Wednesday, 7 December 2016

All change

As you will have noticed, our cameras have been off-line since November. This was caused by changes at Derby City Council which now prevent us using their IT networks. However, moves are underway to have things up and running again for the 2017 season.

We recently abseiled down and removed all our cameras. An extreme step, you may think, but all part of plans to make good the wear and tear on our ten-year old nest platform. One of our old analogue cameras will  be disposed of completely, whilst two others have been cleaned inside and out, re-sprayed and made ready for re-installation. We recently acquired some new cameras which we are making ready for installation.

We have received a kind offer from a long-standing supporter, Ashley Sims, to meet the cost of this work, which we'll tell you more about once it's all completed.

We hope to have everything sorted out in the next four weeks or so, but this is dependant upon on having a good 'weather window' for abseiling and the ability to schedule in some major work with the help of Derby Mountain Rescue Team. We shall still need to get our cameras configured to new networks, which we're hoping will also happen quite soon.

Nick Moyes and Nick Evans prepare to abseil down
from the top of the tower on 2nd December.

It's been ten years since Nick Evans constructed the first nest platform for us back in 2006. We've been keeping a careful watch on it over the last few years, and eventually realised it had got into quite poor shape.  Our intention is to sort these problems out before the start of next breeding season, and  in advance of some major re-roofing work which is about to begin next January at the Cathedral.

We'll tell you more when we have positive news about the next stages, so for now it's a case of "watch this space!" rather than "watch those webcams!"

The Project Team

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

030 is back again at Rutland Water

While our cameras are offline (please read why on the previous post) here's some news about the bird with colour ring 030 on her leg.
This female was reared at the cathedral in 2015 and turned up at Rutland Water's Egleton Nature Reserve, some 60 kms ESE of Derby, in September of that year. Read the original story here
John Wright, a stalwart of the wonderful Rutland Osprey Project, contacted us and sent photos once he'd managed to read the ring number. He's recently been in touch again with further news of 030.
She stayed through the winter up to early May 2016 but then wasn't seen again - that is until this September:

John takes up the story:

"Your female peregrine from Derby, 030, is back wintering around Rutland Water/lagoon 4.
She is now in magnificent plumage, the only signs of immaturity being a few white and buffy spots on her crown and cheeks.

Just to remind you of the whole story from the beginning:

An adult female Peregrine with an orange/red ring was first seen around lagoon 4 (Egleton Reserve) in September (2016) though it wasn't until November that I managed to read the ring number. It was sitting in the usual spots as 030 did last winter and was assumed to be her but was too far away for the ring to be read by anyone. I was away from late August - mid October and when I returned she hadn't been seen for a few weeks.
She has now returned to Lagoon 4 where I took the attached photos on 5th November and also read her ring. She got a stick stuck in a talon (see photo below) while walking about in the Osprey nest and had a real job dislodging it. A bit embarrassing for a top predator!"


Our Peregrine (030) looks as if she's adding a stick to this osprey platform nest whereas
the truth is that the stick was accidentally caught up with her leg!
Photo: John Wright
"I have also attached photos of her from April 2016, chasing the Lagoon 4 male Osprey.
She became very elusive once the Ospreys settled down on the lagoon and I last saw her in early May".
030 chases one of Rutland Water's ospreys.....note the size difference.
Photo courtesy of John Wright
It will be interesting to hear if she stays around Rutland for the winter again.....maybe next summer she'll find a mate and leave Rutland for good?

Nick Brown for the Project Team


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Disconnect first - then Connect Derby!

Connect Derby
Connect Derby logo

We would like to give advance notice of some interruptions to our webcam feeds over the coming months, as various changes are made behind the scenes.

Most noticeably, we expect our cameras to go offline later this week. Unfortunately we can't say just how long they will be down for. This break is necessary as we need to reconfigure our equipment and re-route our video signals through an alternative pathway. The reasons for this are rather technical, but it relates to UK government requirements for all equipment on - and people accessing - local council networks to meet certain stringent conditions in order not to compromise network security. We have been helped in this by colleagues at Derby City Council and the team from Connect Derby. I met with their friendly IT Analyst,Tim, yesterday and gave him a tour of the cathedral tower. He will be working to help us reconfigure our existing equipment as smoothly as possible over the next week or two. In fact, we're quite excited because we think that with their enthusiasm and business/innovation skills, we might be able to add extra functionality to the way our project is presented in future,

We often think it's nice to explain what goes on behind the scenes in our project, so we've offered Connect Derby a guest blog spot, should they wish to tell us about the great work they do in connecting local businesses in Derby to the ever-changing world of the internet. So watch this space.

Other possible changes that could affect us relate to forthcoming repair work on the cathedral itself, and whether we try to repair or replace our platform before or after this happens. We've been in discussion with Natural England about the implications of these activities, and are confident the scheduling won't adversely affect the breeding success of Derby's most iconic bird.

Of course, the adult peregrines don't move away in the autumn  or winter, so there should always be a good chance of seeing one or both of them if you're coming into Derby on a shopping trip or en route to work. Check the cathedral tower, but also check out nearby Jury's Inn, where our birds often like to sit and watch the ring-road traffic whizzing - or sometimes crawling - by.

Our apologies for any inconvenience these interruptions may cause.

Nick Moyes
Technical Advisor
Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Another one bites the (Derbyshire) dust

News has just emerged that a young peregrine, reared in Stoke on Trent this summer, was found close to a Derbyshire grouse shooting moorland in the Goyt Valley. It had been shot in its wing and subsequently died of its injuries....the latest in a series of incidents of wildlife crime on grouse moors in Derbyshire and elsewhere.

To read the full story go to:

https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/peregrine-found-shot-next-to-grouse-moor-in-peak-district-national-park/ .
Photo of the bird shortly before it died.
This proves what we already guessed - that some of our young urban peregrines, once fledged, wander off and end up on moorlands where almost certainly they will 'disappear'.....since the game keepers will not tolerate any bird of prey on their shoots.
Such killing of raptors is illegal and constitutes 'wildlife crime'.....and it has been going on up in the moorlands of the Peak District National park and elsewhere in the UK for years.
So it is highly likely that some of the youngsters reared at Derby Cathedral end up being shot on the moors.....a real tragedy.

A national petition to ban driven grouse shooting has now reached 120,000 signatures which means that there will be a debate on this subject in the House of Commons sometime in the autumn.

A local and new petition is now open for people to sign and we urge you to do so if you are appallled by the news above.
Earlier this year, a man with a gun was filmed sitting near a decoy hen harrier on a Derbyshire moor owned by the National Trust and leased by them to a shooting tenant. The incident was too far off for any prosecution to be made but the National Trust is throwing the shooting tenant off - a move we applaud.
The petition now asks the Trust NOT to put another shooting tenant on this huge moor but to manage it for wildlife and restore its biodiversity. To read the background and find a link to the petition please see: www.nomoorshooting.blogspot.com .
And do please sign up if you will. We have 2000 signatures in a month since the petition started but we need many more......

The Project team