Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Day One - 7th April 2010
We came, we saw, we took a rain-check on the conquering (a little too literally perhaps). Day one had us converging outside the entrance of Tower 42, clattering tripods and swinging binoculars amongst the suited human traffic of the City, for 10 a.m; an nanosecond elevator ride later and we were approaching the summit, via the assault course that is the last few floors - half-crawling through boiler rooms, hitching up ladders and through shafts, and finally up to the roof.
The forecast was for once unfortunately on the nail - light to moderate north-westerlies, cloud, with an increasing chance of rain. Despite patience and prayers the gods were indeed somewhat against us, and as the afternoon wore on, the ring of cloud around the horizon steadily encroached closer and closer, bringing with it precipitation and a realisation that today was hardly classic conditions for soaring raptors, bounding hirundines, or indeed much else.
On the positive side, well, we were treated to fantastic views of local Peregrines, gunning below us like minature bombers and even lunching on an ex-Feral Pigeon on a nearby plucking post; a female Sparrowhawk soared around our heads, showing off her full crop and moulting / damaged tail; and various expected species, including five species of gull and commuting Cormorants. Beyond that, it's worth noting that everybody got a real flavour of the project's potential, the craic was good and we all agreed that as inaugural days go, it could've been plenty worse.
After admitting defeat at 1430, we spilled back out onto the busy streets, already looking forward to the next opportunity. Roll on next week.
(photos - Peregrine and Sparrowhawk, Tower 42, 7th April 2010 - copyright Mark Pearson)