Thursday, 7 November 2013

Oslo's Peregrine

Today was dedicated to trying to get Oslo’s Peregrine Falcon (vandrefalk) onto tape (or more precisely a hard drive) with wildlife cameraman James Ewen. See his website and notice the banner picture which taken by me in November 2004 from inside the Sky Bar of the hotel– it would be very interesting to know whether this is the same bird still using the building nine years later.

It was a cold, damp and mirky day with sleet in the air so hardly the best day for filming. James had arranged access for us on the top of the Posten Building which is just a few metres shorter than its neighbour the Radisson Plaza hotel which is the falcon’s favourite hangout. Although these buildings are not really that high – around 29 stories - they dwarf everything else in Oslo and the view from the top was phenomenal.

When we got to the top the bird was not present but flew in after 10 minutes and sat there for the next hour and a half doing very little. It stretched a couple of times and did a bit of preening but nothing to help take our minds off how cold it was standing there. When it did fly (which James luckily managed to film) it disappeared around the side of our building and we lost it. As if by magic though, it was back on the hotel a couple of minutes later but this time obscured from view by a maintenance ladder. We could see though that it was actively preening and stretching and would have made a far more photogenic subject than during the previous 90 minutes!

Due to the poor light none of my pictures are really that good and it will be necessary to visit again in sunnier conditions to get better film footage. After my experience today I now understand why James expects to use a year to make a one hour program!

The breast feathers on the bird's left hand side noticeably stuck out and on the pictures it looks a bit bloody there. Hopefully this is not its own blood but from a prey item.

James filming the Peregrine

The favoured building with Oslo underneath
The stained feathers can be seen sticking out - hopefully not from an injury

Having a stretch

check out how large the talons are - good for a scratch but even better for dispatching a pigeon

getting ready to fly

the only flight shot I managed after taske-off
the view out towards the Oslofjord

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