Friday 19 April 2013

Peregrine Falcons in Newark

Well, an out of the blue second update today.

I'd spent some time at the library before heading into the market square to use an ATM and go to Morrisons. As I went back to my bike, I looked up and around, as I often do to see anything interesting on the buildings either avian or architectural, and straightaway a falcon drifted over the market square.

This attracted my interest straightaway. You don't often see falcons of any kind over the centre of town, and I've never seen a kestrel in the town centre. Shortly afterwards, a larger specimen appeared from above Starbucks as the first one had, flapped and glided around the market square, before turning back towards the north end of the church.

It just didn't look right for a kestrel. It was too big, didn't fly the same way, and the wing and body plan looked wrong - relatively longer wings of a different shape, shorter wider tail it seemed to me. I thought now that they must be peregrines.

I walked round to the Kirkgate end of the church, and scanned the steeple. Sure enough, on the Kirkgate facing northside of the steeple, a bird was sat on the edge of the viewing parapet about 2/3 of the way up. It had a grey back, and as it turned its head around, you could see the black moustaches on its face.

I was thrilled by this, it was very definitely a peregrine, and I was annoyed as anything for not having my little field glasses on me. Ive been wanting to see one of these for a while, ever since I visited the cliffs of Cornwall and didn't see any! One stopped over in Newark briefly last year and was photographed on the steeple, I'm hoping that if it was a pair of birds, that perhaps they were scoping out a possible nesting sight, but sadly I doubt this is the case.

I watched this larger bird for about ten minutes, before it flapped off east over the churchyard. I came back twenty minutes later, but no sign of either bird. Nonetheless I'm still pleased as punch to have seen them, and I don't mind if anything thought I was crazy for staring at the church steeple for so long!

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