How often my heart has soared to see a peregrine in some wild place.
I have many good memories: Tavy Cleave on Dartmoor,
Alport Castles in the Peak District,
the Jurassic coast in Dorset,
Seaford Head in East Sussex.
Usually I have seen the male, perched silently on a rock, suddenly to pounce on prey.
Today I saw a peregrine in a very different place. I was in the centre of Aylesbury, in the busy market square, with my bins focused on the top level of the 12-storey, brutalist, Pooley’s tower—County Hall.
There the peregrine’s nest is boxed in with a perching ledge. The male was sitting patiently on the sloping roof to the left, just as I had seen them in those wild places. Suddenly he was gone, to reappear seconds later with meat (a pigeon?) in his talons, which he carried to the nest.
There is a webcam run by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, which enables you to see inside the nest. Three chicks have hatched so far this year.
The peregrines seem entirely happy, but I found it bizarre to be watching them in such a busy, bustling environment, instead of where the only noise comes from the wind, the sea or a rushing river.