A Pilgrim's Tail                                                 
Group blog with contributions welcome - please forward any correspondence via the groups contact page

Whimbrel on the Menu

posted 19 May 2014, 07:19 by SW Peregrine   [ updated 19 May 2014, 07:19 by Greg Curno ]

This was certainly a first for us, a falcon feeding 3 newly hatched eyasses on Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus). She struggles to man-handle this smaller member of the 'Curlew' family. Often we watch prey items brought to the ledge, plumed with the head removed; therefore not only those long legs but that huge curved beak cause lots of issues, as can be seen in this video. One of the eyasses gets knocked over while another trampled upon under the falcons at times clumsy efforts. In the final shot as she fly's of to cache the remains it could quite easily have knocked one of these small bundles of down to the waiting sea below.

Whimbrel on the menu


Showering in Northern Italy

posted 19 May 2014, 04:51 by SW Peregrine   [ updated 19 May 2014, 04:51 by Greg Curno ]

Recently came across a wonderful video on YouTube of a Falco Pellegrino that was taken in Val Brembana, Bergamo, Northern Italy. A bathing Peregrine is something that very few of us get to actually witness, and this video captures the bathing ritual brilliantly. 
So sit back and enjoy one of our European cousins taking a shower, it looks as if this bird has found the ideal spot and is really enjoying itself.

Peregrine assisting in hatching latest arrival

posted 15 May 2014, 00:45 by SW Peregrine   [ updated 15 May 2014, 00:45 by Greg Curno ]

This fantastic video footage shot by a group member wonderfully illustrates the care and attention that these devoted parents give to their offspring. The videos opening sequence shows the Tiercel incubating the brood, he is startled by his mates arrival on the ledge/old Ravens stick nest, possibly due to her low and almost silent approach. After a while he relinquishes his attentive duties and she moves in to inspect another egg in the final stages of hatching. rather than go straight into sitting, she helps the newest arrival by careful removing the final piece of shell. Sit back and enjoy this lovely video from the Cornish coast listening to those glorious sounds of gulls and sea. This is what watching coastal peregrines is all about.

Coastal hatchings


An Update from a North Cornish Eyrie

posted 5 May 2014, 02:53 by SW Peregrine   [ updated 5 May 2014, 02:53 by Greg Curno ]

In this short two part video you can see the progress of a North Cornish pair of falcons from two separate visits to their home in mid April and again in early May.

Video Diary 2014

Birders Against Wildlife Crimes

posted 5 May 2014, 02:40 by Greg Curno   [ updated 5 May 2014, 02:49 ]

'This months guest article comes from Charlie Moores. Charlie is one of the founding members of a new organisation named Birders Against Wildlife Crime,or (BAWC) for short.In the piece, Charlie explains the reasons why he and like minded friends felt the need to create the group'.

The answer to why ‘Birders Against Wildlife Crime’ and other good questions. Just last month thirteen birds of prey were found dead in a two square mile area of the Scottish Highlands. They’d been poisoned. The majority were Red Kites, presumably part of a re-introduction scheme championed by the Scottish government and bitterly opposed by some agricultural and shooting interestsAmongst birders the reaction to their discovery ranged from outrage and a determination to catch the criminal(s) involved to a weary cynicism that no-
one would be caught, ranks would be closed, and nothing would change. 

There have, is the perception, been too many incidents like these and too few prosecutions. One poisoning incident is of course one too many, but despite what many birders might think our birds are well-protected. On paper anyway. In fact most of our wildlife is protected by hundreds of laws that have been hard fought for and which cover everything from poaching freshwater mussels to knocking down House Martin nests over a homeowner’s front door.Having so many laws brings its own problems though. Very few of us know or understand them. They are complex, there are numerous exceptions, and they’re not the same in different parts of the UK. Few birders (few people anywhere) wouldn’t recognise that using poisons to kill protected birds is a crime, but not all laws that impact wildlife are so clear-cut. Is it legal to use a 
dog to hunt rabbits, for instance? How would you recognise when a cage trap is being used illegally? How about taking a photograph of a roosting bat – is that legal or illegal?

Most of us don’t want to just see wildlife, we want to stop other people breaking the laws that protect wildlife as well. Compared with the poisoning of a Red Kite, for example, a council worker cutting back a hedge in the nesting season might seem almost unimportant, but more birds must be lost to casual nest destruction every year than are lost to poisoning. If we understood the laws relating to nests and eggs would we not be in a better position to change Not only are many of us unsure about the law, we’re also not sure what to do if we witness a crime or find a crime scene. If we had found one of those poisoned Red Kites what should we have done? What information should we record? As importantly, who should we tell: the police, the RSPB, a local wildlife trust maybe? All of them perhaps.There will be readers of this article who’ll be saying to themselves, sure, but that information is available on numerous websites. That’s true. So why did we think we needed to set up Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC) anyway? Because while the information is available, it’s often very hard to find. Most organisations that cover wildlife crime are concerned with numerous other issues too. The specific fact we want may not be buried, but it’s rarely standing in the open either! As proof of that the birders who set up BAWC have well over a hundred years of birding experience between them, but – like most birders we know - couldn’t have answered every question in the last few paragraphs either. 

So what we’re doing (‘doing’, note, not ‘done’ – this is an ongoing project) is to put all the information we need, written in plain English, in one place. We want to help make tackling wildlife crime as natural as picking up a pair of binoculars, so everything we’re doing is guided by one prevailing thought: we’re birders, we’ll be using the website, how would we want the information laid out so that we can get our questions answered quickly and easily? 
On top of that we want BAWC to be an effective campaiging group. We don’t have members, we’re totally independent, and we’re not bound by charters. We’re free to ask the questions that some other organisations can’t. Why do birders feel that no-one will be held to account when Red Kites are poisoned? Why is that many birders feel that even if they do report wildlife crime nothing will be done? And if someone is caught, why are punishments often so insignificant?

There are a lot of questions to ask. And we’re not saying we have all the answers. Between us we do though. The expertise and knowledge held by groups like the South West Peregrine Group is invaluable. We understand that no-one has the right to simply turn up and ask for that knowledge, so we’re working hard to build relationships, to work alongside other organisations. We know it’ll take time, but we can help and promote each other. We can all benefit from that. Much more importantly though, our wildlife will benefit. If every time birders went into the field - wherever they were – they were looking out for wildlife crime and feeding information to the right people imagine what we could achieve. We will never be able to stop wildlife crime (we’re dreamers at BAWC but we’re not deluded), but if criminals knew that birders were on the look out for them, knew what to do if they saw a crime, and had the information at their fingertips to get that crime reported to the right people every time…

We may not be able to stop every crime from taking place, but we can help 
tip the balance back in favour of our wildlife. We can make it so that criminals 
are looking over their shoulders all of the time, that wildlife crime becomes a 
higher priority than it is now, and that when a criminal is caught it matters to 
them. 
Why did we set up BAWC? The simple truth is that we’re birders and we’re 
sick of crimes against our wildlife. We think we can make a difference. And we 
are determined that we will.

Later breeding for Moorland duo

posted 8 Apr 2014, 01:41 by SW Peregrine   [ updated 8 Apr 2014, 01:41 by Greg Curno ]

A pair of Moorland nesting Peregrine Falcons
In early April it feels very much like winter still, with hail falling just before shooting this short video - Nesting high on the moor at some 1.300 feet above sea level the breeding season comes a little later here and for good reason.

Moorland duo


Video Diary 2014

posted 7 Apr 2014, 07:19 by SW Peregrine   [ updated 7 Apr 2014, 07:19 by Greg Curno ]

The first entry for 2014 from the North Cornish Eyrie that we followed last year to a successful conclusion.

Video Diary 2014


Attempted Mating

posted 7 Apr 2014, 03:19 by SW Peregrine   [ updated 7 Apr 2014, 03:19 by Greg Curno ]

Our good friend and group contributor Peter Welsh, shared this short video that he captured of a North Cornish pair that he studies on a regular basis. Here we see the Falcon on the cliff top. We can see her spot the Tiercel and then call him to the cliff, she readies herself for him, but he doesn't manage to land quite right and ends up aborting this attempt.  As egg laying approaches the pair will mate many times each day.

Attempted Mating


Snow Bath

posted 1 Apr 2014, 06:38 by SW Peregrine   [ updated 7 Apr 2014, 03:38 by Greg Curno ]

Our Guest contributor this month is Frank Williams, his charming piece, documents the observations he made whilst observing the Wye Valley Peregrines. The behaviour he witnessed is a first for us demonstrates yet again, the more we know the more there is to learn. We hope you enjoy this article.

Natures Own Barometer

posted 23 Mar 2014, 07:54 by SW Peregrine   [ updated 23 Mar 2014, 07:54 by Greg Curno ]

We are delighted that Luke Curno has created this short and informative video on the Peregrine Falcon. 

Luke was set the challenge as part of his 'BTEC Media Studies' course to produce a 5 minute video. With an interest and passion for wildlife and wanting to be involved in documentary making in the future he decided that with his knowledge and contacts here in the south west that he would use the 'Peregrine' as his source subject. 

Luke spent many hours capturing video footage, both on the coast and as an active volunteer on the Plym Peregrine Project, he then spent many more hours editing it to produce this nice piece as his final entry. 

He wanted to portray the successful story of the bird returning from the brink of extinction without human intervention along with it's more recent occupation of towns and cities. We think he has done a marvellous job in telling this story and are glad to be able to share this with our followers here. 

Natures Own Barometer - The Peregrine


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