Saturday, 12 January 2008

Still Around

The peregrines are still around Derby Cathedral, but are hardly ever seen via the webcameras at the moment.

These two pictures by local photographer and bell-ringer, Roger Lawson, shows where they sometimes like to hang out, as well as giving us a flavour of the festive season just passed.


Just after Christmas I climbed all 188 stone steps to the very top of the Cathedral Tower to check out a cable run and to measure up for a possible third camera. Popping my head over the stonework I both surprised, and was surprised by, our two adult birds who must have been on what we call the "gargoyle ledge" immediately below the top. We were all of us startled, and I watched both birds fly gracefully outwards and downwards below me, calling in alarm as they glided and flapped around the tower. Of course, disturbance like this is not really ideal, but they aren't put off by it, nor is it an illegal act until the time they start nesting again. I should have been more careful, though.

Looking down over the edge of the stonework, I saw the decapitated body of a small duck (mostly likely a female teal), which added to the remains of a lapwing and a beautiful golden plover which had been there since before Christmas. Peregrines tend to make a cache of food which they eat later. It would be fantastic if we could watch some of this activity at the top of the tower, and we're working on seeing if this might be possible.




There are a number of other potentially exciting developments likely to happen in 2008, but forgive us if we hold off announcing them until everything is resolved.

One thing we do need to decide is whether we reset the "hit counter" to zero for 2008, or whether we leave it running. What do you think? We broke the 240,000 barrier a few days ago, and it's pleasing that so many of you are still returning to check out the platform. (We will resolve the slipped camera in the next couple of months).

Meanwhile, work to redevelop Cathedral Green continues, with the task scheduled for completion by April. Here's a rather murky shot down across the Green - but then this winter in Derby has been murky on most days!

Happy New Year from all of us in the Peregrine Project Team.
PS: Since posting this, we were emailed by Ed Drewitt from Bristol Museum & Art Gallery who is an expert on identifying peregrine prey remains. He points out that we missed a couple of other birdy-bits in the picture. In front of the Golden Plover, and to the right there is a leg of some species of small Grebe. Above the Plover there is a Woodcock leg. Thanks Ed!

8 comments:

Ash said...

I would suggest that you reset the counter to zero..this way as time goes on you will be able to more easily assess the effect of your publicity and marketing campaigns. I just hope that the Cathedral Green development does not have an adverse effect on our birds, replacing grass with concrete was not my personal idea of wildlife conservation

Project Member (DWT) said...

Both adults present this morning, the female sheltering on the north side out of the strong wind, the male tucked in above the nest platform and neither looking too pleased with life!
Very few feathers down below - just a few from teal and pigeon.
I agree with your comments re. the green Ash. In fact Cityscape's plans had no grass at all until some of us from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust urged them to leave (or re-create) some.
Standing on stone or tarmac would be so hot in summer at the Watch point. Grass is much better.
Incidentally, the birds are totally unaffected by what goes on at ground level. Noise and movement has no affect on them.
Nick

Anonymous said...

Hi Nick,

Thank you for giving us an update. As I said, I haven't seen them for quite a while until last Sat.
Whether or not to reset the "hit counter" is all depend on what you want to measure, the hit rate in calendar year, ie. 2007, 2008..., the one in a breeding season, ie. Feb-??? or the popularity of your site after fledging, ie. the increase of hit rate after fledging till ???. You are the expert in this, I'm sure you will soon tell us your discussion, won't you?
Jennie, HK.

Anonymous said...

sorry Nick, I mean your decision, not discussion. Jennie, HK.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Since posting this, we were emailed by Ed Drewitt from Bristol Museum & Art Gallery who is an expert on identifying peregrine prey remains. He points out that we missed a couple of other birdy-bits in the picture. In front of the Golden Plover, and to the right there is a Small Grebe leg (aka Dabchick). Above the Plover there is a Woodcock leg. Thanks Ed!

Project Member (DWT) said...

Not quite Nick: by 'small grebe' Ed meant exactly that..not a little grebe but 'some species of small grebe'!
A feather I sent him last week seems possibly to be from either a slavonian or black necked grebe but he's not exactly sure yet and has to do more research.
So by 'small' grebe Ed meant one of three species - little (also called a 'dabchick') or one of the two very rare species mentioned above....or possibly some other related species. Identifying a bird from a single feather is no easy matter, even for an expert!
Nick B

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Oops. Main blog entry has been edited to avoid confusion. Thanks for clarifying this.

Karen Anne said...

I was sorry to see the work on the former green. What a great place for a green area, near the beautiful cathedral and where people gather.