Peregrine Falcons At Scarborough Grand Hotel
Fully Inoculated, I grabbed my passport and nipped across the border into Scarbados this afternoon. The purpose of my mission was to buy a nice white frame for an image for a customer.
En route I stopped at Marine Drive to see if I could observe the famous Scarborough Peregrines. Lamposts 50 – 60 is the usual area Im told, but despite hanging round for a while I never saw any movement. Maybe it was too damp and miserable for even the Peregrines to show their faces.
Around a year ago I had been told about a second pair of Peregrines in Scarborough. A friend who delivers fish to the restaurants had told me he had seen Peregrines right in Scarborough Town Centre with one being a regular visitor to the roof of Mcdonalds. I would imagine he had his eye on the Kittiwakes nest just down the street near by.
The friend said he had also seen it near the Grand Hotel. I had been thinking about this bird quite a lot and I had been totally fascinated by its visits to Scarborough Town Centre. Unlike the coastal birds we know of around Whitby, these Peregrines seemed fearless of people and quite happy to live in a built up and populated area.
With that in mind I imagined The Gand Hotel would be a perfect ambush point for Peregrines to sit up high and catapult themselves down on passing meals such as pigeons and Kittiwakes, of which their are no shortage at The Grand Hotel.
I headed into Scarborough past the grand, pulling up for a few minutes outside Corrigans Amusement Arcade. Scanning The Grand I picked out a white dot, high up on the top of the hotel. Grabbing my Camera and telephoto Lens I looked up and was not shocked at all when the auto focussed locked onto my very favourite bird of Prey, The Peregrine. There he was watching Pigeons by the dozen fly passed and all around him. Knowing The Peregrines love of Pigeon It must be like being in your favourite restaurant all day long. But Pigeon Fanciers need not worry, these are all Ferrel birds.
After shopping for frames (No white ones to be had), I popped back to the sea front, parked up and had a walk around the Grand with my Camera. When I got close I could see two birds, a male and a much darker female.
Occasionally they flew out and over Scarborough Old Town before coming back into the same position on the Hotel. It was great to see these birds living happily on one of Scarboroughs Finest Buildings. I had a look around the area of Corrigans arcade. There was a lot of evidence of The Peregrines making kills in that area. Stacks of feathers and pigeons with their chests ripped out.
It sounds cruel, but I guess nature is at times, and this is no different to a Tiger taking an Antelope or wolves chasing the Kareboo.
Thinking about it, Im certain that The Peregrine is my favourite bird in the whole world. The Owls of our moors are stunningly beautiful, silent and graceful hunters, but the peregrine really has the edge.
Eyes that can focus independently and the ability to see something the size of a 5pence piece from several thousand feet. Add to that the ability to accelerate to a speed faster than any other bird alive on this planet and you begin to understand why the peregrine really is one of mother natures finest works of art.
This photo is high iso on a very dark and miserable afternoon. photographed through the rain. I imagine in good light with fast shutter speeds there are amazing photographs to be had of these birds.