If someone was to ask me what my favourite bird is without a doubt I’d say a peregrine falcon. They may not be as beautiful or glamorous as some other birds but their speed, ability and performance is beyond me, plus they’re a raptor.
Occasionally I see one on my evening walks after school, visiting my local patch or nature reserve. As well as this I travel to Derby Cathedral quite often and watch them there. You can watch the peregrines at Derby by clicking here.
Even though watching them at Derby is fantastic, it’s a bit of a trek for me. So when I found out a few months back that last year a pair had nested at my local cathedral I was over the moon! I kept in touch with a man who works at the cathedral and yesterday morning I had a message saying that one of the birds had been spotted there quite a lot recently.
Due to this as soon as I got home from school yesterday evening, I got changed and walked down to the cathedral. It took me about 20 minutes to walk there and as soon as I got there, I raised my binoculars and there it was sitting directly in front of me. I was so thrilled. It was quite high up so I didn’t get the best view or the best photo. However by pot luck the man I’d kept in touch with recognised me whilst I was watching the bird and we had a chat about last years chicks, when the birds around and where it normally sits. This was very interesting and hopefully, in the future, I’ll get some better photos when it isn’t sitting as high up.
I arrived at 6.30 and observed it until about 7.40, when it vanished. Even though looking up almost vertically for over an hour didn’t do my neck or back any good it was worth it! I felt so privileged to see a bird like this so close to my house and I’ll definitely be making the most of it!
Here are some photos I got. They’re not the best but at least I managed to get some!
A few weeks back I heard about The Wildlife Trusts ‘My Wild Life’ campaign. The aim is to show how much nature matters to our lives. They’re doing this by showcasing stories of hundreds of peoples daily experiences with nature and how it is helping us all. The more people who add their story and make nature part of their life, the bigger the voice for wildlife, and it’s really important that we do this. As I’ve mentioned numerous times, over the last 40 years Earth has lost half of its wildlife. People need to realise this, how scary this decline is and that we all need to do something to reverse it.
I decided to do a blog about it as I think it’s fantastic a campaign. I’ve seen the stories everywhere, lots of different people have been getting involved and their stories are really heartwarming. Here is a link to the My Wild Life website where you can read more about it and some of the stories, where you can also add your own – http://www.mywildlife.org.uk/
Recently I’ve been very busy with school work and a couple of other things but that hasn’t stopped me from getting out and about. One wildlife spectacular that I have been observing in my local city centre is a pied wagtail roost. In Lichfield city centre, as it gets dark, all the nearby pied wagtails group together to form a roost for the night.
Not only does this happen in my city centre or with pied wagtails but they take place everywhere and with other bird species too, like starlings. They are really worth looking out for as they are fantastic to watch. The noise they make when they’re settling down is incredible. If you watch all the individual birds closely you’ll see how they’re all trying to get their own spot, then settle down for the cold night ahead.
There are many reasons why they gather in our towns and cities like this. For example by roosting here they are less vulnerable to predators and in rural areas temperatures can be several degrees above those in the open countryside. This can be a difference between life or death to a small bird in the winter.
You’re most likely to see these roosts in the trees right outside the shops. So next time you’re in town at night or just as it’s getting dark during the cold months look up at the tress and you’ll be in for a real treat!
Here’s a video I got of the pied wagtail roost in Lichfield city centre.
For the last few years, during the winter months, I have observed and watched a pied wagtail roost in my city centre. This year though I decided that I wanted to film them as they’re so fascinating and lovely to watch. So I headed down to Lichfield city centre at about 3:00. First of all I got a few shots around the shopping precinct then I got ready for the pied wagtails to start turning up.
At 3:56 the first few arrived and were calling from the shop roof tops. This continued for the next 20 minutes until there were big flocks sitting on the roof tops. This was great to watch and the sound was amazing but it got better, as suddenly all the birds fled and were nowhere to be seen then a sparrowhawk flew above my head. Unfortunately I was too slow to film it. It was great how everyone was getting on with their shopping and just above them one of natures dramas was unfolding.
Once everything had calmed down the birds returned and started collecting in one of the trees. This was at about 4.30 when it was almost dark. The noise got louder and louder and more birds started turning up. As I looked closely at what every bird was doing it was very interesting. Some were preening, some were fighting for a place and others were just arriving. As the noise got louder more people started to notice and look up.
By about 5:00 everything had calmed down. Here’s the video I got.