Wednesday, 11 June 2008

To fledge or not to fledge, that is the question

Quite a strange and worrying afternoon that was. Leaving the cathedral about 2.30pm, having thanked the watch point volunteers and checked the telescopes, I heard a blackbird making loud alarm calls somewhere over the road. Seeing Barry, one of the regular watchers, looking up at a roof, he quickly pointed out to me one of the youngsters standing at the base of a chimney pot. Fledging had begun and on a very gusty sort of afternoon!
We watched the bird for a few minutes and then it disappeared down some roof slope. So we set off round to the back of the buildings and eventually located the bird perching on a gutter at the base of a slate roof, maybe only 8-10 metres above the ground. After several attempts to scramble up the slippery slates, the bird (number 004 incidentally) did manage to gain height and climb onto the roof apex, just as I was getting my scope and digicamera set up to take a shot.
After a while the bird suddenly took flight and set off quite strongly going south and away from the cathedral towards the centre of Derby. We lost it to view and really had no idea where it might have gone. How could we possibly relocate it? We wandered about but with little hope of seeing anything.....Derby is a mixture of flat and sloping roofs of all sorts, with masses of dead ground. It could be anywhere......the photo shows the city roofscape looking south from the cathedral tower, exactly where our venturing youngster flew today.




Meanwhile, back at the platform it was clear that a second youngster had left and was to be seen on sloping stonework just below the platform.
After awhile we reassembled near the cathedral and Barry reappeared saying he had seen the bird fly back to the nest platform. Quite remarkably the missing bird had somehow flown back upwind and returned to the nest...an amazing feat for its first flying day and given the very blustery conditions!
So we had three birds on the platform and the fourth just below and that's how things were when we left about 5.30pm. We managed to capture a video clip of the moment the flying youngster took off around 14:32 local time. Unfortunately it seems our attempts to reinstate audio this afternoon have not been successful, and the image stream has temporarily been lost. We'll try and regain this just as soon as we can. We are in for a some challenging days for sure!

Nick B (DWT), Nick M (Derby Museum) and Tony G (cathedral) - we were all there today in various capacities. Great to have Nick M back with us after a very well deserved break and again using his super ICT skills to sort out the complex technical side of things...eg uploading the youtube clip to the blog and attending to the problems with the stream.

18 comments:

Froona said...

Thanks for this exciting update.! Wow it's quite a story. So the wind brought the fledgeling back in the box and the second explorer is on the ledge below.
That will indeed be a couple of challenging days for you all!
And indeed for us as well nailbiting while watching the cam ;.

Froona

Karen Anne said...

Is 004, the first bird out of the nestbox, the smallest one?

Were they ringed 1-4 in order of oldest to youngest?

Right now I am seeing three birds in the box, one of which is the youngest, I think. One of the older birds is somewhat hovering over the youngest.

Terry, Herts UK said...

004 is the 2nd eldest eyas and the eldest tiercel (male), Karen.

http://derbyperegrines.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-05-29T12%3A00%3A00%2B01%3A00&max-results=9

Must admit I had to check the numbers again myself! DWT named him 004, I've usually referred to him as #2.

Here's hoping for more positive news of 003 (or #1 of this season's chicks) very soon.

Congrats & thanks to everyone involved in this project. It's hard enough for us mere spectators to see these birds fledge so it must be hugely emotional for you all but of course, this is the objective and we mustn't lose sight of that.

Froona said...

Probably in the early morning 004 will take off again. And have himself a day out. It's simply amazing he just flew back today! One strong juvenile he is! Looking great!
Nr. 003 will try again tomorrow I'm sure.
Lots of pics of this so special day and great full color photo's of 004 and 003 on my Blog.
And a very big thank you to all involved in this great project!
Froona

Karen Anne said...

Froona has some absolutely amazing Derby photos from Colin on her blog.

Anonymous said...

Pax Canada 11.52pm
what a traumatic day, but alls well
that ends well!, you can all be proud of yourselves,It is has been such a joy to follow this whole adventure.

Anonymous said...

I passed through Derby last Friday (the 6th) particularly to take a look at the project. Although the eldest chicks looked big and strong (and were balancing precariously on the lip of the platform) I can't believe they've gone - seems so soon. So glad to hear all going well so far though. This can only be good news for "tiddler" I guess - he'll get almost exclusive room service now! Although, I have to say, I just looked at the cam and even he's started sitting on the lip too! Now, he really IS too small - he's still got lots of down.
Sue H, Wendover Bucks

Anonymous said...

Glad to see live cam up and working, looks a bit breezy in Derby just like here in Mickleover

Anonymous said...

does mum know where our youngster is ? and will he still b getting food from her ? and does anyone know where he is 2day ?

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

At 8am this morning the one youngster that was under the tray had flown off and landed on a roof opposite the front of the cathedral, ie round the opposite side from the nest. The falcon flew over it several times dangling prey and presumably encouraging it to get back on the tower. This it did and when I left it was perching happily it seemed right near the top of the tower on the south side.
Nick B (DWT)

Penny said...

Just seen live cam of two bigguns being fed by Dad - chicks look bigger than him now. Tiddler maybe has to wait at end of queue due to lowly status. Unfortunately the live cam now has sound again - but something def wrong and I was quite worried at first as the screeching suggested something realy traumatic and the pic locked. However think just prob with the quality of the sound. Yes, what is happening to the chick that did not return to the nest? xxx Penny

Alan 22 said...

It will be a shame if we don't see the one chick again but I seem to remember that last years brood didn't return once they hyad flown

Anna, Ripley said...

I expect this will be confirmed by the project team, but rest assured the youngsters will stay around so the parents can train them to hunt and kill which is a pretty amazing sight, especially when they pass food to one another via their talons - very acrobatic.

Lovely to see three 'chicks' still resident.

Anna, Ripley

Anonymous said...

At last our titch is perched on the edge of the nest scrape - first time I've seen it anyway. It won't be long before he/she joins his sibling.

Anna, Ripley

Karen Anne said...

Any more news on where the female(?) fledgling is?

Karen Anne said...

I just noticed some great photos on Froona's web site of one of the fledglings in beautiful flight, which Colin gave her.

I am not sure which fledgling this is, Froona? Is it the male(?) who fledged and then returned to the nest? Or is it the female(?) who is still out there?

Also, my brain is boggled enough about time zones that I am not sure what "this evening at 8" on froona's site means - the web says Derby and the Netherlands are quite close in time, so would that be Thursday evening UK time? In other words, these are photos of the fledgling out and about a day or so after fledging?

Anonymous said...

Photos around 8pm last night,3 eyasses on nest ledge this morning
and one high up on castlements.
Mum and dad present.
Regards
Colin

Alan 22 said...

Only one cchick in the scrape at 08:52 BST looks like the next two are on their way.