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Friday, 3 March 2023

Battersea Latest


All looking good with the Peregrines  at the Power Station with the first signs of spring starting to kick in and smaller birds already starting to sing on site.

Accessing the Jetty on a falling tide last Saturday produced a singing Grey Wagtail, as with Pied Wagtails, both these species are annual breeders at the Power Station. Additional songsters were Chiffchaff and Great Tit, Goldfinches already seem to be paired and were investigating trees despite the low temperatures.

What was quite surprising was the number of Cormorants present on the river, many summer plumed with their white heads/crests, at one point there were over 40 fishing on a falling tide. What was very interesting also was the fact that more often than not, most were coming up with fish. They were not flatfish or Eels but something else, I am not up on my Fish but even this far up the Thames, it shows a healthier river.

If there are any fishy people out there, have a look at the photos, would be intrigued to know what species they are.

A fairly cold grey morning but lots of activity on the Peregrine front, as expected multiple visits within the new nest box as we fast approach breeding, more or less daily now.

It was an eventful morning for the pair, the Tiercel came in from the North with yet another Ring-Necked Parakeet, which as expected was quickly claimed by the Falcon who commenced feeding.

Whilst she fed another intruding Peregrine arrived from the South, fairly high but quickly dropped down to chimney height on seeing the Tiercel. He not surprisingly attacked the intruder with numerous dives and manoeuvres trying to see it off and out of territory, by now I had decided it was a female peregrine, although a little on the small side.

The Falcon was still oblivious to all of this, filling her crop up but eventually realised the drama unfolding overhead mostly towards the south chimneys, she was feeding on the north face. Before she went up however to challenge, rather amusingly, she cached what was left of the Parakeet in a position I suspect she hoped the Tiercel wouldn't find it - food first!

As she climbed up, I could see that she was bigger than the intruding female, who on sight of her visually, decided discretion was better than a confrontation and hastily headed west with our female hot on her tail. Smaller Tiercels are one thing, but a resident Falcon defending her core site and territory is another entirely, it will take a strong female to displace her.

                                                             Cached Black Headed Gull


                                                          Caching before she goes up!

                                                       Arriving back having seen off  intruder

                                                          Tiercel and female intruder

                                                            Size difference apparent

The Falcon, now in her 12th year+ is holding on well though, egg laying I would suspect will be around the end of March/early April all being well due to her age, fingers crossed.

Rather amusingly, I also saw the Black Redstart briefly, mobbing and scolding the Falcon whilst she was feeding on the Parakeet, not a sight you see too often with both Power Stations Schedule 1 species together, a pity I was not quick enough with the camera.

Stop Press

Black Redstart singing on March 2nd, easily the earliest songster I have had on site, possibly despite the colder weather, a sign of global warming as I heard that others were heard in London.

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