I have just started reading The Accidental Countryside by Stephen Moss. I’ll address the main themes in the book when I eventually review it on here, for now I want to mention the prologue. This is a reminder of the chequered history of Peregrines, the impacts of hunting and pesticides and their recovery and recolonisation. When Sabine was still studying at Cambridge I remember hearing them around the cathedral during her graduation; the fact those birds have their own Twitter account showed just how much things have changed.
Whilst some other birds of prey have recovered through protection, and Hobbies have benefitted from global warming, the nearest direct parallel to the Peregrine is the Buzzard. Its full title of Common Buzzard wasn’t very appropriate in the Blackpool area when I arrived here, they were very scarce on the Fylde. But that has changed dramatically over the years, and there are several pairs within a short distance of my house on the outskirts of the town. Last April during the restrictions when Sabine and Max visited //but couldn’t come in the house I took the pictures below when four drifted over the garden.
As with other birds that have increased dramatically since I was young there remains a thrill in seeing Buzzards, and why shouldn’t there as the most accessible large bird of prey we have. When I checked the floods at Mythop today I was pleased to see the bird in the header photograph as I got out of the car. And don’t worry about the fact my stop by the roadside disturbed him or her, they just dropped down onto the field adjacent to the tree having realised I posed no threat.
I am going to finish today by going back to Peregrines. A few years ago I was out for leaving drinks for a member of the team. It was a glorious day and we were taking in the rays in one of the rooftop beer gardens on a pub near the town centre. There was an empty chair between our party and the adjacent one. I then heard a trio of sequential sounds – gulls objecting to something above followed by a soft thud followed by a loud scream. I turned to see a dead pigeon had taken the vacant seat. Nobody would believe my explanation that a Peregrine had caught and despatched the unfortunate animal before dropping it when breeding gulls objected to its presence. I don’t doubt however that’s what happened.