Saturday, 7 July 2018

Final Watch Point and a further request for donations

The final Watch Point of 2018 took place today (7th July) and a big thanks to volunteers Jane, Paul and Helen, helped for a time by Dave.
And thanks also to all the other volunteers who have helped throughout the Watch Point season....you've done a splendid job!

During most of the Watch Point only one adult was visible, and she was partly obscured too!
With so little to see, the volunteers struggled to attract interest and numbers visiting were low but they did include people from three cathedral tower tours by arrangement. Normally, the tours go to the top of the tower to see the view but with recently fledged young usually up there, a deal was struck such that they didn't go to the very top but came and had a look at the peregrines from Cathedral Green instead.
Fortunately at the end, both remaining juveniles were seen and looked in good shape.

Donations to the Project
We are still seeking donations to keep the project afloat so if you've enjoyed watching the birds over this season but haven't made a contribution yet, do please consider doing so.
The donations tab on this blog explains the various ways you can donate.
If you are sending a cheque please be sure to make it payable to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and not to the project itself which has no bank account.
We mention this because some kind person in Telford has delivered a cheque for £20 payable to the project but not given us an address so we can't get back to them to ask for another.
If the donor should read this please will you either email us at peregrines@derbyshirewt.co.uk so we can sort it out...or just send another cheque to the DWT Office clearly marked 'for the peregrines' on the envelope and explaining the situation. We will be happy to return the original cheque which we are unable to cash. Thank you.

The Project Team

Monday, 25 June 2018

All gone so nows the time to support us! And problems with the juvenile male

Update 1st  July
Yesterday's Watch Point Report from Helen:
We were pleased to see all four birds during today's watchpoint. The two juveniles spent most of the time on the tower, often sitting in the shade, resting and preening. They made some short flights earlier on in the morning and it was particularly good to watch them interacting with each other and engaging in a 'play fight' mid-air, almost
locking talons. As usual the adult birds kept a close eye on them, especially the female who was perched on top of one of the pinnacles for several hours, before finally moving to a shadier spot lower down on the tower. The male bird was also around for some time before flying off later in the day. We had lots of interested children, including some from the cathedral choir, who were keen to look through the telescopes and asked some great questions. A big thank you to everyone who came down to today's watchpoint, especially regulars Barbara and David whose continued support is very much appreciated.

July 7th Watch Point
Next Saturday is the last Watch Point of the year so if you have not been down yet - or even if you have - do come along! We will be joined by people who are booked on the Cathedral Tower tours that are running that day. By agreement, and to save any disturbance to the recently fledged young, the tours will not go out on the top of the tower on that day but instead come down to the Watch Point to see the birds from Cathedral Green.
As always we are grateful to the Cathedral authorities for their continuing support for our birds and the project that underpins them.

Update 29th June: Lesley reported that, despite treatment, the male died last night. We must now hope the two juvenile females survive OK.

Update 27 June: the male came to ground again today so was taken to a local vets to be checked over. It was certainly underweight. The vets couldn't keep the bird having no special facilities so it was taken to Lesley and Dave who have looked after other peregrines for us (eg 'Cathy' for those with long memories).
They immediately diagnosed a disease problem and began to treat him. He seems unable to swallow at the moment so the prognosis isn't brilliant. We'll keep you updated via this blog.

Monday's Update
Half an hour after we had posted this (9.30 am Monday 25th), a call came in that a peregrine was down. It turned out to be the little male that we think had been flying for over a week and not the last juvenile to leave - one of the two heavy females (they were later spotted sitting close together on top of the Silk Mill tower).
The male was taken back to the top of the tower. He seemed OK when he was checked over so hopefully won't come to ground again.....

Do you have to?

Safely in a box before going back up the tower
How did I get back up here?
  .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .     .    .     .    .     .    .     .     .

Hi to everyone who's been following the progress of our Derby birds, some of you so assiduously that you;'ve neglected the housework, gardening, decorating etc - and by your own admissions!

The final juvenile fledged today (Monday 25th) or possible late yesterday (anyone see it there last night?).
So now is the time each year that we ask if you would be willing to make a donation towards the project.
Donations from online and 'on the Green' watchers has kept the project going since 2006 so we really do rely on you for our income!
We need over £1500 each year just to get the pictures out to you and above that there are other costs including some Wildlife Trust staff time (from Matt Robinson and Marc Whitlock) to organise and help run our Watch Points.
A Watch Point - next ones are on Wednesday 27th and Saturday 30th June

So, anything you can give, however small, will be much appreciated.
You can pay online, make a bank transfer, send a cheque or bring money to a Watch Point.
All is described in detail on the 'Donations' tab on the blog.
If you have any problems then email enquiries@derbyshirewt.co.uk for finance issues or peregrines@derbyshirewt.co.uk for queries about the project or the birds themselves .

Many thanks in advance!

The Project Team

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Fledging begins - plus some updates


Report on Watch Point 23 June:
The big female juvenile was on the silk mill chimney all day. Didn't seem to want to move although at one point it was wandering around up there and did some wing flapping when the adult flew about with food. Almost looked like it couldn't get enough lift to take off. The food was left for it and the male juvenile also flew on there to have a feed. The male juv is flying confidently. The female on the platform was doing some wing flapping and keeps sitting higher up on the middle point of the box where goes around the stone work. We had 174 visitors! Helen Naylor.

Update 25 June: it seems the final female chick has fledged.
Reports yesterday suggested the male had flown and was sitting up on a roof nearby.
Males rarely come to ground so now he's made one good flight he should be OK.
The Watch Point today (16th) will look for him and report back if they find him.
the two much heavier females may not fledge for a few days yet.....we'll see!
This morning is damp and cloudy with the prospect of showers - not the sort of weather that chicks usually fledge under.
UPDATE mid morning Saturday 16th: the news from the Watch Point is that the juvenile male
(a 'chick' no longer!) is on the roof of the tall hotel nearby with its mother standing guard....so we don't need to worry about him! His sisters are unlikely to fledge today given the weather and their remaining fluff!
UPDATE Saturday pm: Antony and Helen at the WP report that the young male flew back to the tower landing a bit lower than they would have liked (and it would have liked too I suspect!).
It's a windy day and flying isn't easy round buildings because of the turbulence. He should be OK though.
The WP was fairly quiet both of people and 'bird action' but it was good to see a grey wagtail collecting insects on the grass nearby and flying off to a building to feed its young.
And in Swift Awareness Week  (see below)- it was also great to see a few swifts zooming past the tower!

And we apologise about the problems with the cams.....beyond our control over the weekend certainly though it seems that at least some are now working again.

The Project Team

Ps If you are in Derby or can get to today's Watch Point do please go and help the team to find the male....

Pps. On another subject, today marks the start of Swift Awareness Week (16-23 June) with 90 local events running around the UK. Swifts have declined by over 50% in the last 25 years so they need our help and a raised profile!
To find out if there is an event near you go to this map, enlarge it and click on a 'swift' near you.
The full details will appear on the left of your screen. Do support events near you if you can.
tinyurl.com/SLNSAW2018map .

UKSAW - there are five events in Derbyshire (in Chaddesden (Derby) and Bakewell on Tuesday (19th), Hathersage (20th), Chesterfield (22nd ) and Melbourne 23rd.
Please support them if you can,,,full details are on the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust website:https://www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/events .

Swifts are fascinating birds which only touch the earth when they need to lay eggs. They nest inside our roofs and under our tiles but when buildings are renovated  the tiny holes they need to access their nests get blocked up and the birds are suddenly homeless.
Two swifts looking for a non-existent hole to nest in. Photo David Naylor
And there's a fab web cam in Poland which is inside a swift's nest. The birds have four eggs soon to hatch - well worth a look - you might even get hooked!

http://jerzyki-webcam.pl/Webcam

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Ringing the chicks and two Watch Point reports

Report on the Watch Point of 9th June by Helen Naylor:

The watch point went well, after a fairly quiet start. The chicks were seen preening a lot of the time and doing some vigorous wing flapping, which sent clouds of fluffy white down floating from the tower.  All three chicks could be seen and the difference in size between them was quite noticeable, even from the ground. One of the youngsters was very bold and perched on the edge of the nest platform for a while. The adults were around on and off throughout the morning. One of them sat on the Silk Mill chimney giving us some good views. Some food was eventually brought in by the female after she appeared to retrieve it from a cache on the other side of the tower. It was immediately grabbed from her by one of the chicks, although the adult bird soon took charge again.

Report on the Watch Point Saturday 2 June:

The adult birds were around for much of the time during today’s watch point, either on the tower or on the nearby hotel lettering. The female could be seen sitting above the nest platform on the left hand side of the tower, keeping a close watch on the chicks below, but often out of view of the cameras. The chicks were quite active and it was great to be able to see them through the telescopes. There were at least two fluffy white heads appearing above the edge of the nest box at regular intervals. The chicks were fed just before lunchtime and again later in the early afternoon as we were packing away.  The weather remained fine and the watch point was busy, with many visitors coming from further afield, including New Zealand, Iran and the Ukraine, as well as Portsmouth!
Thanks to Helen and to Antony (our volunteers today).
Next WPs: Wednesday 6th and Saturday 9th.

Ringing the chicks

With several alterations to plans due to the rain today (30th May), the chicks were finally ringed in the early evening.
Nick M abseiled down and lowered the chicks in a rucksack and they were ringed inside the cathedral tower by Chloe and Dave, both experienced and licenced ringers.
The chicks were noisy and feisty and obviously in good health.
Their weights were 545 gms (the male) and 815 and 665 (the two much bigger females).
The unhatched egg was recovered and will be sent for analysis.
If you wanted to see video footage - Alex Rock from the cathedral captured film and put it on the Cathedral's Facebook site.
Here are some stills and screenshots:
Nick M abseils down and reaches the chicks
One of the chicks about to be ringed
Colour ring in place, just the metal BTO ring to go on
All three safely back in the nest
The female is soon back to check on her chicks
Thanks to Chloe, Dave and Alex for their help.
The project Team