Painswick Falcons

Peregrine and young

Peregrine and young                                                            – Dave Pearce

The Painswick Bird Club is one of the smaller wildlife groups in Gloucestershire. Possibly they are squeezed for membership by the Cheltenham Bird Club to their north and Dursley Birdwatching and Preservation Society not far to the south. They have some interesting talks, though, and guests are welcome there at the Painswick Town Hall.

Last night Steve Watson of the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group and South West Peregrine Group gave a lively and intriguing talk on Peregrines. Steve is a long-standing (obsessive?!) Peregrine watcher with a fascination for their physiology: just how does this bird manage its high-speed stoops and the huge G-forces when it manoeuvres? How does it focus on its prey, near or far? And what weaponry has it evolved?

Steve’s observations centre on the RSPB site at Symonds Yat. This is a sheer cliff face in the Forest of Dean where you can see great views of the birds in flight, and Steve showed some video clips of this. To complement this, he invited Dave Pearce to say a few words about the Christ Church Peregrines at Cheltenham. The footage Dave has is more restricted but more detailed, with egg-laying and nest behaviour more in evidence that flight.

(The title for this piece became obvious once Steve mentioned that aPeregrine had been seen near Painswick church tower, which is just across the road from the Falcon Inn and the bowling club of that name!)