Saturday 3 December 2016

Peregrine takes Black-necked Grebe

The sun was just above the horizon when I saw this Peregrine flying dashing out to sea, low and accelerating. It soon became obvious its target was a Black-necked Grebe, themselves no sluggards in flight, was heading north about 400 metres out. The Grebe's big mistake was flying alone; the Peregrine was on it in seconds and just plucked it out of the air with no fuss at all. It quickly adjusted its grip then flew a higher course back towards the beach.

It almost looks as though the Grebe is flying under its own power; held head forwards just as an Osprey would carry a fish. Oh wait... 

I can only imagine this Osprey later in the morning hasn't read the manual.

But back to the Peregrine. I'd watched it chase down the Grebe while driving along the sea wall and noted where the it came down on an worn old tree trunk and slowly drove towards it. I stopped well short and not wanting to interrupt the Peregrine's morning meal and tried to take some shots through the windscreen but the results aren't great.

Don't you just hate it when you drop breakfast; butter side down no doubt.

The Peregrine went down to it but I was surprised that it soon flew back onto the tree without its prey.

It gives the impression of being very long- and full-tailed in this image. Presumably it's due to the angle but after recently seeing Turkey Vulture here I did wonder at first whether this might be an escaped falconers hybrid.

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