Shoppers in Chichester’s Westgate had quite a surprise last week when the cathedral peregrines bombed them with a large dead bird.
RSPB workers witnessed the whole event next to the Dolphin and Anchor from their marquee 20 yards away. They saw the falcon (female) bringing in a large item of prey. But instead of carrying it to her four hungry young, she dropped it 100 yards short of the nest. It nearly hit a woman as it smashed on to the pavement at a probable speed of 60mph. She, however, seemed quite unconcerned and walked on.
RSPB staff picked up the dead bird and to their amazement saw it was a rarity – a whimbrel, which is slightly smaller than the common curlew. They kept the bird and local artist John Davis who lives at Birdham is currently making a drawing of it.
Whimbrels pass through Chichester Harbour in late spring on their way to the Arctic to breed, returning here for a few weeks in September.
Meanwhile the four young are currently making themselves look ready for the aerial battles they will enjoy every day from now on and for the rest of their lines.