June & July – Avon Gorge Peregrine Watches

The Avon Gorge Peregrine Falcons raised four young this year. Due to various other events which clashed with our normal programme we had to hold our two watch weekends later this year, which apart from the weather conditions did not cause us many problems.

By the date of the first watch weekend on Saturday 22 June all four chicks had fledged and had been seen perfecting their flying skills in and around the Gorge, still dependant on their parents for supplying food. Saturday 22 June turned out to be a very cold overcast day with quite a strong breeze and the odd squally shower which did deplete the numbers of watchers at the site. Phil Gentle from LCE was in attendance with his usual optics road show but due to damage caused to his Gazebo by the strong wind he had to call it a day by early afternoon. The 11 weather did not stop the four chicks giving the small number of visitors good views with all six birds in flight and they were treated to some close passes by two birds with the two adults watching from the trees on the opposite side of the Gorge. The watch on 23 Jun was no better weather-wise, it was still very cold with the odd sharp shower. LCE turned up late for their second visit but finished quite early on. The bad weather did not prevent three of the juvenile birds chasing a passing flock of pigeons without success. Later in the day two of the young birds were observed perched in the top of two nearby trees being buffeted by the strong wind.

In contrast, the second watch weekend was a very warm sunny one with very little wind which did cause a noticeable lack of activity from the birds. It was only during the early morning and the late afternoon they put in a flying display for the visitors who numbered fifteen at one stage. Both adult birds were for most of the day either sitting in the trees or on the old Raven’s nest on the opposite side of the Gorge. We did observe two pigeons being brought in by the parent birds to the old Raven’s nest for the waiting young birds during the morning session on Sunday 14 July with all six birds in the air later in the afternoon engaged in a game of tag around the Gorge.

Although due to the adverse weather conditions the number of visitors was well down, it still proved to be a successful watch. My thanks to those members who helped this year and to those members who braved the weather.

This years watchers were,:- Judy Copeland, Alison Levinson, Jeannette Maxwell, Peter Holbrook, Cecile Gillard, Barry Gray, Margaret Swatton, Jean Oliver, Phyl Dykes, Brenda Page, Chris Perry, Richard Bland, Gordon Youdale, William Earp, Mandy Leivers, Sue Sayers, Charles Stapleton