Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Lord of the cliffs

There was no repeat of yesterday's Kite fest this morning but as I looked along the cliff I could see a Peregrine sitting on one of the favoured perches.

This projection from the cliff is quite visible from further along and I know that If I approached carefully I would have the bird facing me.

I am possibly the most cautious person around, when it come to getting close to the cliff edge, well 100m drop is along way down, but fortunately the angles here mean that you don't have to get too close for a view. 

By moving slowly and carefully I was able to watch the bird for a while. I believe that this is a male, normally the barring would be heavier on a female. 

I was the proximity to the channel that first led to the decline of Peregrines along the Kent coast, when they were "removed" during the war to help protect carrier pigeons. My mobile sent me a signal to say that I was now in France, but it was safe from the Peregrine.

A while later, while I was back at my migration view spot, it sped passed me and I watch where it had landed. This time it did involve getting quite close to the edge and looking down. The problem with this is, trying to hold the camera steady while my heart is beating rather too strongly. I'm not sure why he has got one trouser leg up and one down, I've not noticed this sartorial statement before. The paler bluey grey mantle also points to it being a male.

Again, a little later I saw him on another promontory, a couple of hundred metres away.

It wasn't difficult to come up behind a small bump near the edge and carefully look in the right direction, but I was slightly hampered by the vegetation.

Slowly easing up on my belly I eventually got a clear view of what is one of the most magnificent of our British birds.
Since the banning of organo-chorine chemicals in pesticides and a change in attitude to protecting birds of prey there has been a tremendous recovery in Peregrine numbers, particularly in the southern part of the range. For some reason that I don't know some of the Scottish population has been in decline since 2002, although overall there has been a range expansion of 200% since 1984.

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