The weather this year has been so bad, it’s has been difficult to even get out for walks on some days. The trail and the park were at times just a struggle to walk through mud, there had been so much rain. Things have improved a lot over the last month or so though, so we’ve managed to get out every day locally and even got to a nature park a few miles away now and again. It’s a favourite of ours and rarely fails to provide something interesting to see.
On our first visit to St Aidan’s this year we saw a kestrel hovering, diving and then bringing its prey up out of the scrub to eat at its leisure. There were the usual collection of ducks and geese and we stopped to see what a group of keen birders were looking for. There were black necked grebes around. These are fabulous looking little water birds, related to our resident Great Crested and Little Grebes, but with a very spectacular flash of yellow over their eyes. Despite being very out of practice with the camera, I did get some nice photos of them – see above. In our two visits so far we’ve seen 3 pairs and there is hope that they will be breeding there this year.
While on the subject of breeding birds, we are pleased to see that the University Peregrines are currently sitting on 3 eggs. They didn’t use the nest box last year so it’s good to see that they are currently brooding. Peregrine Falcons have really taken to city life over the last few years and many UK cathedrals have nesting platforms for them. The University of Leeds has the tall Parkinson Tower, that is their logo, and also the place the peregrines nest. The university sustainability team have installed an additional webcam this year and you can see them live here.