Sunday shoppers were enthralled at the sight of wild peregrines high up on the cathedral during this morning’s peregrine watch organised by Francis. People were actually gasping and squealing with delight as they looked through telescopes for the first time and saw, in stunning detail, the peregrine chicks and both adult birds on the spire.
The oldest of the three chicks appears to be getting ready for fledging and his first set of flight feathers are clearly visible through the soft white down that is falling away in tufts. According to Francis, this bird will be five weeks old this coming weekend and is likely to fledge sometime this week.
If you’ve not been down to see the peregrines, now would be a great time as there is plenty of action as the ever hungry, fast growing chicks are being fed.
Peregrine nestbox Wakefield cathedral
A youngster tests the flight feathers with a wing falp
peregrine Wakefield cathedral
peregrine Wakefield cathedral
Sunday shoppers watch wild peregrines
Observers of the peregrines
The Braide family from Sandal watch the peregrinesd
Wakefield peregrine watch
Viv Owen, an artist who has a studio on Westgate, sent me a note to say she has been watching a visitor to the fire escape metal works who had been there for most of the day. This new visitor came to her attention because all the pigeons that frequent the rooftops of her Westgate studio and other buildings, had completely disappeared and were noted by their absence! When I saw the photos she’d sent me, I was not surprised the pigeons had made a rapid exit, the bird in question was a large female sparrowhawk.
I’m hoping Viv is going to text me to say it is still there when she next visits her studio, I will be off like a shot to try and get a photo but in the meantime, here are a few that Viv captured of this magnificent visitor to the city.Click here for Viv’s website
Just answered the phone and as I approached the dining room window to pick up the receiver, I thought I could hear waxwings. Looking out of the window, there were 27 waxwings in the top of the oak tree in the garden. I once saw two fly over but this is the first time they’ve landed. Unfortunately, they didn’t visit the berberris just outside the window and instead flew off south over Ryhill. There’s certainly plenty around but still highly mobile.
Eddie just mailed me to say there were also 42 waxwings at Pugneys this morning, unfotunately flushed by a dog walker!
A barn owl was seen hunting the edge of the fields between Cold Heindley and Wintersett reservoir at dusk this evening.
Got a call last night to say there was a great northern diver (common loon for the USA visitors) on Cawood’s Pool at Pugneys Country Park and it had still been there at dusk. So, I set off early this morning as the sun was rising and met up with this battle cruiser of a bird as drifted across the lake in the winter sunlight. Cawood’s is a big pool and the bird was a way off, but fortunately just as I arrived it dived beneath the water and I ran to where I thought it might pop up only to find it broke the surface about a yard in front of me!! I was over-geared for the bird at this range but in any case it panicked, dived again and came up about 100yds away to look back at me. I got off a few quick shots before it headed further out into the lake. I always find them hard to photograph because, despite it’s size, they sit low in the water and there is little contrast or definition for the camera to lock onto. Here’s a shot of the bird which will at least serve as record of its visit to Wakefield. On the way back to the car, I came across some carrion crows drinking in a puddle in the car park. I’d already reached my car and taken the 500mm off the tripod when I saw them, but the light was good so I whipped off the 1.4x and stalked them hand held. Here’s a couple of shots I really like and were an unexpected bonus to the short morning session.
John Gardner (President)