Friday, 15 February 2013

Fulham and Barnes Peregrines and a trip to Kensington Gardens

What a beautiful day. Cold enough in the morning to wear my hat, snood and gloves, warm enough in the afternoon to remove them. That golden orb was out again. I'd heard love was in the air for Tom and Charlie, the Fulham and Barnes peregrines, so off I went to Charring Cross Hospital, where they successfully hatched and reared three eggs last year. The first one I saw was Tom perched on the side of the hospital, and it didn't take long to find Charlie sitting on the top left of the Ark. Nathalie (the birds over-seer) joined me soon after, and then Charlie decided to come down too. I couldn't get any in focus shots of both the birds together on the hospital, but can honestly say, it still makes me go 'ooooh' when I see the difference in size between them.

Charlie the Falcon
Tom the Tiercel
Both Charlie and Tom were very active this morning. Both flew off a couple of times but were back within minutes. Tom was doing his duty guarding his 'patch' by taking off and scaring several crows that had dared land on the hospital roof. Considering this is only his second year of being Charlies mate, he is certainly acting the imminent proud parent. Nathalie mentioned she could see big differences in his behaviour between this time last year and now.  Best news was that Nathalie had seen them mating again early this morning. That's at least twice this week (that we know of). So egg laying is imminent. Nathalie estimates in around 3-4 weeks times.

If you have the fortune to meet Nathalie this year, please remember that without her these lovely inner city falcons would have never become so well known. Nathalie has put in so much time and effort over the last few years to establish this nesting site. Before Tom came along there was another male, a certain Mr C. He sadly disappeared, but Tom appeared one day, and last year became a Dad for the first time. Nathalies knowledge of these birds, and of peregrines in general, is really outstanding. If anyone has spare time this early summer, please consider spending at least a few days of it helping Nathalie during the 'fledge-watch' season. I done it last year and its an experience I will never forget.

And more good news.......the web cams are back up and running. That means lots of distraction for me at work again for the next few months, nothing new there then lol.

link to Charlie and Toms nest box and ledge web cam

My very good friend Gina joined us at the hospital, and in between watching the peregrines, we also saw good numbers of Blackbirds, Goldfinches and Carrion Crows. Charlie and Tom eventually flew off towards the Kensington area so Gina and I said goodbye to Nathalie and made our way to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.

As always at this special place, you can always guarantee great close up views of Blue, Great and Coal Tits. The birds here are so used to being hand fed, they will happily pose for any camera in sight, just so long as you feed them a few scraps too.

Coal Tit

Blue Tit

Great Tit
There was no sign of the resident male Tawny owl, but according to Ralph Hancocks blog, he hasn't been seen for a couple of weeks now. The female will be incubating eggs, so we don't expect to see her and the male will be collecting food for the pair of them during this time, so maybe he's just tired out from all that hunting and keeping himself tucked away during the day (the male Tawny that is - not Ralph lol)

link to Ralph Hancocks blog - Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park birds

The two famous female Bearded Tits were also not in their usual place. It has been reported over the last few days that they have been acting restless. Lets hope they have fluttered away to the east coast to meet up with some gentlemen friends.

As well as the Coal, Blue and Great Tits on site, the Jays, Ring-necked Parakeets and squirrels also like to be included in the feeding festivities. The Jays wont come to your hand, but they will fly down to the iron gates to grab whatever you have left them. A couple of the Parakeets will feed from your hand (as demonstrated below by today's hand-model...... Miss Gina Curry)

The one on Ginas hand is a ringed bird and very gentle. Its mate, seen behind, is much shyer.
And last, but by no means least, this is Arthur the squirrel. We nick-named him this last December as he has the top of his tail missing (Arthur Tail = half a tail). There are loads of grey squirrels at Kensington Gardens, but Arthur does stand out from the rest. Several of us, myself included, have had Arthur climb up your legs for a bit of attention when you're busily cooing and ahhhing over the small birds and parakeets. He isn't vicious but does tend to grab the food in your hand or fingertips, and has nicked a couple of my fellow bird-watching mates, but its not done intentionally, Arthur's just trying to get his share before his fellow fully bushed tailed mates get there before him.
So another lovely day for moi, finished off with a couple of rather large glasses of Tesco finest Simply Rose, and a some lovely memories of the last three days before I go back to work tomorrow.
Cheers :)

No comments:

Post a Comment