Myself and the family had a pleasant stroll on sunday, from what started out a bit wet with a dash to ken barrett to shelter we then saw a few good birds. The most exciting was the peregrine. Having only seen one previously at Rainham which was quite a long way up, it was a shock as we approached the Butts hide and a pergrine raced just over our heads in attack mode, we both had just got our bins on the bird to witness it hitting a swift at full speed. It continued to fly around with the unfortunate bird in its talons for what seemed like a minute or two appearing to pull at it with its beak, whether it was trying to finish the bird off or trying to eat it mid flight I'm not sure, when it escaped! The hunter and hunted then continued to dog fight above our heads and the Swift escaped. Was quite a spectacle, and one I have anticipated seeing for a long time. Also spotted a Sedge Warbler off the northern board-walk and the Marsh harrier was quartering in the distance. See you again soon. :p
Don't know my tits from my elbow.
Afternoon! Great anicdote... I hope I am about to make your day rather than disappoint you but the scene you have painted is actually of another bird of prey... the agile and very dashing Hobby. They largely live on aerial insects and small birds especially swallows and martins but are actually the only bird of prey that will habitually try and take on swifts! It sounds like it did not get a good enough grip as a Swift is surprisingly big and it was obviously trying to kill it by biting the back of the neck before descending to eat it before it escaped. A peregrine would always tend to go for bigger prey.
Howard Vaughan, Information Officer
Thank you for clearing that up Howard, it had crossed my mind after I posted that a Hobby may be to blame.
Is there a foolproof method of telling the two apart as they are very similar?
Thanks again. :p