Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Proud Parents

One of our viewers, Andrea, kindly emailed in a photo she captured yesterday evening, when Mum came back to take over incubating her eggs. We've not seen much sign of the eggs since incubation started in earnest, but it should soon be over. Nothing is guaranteed in the world of wildlife, and we could be unlucky. But we're all hoping that at least half the eggs hatch out sometime next week, just as they did in 2007.

There's nothing guaranteed with our webcameras, either. Last week something appeared, dangling down over our second nest cam. Some of you kindly emailed in to alert us. Clearly this was a bone fragment of some sort and, whilst outside the Cathedral checking it out, I bumped into local photographer, John Salloway with his mighty camera. He kindly sent me the picture below. Evidently quite a large piece of prey remains had fallen from the tower and got caught on the anti-perching spikes atop the camera. We can't abseil down to remove it as it's illegal to disturb any bird on its nest, let alone a peregrine falcon. But assuming the eggs are viable, we'll be able to get it removed when the licenced ringers go down to put numbered and coloured bands on their legs of the new chicks, just as they did last season about three weeks after they hatched. This may eventually reveal scientific evidence as to where our young birds eventually end up.

Astute viewers may have noticed that the small world map on the bottom left of our blog has lost its cluster of big red dots. These showed where in the world you, our readers, hail from. (Or, to be more exact, where your ISP is located). Just click on the map to zoom in for a clearer view of each continent's viewers. We decided to changed the settings so that the map refreshes weekly, rather than yearly, so giving us a more up-to-date image of where blog readers are located. We may alter this to monthly if this doesn't work out. Let us know what you think.

Once again, we can reassure you there's an awful lot happening behind the scenes. Rather mundane was the replacement under warranty today of one of our DVD/HDD recorders which has been faulty for some time. We decided to pay for an upgrade, so both machines are now Philips DVDR3460H with 250Gb of disk storage for capturing some of those moments you tell us you've witnessed live on the webcams.

As well watching and waiting for the fairly imminent hatching (sometime next week), there is other exciting news that all of us in the Project Team have been working on recently, and are looking forward to bringing you in the next day or two.

Meanwhile, please keep returning and making those little red dots grow on our map of the world!

(New visitors to this blog may wish to read an overview of the peregrine project, or add their names to our mailing list.)


Anonymous said...

Pax B.C Canada 12.00am
No problem here with returning, hard to tear myself away, but for the next month my dot will be getting brighter from Australia,so I will be in touch from there :)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a name of the person who is passing themself off as a wildlife trust member of staff, then at least we know who to look out for. Steve White. Derby

John B (not the sloop) said...

That dangling item looks disconcertingly like a facehugger from "Alien" stripped of its legs. Hopefully someone will be able to ID it properly when it comes to ringing time.

Anonymous said...

The photo with mum and her eggs is a great photo really spot on.I find my self holding my breath for the day when it comes that they hatch and like you say its in natures hands....but every time i see the eggs i hold my breath all the same,these are great parents and are experienced and where could be safer than on gods cathedral.
Does any one have any statistics as to how many pairs we have breeding in the uk?

Anonymous said...

i love the whole red dots thing!!!
i actually feel i can see jenny in hong kong
lyndsey, chesterfield

John B (not the sloop) said...


There are thought to be around 1400 breeding Peregrine pairs in the UK. A much happier situation than was the case in the post war to sixties period.

John - Stroud Valleys, Glos

Anonymous said...

Hi john thank you for the info are peregrines still endangered? I dont know if any one else noticed 12.15pm today on wards you got a good look at the four eggs i was like wow i nearly dropped my cuppa i was in the middle of my course work and she came off the eggs and stepped on the edge of the nesting tray..i missed her land as the cam jumped a little but i have some good pics of her re sitting and attending her eggs but i dont know how to add them?..ALL GOOD.from Richard in derby

John B (not the sloop) said...

Hi Richard in Derby.

Peregrines still suffer persecution, but are relatively safe these days from the particularly toxic and persistent pesticides being sprayed around liberally 30 or 40 years ago. Any poisoning now is, I'm sorry to say, usually deliberate. Their eggs can be at risk from illegal collecters too.

John in Glos