Aylmerton Nature Diary

Monday 4th April – off topic

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Tundra Peregrine, Cley NWT

We were volunteering at Cley NWT all day yesterday. The weather was rather more benign than on Easter Monday and there were plenty of interesting birds present. A few lingering winter species were still about, like the superb female Merlin which sat out on a gate post near Billy’s Wash during the afternoon, with a trickle of spring migrants beginning to arrive. The first of which was a Green Sandpiper on Pat’s Pool early morning, followed by several hirundine species – Sand Martin, Swallow, an early House Martin and a dozen Wheatear.

By far the most interesting bird though was, unfortunately, dead! I got a call from the Centre early afternoon to go and look for a dead bird along the shingle ridge, between North Scrape screen and East Bank, and confirm it’s identification. When I eventually located it, I quickly recognised it as a recently deceased female Peregrine. However, it’s overall size and slightly odd plumage features rang bells with me and I decided to recover it and seek some expert opinions. Peregrine identification is still evolving and a couple of races of Peregrine are known to occur in Britain. The emerging view is that this bird was indeed a Tundra Peregrine  (calidus/tundrae). Thanks go to Adam and Mark et al for their knowledge and id.

More shots of this immense bird -literally! Photos courtesy of Jane Williams

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