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The Peregrines Of Salt End: A History
This is the story of a pair of peregrines living high on a cooling tower at Salt End, a vast industrial chemical park on the banks of the Humber Estuary.
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Far above one of Europe’s busiest ports in an industrial landscape of belching chimneys and vast cooling towers, live a pair of peregrine falcons. The world’s fastest bird has made this harsh and unforgiving environment of Salt End Chemical Park near Hull its home.
The air heavy with the smell of industry and barely a blade of grass in sight, the site is the last place you would imagine life thriving. But this peregrine and its mate are quite at home here. As they swoop amid the steel and concrete, the roar of industry beneath is deafening.
Defying all odds, this pair has brought up five generations of chicks.
The adult female wears a black ring on her leg tracing her origins to a nest on Chichester Cathedral. This means after hatching she left the elaborate turrets of her medieval home and flew some 200 miles to settle on a chemical plant in Hull. Meanwhile the male peregrine has the remains of jesses on its legs and so was possibly once a captive bird.
What the peregrines are eating
A study of the feathers and bones in the peregrine nest reveals that their decision to settle at Salt End is actually quite astute. The industrial park is situated on the banks of the Humber Estuary, a major route for migrating birds. This pair feast on a varied diet that includes little grebes, pigeons and even quail.
Behind the scenes
There are only a handful of people in the UK licensed to film peregrines on their nest. Only one is allowed to film the nest at Salt End in Hull. Wildlife artist Robert E Fuller has built a hide on a 100ft high scaffold tower overlooking the nest. The scaffold was constructed especially for him by staff concerned at how to protect these birds at this 500 acre power plant.
From his unique vantage point, Robert has followed the intimate story of this peregrine pair for two years.
Clips from the nest
This year cameras were installed inside the peregrine nest. These cameras run 24 hours a day recording all the action. So far the cameras have filmed the peregrines pairing up again for a new breeding season, preparing the nest and even laying!
Meet the team
The project is a result of a huge team effort involving staff working across a number of different companies based at Salt End Chemical Park and is an admirable example of industry embracing conservation. Special thanks go to Mike Sibley, of BP, Paul Rees, of Vivergo Fuels, Paul and Vince Chambers, who built the peregrine pair a deluxe nesting box.
How this peregrine study has inspired new paintings
The intensive peregrine study has inspired a new collection of art works. See some of the latest paintings of this powerful peregrine pair below:
Click on the link below to read my blog post detailing the story of the ‘Salt End Peregrines’ last year and see how my studies inspired this new collection of paintings.
More about peregrines:
Author: Robert E Fuller