Despite the forecast not being great, and weather on the day being unseasonable, the wildlife explorers went to the Roaches hoping to see peregrines and hear cuckoos. After a very brief introduction by leader Darren, we were given a talk about peregrine falcons by Ian Myatt, who is a volunteer for Staffordshire wildlife trust, and also led our walk. Although we started at peregrine watch, we unfortunately could not see the nesting site as the cloud was very low.
We set off along the footpath, skirting around the Roaches, which are named from the French ‘les roches’ which means ‘the rocks’, and are a gritstone escarpment and are extremely popular with both walkers and rock climbers. When we got to the area of woodland, which is mainly comprised of larch trees, we stopped for a while so that we could look for any cuckoos or other birds. It is an unusual woodland walk because the path is above the line of trees, meaning you are looking down on the woodland, rather than up at the trees. In the woodland we could hear a cuckoo very clearly, and other birds we could see and hear included: chiffchaff; goldfinch; whitethroat; and willow warbler.
After our walk (where unfortunately we did not see any wallabies so no one won the competition that Tina set), we returned to peregrine watch, where the cloud had finally cleared. While we were there we saw a red kite fly over Hen Cloud, which was very exciting as this was a first for the area. We also got excellent views of both the adult peregrines, as well as their chicks which came out of the nest onto the ledge to feed. We were even lucky enough to see one of the adults in a stoop, and chasing a pigeon, although this was more territorial than hunting for food.
A big thank you to Ian Myatt and the other workers and volunteers from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust for a great morning bird watching and for the important work that they are doing in protecting the peregrines nest from potential threats.
Leader Susan presenting a donation to Ian of £25 for the SWT peregrine watch from Macclesfield Wildlife Explorers.
Report by Junior Leader Kat Meyer.