For me, there is nothing quite like the sound of adult Peregrines defending their young. You cannot ignore the piercing, shrieking cry. It distracts you, draws you to them, and then as they twist and soar over and across the cliffs you can think only of them, following them in their graceful purposeful flight, their calls echoing off the rocks and rebounding through your mind, pulling you towards them.
Which of course is the whole point of it, though my friend Vic, far more of an expert than me, sees the call as being aimed at the chick.
‘Stay down, stay down’ he believes they are warning.
Whoever is right, it is effective. You have only eyes for the adults.
It was hard to make them out in the failing light, light that was more like an early September evening, than the end of July, an occasional glimpse of a creamy white breast tucked into slate grey, concealed against the dark dull rock was the best you could do.
But these adults wanted to be seen. They soared and dived, glided, then effortlessly flapped away, before turning and gliding again back to the cliff face.
They owned the sky and even the Ravens, as big, as powerful and as intelligent as they are, stayed clear.
But the Peregrines were protecting their chick and it was well hidden amongst the shambles of a cliff face and we were in their space. It was time to go.
We hurried back across the moor, the Ravens circled, checking that we were really going, and the Peregrines returned to the sanctuary of their ledge.
As we walked away, the silence slipped back in behind us, and the moors were quiet once again.