Just as I was leaving Lawrencefield this afternoon, I noticed a pair of what I'm pretty sure were peregrines. One dived into the cracks on the wall where I presume they're nesting, the other sat on the top of the crag eyeing the remaining climbers. They didn't seem agitated but probably best to avoid the area.
Looked like the nest was around halfway up Cascara Crack, left hand side of the pool.
I'd be surprised (but I'm not saying it's impossible) if it were peregrines because...
What else could it be, well the obvious crack nesters are jackdaws and tawny owls but that is extremely unlikely to fit with what you saw. Other possibilities are sparrowhawks and kestrels - if you'd have said "bird of prey" rather than peregrines then I'd have said "most likely to be kestrels".
Obviously, this needs a further sighting to confirm what they are. If they are peregrines then it should (in that location) be pretty easy to confirm.
I am not a bird expert, don't want to be the boy that cried sparrow! They definitely had a distinct raptor profile and pale grey/white colouring (no red like a kestrel). There were loads of jackdaws nesting at millstone, I know what they look like, definitely wasn't them.
I say 'crack'....it was in amongst the broken boulders/ledges/cracks on the left hand wall of the pool. It was the pale flash of wings as it dove in there that caught my eye, and then I saw the other one alight at the top of the crag.
Thinking about it, and what other posters have said, it's likely what I saw was peregrine pursuing a jackdaw which fled to it's nest.
If others can keep an eye out round there anyway.....
That sounds much more likely, I don't think Jackdaws are a Peregrine's usual prey, they're normally smart enough to not be airborne if there's a Peregrine about. I've even seen one sidling along a branch and having a go at a perching peregrine
With pale grey/white the only other possibility would be Sparrowhawk.
Interesting that there was a pair, I'd have expected one to be sitting on eggs or not leaving young chicks unattended, maybe failed nest site.
The other possibility (seen in Bath apparently) is a one year old (from last year's brood obviously) working with a parent. This works "genetically" as well - the one year old helping this year's brood - since they share a lot of genetic material, the one year old is therefore increasing the likelihood that some of its genes will survive.
As others have said – this is very unlikely to be nesting Peregrines. Kestrels did nest here during lockdown year, but I think it's generally too busy for them. The scrape they used is easily visible and definitely unoccupied this year (though they could be tucked away somewhere).
A grey bird disappearing into a crack here is perhaps more likely to be a Stock Dove then anything. Not sure if they nest here but they do in a few crags around the area. Can’t say for the second bird, but a Peregrine or Sparrowhawk chasing it but bailing out to the top of the quarry seems more likely than either of those two chasing a Jackdaw into a crack.
I went and had a look this afternoon but saw nothing other than Jackdaws, so only speculation to add I’m afraid! I’ll try and pop in one morning when it’s quiet in case there’s anything more interesting going on.
There seemed to be a raptor of some sort going into the rocks 2/3 of the way up and to the right of Cascara crack on Tuesday evening at dusk. A few of us saw it, but not spotters enough to identify.
> There seemed to be a raptor of some sort going into the rocks 2/3 of the way up and to the right of Cascara crack on Tuesday evening at dusk. A few of us saw it, but not spotters enough to identify.
As a left field suggestion Cuckoos can look like birds of prey.
OK, it's Kestrels! They are nesting in Cascara Crack (tucked away out of sight in a slot). Thanks for the sightings reports. I've been watching for a couple of hours this morning - they seem pretty tolerant of people (as they'd have to be). There is now a restriction from Cascara Crack (HS 4b) to S.A.E. (HVS 5b). I have also added that for Pulpit Groove (VD 4a) and Suspense (E2 5c) to Pool Wall (E5 6b), to belay back in the trees, or top out through the trees. The female wasn't happy to go back to the nest with someone right on the edge of the ledge above Cascara Crack. We'll see how they get on and if the restriction needs widening to include these routes, perhaps when they're feeding young.