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Friday 23 February 2024

Parliament Latest



Although I haven’t noted copulation as yet at Parliament this year, breeding signs/behaviour are again looking good, with multiple visits noted last week to the Nest Balcony on Victoria Tower.

An unusual scenario is occurring in the fact that one of the male juveniles from last year is still present, we will see what happens as we get closer to egg laying, will he be a hindrance, or assist in breeding?

Will he be allowed to stay come egg laying?

Male juveniles going into the following year, are usually still present at the discretion of the Falcon, there is absolutely no aggression also shown by the Tiercel – as yet, additionally it also depends on the local food source.

Its an interesting one and we will see how it pans out.

                                                                     Juvenile/ Immature


                                                       Tiercel above - Juvenile below

I had some good birds over last week, in terms of rares, Rook I would suspect be up there, for Central London a hard bird to connect with.

Kestrel was another, it’s been a few years since I saw one over Parliament and Victoria Gardens Park, once a local breeder in a house in Victoria, they are now long gone from there.

Good also to see a female Sparrowhawk up high, with the ever-present Crow, being mobbed but giving as good as it got.

A 1st winter Black Redstart was also seen on a few occasions, quite interesting to note that this bird was ringed.  

                                                             Black Redstart - ringed

                                                             Sparrowhawk and Crow


The real shock was seeing one of St. James Park Pelicans appear above the buildings, catch the wind and start thermaling up, knowing of them, I had thought none were capable of flight!

This particular Great White/Eastern Pelican, to give it its full name, is the only one that can fly and does not have its wings clipped, as I understand it, it is deemed ‘wild’.

Its name is ‘Gargi’ and it was donated to the Park in 1996 from a Garden in Southend, Essex, how it got there I don’t know.


Dwarfing the local Crows, it came up like some ancient Pterodactyl, quite an incredible sight I must say to see over Central London, it made my day.

Saturday 17 February 2024

Battersea Power Station


February 10th

A good visit as they all are, with no less than 5 Grey Wagtails squabbling for a mate and territory squabbling at the Riverside, it seems to start earlier every year.

The Power Station, since I have been here, has always been a haven for them and they have bred every year since my arrival in 2000, along with Pied Wagtails, both species are extremely site faithful. These will again nest in the River Wall no doubt, any recess/niche hidden behind Buddleia growth will be firm favourites. The way things are shaping up, it again looks like 2 pairs of Greys and 1 pair of Pied Wagtail as per most years.

Also of note, there are 2 Chiffchaff, these are favouring the gardens aloft on the Power Station, it’s a bit of microclimate up there and no doubt to their liking.

Good to note in Aurora Gardens also that a pair of Blue Tits are already showing an interest in one of the nest boxes.

Eventually the Peregrines did show, she came in with a partial Feral Pigeon, and as per normal, the Tiercel showed up shortly after.

She headed straight to her favoured feeding ledge and began to feed and he then did little else, perching up a short distance away and quite content to just sit and wait for her.

She is still the same female, no copulation noted either throughout the morning, they do however continue to display in the nest box fairly regularly.

So, as it stands at 13+, she has not been replaced by another Falcon, so it could be that she will fail to produce an egg or 2, we will see. Egg laying, if it happens, I expect around the end of March.

Additionally it is still possible that she may be replaced in the next month or 2, there are an awful lot of single Peregrines challengers, waiting in the wings in London and the outer counties.





Monday 5 February 2024

Norfolk January 18/19th

Having enjoyed our stay in November so much at Wells, we headed up again, working our way down the Norfolk Coast, Cromer etc after visiting friends.

The main aim was again to see the Pinkies, as ever they didn’t disappoint, and vast numbers were seen at dawn just outside Wells and then even more over at Cley.

North Point Marshes, although the Pinkies were sometimes a bit distant, getting there before dawn ready for them, produced 2 Woodcock flying off the fields as the light grew. Marsh Harrier, Red Kite and Common Buzzard showed early on, and Curlew numbered around 100 heading inland to feed over a 30-minute period. Hundreds, if not thousands of Pinkies lifted off the distant Salting’s and these were joined by at least 300 Dark Bellied Brents. The sight, spectacle and sound of them all coming over calling, is quite breathtaking and you find yourself standing there smiling.


                                                               Dark Bellied Brents

                                                Brents in foreground, Pinkies behind

                                                                     Vast numbers

                                                      Gren Wing tagged Marsh Harrier

No sign of Pallid/Hen Harrier which was what I was hoping for but a great visit nonetheless, it’s enough to see the Pink Footed and Dark Bellied Brent numbers, quite a sight.

Wells itself, produced 3 Red Kites tangling with a Common Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier over above the Salting’s and on a rising tide, Red Breasted Merganser and Rock Pipit were the highlights.

Saturday 3 February 2024

January Boxes


It’s been a busy old January, on the Peregrine front you have the breeding and licence period fast approaching, and small/medium boxes need checking and cleaning out in January ready for spring.

On a local site which has 10 small Boxes, 8 of the boxes were occupied with nests, this is the site that also has a Little Owl Box and 2 Kestrel boxes. The small boxes were all cleaned out, we then moved onto the Little Owl Box, this produced 2 Owlets in 2023 so hopes are high again for this year.

As ever though, the bloody Squirrels have other ideas for the box, on checking it we found a Drey inside + a Grey Squirrel! This came out at a rate of knots and the Drey was dismantled, if you recall this is not the first time this has happened with Squirrels.

The only way I have found to alter their mindset is to consistently – pre breeding, turf them out until they give up as a bad idea, so far it has worked although it is time consuming.

Moving on from the Little Owl Box, we checked the first of the 2 Kestrel Boxes, this had obviously had something in it, not a Kestrel but a few pellets and guano, pointed towards a nocturnal rooster.

The 2nd Kestrel Box was very interesting, something was using it, again nocturnally as it had over a dozen pellets inside. Very chunky, they looked very good for Tawny’s rather than Barn, which I see fairly often.
A light bulb went off, so on Saturday morning February 3rd we changed Nest boxes.

I had a Tawny Box made, so we swapped them over, as above the Squirrels may be an issue but hoping that if the Tawny’s take a shine to it, they will keep them out. Watch this space!

                                                                   Blue/Great Tit

                                                                   Bloody Squirrel

                                         Kestrel Box down with Tawny Box in background

                                                                Hopefully irresistible!