Friday 9 March 2007

Urban birdlife and where to go

If you visit the cathedral to look at the peregrines, keep an eye open for other birds and wildlife in the immediate area....there's usually plenty to be seen.
Grey wagtails are regularly present. Long tailed tits often flit through nearby trees and goldfinches can be heard and seen too along with blue tits, blackbirds, wrens, etc.
Overhead a range of birds may fly past. Herons, cormorants, gulls, mallards and Canada geese are fairly frequent and swifts too in the summer, a species which falls prey to the falcons from time to time (we've found feathers under the tower to prove it).
Feral pigeons perch on and fly about the tower, unbothered by the presence of the peregrines. The falcons pay little attention to other bird species close to them, though they have been seen to chase crows and even overflying buzzards and sparrowhawks. In 2008 and 2009 a pair of ravens attempted to nest on Derby Cathedral's tower. There were noisy exchanges between the peregrines and these intruders, as often happens when they try and nest too close to one another. The ravens eventually gave up their attempts, but may well return again.
The most unusual bird seen during a summer watch point in 2006 was a honey buzzard which flew north one day - this is a very rare bird in the county!
Other wildlife observed from Cathedral Green has included banded demoiselle damselflies drifting up from the river, the invasive harlequin ladybird and various common butterflies passing through.

ACCESS: For folk who don't know Derby, the best place to see the birds is from Cathedral Green, a grassy open space situated between the Cathedral and the River Derwent to the East. Access is via Full Street though there is very little on-street parking. It is within easy walking distance of all the main shpping areas. One plan could be to go to The Assembly Rooms multi-storey car park at the South end of Full Street. Incidentally, if you drive up to the top floor you get a good view of the cathedral tower's south and east sides even though you cannot get onto the 'open roof' so to speak. This is an excellent way for people with disabilities to see the birds, if walking onto Cathedral Green is not an option. We know of one disabled couple sat in their car up there for three hours watching proceedings!

Cathedral Green was redeveloped in 2008, but retains much of its original charm. Many outdoor events take place on the grass here in the summer, and is adjacent to The Silk Mill Museum.

If there are no peregrines present, check out the very tall tower of Jurys Inn to the north. It's easy to spot if one or more birds are sitting on the huge blue letters, high up on the side of this new hotel. The tall aerial mast on the new police HQ in Chester Green, to the north-east of the cathedral is also worth checking, too.

There are many places in Cathedral Quarter to get food. One such is the Derby Cathedral Centre itself on Irongate.


Anonymous said...

Interesting scene at around 15:30 as a pidgeon lands infront of the male and gingerly walks away slowly.

A close shave

Anonymous said...

Did anyone just catch the feeding were there 4 chicks? could not see egg

Anonymous said...

Hi, Yes, I just watched the feeding,when mum flew off there was definately 3 chicks and an egg. I think the chicks were clustered around it when they were feeding though and obsured it from view....Hope it hatches soon though, or we'll have another Tiddler (miles behind the other three)if it does in fact hatch

Anonymous said...

Please don't be fooled, this is not a webcam from Derby, it is in Scotland. This is a fake run by the Derby council to generate tourism.

Anonymous said...

I saw three chicks being fed at 14.31 but didn't see the other egg. Hope it's all right. Roseingrapt