Saturday, 23 April 2011

Spring Sunshine!

Yesterday I had the chance to get out and enjoy the sunshine and the odd bit of raptor sightings thrown in for good measure. I decided to go to a place in North Wales called Worlds End which looks out over Llangollen, I did have a specific reason for my visit and that was to see the Peregrines that a friend of mine had shown me a few years previously. A small country road winds up and round the base of the hillside and moorland and this offers great views up at the birds which I managed once before two summers ago.

I decided to go for a walk up onto the moorland first before heading round to where I had previously watched them 2 years ago, I was not disappointed with the warm weather and wildlife and it only took one bird to make my day. As I surveyed the moorland I met a green bush stood on its own on the moor and perched on the very top was a Cuckoo. The best views of a Cuckoo I have ever had, this bird was perched calling in its familiar tones but sadly not as familiar as they once used to be.

I left the Cuckoo in peace and wandered back down the hill to drive round to where I had previously seen the Peregrines, the great thing about this face of the hill is its always in the sun so brilliantly warm and perfect for soaring raptors. It wasn't long before I sighted my first falcon but on closer inspection it turned out to be a pair of Kestrels hunting along the ridge. A Buzzard soared across much to the disgust of the Kestrels but no signs of the Peregrines, I wandered along the road and got regular sights of the Kestrels until in the distance and through my binoculars still well in the distance I sighted a larger falcon silohuette but sadly it moved on over the ridge.

When it comes to observing birds of prey one of the first things I look at is the silohuette and the shape/size of the wings and tail, Kestrels have much sharper pointed wings than a Peregrine, the Peregrine also has a clippier wing beat due to a heavier wing loading (muscle). Colour wasn't to difficult to distinguish with the Kestrels due to the sunshine as they twisted and turned there rufous brown backs and the males blue/grey tail stood out brilliantly.

Of course it would be silly of me to think after one visit there were no Peregrines at Worlds End anymore, I will do some research with local bird watchers and pay the site a few more visits with the fantastic weather were having it would be rude not to.

I'll keep you all posted!

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