Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Another helping of Avocet, my dear?

It is no secret that Peregrines have used Quadrant House in Sutton, Surrey as a nest site for a number of years now. They did so again this year and successfully reared young. The team that monitor these birds venture onto the rooftop after the birds have fledged and collect the remains of the food cache, which is highly illuminating. Look at this lot:

You can click on the image to get a better view of the prey items - and you're in for a surprise! Bear in mind that Sutton is on the outskirts of London, so the Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Woodcocks and Lapwings are exotic food compared to the Feral Pigeons, Starlings and Ring-necked Parakeets that might be expected. It is likely that the main source of the waders will be Beddington Sewage Farm (some 2 miles away), although Woodcocks are but a very scarce hard weather visitor there - so maybe the falcons head off to the Surrey heaths (roding birds are still a good seven miles away). It also begs the question as to whether the Woodcocks are being picked off at night time. (Peregrines have been known to leave a nest site after dark).

In the photo above there are the remains of a Great Spotted Woodpecker, which may tie in with an observation that Peter Alfrey made a few weeks ago of one being taken by a Peregrine at Beddington. The very same? I wouldn't bet against it.

The images here were taken by Rob Dolton, who, together with Steve Thomas, I thank for providing the information contained in this post.

Three guesses...


  1. Uncanny that you post this at the same time as Tim Worfolk wrote this........

    All grist to the mill.

    1. That's a stunning photograph Andrew. Tastes a bit fishy I reckon...