At this time of year, you’d be forgiven for expecting visits from old St Nick, Dasher, Dancer, Blitzen and co, but perhaps not so much the visitors staff ‘bumped’ into this week…

Since its refurbishment in 2017, it’s fair to say that the Riding School, situated at the rear of the Stables, has had its fair share of visitors.

With umpteen artisan markets as well as festive cinema hosted within its four walls, it’s proved to be a real hit. 

This morning (28 November 2019), it seemed to be a hit with an altogether unexpected visitor and one that hadn’t necessarily come to check out the refurb! 

The excitable visitor had been flitting about in the eaves of the Riding School, probably trying to find his way back out. The commotion attracted the attention of our rangers, who had been in the middle of setting up Santa’s Grotto ready for the big man’s arrival next month. What do you think they found?

Only the fastest animal on the planet – and no it wasn’t a cheetah! Of course, you’ve guessed it – it was a peregrine falcon. 

Some hasty snaps

This beautiful bird had evidently been pursuing some unwelcome pigeons and had chased them into the riding school. Unable to get out, we helped it by opening all of the doors, and we even rolled our tractor out so as not to spook it! 

According to The Wildlife Trust, peregrine falcons can reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour when diving from lofty heights. Did you know that latterly, peregrine falcons will use tall buildings, such as cathedrals to replicate cliff tops, their natural nesting grounds?!

Sitting ducks

Mother nature also served us up another treat this week when Myerscough students found an unexpected brood of ducklings in the Children’s Zoo yesterday (27 November).

It was lovely to see new life so late on in the year – we’ve collected them all, and they’re now safe in a brooding box, being well looked after by our ranger Peter!

Let’s hope they’re not sitting ducks for our new resident inside the Riding School! 

Just kidding…don’t worry they’ll be safe and sound in their snug new home!