Monday, 3 February 2014

St Peter's Peregrines.....

....and the Otter.

Mobile Image. Pete Woodruff.

With a snoop last week around the west front and north side of St Peter's Cathedral in Lancaster I found two Lapwing corpses on the ground below the steeple. No real surprise there, though I have no idea of time scale, the Peregrine Falcon has been present at the church for many weeks - probably months - but if my informant is correct, didn't breed here in 2013.

The interest aroused by the finding of these and previous dead birds in the recent past in the church grounds, and my observations of this bird - there may be two - is that it appears to have adopted this structure as a wintering location. But I find it further interesting in that the questions arise....although quite a short direct flight for a Peregrine Falcon, why has this bird flown from the cathedral to the River Lune - possibly but not necessarily to Aldcliffe - on three occasions that I'm aware of, to find prey in the form of a Lapwing, then fly all the way back to consume the catch. Does this bird ocassionally make the journey when it finds nothing to hunt on the way, or does it persistently go to these lengths every time it needs to hunt for food. Alternatively, maybe this isn't its winter quarters at all, and that it just visits here and uses it as a 'plucking post' to feast on its latest kill....I'm intrigued.

St Walburgs. Brian Rafferty.

St Walburg's is in Preston, and though the spires of Salisbury and Norwich are taller, I must say this steeple has always struck me as the finest I have ever seen in the UK and rises 309ft above the City of Preston. 

Peregrine Falcon. Brian Rafferty.

I have no knowledge of the history of St Walburg's Peregrines, but I do know they have bred there for a number of years, and BR achieved some brilliant images of the Preston's Peregrines like the adult with prey and the two begging juveniles above from last years breeding success.

It really pleases me to see these raptors thinking they are nesting on a cliff face with a pointed structure. If the Peregrine Falcon isn't safe from disturbance or worse on the steeple of a church, then its never going to be safe anywhere, and they are most certainly much the wiser by staying clear of the dreaded uplands of Bowland just a few miles to the east of St Peter's Cathedral. 

And The Otter.

River Lune Otters. Brian Rafferty.   

On Saturday an Otter was reported on the River Lune in the area of the Skerton Weir. Excellent news though no big surprise as the Otter is known to inhabit the River Lune and BR took this image of these four individuals on Saturday 27 October 2013.

I must confess to not being fully up to date on either the River Lune Otters, or the construction of the M6 - Heysham link road project, so have no intention of launching into lengthy views on either. But take note this project has now begun and it will be interesting - important even - to see what the result of the Otter population is - and countless other wildlife species which don't have protection - at the hands of this totally disastrous and monstrous waste of time and money.

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING....And I'm off to do some right now.


Sami Rahkonen said...

Wonderful picturs.
I've tried a long time to get good pictures of the beaver but I have not succeeded so well that I want yet / Sami

Pete Marsh said...

How many birds and mammals are killed on the rat run from Crook of Lune to Torrisholme via Hasty Brow which will be spared when the bypass is built?



Pete Woodruff said...

Sami....Thanks for looking in from Sweden and your comments, they are noted and much appreciated.

Pete....Obviously you have a point about the 'rat run' road kills as a fact of life.

I don't really want to fall into this debate trap on Birds2blog but....The truth is this link road will make zero difference to Lancaster's transport problems. Try driving anywhere at all within the city boundary's at school in and out times - morning and afternoon - added to the already rush hour traffic when the roads are gridlocked for in excess of an hour twice day by people and kids apparently with no legs for getting about with.

Noushka said...

Hi Pete,
thanks for sharing these wonderful shots from Martin!
The peregrine seems a lot better of now than a few years ago!
And the otters are awesome!
I'd love to see them in the wild!
Keep well! :)

Pete Woodruff said...

Thank you Noushka.

Your 'love to see them in the wild' is poignant to the subject of the River Lune Otters and the construction of the new link road. We sincerely hope they will be seen in the wild once again at it's completion....time will tell.