Diving Peregrine Falcon

This morning we had a lovely birding with awesome view on the wild geese from a different spot of the lake. We witnessed an awesome strike by an adult female Peregrine Falcon on a flock of Black-headed Gull. The raptor arrived to the scene still in the dusk. She was hardly visible as it was gliding just above the ground and soon perched on a tree nearby.


Some Black-headed Gulls showed fully completed moult into breeding plumage. © Gyorgy Szimuly

As lights developed we suddenly saw the gulls blasting off and flocked by species. Somehow Mew Gulls were separated from Black-headed Gulls. The falcon recognized which is the perfect size of prey for her and soon started the separation process while chasing the birds all around the lake. When a single Black-headed Gull apparently became exhausted it tried a trick to escape and suddenly jumped into the water. It won a little more time but surprisingly the falcon went after the gull and also jumped into the water and pushed down the prey. For a while only the head of the falcon was visible from the water. The powerful female picked up the gull and tried to fly but after a few seconds she dropped it. I guess the gull was even heavier than usual as it was completely wet.

The Peregrine did not give up and continued to chase other birds without success. After several rounds it perched again on the same tree. It was a lifetime experience for all of us. I have never seen a falcon hunting this way.

Geese numbers was very low and we did not see any special bird expect an escaped female Wood Duck which was funny to see here…

On our way back home through the forest more than 20 Mistle Thrushes was counted. From the opposite side of the lake we stopped for watching the arriving flock of geese and again found a neck-banded unidentified goose. I was able to read a single A code as it was sleeping and haze did not allow sharp view. In the meantime an immature White-tailed Eagle was chasing all the ducks. Tomorrow morning we go out again.


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