I´m a pretty crap bird watcher if I am to be completely honest. I did try some years back to record in that back of diary I was given at work to faithfully list the species I came across here in Spain. The list ran to more than 40 species when the diary disappeared and I became distracted by other things. No doubt it will resurface one day.

I suffered a little setback in my ornithological career when my binoculars fell down into the water while I was fishing from a float tube and, though not lost, everything looks as though it is being seen through dense fog.

Today I decided I would try to put things right. My wife asked what I wanted for Christmas and it seemed that a compact pair of binoculars would be great. They would have to be waterproof of course! By one of those strange coincidences, it was only minutes after discussing my plans to be a more active bird watcher and while rustling up a bite to eat in the kitchen, that I became aware of a bird perched on a high post beside the house of our closest neighbour. It looked like a peregrine falcon to me and then it did what peregrines do best – it just folder its wings and dropped like a stone before levelling out somewhere below my vision.

A little while later it landed on our own fence perhaps 15 yards from the kitchen and Catriona came in to join me to take a look. After a few moments it took to the air and flew towards us and landed on the roof of the house above the kitchen.

Spain is a European stronghold for peregrines and I was pretty confident I had seen peregrines before when out walking the dogs but I had never before today had such a close view. What a beautiful bird it is.

The peregrine´s main claim to fame is that it is said to be the fastest bird in the world with a speed of 240 mph having been recorded when the bird is diving. Personally, I have never been too happy about this statistic, impressive though it is, because of the acceleration due to free fall. A tortoise could probably clock up a pretty respectable speed it you pushed it over the edge of a cliff!

So now I have a new “cuaderno de campo” having become a member of SEO Birdlife into which I can once again list the birds I come across. My first entry is already written:

Peregrin falcon (Falco peregrinus) December 6 2018.


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You can probably guess that this lovely photo has nothing to do with me! I pinched it from here: http://www.raptorrehab.org/peregrine-falcons.html