Click on photos to enlarge, please do not copy photos without permission

Friday 28 July 2023

Odds and Ends

Got a bit of spare time on my hands now, so thought I would catch up on recent activity starting with Parliament.

From previous post’s, you will know they have failed this year through eggs rolling, the new box was ignored, and my thoughts were that, as it happened early, that they had re-laid somewhere in the Vauxhall new builds.

This was based on only ever seeing the Tiercel after failing at Parliament, seeing him always heading towards Vauxhall, sometimes with partial prey, and obviously never seeing the Falcon.

                                                                 Tiercel - still present

Moving on, we are now on July 29th and no Falcon and certainly no juveniles, to my knowledge, have been seen at Parliament. The Tiercel is being seen daily, NaturalEngland have licenced some Drone surveys taking place, so we know he is regular.

Obviously, thoughts will turn to where is she, they pair for life, so if breeding has not been successful, why is she not at Parliament?

Elsewhere, a juvenile Peregrine that Paul, Shaun and myself ringed this year under licence with the new white colour rings, came to light on Twitter, it seems this juvenile female is already venturing further afield. AAG, one of 4 siblings, turned up earlier this week in Ware, Herts, she was seen and identified on Wood Pigeon prey. A massive thanks goes to @Austin_Lill and Stamford All Saints Peregrines and anyone else involved, for bringing it to light and shows the value of the colour scheme already, that she could be identified.

It’s a bit of an interesting story, Ware is 13 miles from her nest site, which then raises the question, is she already self-reliant having left the adults? The fact that she was on Wood Pigeon prey suggests that she is.

Given that the boys ringed her on May 14th with fledging around 1st-2nd week of June, she was identified on July 24th in Ware from her colour ring, it could mean that as little as possibly 6 weeks, she has left the natal site. They usually leave their natal sites from 2-3 months onwards, if prey is plentiful, some have stayed longer, even into the following year. Longer stayers are usually single juveniles.

                                                   AAG being ringed by Paul and Shaun

It could be that with no other Peregrine pairs hemming her in territory wise, she may have ‘thermalled’ and gone further afield searching, to a Peregrine I would suspect 13 miles is nothing.

By now she would have built up considerable wing strength and stamina, and it could also be that she is returning to the natal site to roost etc and just ‘exploring’ further afield.

Hopefully she will turn up again.

She is definitely a poser, photos below are of her visiting another block of Flats on June 26th, a massive thanks to Taylan Durmus for kindly allowing me to use his photos.


Sunday 23 July 2023

Cooling Revisited


It’s been a year or 2 since I have been down to the North Kent Marshes, this was an impulse visit after an early morning Parliament sortie checking on the Peregrines, more on that later.

The good old days of surveying the Marshes in winter with Paul are now pretty distant, but the lure and magic of the landscape will always be there.

Entering along the track, it was quite obvious that it was going to be a windy morning, however despite this good numbers of Corn Bunting were still singing, by the time I had got to the Barn I had recorded 7, 3 of which were singing.

2 Marsh Harriers were also seen along the track along with countless Skylark and a few Mipits, however the surprise came when I drove past the Barn, 3 Barn Owls exited. I would expect these were inside sheltering from the strong wind, remarkably 2 started to hunt along the Berm and the 3rd relocated nearby.

I moved off and sure enough eventually 2 of the Barnies went back to the Barn, unusual to see them in the Barn, over the years they have rarely used it, Little Owls yes but not Barnies.

Moving on to the Pools produced 11 Black Tailed Godwits and a few Lapwing but no other waders, I then moved onto the mudflats.

Plenty of waders here with 20+ Curlew, around 120 Black Tailed Godwit, probably 300 Avocet and at least 4 Whimbrel scattered along the Thames shoreline.

Dragons were everywhere as were Butterflies, Painted Lady and Marbled White being the pick of the bunch, but the best Butterfly came on leaving. On an area near the woodland, out of the wind on a section of bushes near the ditch with lots of flowers, a Silver Washed Fritillary was buzzing around. A first for site for me and an unusual Butterfly to see in this area, especially as it wasn’t in large woodland.

As usual the Marshes and its wildlife never disappoints.

Friday 21 July 2023

Battersea July



The now substantial number of trees has attracted good numbers of breeding birds in, this is despite the numbers of people visiting, some species will adapt to the populace more whilst others will seek quieter areas. Goldfinch breeding on site outnumber all other species, tree sizes are perfect for them around the Estate. Pied/Grey Wagtail have double brooded, and the park grass has become a favourite for early morning foraging.

In regards to the Coaling Jetty/Northern Park habitat, lots of young juvenile birds having fledged , Blue - Great Tits and Pied - Grey Wagtails, Goldfinch and Wren.

I would suspect that most are locally bred, some no doubt using some of the Power Station Nest Boxes also.

Given the now vast flower/shrub habitats now, there seem to be Honey/White Tailed Bees everywhere, others seen have been Common Carder Bee, Green Eyed Flower Bee and an Andrena species (thanks Howard).

Added to this 2 Dragons in the shape of Common Darter and Migrant Hawker, it shows the habitat is working well, not only for Birds but also for invertebrates.

The Northern Park Grass itself is holding a lot of insects also, this is evident from the Wagtail numbers, it provides a great food source which the larger Gulls have now discovered it seems.

Both Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls were foraging on it also, just a little surprised the Geese haven't visited it yet.

We also had yet another brood of Mallards, this time 7 Ducklings, reinforcing their reputation for nesting in the craziest of places, these were up on the 11th Floor Roof Gardens! Unfortunately the Duck couldn’t be caught, so the Ducklings were taken to SEWH for later release when bigger and able to look after themselves.

The female Peregrine is still with us, occasionally visiting the nest box, she is ringed and given her age of 13+ and unable to produce eggs this year, it is likely that 2024 could well see a new Falcon present.

Sunday 9 July 2023

The Week


A busy but very satisfying week, we returned back another 2 juveniles to their respective families, both white colour ringed from the new scheme that Paul, Shaun and myself started this year.

To date the boys have used 10 rings, a couple of the sites failed this year unfortunately, otherwise it would have been more.

Both release backs went well and again owe their 2nd chance of life after ‘grounding’ to SEWH, one especially after a wing issue. As I have said before, if you are looking for a cause to donate to, this is it.

                                                             Juvenile No 1 on its way

                                                                      Itching to get out

                                                            Juvenile No 1  - freedom

                                                         Juvenile No 2 - photos P Hawkins

                                                               Juvenile No 2  - on its way

Another new site has come to light, on checking under Schedule 1 licence recently, I incredibly found no less than 7 Peregrine eggs inside! Quite obviously they had tried in previous years, with no substrate, all had rolled sadly, she had laid on bare metal. Looking at the eggs showed some of them to be quite old, she could have had chicks etc, but suspect we will never know as it wasn’t watched.

The owners have been superb and for 2024 the pair will have a tray and CCTV, I delivered the tray and substrate in the week, hopefully it will do the trick and should make life a lot easier for the Falcon and Tiercel. It has a ‘natural’ roof so a tray will be sufficient.

                                                             New Tray and Substrate

The 7 eggs have been sent off to the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme for analysis, it will be interesting to see how old they are.