Friday, 21 July 2017

Donations, the last Watch Point and a lovely letter

A big 'thank you' to everyone who has sent a donation to the Peregrine Project this summer.
As always we are really very grateful. Your contributions allow us to run the web cams, the blog and the Watch Points and without them we would really struggle to keep going.

We've known for years that people who are unable to get out and about, for all sorts of reasons, derive a lot of pleasure from watching the web cams and reading the blog.
So it was really delightful to receive not only a generous donation last week from Meriel Jones who lives in Port Sunlight on the Wirral in Cheshire but also this letter about her mother:

"My mother, Mrs May Jones, is currently 99 years old but unable to get out. She has been keen on nature all her life.
The web cams of the adults and the young peregrines this year have fascinated her - a great window on the world for the housebound."

We have had letters and emails from people in their 80s before but never one from someone so close to becoming a centenarian!
So a big 'hello' to Mrs. Jones from all of us at the Project. We are honoured to have you as one of our many watchers in the UK and indeed around the world and we send our best wishes to you and many thanks to your daughter.

Ps. If you haven't yet sent us a donation, please click on the 'Donations' tab on the blog to find out how easy it is to donate.

Final Watch Point Report   
The final Watch Point (on Saturday 15th July) went well with over 500 visitors logged.
At least two of the young were visible and the female came and sat on the platform too.
A massive thanks to all our brilliant volunteers this year who worked tirelessly throughout.
More on this year's Watch Points will follow later but it has been a very busy and successful season with many more people seeing our falcons due to the poppies nearby.
A 2017 Watch Point

Hits top 300,000
Since January the blog and web cams have received 312,000 hits. While most come from the UK, we've had visitors from over 60 different countries this year. So thank you for watching and either stay with us through the winter (our web cams and blog stay live throughout) or rejoin us next spring.

The Project Team

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Final Watch Point and a youngster turns up in Doncaster

The final Watch Point of 2017 will take place this Saturday 15th July, usual place, usual time.
As you can read by scrolling down to the previous post, two juveniles were visible along with their parents last Saturday....so there's still plenty to see (and the poppy display is still drawing the crowds too). Do come and see these magnificent birds if you possibly can. It is your very last chance this year!

This screengrab (above), taken by Kate from Devon today (11th), shows a fledged peregrine on the platform.

I'm off to Yorkshire!
In April last year (2016) a photographer called Bob Usher took a photo of a male peregrine on Doncaster Minster, which is also known at St George's.

015 on Doncaster Minster. Photo: Bob Usher
On closer examination the bird had an orange ring on its left leg bearing the number 015.

He sent the details to the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) who organise the ringing (banding) of wild birds in the UK. They identified the bird as a male ringed as a chick at Derby Cathedral in June 2011.
We are grateful to Bob for sending the photo to us for use here.
Bob said a female was also present in 2011 but he saw no direct evidence of breeding. He promised to try to visit again this summer and see if 015 is still there.
It seems likely that the birds are nesting on the Minster somewhere but so far there's no direct evidence.
The Project Team

Monday, 3 July 2017

School work and more photos

Report on the Watch Point on Saturday 8th July:
With over 400 visitors it was another very busy watch point. Several people had come down to the Green after hearing an item about the birds on Radio Derby earlier in the morning ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p056b5jb ). Note that the presenter says that this was the last Watch Point when there will be one next Saturday 15th all being well (check this blog mid week to be sure though!!).
There was plenty to see, with one of the juveniles perched higher up on the tower for most of the day. It was joined by one of the other juveniles for a short while, both birds enjoying the warm sunny weather. The adult female bird also spent some time sitting on the side of the tower. At one point she took off only to return to the Silk Mill museum a few minutes later with some prey.
After plucking and eating some of it herself she then flew back over to the Cathedral and tried to tempt the juvenile from its perch by first showing it the prey and then flying away from the tower. The juvenile was having none of it though and waited for the adult bird to land back on the tower and feed it directly. We had great views through the telescopes as the female tore off tiny pieces of meat to pass to her youngster.

Joyce Sawford, one of our excellent band of volunteers, took this video:
 

The male bird appeared later in the afternoon, sitting on the nearby hotel. There were lots of special moments but one that really stood out was when a little girl who was only about 5 years old approached the telescopes and immediately held up the teddy bear she was carrying so it could have a look!  
Go on teddy, you have a look at a peregrine!
Photo: Marc Whitlock

Other visitors included some past pupils from Brigg Infant School (whose work is sometimes shown on the blog - see below), so it was lovely to see them still showing such an interest in the birds. Visitors were clearly delighted to see the close up views of the birds, most of whom were seeing a peregrine falcon for the very first time. When the watch point finished at around 3.45pm the female was sitting on the platform, with the juvenile looking down from above.


Brigg Infant School in South Normanton always produces great artwork on the topic of peregrines, a subject which the children (aged only 6 and 7) really seem to enjoy.
Peregrine display at Brigg Infant School
The children also put comments on the blog which gives then experience both of IT and of writing.
Their teacher, Helen Naylor, also helps at the Saturday Watch Points so there's a strong link between the project and the school.
Helen said:
"Emerald class have really enjoyed watching the peregrines this year. One of the highlights was when we spotted the arrival of the new male bird. We've shared lots of great moments over the past few months, from watching the eggs being laid to the chicks hatching and fledging."
Hopefully the experience will last with the children into adulthood....though that's a long way off!

More photos
Dave Farmer sent us some super photos which he took in June - so many thanks to him! Here are a couple for you to enjoy:
Just look at my under wing - how neat is that! Photo: Dave Farmer


Flying free. Photo Dave Farmer
Recent sightings on the platform/scrape/ledge...call it what you will!
Kate and Wendy have spotted the male back on the nest platform a couple of times recently.
Kate's screengrabs are on the Derby Peregrines flickr site.

The Project Team

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Another busy day....and a way to help us

THE NEXT WATCH POINT IS ON WEDNESDAY 5TH JULY.....ALWAYS ASSUMING THE WEATHER IS OK.Don't forget the excellent Bakewell tarts and coffee at the Cathedral Coffee Shop on Irongate and the beer and lunches at the Silk Mill Pub only yards from our Watch Point.
And if the sun stays out there's a good chance of seeing the rare white letter hairstreak butterfly on the elm tree on King Street nearby. The Watch Point team will tell you where to look - bring your binoculars!

The rare white letter hairstreak butterfly
photographed on King Street.
Photo: N Brown
Report on Watch Point Saturday 1st July: most of the activity was on Jurys Inn and the Silk Mill chimney. One of the juveniles (all three were seen) was on one of the cathedral tower's pinnacles at one point and stayed there even when the flag was changed!
One of the juveniles was seen chasing some pigeons....so they seem to be getting the general idea!

Many thanks to Antony, Helen, Kelvin and his wife for stalwart work. There are still plenty of people coming to look at the poppies. See you on Wednesday?

The Project Team

Update 24th June 5 pm: Today's Watch Point volunteers saw all three juveniles together on the top of the Silk Mill Museum's chimney...so that's very good news!

This project survives on a remarkably small budget (much of the work, including the rescue work) is done voluntarily keeping costs low. However we do need funds to keep the web cams running and the Watch Points organised - something like £4000 a year.

So any donation, small or large, will be appreciated. Please click on the donations tab on the blog to see how simple it is to do...it's jjust a phone call to the Wildlife Trust office - or do it online via Virgin MoneyGiving.
Many thanks
The Project Team
Ps. If you would like to join Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, who's project this is, please phone the office on 01773 881188 or visit the Trust's website here.
Rescue Number Two
A phone call this morning (Thursday 22nd) to the Wildlife Trust from someone working in a solicitor's office near the cathedral alerted us to the fact that someone in an office facing Jurys Inn had seen a peregrine drop to ground and possibly disappear into a hedge.
Hedge minus peregrine as it turned out.

We went down and spent a less than delightful half hour searching behind, below and right in the hedge - hot and dusty work. No sign of anything....
Then three hours later, we had a call from Landau Forte College which is on the other side of the inner ring road from the cathedral and Jurys. A neighbour with a small garden had found a peregrine and managed to get it into a cat carry box. We nipped down to town again and transferred it to a cardboard box, having checked that it was in good shape -  which it was:
Yes it's me again!
We then released it back on the top of the tower. To us it looked like the same bird we had rescued on Tuesday....a small if feisty male now with fewer tufts of white down on its crown.

Be afraid, be very afraid......Photo Nick B

Meanwhile wonderful Wendy Bartter captured these three videos, the last of which shows the departure of the final (we think female) youngster today. Further searches will be made to try to see all three youngsters tomorrow and Saturday. Since the parental birds were very calm today we suspect they are all fine:




The second:



And the one showing the fledging:


The Project Team