A Brief History
In late 2018 a male peregrine was spotted roosting on Cromer Church tower, joined in early 2019 by a female. Copulation was seen taking place on the tower in early March of 2019 and the local bird club, North East Norfolk Bird Club (NENBC) along with a few local peregrine specialists made the trip up the tower to see about the possibily of installing a nesting platform on top of the tower.
Within a few days a nest platform was erected along with a basic CCTV system to monitor the peregrines. Within a week the male had been on the box scraping in the gravel followed by the female a few days later. 3 eggs were laid soon after and the Cromer Peregrine Project was born. We installed a 50" screen streaming live footage in the cafe inside the Church, this proved to be hugely popular with hundreds of excited visitors popping into the Church for a coffee and to catch a glimpse of the peregrines and those precious eggs. A watchpoint was also set up in the grounds of Cromer Museum, Viking Optical kindly supplied us with scopes to get close up views of the peregrines and this was visited by thousands of visitors throughout the summer. All 3 eggs hatched successfully and all 3 of the chicks fledged without incident.
The 2021 was a season of ups and downs, although a pair of peregrines were present on the spire no viable eggs were laid, this led us to believe we have got a new female at the Church. We had numerous reports of intruding peregrines turning up at the Church and at one point 4 peregrines were present.
The Cromer Peregrine Project has had a brilliant 2022 season post covid. The pair successfully raised a chick and the public were able to re-engage with the project live from the watchpoint and online with the live webcams and blog. This was proven through the visitor numbers with over 6,000 people coming along to see the birds. However, we do need to keep close scientific monitoring of the birds’ productivity and overall ecology. Peregrines are apex predators at the top of the food chain, and they are bioindicators of the health of the ecosystem. The fact that an unformed egg was laid in 2021 and in 2022 one egg did not hatch and a chick died need investigating. Failures in productivity can indicate toxins in the environment or diseases. We know that bird flu has been rife and Peregrines can be susceptible to it; therefore it is imperative that in the future we invest in further scientific monitoring and testing.
All eyes are currently watching the Cromer peregrines as we hope for a successful breeding season in 2023