Sunday, 5 June 2016

30 Days Wild Day 3: In search of peregrines

Embarrassingly, I managed to go the entirety of my first year at university without realising that York Minster has a resident pair of peregrine falcons. Even more embarrassingly, I've still not actually seen them. Yesterday afternoon, I decided to do something about it. 

I do already have some experience of looking for peregrine falcons. Lincoln Cathedral also has a resident pair, and you can often see them around Bailgate on summer evenings. You almost always hear them before you see them; the screeching of peregrines has become part of the soundtrack of summers at home.  However, peregrine spotting at Lincoln Cathedral can be considerably easier because the RSPB often has a marquee, complete with volunteers and spotting scopes, to help the public to find them (more details here).

Peregrine spotting on my own proved to be a lot more challenging. @YorkPeregrines tweet regular updates of where the peregrines were perching, but when I arrived at the Minster it was 3 hours after their most recent update, and the peregrines were nowhere to be seen. I scanned the towers, looking for movement or a silhouetted shape. Every so often, something would catch my eye, but it would always turn out to be either a pigeon or a piece of carving.

I kept looking for about an hour and a half, but in the end I had to leave without any sign of the peregrines. I won't be giving up though; I'll keep going back, and hopefully next time I'll be luckier.

I may not have seen what I set out for, but searching amongst the stonework for them meant I took in parts of the architecture and carvings which I have never seen before. I think that's always the way with wildlife watching. You may not find when you were looking for, but when you slow down in the search for it, you notice things which you would never have seen otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. I graduated from York St John 3 years ago and I never knew about the falcons! Now I'm the one who should be embarrassed. I'll have to look out for them when I next visit.