If you want a wildlife day to remember, then look no further than spending a day with Peregrine Falcon specialist Nick Dixon, watching the peregrines at St Michael and All Angels Church in Exeter.
Nick has been observing and recording this nest site longer than any other study of Peregrine’s in the UK, and later this year he will publish his own book on these remarkable predators.
I spent the day with Nick observing these spectacular falcons and seeing at first hand their unique way of defending their territory, for some reason they have taken a huge dislike to buzzards.
Over 100 buzzards have been attacked this year alone, four on the day I visited and 12 have been killed.
On one occasion during our day both peregrine’s relentlessly stooped over 21 times in the space of one minute, the male would distract the buzzard whilst it was up-turned in a defensive position showing its talons, then a split second later the larger female would try and strike a blow to the buzzards head.
Three buzzards were seen off and unfortunately one was downed.
I take no pleasure from a bird becoming injured, but this is a natural spectacle only ever seen in Exeter, and you cannot help but admire the power, speed, teamwork and agility of the St Michael’s peregrine’s.
The views and scenery are fabulous, the chicks can be easily observed from the view point and from a webcam, I learnt a huge amount about peregrines and I get the chance to observe the Fawley Refinery falcons on a daily basis.
Within a minutes walk, you can sit in an oldie worldly pub garden with great views of the nest box entrance supping a pint, a perfect day.
To find out more contact Nick via www.urbanperegrines.co.uk or drop me a line, it is a must day out if you love your birds of prey.