Peregrines of Bath First Update 2014

The adult falcon returns from her bath in a puddle on Bath cricket ground.

The adult falcon returns from her bath in a puddle on Bath cricket ground.

For the past few months the resident breeding pair of Peregrine falcons at St John’s church in Bath have been getting on with the job of rearing their 2013 offspring, a falcon [blue colour ringed GA] and tiercel [GB], and training them to hunt for themselves. In recent weeks there has only been one juvenile on show, but getting a sighting of its colour ring has not been easy as it has been hunkered down against the wind and rain on various parts of the church. A couple of days ago I captured a shot of a juvenile preening and identified it as GB. This, however, does not mean that GA has not been around; she may well have been one of the earlier sightings as from fledging she has demonstrated a tendency to wander off for days at a time. Information on any sightings of GA on the church or in and around Bath would be greatly appreciated.

In a rare demonstration of interest in anything other than food, the tiercel appears to check out the condition of his mate after she returned from her bath.

In a rare demonstration of interest in anything other than food, the tiercel appears to check out the condition of his mate after she returned from her bath.

On Tuesday 17 December there was only one falcon on the church, the adult tiercel. A check of the area revealed no sign of the rest of the family. The other residents of South Parade were on display, herring gulls and feral pigeons to the fore, and there was one other large bird boisterously having a bath in a very large puddle on the Bath Cricket Club ground on the opposite side of the river to the church.

This bird turned out to be the falcon, and when she returned to the church rather muddy and in very laboured fashion, her normally disinterested mate checked her over then flew off to settle on the edge of the nest box, quite some distance from her.

On 18 Jan 2014, GB, one of the 2013 fledglings seemed to be getting his marching orders.  As GB approached the church where the falcon and the tiercel were sitting, the tiercel flew at GB with talons out and a dog fight ensued.  GB sneaked back in later…

The HOT Bath and West Wilts Group, who manufactured, installed and are responsible for the upkeep of the St John’s hosted nest box and its camera system, are currently in discussions with the church to ensure that all necessary work is completed well in advance of the 2014 breeding season.

Hamish Smith
HOT Bath and West Wilts Group

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