest scrape made in Pigeon Guano, earlier this month with the aid of Industrial Abseiling a tray was placed to give them assistance in breeding.
The site has a natural overhang so I made the tray with a larger outside edge to give her a bit of protection from the elements and, additionally give cover to the juveniles from strong winds and driving angled rain.
As I parked up and got the bins out and scanned the nest area I laughed, the Falcon definitely liked the tray as she was sitting on top of the higher lip, the lip gave her a proper vertical perch and was additionally out of the wind.It did not occur to me at all that she would use it as a lookout post as she awaited the Tiercel.
Hopefully it will make life easier for them if they accept it, signs look good.

The Tray with a higher outside lip. 

In position

I drew a blank at the 5th site, none present, I am hoping that they find another building as the structure they are on is not ideal in position or surroundings, I have been watching them quite a lot to see if they favour other buildings/structures.

Time will tell… the moment though no pairs are showing any breeding activity due to the cold, it will be interesting then to see if this year they go back to there normal laying times, last year many were early.

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