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Friday, 8 October 2010

Autumnwatch - Parliament October 5th

I had been asked by the BBC a short while back to assist in filming of the Parliament Peregrines and also provide some prey from one of the other sites that I monitor. I had recently removed 2 sacks of prey from an East London site and it was this that was used for filming. They had also kindly asked me if I would like to participate in the filming with Chris Packham, this I was very happy to do as I found his approach to wildlife refreshing, also he is quite a funny and very likeable chap.

Myself and Chris Packham

I arrived at dawn to see if I could locate the pair and also see if the remaining juvenile was still present and had not left. Originally there were 4 juveniles, 2 females, a male and an inbetweenie that I could not sex as its size was between Falcon and Tiercel.3 of the juveniles had left, with a single juvenile remaining with both adults refusing to feed it, it appeared to be existing on the adults left overs. I had also visited on Saturday and the juvenile was repeatedly begging the adults for food relentlessly, neither bird would relent and release prey, the message was clear, it was time to go.

Juvenile with adults leftovers

During the course of the morning I managed to locate both adults as well as the juvenile, obviously it had not got the message yet, if it does not go of its own accord soon, the adults will likely ‘persuade’ it to go. The chaps from the BBC arrived around 8.30am with others shortly after, they were able to get straight on to the birds, both adult Tiercel and juvenile were still present, the juvenile could be heard above the din of passing traffic quite clearly.

The remainder of the day was spent filming at the top of Victoria Tower with Chris and the camera crew and then descending to Victoria Park to film prey remains identification. Must say I really enjoyed it, as I opened the 2 sacks it was quite obvious that some of the prey was still ripe to say the least. Birds identified were

Many Feral Pigeons


Ring Necked Parakeet


Ringed Plover

Teal – 2 no


The Ring Necked Parakeets are quite interesting, as mentioned earlier, the prey was taken from an East London site, there was also an additional bird on top of Parliament. From what I can gather Peregrines are one of the few species that will take them as they are quite an aggressive species and have a formidable bite. I have heard of a number of people in London who have seen Sparrowhawks chase them but give up, I have seen this also myself, would be interesting if anyone has seen a Ring Necked Parakeet taken by a Sparrowhawk. The Sparrowhawks may just consider it wise not to risk injury, they are easily capable of taking them, especially the larger female whose speciallity is Wood Pigeon.

Finished the day early afternoon, the prey was taken to Bristol after filming to a friend of mine, Ed Drewitt, he identifies everything, bones, skulls, feathers and all.

Adult Tiercel on middle Tower

Had an excellent day, the footage was shown on Autumnwatch on Thursday evening, great filming of the juvenile peregrine and also the Tiercel on a kill. Found the footage very interesting and hopefully I did not come across to bad, definitely won’t be challenging for a bafta.
If you would like to know more on the Parliament Peregrines please visit my website on

1 comment:

  1. The programme was excellent, Dave - for a couple more days it can be seen via BBC iPlayer (go to Amazing to consider where it found and hunted down that African Grey Parrot! Keep up all your good work with Peregrines.