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Young New Forest Peregrine sees off escaped Eagle Owl!

Russ writes:

Regular readers of this blog will be aware of the young Peregrine that has taken up winter residence near my house in Woodlands. This bird was ringed by Andrew Colenutt and Marcus Ward at a nearby coastal site last summer, and has been residing in fields near us since at least January.

Well, the Peregrine is still present, and recent events have shown that it is clearly very defensive of its territory!

One of my neighbours, Clayton Jones, discovered this spectacular Eagle Owl two days ago, that had escaped from a nearby house. It was still present yesterday, and thanks to Clayton’s ‘real-time’ instructions via mobile phone I saw it perched in a treetop as I walked home from the nearby train station.

Clayton is an experienced birder but also clearly handy with a camera, as he not only nailed a great shot of the owl, but he also captured this cracking image of the Peregrine, with the colour ring clearly visible. What’s more, he was lucky enough to see the Peregrine chase the Eagle Owl out of its favoured tree – a good sign that this plucky young bird has the right stuff to succeed in the future!

As of this morning, the owl was safely back in its cage, and I saw the Peregrine again hunting over its adopted patch. It soared up over a nearby inclosure, before diving into a classic Peregrine stoop at high speed over my garden (they have been recorded at speeds of up to 200 mph!). On this occasion it came away empty-handed, but a pile of freshly plucked Woodpigeon feathers found on my morning circuit of the patch suggests it (or one of the local Goshawks) was recently successful.

Many thanks to Clayton for the info and the great images. Hopefully I repaid the favour this morning by getting him on to this immature Red Kite flying over our shared patch!

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