Sunday, 1 June 2008

Reminder about next Sunday



Another quick reminder that on Sunday 8th June, in Derby's Market Place, close to the cathedral, there will be all manner of local environmental groups with stalls promoting themselves and various activities and walks for adults and children. The event is linked to BBC's Springwatch programme and Breathing Places project.

One of these stalls will be run by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.Obviously we will be directing people down to the Watch Point on Cathedral Green to see the peregrines that day between 11 am and 4.30 pm, weather permitting...so, if you live within reach, do come along.


In addition, there is a rare opportunity to climb the cathedral tower's 189 steps and see the fabulous view from the top (though you won't be able to see the nest or the birds because we cannot allow anyone to look over the East side where the nest is situated). You also get to see the ringing chamber and hear about the tower's history (it was finished in 1540!).These tower tours are run by the cathedral and there is a charge of £2 per person (no children under 8 and you must be fit enough to climb the spiral staircase!).If you would like to book on one of the three tower tours that day, then please ring the Trust in office hours on 01773 881188. The tours last about 30 minutes and they start at 12 noon, 12.45 and 1.30pm.It is first come first served (max. number per tour is 13) - so get booking straight away!


Nick Brown (DWT)
Ps. Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is also leading two wildlife and geology walks around the city centre that day, starting from the Market Place at 11.30am and 2.30pm. These walks are free of charge and last about an hour. To book contact the Trust on the number above.
Pps. This rather charming photo was taken by Tony G during the ringing process.

51 comments:

Karen Anne said...

I'm pretty sure I saw wing-flapping on the static camera. Any word on when the stream will be back? I know it's early for fledging, but it would be great to see that on the stream. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I see our 4 chicks are still impersonating badly-stuffed upholstery! Best wishes for a great "Springwatch" event on Sunday. It also just occurred to me that the reference to the "ringing chamber" at the cathedral may have puzzled a few fellow-bloggers. It really does mean BELL RINGING this time, not bird ringing!
Sue H, Wendover

Anonymous said...

I am relieved it isn't just me then that can't get the live stream. Hope you guys get it fixed real soon.

The chicks are looking great BTW.

Anna, Ripley said...

It's fascinating watching the young ones interacting with each other - but we can only guess what they are actually doing. I can't wait for the live stream to be up and running again so we can really see what our chicks are up to.

Waiting patiently.

Anna, Ripley

sue said...

I have some (more!) questions! sorry if they are stupid. Do the chicks not ever walk off the edge of the nest? there doesn't seem to be much to stop them and that's a steep drop!

Do the parents hunt and feed the chicks at night?

I would also be grateful for more information about the cache - how close to the nest is it/how long is food kept in it etc

Grateful for any answers. thank you

Anonymous said...

I think the nest ledge is a little to shallow, and would prefer a more substantial edge on the front covered with astro turf. Which would be better for the parents to perch on and more comfortable and healthy for their feet as they seemed to spend a lot of time perched on that narrow square bit of timber. Also something for the eyasses to grip on when they start winding their wings up. It looks like there is nothing close to the ledge for a eyas to venture on to.
So with 4 young falcons exercising
I can for see one leaving before its ready hope I am wrong.

tm said...

Sue, I think it's their natural instinct to stay within the scrape until they're ready to fledge. Yes, the adults certainly do hunt and feed the eyases at night.

Until efforts like the Derby Project existed to rescue these birds from distinction, their natural habitat was places like high cliff edges. I'm sure a lot of thought went into the design of the scrape and if you look at other webcams around the world they are similarly designed.

Remember, the falcon chooses the scrape. If she wasn't happy it suited their needs she would go elsewhere and certainly not return again to lay more eggs.

It won't be long before you will see the young perched on the edge of the scrape. They won't fall off. As someone else pointed out before, the birds talons form a grip when relaxed, unlike human hands that have to be clenched. That's why sleeping birds don't fall out of the trees. :)

sue said...

Thank you TM - I feel very reassured! I have been enjoying every moment watching the chicks and I realised it MUST be safe for them but it looks so precarious...now I can relax!

Thanks again

Sue

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but falcons do not feed in the hours of darkness and yes young do leave ledges before they are ready either knock or pushed or to over crowding. And though I am extremely glad the peregrines have nested on Derby Catherdral, and enjoy watching them. And think the work that has gone it to the project is great Peregrines have been increasing extremely well over the last couple of decades and numbers are at a all time high. Hence they now populate several citys and towns.

tm said...

...despite the lack of astro turf :)

John B (not the sloop) said...

Sue

I'll have to differ with anonymous here, Recent evidence has shown that urban Peregrines can and do indulge in night time hunting. This is made possible by skyglow from street and floodlighting either silhouetting or positively illuminating prey.

John - Stroud Valleys Glos

John B (not the sloop) said...

And before anonymous or anyone else ticks me off for spreading unsubstantiated rumours about Peregrines; nocturnal habits please see Diet and prey selection of urban-dwelling Peregrine Falcons in southwest England by Edward A. Drewitt and Nick Dixon in the February 2008edition of "British Birds".

John - Stroud Valleys, Glos

Anonymous said...

Be very interested in the evidence
of urban Peregrines using skyglow
""light pollution" to hunt during the night it sounds possible but would like proof.

tm said...

Google is your friend. Just look for "peregrines hunting at night".

Anyway, thanks to the Derby webcams I have seen for myself the eyases being fed in the wee small hours. :)

John B (not the sloop) said...

Sound like proof to me tm.....

John

Anonymous said...

No would not tick any body of,
I have had a great deal to do with Peregrines, over several decade's
Watching wild Peregrines all over the UK. I have seen some great spectacles. I have also been involed in reclaiming several lost falconry birds "peregrines included" its sometimes been dark when we have located some of them a few have been lured down using car headlights lights, others will not move untill first light.

Karen Anne said...

There's been a discussion of red tailed hawks and peregrines hunting at night at palemaleirregulars.com recently.

They cite biologists finding that peregrines were hunting over Lake Erie at night. They radio tracked them out over the lake and also found prey in the nests in the morning that was not there at night. Dunno how much light pollution there is over Lake Erie, but from other observations they think peregrines (and kestrels) see up in the ultraviolet.

Also the hawks were observed moving their night perches into trees, which presumably they could not do at flying peed without danger if they couldn't see well.

Karen Anne said...

I meant to say, the prey appeared in the nests during the hours of darkness.

Karen Anne said...

speed...speed..not peed :-)

Time to do something else today :-)

tm said...

Somehow I just don't feel at all comfortable with reading the words peregrine and lured in the same sentence.

Off topic a bit but during my travels I've noticed many Red Kites in the Oxon/Bucks area this year. Beautiful to watch as they soar effortlessly, sometimes quite close to the ground. One of them came within about 20' above me as I was walking my dog recently; taking a very good look at us. Fortunately, she's a big dog !

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

Unlike peregrines tm, red kites are essentially scavengers so your dog would have been perfectly safe even if it had been of the smallest of breeds!
re. night hunting, this has now been filmed in Taiwan of all places. Attempts to film it in the UK and USA have failed so far I gather.
A peregrine bringing in food at night isn't really proof that it had just caught it since it could have been moved in a from a nearby cache. So really we need footage of a bird still alive being brought in at night to conclusively prove night hunting takes place.
Peregrines, like most birds are opportunists so I'm quite sure they would hunt at any time of day providing they could see their quarry well enough. And we have many examples of species being taken in Derby and elsewhere in the UK which only ever fly at night - quail and woodcock being two examples. More on this later in a new blog entry.
Incidentally, the cathedral peregrines cache their (spare) food on the top of the gargoyles and also inside the U-shaped lead gutters which drain water from the tower roof. Pud cam sits in one such gutter above the nest platform but the adults still manage to find space to store uneaten or partly eaten prey alongside it.
Finally, renewed efforts to get the a/v stream working again will be made shortly. Apparently, according to Capita, the sofware is very touchy and it doesn't take much to upset it!
Nick B (DWT)

Anonymous said...

For those showing concern for the dangers on the ledge,you must have watched wildlife films in Africa,for example,the crew NEVER interfere with the nature side of the cretures,its NO different from providing food,you just cannot do it;so just relax and enjoy the wonderful opportunity of being able to see mother nature doing what she does.
Dennis.local lad.

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

Just to confirm that the front of the platform is some 14 centimetres high and makes it impossible for the chicks to fall out. Only when they are at a much later stage of development, flapping their newly feathered wings, do they climb up on the edge and stand on it.
Peregrine chicks have an innate behavioural trait not to stray far from the nest cup until they are close to fledging. They do need to spread away from each other as they get bigger and that's why the platform has two 'sides' and is over a metre wide.
So far the only problem was for one 2006 chick at fledging when it failed to gain height and came down to ground in a nearby car park. It was rescued and taken to the tower top where it was released and made a second, successful maiden flight!
Nick B

tm said...

Great replies Nick, thanks.

I didn't seriously think a red kite could carry off a dog but it certainly makes you feel somewhat awestruck when such a huge bird comes so close and you find yourself 'eye to eye' with such a magnificent creature.

I have noticed the kites often seem to share their airspace with rooks or crows which fits in with your explanation.

Anyway...back to the peregrines :)

Penny said...

Aren't they looking grown-up now? TM mentioning red kite and dog reminded me of Goldie the Golden Eagle which escaped from London Zoo in about, I think, 1966. There was a photo of it swooping towards a small terrier in one of the London Parks before it was recaptured! Anyone else remember that? xxx

Anonymous said...

Pax (via australia)
I see some wing flapping :-)

Anonymous said...

Just seen the chicks all looking very alert and one flapping wings. Can't believe the difference between the eledest and the youngest. Wish we had the video to watch.

Penny said...

Just seen one chick having a good look over the edge of the scrape-ledge, so they must be curious. However it seems to know, like we would, that stepping into the void a bad idea. After all, most baby birds are crammed into a tiny space and positively bulge by the time they are ready to fledge, so these are very lucky. xxx

Anonymous said...

10.40 Wed. One just went I think. Was sitting on the R.H. ledge and flapping. I turned to this page and then back and its gone, hasn't it?

Anonymous said...

Hi all, I've not been able to take a look for a while - but I see our scruffy herberts are still thriving. My heart skipped a beat to see one sitting on the edge of the platform - how quickly they grow! I've been reading some of the earlier comments about Red Kites in the Chilterns - this is my area! The Chilterns Conservation Board (who have responsibilities over the Chilterns AONB) have a web site - see http://www.chilternsaonb.org/caring/red_kites_nestwatch.html - and this has a nestwatch section. It's nothing like as full blown as the Derby peregrine site, but is still of great interest. The project started, I believe, on Getty's estate near Stokenchurch, Bucks. At first, much feeding was done by local residents but when people were persuaded to stop it, the bird population really seemed to explode outwards - we even get some over Aylesbury now. On the whole, they seem to follow ribbons of motorways and busy roads and railways - proof of their carrion-eating lifestyle. There are masses and masses along the stretch of M40 motorway between High Wycombe and Oxford - so much so that I have to try to avoid driving down there (it's very dangerous to drive on a motorway whilst being tempted to gawp up at the sky and birdwatch).
I hope this may be of some interest to some of the Derby watchers!
Sue H, Wendover

Anonymous said...

Further to the earlier message, I once saw some black and white footage of Goldie the Golden Eagle attacking a terrier - and in turn, the terrier's elderly lady owner was going after Goldie with her umbrella! I wouldn't ever advocate harming an animal in any way, but I have always thought that this was a level of courage I would not be able to find, if confronted by a bird of prey with a six feet wingspan...

Good to see our four young ones growing rapidly - though interesting to see that 'tiddler' is still easily distinguishable from the others.

Liz, Derby

Anonymous said...

I saw a lot of flapping yesterday but didnt have time to comment. Keeping a look out for the first bird to leave. As far as size of these birds goes, I think you get a good idea when you look at the picture of Martin hanging from the tower (May 27) when ringing the chicks. I'm sure many imagine - as I have done - that the ledge is very small and the birds could easily fall. Obviously this is not so. Interesting to read the size of the birds. I didn't realise they were quite so big. I love Graham Whitmore's multiple falcon picture (May 30). Pam, Derby

tm said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/7/newsid_2516000/2516021.stm

Would be great to find some video footage.

tm said...

Yay!! Managed to get 10 mins of live stream just now.

'Tiddler' was doing a lot of wing flapping whilst the others looked on, apparently bemused. Almost as if the youngest was desperate to impress his siblings whilst they remained unimpressed !

It's really easy for regular viewers to identify #1, 2 3, 4 right now (especially #4) but I guess this will get more difficult as they grow and lose their downy feathers.

Penny said...

Also just got few moments of live footage - enough to see one chick using his own gumption: picking bits off a discarded bone. I haven't seen the parents today. Will they start just to bring bits and leave the chicks to it? Yes, Liz! I seem to remember the terrier's owner making an irate defence of Fluffy with her umbrella. xx Penny

Penny said...

You got it TM - gosh it was 1965! Well, I was only 5 so I'm allowed to be a year out. There's def footage at the BBC as I've seen it since, but, no, I can't find it anywhere on the www. Thanks for finding the still phot and story though. xxx Penny

Karen Anne said...

Hi,

Penny I saw a feeding on the live stream within the past few hours. The youngest(?) one "flew" over to the other side of the nestbox when he was done.

Anonymous said...

I saw the Goldie footage on the BBC series The Rock and Roll Years, but I can't find any trace of it on the internet either...

Hoping to get into the city centre to see the birds in the flesh this weekend. My husband tells me there is now a peregrine nest on one of his favourite climbing areas of the Roaches, near Leek in Staffordshire. The area is now out of bounds to climbers. While he and his friends were reading the explanatory sign, one of the adult peregrines flew overhead, clearly unhappy that they were there. Has anyone else been to this area and seen the birds? We've visited the Roaches for years, and never noticed a peregrine population before. Maybe we just weren't looking in the right places?

Liz, Derby

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

Liz: may I just ask that information about any bird of prey nest site is not broadcast here or elsewhere? Although there is a 24 hour watch on the birds you mention, the happenings in the W Midlands recently when snares were set at peregrine nests and two adults were killed by them makes it clear that the threats to these birds are still very real.
And this blog is readable by 'anyone and everyone'......
Thanks
Nick B

Terry, Herts UK said...

I've uploaded some pictures I captured from the Rochester NY webcams last year. Just a few to start with - mostly of the young peregrines about to fledge. This is what we have to look forward to :)

Here's the link. Click on each of the the pictures for the full images.

http://tmhertsblog.blogspot.com/

I'll upload more later.

[tm]

Karen Anne said...

Both parents were just on the nest at the same time, which I haven't seen for awhile. It looked like the very end of a feeding by one parent, with the other keeping company.

The oldest chick seems to be eating on his or her own, without being fed "mouth to mouth."

Anonymous said...

Nick B is, sadly, accurate when he reminds of the danger of letting undesirables know where special wildlife can be found. The red kite sites are strictly secret, but last year's nestwatch site failed due to disturbance by unauthorised searchers. I am also keenly aware of the problem in the context of badgers, another species that I am involved with. Obviously, all of we bloggers are the absolute salt of the earth - but if there were a bad person, where better to look for information than here! That's what's so absolutely brilliant about the cathedral family - we can all watch them and talk about them in complete safety. There's no way a sneak thief is going to get up there!
Sue H, Wendover

Terry, Herts UK said...

As Karen Anne says, Dad served up breakfast this morning between 0700 and 0720 whilst Mum perched on the ledge behind him, watching closely. Haven't seen him feeding the young for ages.

Lovely to catch a rare sight of the whole family together.

Family photos here !

http://tmhertsblog.blogspot.com/

Click on the pics for the full size images.

Anonymous said...

Terry, thanks for such super photos, they are wonderful to see. Wish I could get some like this

Penny said...

We're really hoping to be able to get over this weekend. If the young ones are perching on the edge of the nest ledge now, we should be able to get a real good look. Yes, I am revolted by people who trap, rob out or disturb any birds, never mind rare ones. What is wrong with these people. Why not just enjoy the webcam photos like everyone else? Hope they get BIG fine when they are caught.

Karen Anne said...

I'll bum everyone out a bit further by noting that the people reintroducing migrating whooping cranes in the U.S. have a periodic problem where the public is so anxious to get a look at the birds in the wild that they get too close. They have already spooked one or two birds into power lines the past few years.

There is also the danger that the cranes will get too accustomed to seeing humans from the too close watchers, which is not safe for them. The people running the project are always in hot, miserably stuff "crane costumes" while they take care of the birds.

Fortunately, on most of the migration route and at the end points in wildlife refuges, the cranes are safe from people.

Now if they'd just start reproducing in the wild...the oldest birds should have been old enough for the past 2-3 years, but only 1 egg has hatched, the other nests have been abandoned.

Terry, Herts UK said...

I think it was Jon B who posted this link before but if you haven't read the "On a Wing and a Prayer" report, and signed the pledge to encourage enforcement of laws protecting these birds, please do so.

http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/wingprayer_tcm9-188788.pdf

http://www.rspb.org.uk/supporting/campaigns/birdsofprey/

The RSPB are offering a £1000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the West Midlands Peregrine killers and iirc, the maximum punishment is 6 months in prison.

John B (not the sloop) said...

Yeah Terry that was me. Thanks for reminding everybody. And if anyone needs an incentive [here's one from the Midlands]

John - Stroud Valleys, Glos

John B (not the sloop) said...

Oops - you beat me to it with that nauseating Kingswinford story Terry but, let's face it, there's plenty more where that came from......

Terry, Herts UK said...

"The bigger and fiercer you are, the rarer you must be: a basic rule of ecology. In a wood, there will be millions of caterpillars. They will be eaten by dozens of blue tits; the blue tits will be eaten by a single pair of sparrowhawks.

If there is a terrible year for caterpillars, you will end up with a mere handful of blue tits. You will also end up with no sparrowhawks at all. The blue tits will recover: the sparrowhawks are gone. So if humans chop down half the wood, there will still be caterpillars and blue tits: but the wood is no longer big enough to support enough blue tits to feed a single family of sparrowhawks.

But the thing can work the other way. If you have a successful pair of sparrowhawks, what does it say about your wood? It says that it is in very good shape: if it wasn’t, it couldn’t support the sparrowhawks. So every time you see a bird of prey, it is the most clear and obvious sign that the place you are in is doing all right.

Even in the best of all possible worlds, birds of prey have the toughest job. It is made even harder because humans
kill them, or allow them to become the accidental victims of attempts to poison other wildlife."

-- Simon Barnes, journalist.

Anonymous said...

Apologies for my earlier comment about other bird sites - it never occurred to me that it could cause a problem. Glad to hear the site in question is under watch.

Liz, Derby