Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Flight path 2

Well into March and our wood-burning stove is still eating fuel like it's going out of fashion. So, my day starts with a trip down to the shed to get more wood in.
And today, I'm glad it does. As I'm coming out of the shed my ears turn in to a out-of-place bird call.
I'm pretty sure I know that harsh, rasping sound as soon as I hear it; a peregrine. That's my first thought, but then the second dismisses it - you don't see peregrine falcons in your back garden, do you?

That said, they do nest on the Pembrokeshire coast, which is 15 miles away. What I saw as I turned was a dozen wood pigeons flying along the valley in a flock that was spreading like buckshot.
John James Audubon
Then that rat-ta-tat cry again and there was the falcon, wings a blur, just behind the last of the pigeons. On the flat it didn't have a chance of over-taking even the slowest of the target group and, as they disappeared from view, it seemed to have given up on the chase.
Presumably, the pigeons had managed to dodge the original dive-bomb ambush. Peregrines have been clocked doing over 200mph in a stooping dive, but that's all about gravity. On the flat, when its just about wing beats, the falcon is no more than an outside bet against a pigeon.
It has made my day, and decided me on the bird list rule question. The peregrine goes on the list; only counting birds that land in your garden is probably the way to go for a purist, but it misses out the fun stuff.


  1. How wonderful to see a peregrine over your own garden. I think I would definitely put that on the list.