In addition, Nick Moyes found what he thought was a dunlin corpse at the top of the tower in mid-December (photo above). To me it looked rather grey and long winged but in the absence of a head (the dunlin, not me!), identification was a bit more tricky!
However, my hopes of adding this species to the growing Derby prey list were quickly dashed when I discovered something I suppose I should have known- namely that sanderling, uniquely among small waders, have no hind toes - which this bird certainly did have.
Surfing the net to see if any dunlins have longer wings, I found an article about those trapped on autumn migration in Israel and this indicated that some birds have longer wings - the longest being 130mm.
Meanwhile, I sent photos of the wing and tail to Ed and he quickly confirmed it as a dunlin, possibly from Siberia!
Now, Nick's tower-top bird was fresh when he found it on 10th December so the records don't really tie up unless the Aston bird was a long-stayer.
Alternatively, and perhaps just as likely, one of the peregrines grabbed it as it flew over Derby by night.....along with the knot (and in previous years, a mid-winter bar tailed godwit, turnstone and two further knot). Could these birds have been making nocturnal commuting flights between feeding sites on estuaries on the West and East coasts of the UK, entirely unseen by Derbyshire's oh-so-diurnal bird watchers? Who knows!
Anyway, since someone asked for the complete prey list of the 46 bird species and one mammal found at Derby Cathedral since 2005, here it is:
mallard - teal - gadwall - ruddy & tufted ducks
woodcock - common & jack snipe - dunlin - knot
redshank - lapwing - golden plover
bar & black tailed godwit - whimbrel - turnstone
quail - water rail - little grebe - moorhen
common & arctic tern - black headed gull
jay - jackdaw - crow - magpie - pied wagtail
swift - little owl - fieldfare - redwing - blackbird
song & mistle thrush - great spotted woodpecker
robin - skylark - chaffinch - goldfinch - starling
wood pigeon - feral pigeon - collared dove - waxwing
and one brown rat!
Cheers and Happy New Year to everyone!