|Juvenile Peregrine Falcon at Rainham today.|
Common Buzzards are now widespread in the lowlands as well as the uplands, and Red Kites are thriving where reintroduced populations such as those in the Chilterns and East Midlands have been left in peace. But the raptor comeback most evident in London is arguably that of the Peregrine Falcon, a species hard to find in the capital 30 years ago but now breeding in the heart of the city.
This bird is a juvenile, and only when downloading images did I realise it had a colour ring. White on green BR was hatched not far away on the Kent side of the river, and local Peregrine expert Dave Morrison reports that it was ringed on 18 May (metal ring number GR38697). It was attracting a lot of unwanted attention from the local Carrion Crows, and only when it was flying away and landing did I notice one of its inherent defence strategies – a ‘false face’ pattern clearly visible on the back of the head. Quite a few species show such patterns, notably owls but also species as diverse as bustards and European Crested Tit, but in Peregrines it is only present in juvenile plumage – after which the black-hooded adults are presumably more than capable of looking after themselves.