'Brilliant for the town' - Peregrine watch point returning to Cromer

Peregrine falcon in Cromer

A peregrine falcon perched on Cromer Church tower with the town and the coast in the background. - Credit: Chris Skipper

A town's attention will soon turn to its church tower where a pair of peregrine falcons are brooding over their three eggs.

The Cromer Peregrine Project will set up its popular watchpoint again on Monday (April 11) allowing people to observe the birds as they nest at the top of the church.

It will be a welcome return for the attraction, which on account of the pandemic has not been open since 2019.

A male peregrine at sunset in Cromer.

A male peregrine at sunset in Cromer. - Credit: Chris Skipper

There will be a gazebo outside Cromer Museum, with a pair of telescopes through which visitors can spy on the peregrines.

Chris Skipper, project member, said: "To get the watchpoint back up and running will be brilliant for the town."

Peregrine Cromer

A peregrine broods over three eggs in the church tower in Cromer. - Credit: Chris Skipper

He said the three eggs should hatch by the end of April.

"When they are hatched it will be very busy up there. The peregrines will be bringing back food for their young," he said.

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Later, as the fledglings get bigger, they will be seen perching at the edge of the tower.

The watchpoint will be open seven days a week and peregrine souvenirs will be available at town centre gift shop Upstairs Downstairs, with profits donated to the church.

Peregrine falcon eggs

The three peregrine falcon eggs in Cromer Church tower are expected to hatch at the end of April. - Credit: Chris Skipper

In 2020, with the church closed during the first lockdown, volunteers set up three webcams at the top of the 160ft-tall tower which broadcast a livestream of the peregrines.

The stream quickly attracted birdwatchers from all over the world, by the end of the year clocking up viewing figures of almost 200,000.

Chris Skipper and Kim Paul, from Costessey, will be the first couple to marry at Norwich Cathedral since October.

Chris Skipper, of Cromer Peregrine Project, with his wife Kim Skipper. - Credit: Chris Skipper

"It's been great. The people of Cromer love the peregrines," Mr Skipper said.

The Cromer Peregrine Project was set up in March 2019 after a pair of the birds were spotted roosting in the church tower.

Volunteers from North East Norfolk Bird Club (NENBC) then installed a nesting box, as well as a screen streaming live footage in the church cafe, and soon three chicks were hatched.

People travelled from all over the country to catch a glimpse of the family.

Cromer peregrine

People will be able to observe Cromer church's peregrines from a watchpoint starting on Monday, April 11. - Credit: Chris Skipper

Mr Skipper said the 2021 season was one of "ups and downs".

Although a pair of peregrines were present on the spire, no viable eggs were laid.

Peregrines can reach speeds of more than 200mph during their hunting dive, called a stoop, making them the fastest members of the animal kingdom.