Berries and hunters

On 23rd a young male Peregrine was hanging over the Victorian terraces beyond the railway track, drifting and flinching when Herring Gulls came too close, then turning and suddenly dropping in a half-stoop and coming back up from the backs of the roofs. For a long while it repeated these moves, always watching and circling, then with wings half closed powering down with easy speed, once striking at a pigeon in level flight, then taking a spectacular bouncing dive up and down across several roads at chimney-top height or lower.

A pair of adult peregrines have also been over the town at times. Sparrowhawk too hunts in the town, once seen to stoop into a garden after small birds.

Jackdaws appear at first light in bustling, amicable mobs of thirty or more that hug the roofs, keeping below the skyline as they speed towards their daytime feeding lands. In the evening they pass westwards towards roost, yet on the day following an atrocious night of cold wind and rain their evening performance was strangely cancelled. I had prepared to count them as they passed in the evening, but none had appeared by nightfall. Had they decided to change their roost site after that poor weather?

Redwings continue in quiet gardens and street trees and small flocks continue to be a regular sight passing my town window. At Collington recently a Holly beside the station hosted twenty or more of these thrushes, and others were at garden Holly beside Collington Wood. However, the hedges at North’s Seat were quieter yesterday, and it looked as if the berry crop there has been depleted.

Up at the Barley fields Reed Buntings, Yellowhammers, Rooks, Snipe and Skylarks are maintaining good numbers. 60 Meadow Pipits also, and other wintering birds include Grey Wagtail, Mistle Thrush and Song Thrushes.

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