Sunday, 2 August 2015

Peregrine Resources for Schools - online now! Plus a Hen Harrier Day invitation

NOTICE: Stream 4 is now active. View it here

(And for details of Hen Harrier Day on Sunday 9th August see below.

Over the last ten days we have completed two final tasks we were committed to deliver under the terms of our Heritage Lottery Grant. Our three-year support from the HLF for the 'Peregrines, People and Places'  comes to an end this summer, and soon we shall have to look to new ways to continue funding some of the amazing outreach work we have achieved in that time.One task was a production of a self-guided leaflet for visitors to Derby Cathedral (more on that later); the second was the publication of an online schools resource pack.

Contents of Schools Loan Box on Peregrines
Earlier last year Ian Layton (our amazing Peregrines and People Engagement Officer) worked with a number of school teachers to develop a set of Education Resources Loan Boxes for teachers to use. There are four of these available to county schools, plus one for schools in Derby City, and a number of schools have borrowed and used them very successfully.

We also undertook in our grant bid to HLF to convert these for wider use by schools anywhere in the country - or indeed the world - and these have just been made freely available online for teachers to use. The resource pack offers ideas for using peregrines and other nest cameras as the core of a wide range of curriculum activities, from EYFS right through to pre-GCSE classes.

These include:

  • Design Technology, 
  • Science, 
  • English, Mathematics, 
  • Art and Design, 
  • Literacy, 
  • Speaking and Listening, 
  • ICT/Computing
  • History
  • English
  • Geography

All we ask in return is that teachers using our resources let us know how they got on, and give us feedback which may help to improve them in the future. (A few photos would be nice too!)
Many people have helped us compile these resources, and we are especially grateful to Helen Naylor from Brigg Infants School and Georgina Greaves of Derbyshire County Council's Environmental Studies Centre.

The Online Resource Pack is available as a 14Mb zipped download of 26 files from our Project's Google Drive here.  If you want to see what's in the resources box, or make your own, download a contents list here.

Let us know how what you think!
Visit our dedicate Schools page on this Blog for more teaching resources on offer from the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project.
Nick Moyes (project team member)

Hen Harrier Day Sunday 9th August - a rally in Derbyshire.

Our Peregrine Project is now an official supporter of this important day and event. See our logo among those of many others (including DWT and RSPB) on the hen harrier day website henharrierday .

At least two of the project team and several of our Watch Point volunteers will be there - so why not come and join us and hundreds more trying to raise the profile of the hen harrier which should be breeding on our Peak District moors but isn't....and neither are peregrines.....
If you don't know why there are no raptors on grouse moors (or why you should support this rally) then have a read of Mark Avery's blog here for example (a post from May).
And if you can't come along, then at least please join the Thunderclap here and, if you agree, sign Mark's petition to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting. Over 8000 people have done so already so you will be in good company.
If you want to let us know you will be there or to ask any questions, email 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

YouTube's Online Video Editor

A little known YouTube secret is that it now has its own online video editor. This means that if you've already uploaded some video clips, then want to merge  two or more together, cut bits out, or add cross fades and captions, this is now incredibly easy to do. Absolutely no software is needed.

Just go to

This simple but effective tool is proving useful to the Peregrine Project Team, as we frequently upload clips for inserting into this Blog. The one problem we have found is that our newest camera, (an Axis P3364VE IP camera which looks out from the back of the peregrine falcon's nest) has movement detection which records little clips for later retrieval.  Unfortunately it rarely records the whole sequence in one go, so a number of consecutive clips have to be downloaded from its internal SD card. These clips also come in an usual format (Matroska .MKV) which are difficult to view or edit with familiar software. Luckily they can be watched in our favourite free software programme (IrfanView), and also directly uploaded to YouTube in that format, which thankfully does the converting for us.

So, with one's clips uploaded, it's just a simple task of dragging the required clips into a sequence, cutting out the unwanted bits, and adding titles and fades as required. It even lets you add a background soundtrack, though we've not used that facility yet.

The video above was put together in just a few minutes using four clips made from our ringing day back in May this year. Once edited and saved, we then deleted the original clips so as not to bloat our YouTube channel.

Footnote: For those wondering when Stream 4 will be coming back, we can tell you it should be available after August 3rd. The problem was caused by sudden changes that our webcam host, Streamdays required Derby City Council to make to their firewall. Streamdays  needed to change their servers and, in order to continue pulling the live images from the new nest camera, they needed security changes made at our end. The security committee at the Council who need to consider and approve all such changes has now met, and these will be enabled soon. Had we received a few week's notice this problem wouldn't have occurred, but I'm afraid it was beyond anyone's control here in Derby. Thank you all for your understanding.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Final Watch Point 18th July

With the juveniles still around the tower (and showing on the web cams), Ian Layton, our Engagement Officer has decided to hold a final (really final) Watch Point tomorrow Saturday 18th July.
Two of the juveniles together. Photo Roger Lawson

So if you've not been down to see the birds and meet Ian and his trusty band of brilliant volunteers, then tomorrow is your last chance.
The Heritage Lottery Fund grant, which began back in summer 2012, finishes next month. Ian has done a superb job both in organising Watch Points for the public over the last three years and in engaging new audiences. In the absence of a grant next year, it remains to be seen if we can get Ian back to help us once more. A future blog post will cover both what we have achieved with the help of our £49,000 HLF grant and how the future of the project looks.
Meanwhile, if you would like to donate (and it is so easy via Virgin Moneygiving) please do so.
Just click on the 'Donate' tab on the home page of the blog and hey presto!

Nick B (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)

Ps. And you anyone would like to join the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, please ask for a form at the Watch Point, phone the Trust office 01773 881188 (in office hours) or go to the Trust's website: and click on 'Join Us'. It's quick, simple and entirely painless!

The Trust has 14,000 members but is striving to achieve a total of 20,000 by 2020.
If you live in or near Derbyshire there are so many reasons why you should join us. And we also have many 'ex-pats' and others living beyond the county who support our work to Protect Wildlife, Restore Landscapes and Inspire People.
The Peregrine Project certainly seems to do the latter with over 350,000 hits this year to the blog and web cams and over 3,000,000 since the cameras began in 2007!

Watch Point report. Jane Tagg, one of our newest recruits to the ranks of our volunteers, reports that there was a steady flow of visitors.
Final Watch Point 2015 Joyce Sawford

All three of the juvenile peregrines were present during the morning though they flew off later, at which point, the adults were visible.
Hope that lion doesn't swish its tail! Photo Joyce Sawford
 So we were delighted that the whole family was still around to be seen and admired! 

A really BIG thank you is due to Ian and to his wonderful band of volunteers who have helped out in a fair old mixture of rain, wind and hot sun all summer. At least it didn't snow!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Post-fledging Update and Watch Point Summary

For those web cam watchers who live far away from Derby, here is a photo showing the layout of the cameras and nest platform.
The platform sits at the bottom left of the louvred 'window' which, incidentally is just wood and has no glass in it.
The two original 'nest cams' are sited on posts attached either side of the Nest Platform. A more recent camera with the wide-angle lens is fixed to the back of the platform, and looks out over the nest towards Cathedral Green below (where the Watch Points are held) and beyond to the River Derwent.
Tower Cam (sometimes known as 'pud cam' because it looks like a Christmas pudding) sits in the lead gutter to the left of the three carved 'Grotesques' which appear on the photo as dark blobs.
It is on these grotesques that the three fledglings often sit.

Here's the 'peregrine's eye-view' from the top of the tower looking over Cathedral Green and out towards the River Derwent:
View looking East taking in the winter showing
Cathedral Green and the River Derwent
If you were to peer over the top of the tower and look down, this is the view of the platform some 20-25 metres below:
Photo looking down on the platform taken on chick ringing day
And here's a photo from a previous year of the adult male bird sitting on one of the carved stone 'grotesques':

Photo by John Salloway
Wednesday Watch Point (July 8th).
Over 150 people came through the Watch Point. They saw all three juveniles plus both the adults, though not all together (only one adult at a time).
At one moment, the juv males saw a pigeon and set off from the top of the tower chasing it. He didn't achieve a meal but clearly he's well up on his learning curve.
Here's a photo from a previous year (2012) showing three juvenile birds in the air, one of them carrying prey passed to it by an adult and the other two screaming that they would rather like to have meal that for themselves!:
Photo by Ian Bradley
It is this sort of exciting behaviour that you will see (with luck) if you come to the Watch Point on this Saturday, 11th July.
Last year, a less than competent juvenile failed to catch a prey item dropped for it in mid-air by the female. The prey dropped perilously close to people sitting outside a local pub (The Dolphin) drinking beer and eating their lunch! Fortunately it just missed landing in someone's pint pot!

Nick B (DWT)

Ps. A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to the project recently.
If you've enjoyed the web cams and blog but haven't donated yet - please scroll down to the previous post to read about how to donate. It is VERY simple and easy and quick!

11th July Watch Point Report by Helen Naylor:
Another very successful watch point today, with plenty to show the steady stream of visitors that arrived throughout the morning. All three juvenile birds were seen on the tower, looking very fit and healthy and enjoying the sunshine. They made several flights over the watch point and around the cathedral. It was great to see them flying so confidently. The adult male was around for much of the time, even perching on the nearby roof of the Silk Mill Museum giving us superb close up views. The young birds were very vocal and could be heard calling to him on numerous occasions, hoping for some food! The juvenile wood pigeon that was still in its nest last week below the peregrine platform appears to have gone, so hopefully it managed to fledge successfully! Another big thank you for all the kind donations that we received today.