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Saturday, 2 July 2022

Fledgers

 


Following on from ‘Kestrel Update’, I visited both sites, Beckton Sewage Works and the Quarry site recently and both have fledged ok.

All of them lost height not surprisingly on fledging, with no natural awareness of danger as yet, some even came down to road level like the Quarry site, 2 fledgers in particular sitting in the middle of a road.

Approached these and they then flew quite well and got themselves aloft.

Watched the Beckton Thames Water birds also, all 5 of them, I had thought there was only 4; all flew well eventually from low positions and relocated higher.

Another good year from both these very productive nest sites, 9 juveniles.



                                                             Quarry Site - 2 in the road




                                              Beckton - came down low but flew ok after a while







                                              Adult female keeping the Crows/Magpies away




                                                         Male keeping an eye on them
 

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Juvenile

 






Over my 22 years of getting hooked on peregrines and then subsequent involvement/ monitoring of a number of nest sites, currently around 17 pairs, I have took thousands of photographs.

I was recently watching a juvenile who was pressurising the adult for the prey, or at least to be fed, in London on the side of a building.

It was pot luck, that as I grabbed a few photos of him, he spotted something behind me and went for it.

As he gathered speed, closing his wings at times to increase it, it was a monumental challenge for the Auto Focus on my D7100 with a building in the background.

Most I had to bin, these are the ones that came out.












Friday, 17 June 2022

Kestrel Update

 



I again visited both Kestrel nest sites on June 11th, of the 2 it looks like the Quarry site is slightly ahead of the Beckton Works site, both have 4 juveniles apiece.

Prey on both sites has been mainly mice/voles and the occasional lizard, I hope to visit both sites again on Sunday, fledging is not that far away.

Having watched both sites extensively over the last few years, fledging at the Quarry sites seems to go smoothly, the Beckton Kessies, despite a larger exercise/wing strengthening area do ground more, as per last year. Luckily the staff at Beckton got to them before the Crows/Magpies did and a couple were placed up on the high roof.



                                                              Quarry site - more advanced






                                                                  Beckton - younger










                                                         Cached prey being retrieved


Staff are again looking out for them at Thames Water and hopefully it will go without a hitch, watch this space……

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Kestrels





I am lucky enough to be able to monitor 2 nesting Kestrels sites, one is in a nest box and the other is a natural hole in the side of a quarry.

The Beckton Sewage works pair, have been in the box for 4 years to date if my memory serves me correctly, they are resident all year round and roost in/near the box outside of the breeding season also.

They do not face any challenges to the nest site, other than from Feral Pigeons, a couple of times I have seen one of the Kestrels, turf them out after the Ferals showed too much interest.

Crows/Magpies are a problem, especially on fledging if juveniles ground, thankfully there are a lot of Thameswater staff keeping an eye out for them.



                                                                      Beckton female



                                                                      Male with prey


                                                            Female clashing with a Crow




                                          Female fluffing herself up to make herself look bigger

In contrast, the Quarry Kestrels have their hands full when it comes to approaching breeding; this is in the shape of Jackdaws.

The Beckton birds hold to the nest box all year round, in contrast the Quarry birds turn up when the breeding season starts, although I suspect they do roost there.

Jackdaws are feisty and can hold their own against the Kestrels, over the last 3 years I have seen some right scraps between them; a nest hole is worth fighting for.

I would turn up sometimes and find Jackdaws in the nest hole and then at other times Kestrels.

There are other Jackdaw pairs along the cliff face and bickering often occurs, if they get too close, especially from the male Kestrel.




                                                                    Defending the nest hole


                                                                 Jackdaw in nest hole


                                                                          Incubating





However on both sites they have again succeeded and have young with fledging not too far in the future, hopefully it will go smoothly.