What a privilege. I have been standing on top of the roof for a week now, jumping from my seat to my camera each time the falcons move a wing. I am starting to understand their behaviour a bit better. I know when the birds are going to hunt, where they will hide their prey, when they will dive on a herring gull flying too close to the nest, or when the male will pass his prey to the female to feed the chicks - and all that in the middle of Barcelona.
The days can be long though. Sometimes the peregrine couple don’t move for hours and then, the male takes off, flying in wide circles, he becomes a tiny black spot in the middle of the clouds. Then he dives, like a stone thrown from the sky with an incredible speed, he disappears between two buildings and comes back only a few seconds later.
I know he has a prey when the herring gulls are chasing him. He lands on top of one of the magnificent Gaudi’s cross and start to pluck the victim. It is funny to see the swifts flying so close to the bird of prey to catch the feathers for their nest. The feral pigeon is the main prey, but the scientists have counted 29 different species of birds, including ducks and woodcock. With the streetlights the couple have learnt to hunt migrating birds at night too.
The main problem for this mission, regardless the height of the nest and the poor weather, is to avoid the construction work on the frame. Cables, cranes, nets etc.
I am supposed to show the peregrine falcons on the iconic Sagrada Familia but how frustrating when you have the bird flying at a reasonable distance in front a beautiful cross with a cable ruining your picture cutting the photo in two parts.
The chicks have been ringed on Wednesday. It was a good opportunity to photograph the angry parents yelling at us and flying above our heads. Another occasion to admire the fastest creature on earth challenging the reflex of the photographer who seemed to be in slow motion compared to the birds.
Laurent Geslin / Wild Wonders of Europe
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.