Following on from Battersea Power Station – early days July 8th, the owners at the time – Parkview International were going to proceed with redeveloping the Power Station after years of the site lying dormant.
With the peregrines firmly established in 2004 and holding to the site 24/7 365 days a year ideas were needed to try get the peregrines to nest elsewhere on the site; it was imperative that they stayed but not on or in the Power Station itself.
Meetings were scheduled and I attended with Colin Shawyer, who at the time I believe was working for the Hawk and Owl Trust. From this we discussed a tower designed specifically for the peregrines. An idea was arrived at and the vertical section of a tower crane was installed in the North West corner with the now older type Hawk and Owl box positioned around 6 metres from the top.
|Seen by many from the railway - erected in 2004 and de rigged in January 2013|
Although both peregrines took to it, prey was stashed in it, the falcon rested/roosted in it, in regard to breeding it never happened for 2004, that year they failed after laying in a position where they were washed out on the Power Station by rainfall. This came from bad nest site location on the falcon’s part, there was heavy rainfall and the nest scrape became waterlogged and chilled the eggs.
|The old Falcon catching some sun.|
2005 arrived and I had high hopes for the tower, activity was non-stop on it including copulation but true to form they went back on the Power Station, this year however they were successful, they fledged 3 juveniles. It looked like they had learnt from the previous year and they laid in a more ideal position, although due to their Schedule 1 status restrictions as to disturbance had to be put in place. The tower had been ignored as a nest site, there were quite simply too many locations and potential ‘scrapes’ on the Power Station, they wanted to be on it so why move?
Due also to the non- acceptance in breeding terms of the tower, it was decided to place a couple of nest boxes on the East Wall, the idea being to get them off the northern sector which they favoured. Work needed to be started in this sector asap.
In November/December 2005 a couple of boxes were placed along the wall ready for 2006, the pair took to them as much as they used the tower, would they prove successful?
|Also used on the East Wall|
2006 dawned and as part of the mitigation measures various potential ‘scrapes’ were closed off with ply etc.., the idea being to steer them towards the tower or the East Wall nest boxes, I watched and waited.
Trust me, trying to outsmart peregrines is not easy, anyone involved with them will tell you that they can be totally unpredictable, in the famous man’s words – Dick Treleaven, “Unfortunately peregrines never read the script”.
Unfortunately they again found a location on the northern end of the Power Station but not being ideal the eggs rolled and they failed quite early.
The lure of the Power Station was simply too strong, egg rolling and even having a nest site washed out by weather is all part of the natural process facing rural pairs. Urban pairs are no different and if anything have many more hazards to contend with.
2007 came with a bang, Sod’s law and they laid 3 eggs in the Tower and fledged 3 juveniles, like I said, unpredictable. Everyone let out a sigh of relief, they were off the Power Station and in there penthouse tower, they would now breed in it year after year, like the great man said, they never read the script.
|The old female now departed|