Tuesday, 5 April 2016

April 5th Norwich

Peregrine watching at Norwich Cathedral
It is that time again at Norwich Cathedral. The peregrines are back and have already laid four eggs. The Hawk and Owl Trust have their tent set up and their scopes pointing at the spire as they have been doing for the last few years, helping the peregrine adoring public to see them while also telling them the latest news. Today, I thought it was about time I'd pay them a visit and to get some photos of these local avian celebrities.

The male Peregrine on the Cathedral's spire

As soon as I arrived to the cathedral grounds, I instantly spot one of the peregrines sitting near the very top of the spire. This was apparently the male. He sat there for a short while, preening himself and having a good look around the city. He's probably got the best view from up there as it is the highest spot in Norwich.

The female sitting on the eggs via the Hawk and Owl Trust's webcam
The female was sitting on the eggs in the nest box half way up the spire. The Hawk and Owl Trust have live pictures from the nest on a tablet (which I took this photo from) in their tent. If you want to watch them yourself, click on this link for the live webcam (http://upp.hawkandowl.org/norwich-peregrines/norwich-cathedral-peregrine-live-web-cam-2016/). As I said earlier, she is sitting on four eggs. The first was laid on March 18th, the second on March 21st, the third on March 23rd and the fourth on March 26th. Amazingly, these are the same dates as 2014! I will keep you updated when the chicks begin to hatch.

The male feeding from its cache
After a taking the time to admire the view, the male swooped down from his perch to the base of one of the 4 mini spirettes (sorry, I don't know my architecture jargon) that are beside the main spire. Peregrines don't always eat fresh from the kill, they also store some of their kills in caches around the cathedral to eat later. Its the falcon equivalent to a cupboard or larder. I watched him pluck away at something hidden behind a ledge. Feathers were being plucked by the falcon's bill and was then released and blown away by the wind. It was clearly eating something, but I don't know what. I expect it was a pigeon, the main prey of the peregrine. He then took off and flew out of sight, possibly out on another hunt for another unexpecting pigeon somewhere in the city, stooping down on it at speed from a great height.

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