Tuesday 07 July – The Downs

The Tuesday walkers who joined our annual visit to the Avon Gorge to see the Peregrines were well rewarded. Two juveniles were sitting on a bare tree stump when we arrived. When the brief shower of rain passed they took off, joined their sibling and the three of them presented us with a beautiful aerial display. They practised their passing techniques, before one of them broke away to chase a Carrion Crow, which appeared most surprised to be the pursued rather than the attacker. After watching the Peregrines, we walked past the wildflower meadow, with its Common Spotted Orchids, and on to Sea Walls. A family of Kestrels entertained us here, flying on to a ledge in the cliff face and into a garden, where one of them sat in the bird bath for quite a while before deciding he had better make the most of the opportunity to have a wash. Since we had spent so long enjoying the raptors, we decided not to go on to the Nature Reserve but instead visited the Gully where six feral Kashmiri goats from the Great Orme have been introduced to manage the scrub, allowing us to enjoy the rare limestone-loving plants. As we left the Gully, a Buzzard put in an appearance, bringing the total number of birds seen and heard to sixteen – Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Cormorant, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Lesser Black- backed Gull, Magpie, Nuthatch, Wood Pigeon and Wren. Brenda Page