Peregrine Watch

Staffordshire’s largest nature conservation charity is appealing for people to help monitor the fastest animal on Earth by joining its hugely popular Peregrine Watch scheme.

As part of Peregrine Watch, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is inviting local people to join their wardens to help monitor the stunning bird of prey at The Roaches nature reserve this spring. This year’s Peregrine Watch is now underway and last year’s breeding pair have already been spotted during the past few weeks.

As well as recording sightings, volunteers act as a point of contact with visitors at the nature reserve near Leek and pass on information on how to best not disturb the peregrines. Last year’s Peregrine Watch was a huge success, and thanks to the work of the volunteers, over 5000 people were able to see the birds as part of the project. In total, 15 chicks have fledged since 2007.

Jon Rowe, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Roaches Warden, said: “We have been very lucky to have a breeding pair of peregrines at the Roaches during the past few years. We are looking for volunteers to help us minimise disturbance to the birds and ensure they have the best chance of breeding.

“Volunteers can commit whatever time they can to Peregrine Watch, and no expert knowledge is required. They will be allocated to a watch area and equipped with telescopes and information ready to pass onto visitors.”

The Trust is also hoping to launch “Peregrine Watch Live” this year through a special live camera showing footage of the nesting peregrines. Earlier this year, the charity won funding from the Aviva Community Fund for the project. The Trust is now waiting to see if the peregrines nest, before promoting the camera and live footage through its website.

Designated a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the Roaches, Part of the Peak District National Park, consists of important habitats including blanket bog and upland moorland and is also home to many other specialist breeding and wintering birds such as curlew, red grouse and tree pipit. On May 1 2013, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust began its 125-year lease of the Roaches, a magnificent 975 acre landscape on the edge of the Peak District National Park.

For more information on getting involved with Peregrine Watch, email Jon Rowe – j.rowe@staffs-wildlife.org.uk or call 07891 918446.