Sunday, 21 September 2008

Cooling down, warming up


This morning, with a chill in the autumnal air, both adults were warming themselves in the early morning sun that was shining onto the East face of the tower, the male on the middle gargoyle and the female out of sight of the webcam on the lead gutter just behind the camera, as seen from the ground.

Under the south face of the tower were several feathers of a teal, easily identified by the green sheen on the secondary flight feather that I picked up among many browny breast feathers. Teal are small duck which are often taken by the falcons between now and spring when this species frequents local gravel pits and reservoirs.
(The photo by Jon Salloway shows the female last summer with prey).

The last couple of days have been very warm and sunny here, perfect September days in fact and exactly the type of weather you want coming back from a holiday in SW Spain where mid day temperature were in the mid 30s!

We did see at least one peregrine while we were down there (perching on a pylon) but the main attraction was to watch the exodus of the many different types of birds of prey as they leave Europe bound for African warmth, accompanied by big flocks of white storks, much smaller groups of the rarer black stork and other species such as bee eaters, swallows and swifts.

The southward migration of these birds is focused on the short sea crossing to Morocco between Tarifa and Gibraltar. Over 100, 000 honey buzzards pass through between late August and the end of September with similar numbers of black kites and smaller numbers of short toed and booted eagles, egyptian vultures, harriers, sparrow hawks, ospreys etc. If you happen to be there on a day when the birds are moving in numbers it is really an amazing spectacle to watch. One day, apparently within an hour and a half, over 900 short toed eagles and 1000 other raptors flew over one of the watch points which have been set up to monitor this twice yearly passage.

Back here in Derbyshire it is still possible to see hobbies, especially the young birds which are honing their flying skills before they too set off bound for southern Africa. To watch these birds high in the fly sailing about catching insects is a treat to return home to. They'll soon be gone as the days get ever shorter.

Nick B (DWT)

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pax Canada 12.06am
falcon on the pudding cam :-)

Anonymous said...

pax Canada 12.07am
bonus! second falcon on edge of nest

Anonymous said...

pax Canada 12.20am
falcon on the nest ledge

Anonymous said...

Pax Canada 2.15am
falcon on the pudding cam,and one on ledge below the nest

Karen Anne said...

Both still there.

Anonymous said...

Pax Canada 12.16pm
falcon just visable on the pudding cam.

Anonymous said...

pax Canada 12.26am
falcon on the nest ledge

Audrey - London said...

Peregrine on nest ledge - quite made my day!!!!

Karen Anne said...

Peregrine on the edge of the nestbox. Seems to be drowsing. Good day for it over here, anyway, coolish rainy day.

Anonymous said...

pax Canada 12.09am
falcon on the pudding cam,looks like a lovely day there, rain here

Anonymous said...

One birdie on the nest, and the other one on the gargoyle. :)) Jennie, HK.

Karen Anne said...

Peregrine on the side of the nest box opposite the "nesting depression." Seems to be fluffed up and preening.

I can't tell what is going on at Alcoa Anglesea, but it looks like at least one egg has hatched.

Karen Anne said...

Woaw, I was googling to see if there's a forum following the Anglesea peregrines, and I ran across this news article about a fire nearby in March. Thankfully no one was hurt and it was not breeding season.

The photo gives a good idea of what the bird's site looks like:
http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23308670-2862,00.html

Karen Anne said...

Preening going on, wonderful to watch on the live stream.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Thanks for the notice Karen Anne.
Your comment made me stop what I was doing and turn on the live feed to watch for myself.
It's a gorgeously calm and sunny autumnal day here in Derby right now. I think most of us are still hankering for a bit of real summer - but sadly it's now too late for this year. (That's climate change for you.)
Nick M.

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

The bird you were watching was the male - I saw him as I stopped at the cathedral briefly about 9.40 am this morning. How they enjoy the sunshine!
It has gone much colder in the UK of late and tomorrow we are due yet more buckets full of rain I gather!
Nick B (DWT)

Anonymous said...

There is strange goings on in the nest, one of the adults is scrapping out the nest with their stomach like they do just before they lay eggs. Is this normal?

Karen Anne said...

Hi, Anon,

I'm not an expert, but I believe that peregrines do occasionally work on those depressed areas outside of nesting times.

I'm not sure why, instinct, maybe.

I've seen that on other peregrine sites.

Anonymous said...

Falcon on Cam 1 - so beautiful!!