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Plymouth Battery Centre Ltd proud sponsors of The Plym Peregrine Project

By PlymBatt1  |  Posted: March 23, 2012



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For many decades, visitors to Plymbridge Woods have enjoyed the opportunity

to observe the spectacular activities of nesting peregrines in Cann Quarry. It

is thought that peregrines have nested on and off at this former slate quarry

for fifty years or more. More recently records show them to be present every

year since at least 1995.

In 1999, an unsuccessful attempt was made to poison the nesting peregrines

just prior to fledging; in 2000, a similar attempt resulted in the confirmed

deaths of the adult female and at least two young.

Those responsible were not caught and in 2001 the National Trust and a small

group of local bird watchers set up a protection watch with the support of the

RSPB to try to prevent further poisoning attempts. In addition, the presence of

the volunteers made other people more aware of the plight of the peregrine and

even more importantly more interested in protecting what at the time was a

schedule 1 endangered species. This idea has proved to be very successful and

with the exception of the 2008 season, the peregrines have produced chicks

unharmed ever since.

The introduction of a volunteer watch has proved very popular with visitors

to Plymbridge and as a result the project was able to secure funding from

Natural England via the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund. This made it

possible to employ a National Trust Peregrine Warden to support the volunteer

effort and raise the profile of the project in the community.

We are now in the 8th year of this project, and whilst the Peregrine Falcon

is no longer endangered it is still a protected species. Once again the project

succeeded in meeting its key objectives, which are to protect the peregrines

and to educate and encourage members of the public to view the birds in their

natural surroundings. The project is also collecting some important information

on the habits and behaviour of the birds during the important breeding season.

The support and interest continues to grow, with over 25,000 visitors to the

viaduct per annum. At present we have around 50 volunteers who give up their

own time to protect these birds. However, with 24 hour surveillance needed at

the viaduct, we are always looking for new volunteers to spare a little of

their time to help protect these magnificent birds.

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