Monday, 21 April 2008

Watching paint dry!

Adult male incubating eggs. 21 April 2008 After the excitements of egg laying, incubation is, by comparison, hardly riveting web cam material! But you have to be impressed by the birds' single mindedness don't you? It must get very tedious just sitting there on the eggs . . . though, come to think of it, peregrines are past masters at spending hours just sitting about . . . even when there are no eggs to give them a good excuse! So maybe incubating eggs comes more naturally to a falcon than say, to a warbler or a flycatcher, birds that are for ever flitting about!
Here are a couple more pictures of our adults, hard at work. First our male, with his slighter build, shorter body and slightly darker head. IAdult female incubating eggs. 21 April 2008n close up you also see much brighter yellow around his bill and around his eyes than the female has. She is considerably bigger and rounder, taking up almost the entire width of the nest ledge.
Later on we'll post some more close-ups to show their faces in more detail.

Meanwhile, as April moves on towards May, the peregrine's closest relative, the hobby, is making its long migration back to the UK from southern

Hobbies are smaller than peregrines. While they mainly eat birds caught on the wing, they are adept hunters of insects as you can see in the photograph. Dragonflies are a favourite food in summer and hobbies regularly eat them in mid-flight, discarding the wings which flutter to the ground beneath.

Unlike peregrines, hobbies nest in trees, using old nests of crows mainly. Like peregrines they don't do any nest building themselves, but lay their eggs in the cup of the existing corvid nest.

Hobbies are therefore not restricted in their breeding range to places with either cliffs or buildings. In Derbyshire, they utilise farmland, nesting often in isolated trees or small clumps of trees but rarely in woodland. Because hobby eggs are still collected by thieves, it is necessary to keep the whereabouts of these delightful little falcons secret....

Hobbies also breed much later than peregrines, the young hatching mainly in July and fledging in August, getting a little flying practice in before they have to start their first migration down to sub-Saharan Africa.

Nick B

Post-script: Sometime during today a fragment of peregrine prey blew off from the top of the cathedral tower, as often happens. Unfortunately it became caught on one of the anti-perching spikes placed on top of our subsidiary nest camera. Whether it will dislodge itself or move out of view remains to be seen -what we can't do is go down and remove it, at least not until our chicks are ready for ringing. Follow this link for more information on the camera installation

Nick M.


Anonymous said...

Pax B.C. 8.21am
what is that on one of the camera's??? thnks

Anna, Ripley said...

Is it a piece of bird carcass, hose pipe or a ufo?!!!

Anna, Ripley

Project Member (Derby Cathedral) said...

If you want to see a bit more movement I have made short DVD slideshow of photos from 2006 & 2007. This can be viewed on a TV Screen in the Cathedral Gift Shop (as long as they remember to turn it on!!) Sorry to those who can't get to Derby but this is filling in a gap while we wait for the 'real' DVD to launch any time now.

Tony G
The one member of the team not called Nick (but thinking of changing my name)!!!!!

Anonymous said...

What a stunning picture of a hobby - is that a dragonfly it's eating on the wing? Who took the picture (and HOW do you get a shot like that??)
Sue H, Bucks (Wendover now)

Nick Brown said...

Hi Sue: yes, a dragonfly for sure! Hobbies eat these insects whenever they can though birds are their main prey. Forget and can't check now whose photo it apols to the photographer should he happen to see this blog!
Hi also to Nick M and Tony G since I'm away for a few days and am sending this from Slovenia (surely a new country for the blog list) ....the marvels of the internet!
No peregrines seen here nor in Croatia where we have just been...though they do breed up in the mountains there apparently.
Migration seems a bit slow here due presumably to the poor, cool weather, as in the UK. However we did see a group of 11 hobbies hawking small insects in the sunshine over some fish ponds a few days ago plus black storks probably on migration up from Africa to somewhere like Poland or Estonia due N of here!
Nick B
PS In case you're confused, Nick M kindly posted the watching paint dry blog entry for me (I drafted the first part before I left the UK with NM adding the last para subsequently).

Anonymous said...

For those tired of watching "paint dry" switch to Boat of Garten and the Osprey site,Hate to admit it,but even better webcam pic.s.

Anonymous said...

Link for the above:-

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Even better pics than ours?

Oh, how could anyone suggest such a thing? ;-) What do we need to do to convince you otherwise?
OK, so the RSPB are Britain's biggest and wealthiest conservation organisation and the Loch Garten project has been up and running for years, whereas your local Museum and Wildlife Trust have only been running webcams for 12 months.
This does still call for some serious sulking.

Only joking - the Osprey webcam looks great (even at night) and is well worth a visit. Thanks for the link.
But all suggestions as to how we can change your opinion are still welcome, though.

tm said...

By chance, just caught a rare glimpse of all 4 eggs left unguarded a few minutes ago. Looked like Mum was 'upstairs' on the ledge devouring some prey, perhaps left there for her by Dad.

She's just returned to the eggs again.

Karen Anne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Karen Anne said...

I saw that too. I think it is Mom on the nest now, at least I didn't see that invisible (?) white mark. I caught a photo of the eggs and then Mom settling down on them (looks so comfy...) and emailed it off.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Anne said...

What's that white stuff on the nesting bird's beak?

Not to fear, Nick, I cut the photos down with Paint, the two were about 24 Kb apiece.

Anonymous said...

Have last years brood been seen? Where are they? Please? What about the Willington group?


iain said...

i have been watching the peregrines since last year and i fear i will miss the hatching again this year as i am starting a new job on monday the osprey link is great would it be able to get a live feed for our peregrines??? i was also wondering if they have names? hopefully they will hatch on a weekend so i can see lol

Anonymous said...


Dennis(local lad)

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Crikey. Absolutely no offence was taken, whatsoever, Dennis. I did try to reflect false indignation - not the genuine article - but my humour rarely comes across well in text form. And I'm glad you're a slalwart fan of our birds.

The ospreys are stunning, though. I was lucky enough to watch the eggs being turned today. With live video streaming you can't deliver a big picture like we can because of the amount of data that has to be sent. But let's see how things go in the future with our project; who knows how things might develop?