A Peregrine at the Tate ModernAt last I'm getting into some semblance of a routine. I'm retraining my body to get up in the morning and go birding. I really have to force myself during the winter months because The Scrubs often has little to show for itself during the cold dark months of winter. Of course, things do show up but because the area has no standing water, I can't even entertain the idea of finding a weird duck.
By training myself now, I will be totally ready for spring; eyes and ear peeled and my mind filled with wishful thinking. This morning I recorded the first Chiffchaff of the spring as it called plaintively from the wood in the north east corner. It felt almost spring-like this morning so the Chiffy wasn't a major surprise. Two pairs of Great Spotted Woodpeckers gleefully chased each other around as fellow Scrubbers, Roy Nuttall, Kim Dixon and I set about deciphering the many gulls that were congregating on the football pitches. Nothing unusual was to be seen, though c600 Black-headed Gulls and around 50 Common Gulls was exceptional. The bird of the moment was a overflying, calling male Reed Bunting that dropped into the grassland from the south.
Later this afternoon I visited my mother who lives in Wembley (north west London) before heading off to Wembley Stadium with my best mate to watch Manchester United play Tottenham Hotspur in the Carling Cup Final. We had seats right in the rafters, right at the back behind the goal.
It was 0 - 0, 80 minutes had gone and we were at our wits end. Were United ever going to score? Whilst staring up into the heavens in despair, I briefly glimpsed a raptor soaring and circling in the bit of sky viewable through the stadium roof. In true urban birder style, I ignored the game (it was only a cup final!) grabbed my binoculars and started staring at what was now apparent as a falcon. It wheeled back into view and was joined by a second, slightly bigger bird. They were both Peregrines!
We eventually won on penalties and I saw a unexpected great bird. Result!