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Friday 12 April 2024

Parliament - the week


As some of you may be aware, over last week, I have been covering and monitoring Drone flights at Parliament which are being undertaken, on a NaturalEngland disturbance licence due to the presence of the breeding Peregrines.

The Drone is photographing all the structures and masonry, my role involves monitoring the Peregrines in liaison with the Drone pilot, to gauge/avoid reaction and conflict. I am pleased to say that they have behaved themselves, the flights are well away though, from Victoria Tower where she is incubating.

As you do, sitting/standing up there on the roof for 7+ odd hours, I recorded what went over, what was present at Parliament, or what was seen/heard in Victoria Gardens Park, I was above sitting close to this.

On 2 specific days, April 8th and April 11th I recorded 22 and 23 species respectively, not to bad a figure with a couple of highlights, one in particular.

April 8th – 22 species

The immature Peregrine was still present, but I also recorded 2 Common Buzzards, female Sparrowhawk, Stock Dove, Pied Wagtail and the highlight, a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Only saw this as the Tiercel tried to take it, luckily it made it to the sanctuary of the Abbey trees.

Can’t recall the last time I saw one in Victoria Gardens Park but would presume they are present in nearby St. James Park.

April 11th – 23 species

Much the same in terms of species, a single Common Buzzard, however a Blackcap was briefly heard singing in the Park early a.m. A female Sparrowhawk was again seen ,would presume the same one, likely from St. James Park, however bird of the week arrived at 10.59a.m. I know this exactly as I had a great big clock in my face.

I heard a Gull going off distantly alarm calling, and on locating it above the London Eye, it was mobbing a large bird of prey, bins up confirmed a very stunning Osprey! A hard bird to get over Central London, the only downside, was that I didn’t have my camera with me to get a few distant record shots.

Got the news out and then watched it thermaling towards the BT Tower, putting up every large Gull, it was eventually lost to view heading northeast, well chuffed to say the least. No doubt not such a rarity nowadays thankfully, but still gives me a buzz seeing a bird like this going over the Capital.

If I recall my first Central London Osprey, after another was seen in East London many years ago sitting at West Ham Station.

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