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Peregrine Action

York Minster Peregrine, painted by Robert E Fuller

The group that attended yesterday’s gallery event to see peregrines at York Minster were treated to a spectacular show when three peregrines appeared in the skies above the medieval cathedral. My new gallery guide Jack Ashton-Booth, of the bird-watching group, York Peregrines, reported a fantastic display when an unknown female bird also appeared on the scene. “The peregrine pair that live on the ramparts of the minster didn’t like this intruder one bit and so they flew straight at it, forcing it west out of their territory. It’s very rare to see three together like this, in the four years I’ve been monitoring the peregrine pair that live here I’ve only seen three together a handful of times,” he said.

Female Peregrine posing on the Minster during the tour

“We watched from the city walls where we had a fantastic view of the pair sitting either side of the North Tower. It was a fascinating event and was further enriched by two elderly members of the group who at one time worked on the minster, cleaning and repairing the stone. They brought an extra dimension to the experience when they described exactly how high each bird was perched – having actually worked at those dizzying heights themselves.”

Male was perched on the opposite side of the North Gate

Jack is the latest member to join the team at my gallery in Thixendale. An experienced ornithologist, he has brought a wealth of expertise to our events. This weekend he led a total of four bird-watching tours, including a very successful kids walk to find young owls.
“This went down very well. We saw family of tawny owls, including the chicks, and then the children all came inside the gallery to dissect owl pellets. There was a birthday party group who were a particular pleasure to show the owls to as they were so enthusiastic.”

Jack also led an event to learn how to recognise birdsong, in keeping with the theme of my latest exhibition of paintings of the songbirds of the Yorkshire Wolds. Attendees of ‘Birds of Thixendale’ reported hearing and seeing up to 40 different species on their walk on Saturday. If you haven’t yet been to my exhibition it runs until July 3rd. The video below gives you a flavour of the paintings on show as well as a helpful introduction to learning birdsong.


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