Sunday, 28 December 2008

Prey Update

Through December, the Derby Cathedral peregrines have continued to exhibit their catholic diet (and this on a Church of England cathedral too!).

Species identified recently have included several woodcock, teal and snipe and single collared dove, redshank, water rail and knot, the feathers of these latter birds kindly identified by Ed Drewitt at Bristol Museum.
In addition, Nick Moyes found what he thought was a dunlin corpse at the top of the tower in mid-December (photo above). To me it looked rather grey and long winged but in the absence of a head (the dunlin, not me!), identification was a bit more tricky!

The problem was further complicated by the fact that its wing measured 126mm, some10 mms longer than 'normal' dunlin wings - but exactly that of another small wading bird called a sanderling.
However, my hopes of adding this species to the growing Derby prey list were quickly dashed when I discovered something I suppose I should have known- namely that sanderling, uniquely among small waders, have no hind toes - which this bird certainly did have.
Surfing the net to see if any dunlins have longer wings, I found an article about those trapped on autumn migration in Israel and this indicated that some birds have longer wings - the longest being 130mm.
Meanwhile, I sent photos of the wing and tail to Ed and he quickly confirmed it as a dunlin, possibly from Siberia!
The photo left shows a dunlin's wing from Ed's collection.
Glancing quickly through recent records on the local bird watchers website, I could find only one dunlin reported from the vicinity of Derby - namely on at Aston on Trent Gravel Pits sometime in late November. The dunlin is indeed a rare bird inland in winter and indeed in summer too.
Now, Nick's tower-top bird was fresh when he found it on 10th December so the records don't really tie up unless the Aston bird was a long-stayer.
Alternatively, and perhaps just as likely, one of the peregrines grabbed it as it flew over Derby by night.....along with the knot (and in previous years, a mid-winter bar tailed godwit, turnstone and two further knot). Could these birds have been making nocturnal commuting flights between feeding sites on estuaries on the West and East coasts of the UK, entirely unseen by Derbyshire's oh-so-diurnal bird watchers? Who knows!
Anyway, since someone asked for the complete prey list of the 46 bird species and one mammal found at Derby Cathedral since 2005, here it is:

mallard - teal - gadwall - ruddy & tufted ducks
woodcock - common & jack snipe - dunlin - knot
redshank - lapwing - golden plover
bar & black tailed godwit - whimbrel - turnstone
quail - water rail - little grebe - moorhen
common & arctic tern - black headed gull
jay - jackdaw - crow - magpie - pied wagtail
swift - little owl - fieldfare - redwing - blackbird
song & mistle thrush - great spotted woodpecker
robin - skylark - chaffinch - goldfinch - starling
wood pigeon - feral pigeon - collared dove - waxwing
and one brown rat!

Cheers and Happy New Year to everyone!
Nick B (DWT)




53 comments:

Froona said...

Thank you for that update Nick. Very interresting indeed about the Dunlin. Must have been on it's migration route all the way from Siberia.
In the Netherlands it does not breed anymore, spents only the winter.
Thanks for the list of preyspecies!They are not very picky now are they, our beloved peregrines, just grab what's flying over.
Froona

Karen Anne said...

Haven't seen the peregrines around in a few days...

LYNNE said...

Hi Karen..

Peregrine on Nest Scrape 9.47am

X

LYNNE said...

Oooops! I meant Peregrine on Nest Platform:- 9.50am

X

LYNNE said...

Peregrine on Nest Box 11.38am.

Karen Anne said...

Yes, whew, I was beginning to get worried :-)

LYNNE said...

Me too karen..He's still there on the Nest Box.

2.00pm

Anonymous said...

1436: 2 peregrines present, 1 either side of the nesting platform. Does anyone know whether these are the male/female pair who produced the young last year, or is it 2 of the youngsters?

Karen Anne said...

Anon,

As I recall near fledging it was said that you could tell the young from the adults by whether the stripes across their chests were vertical or horizontal. I don't know when the feathers change as the birds mature, plus my steel trap mind has forgotten which way is which bird.

The one who's in the nest box now seems to have horizontal stripes, I didn't get a good look with the live stream being down. But he or she was working on the depression, so I am guessing, one of the adults. I think the young disperse to find new territories, but I don't remember when that happens either.

LYNNE said...

I think the Peregrine on the Nest Box is last years Male

He's still there...

3.48pm

LYNNE said...

Forgot to say its the male that works on the depression to try and entice the female to the nest...I did see him tidying and actually scraping the nest a good few days back but he seems to have let it get a bit untidy again...(Men Eh?) Lynne runs away and hides..lol

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Just a quick word to confirm that the birds we're now seeing on the nest platfrom and ledge are the same pair of peregrines that have nested here each year since 2006. The young all move off to pastures new around autumn, and the parents remain and protect their nest site from year to year.
Nick Moyes

LYNNE said...

Thanks for that Nick.

Happy New Year!

LYNNE said...

Male Peregrine below the Nest Box.

10.11am

LYNNE said...

Pergrine in Nest box.

9.28am

LYNNE said...

Peregrine on Nest Platform Ledge...

12.22pm

LYNNE said...

Peregrine just below the nest box on the ledge.

15.57pm

Anonymous said...

One birdie is busy nest-scraping at around 8:35am. and the other one in front of pud cam. Jennie, HK.

LYNNE said...

Peregrine Below Nest Box

9.25am

LYNNE said...

Peregrine has been in and around Nest Box all Morning..

12.27pm

Anonymous said...

pax Canada 11.55pm
falcon on nest box ledge

Anonymous said...

pax Canada 11.57pm
both falcons on the pudding cam now

LYNNE said...

Peregrine on Nest Box Ledge.

9.24 am

Anonymous said...

pax Canada 12.13am
falcon on the pudding cam

LYNNE said...

Peregrin on Left Camera.

10.16am

LYNNE said...

Both Male and Female present:- One on Nest Box Camera the other on Pudding Cam.

2.51pm

Anonymous said...

pax Canada 12.23am
falcon on the pudding cam

LYNNE said...

Both Peregrines sat together on pudding cam.

Beautiful!

3.11pm

LYNNE said...

I so wish someone else could see what I'm seeing..Frightened to post in case i miss something...Female is facing the wall lifting up her tail feathers as if to say 'Come on then!' The male has his back to Pudding Cam... they've been there for over 30 minutes now....

LYNNE said...

Light is failing now..one of the peregrines has flown away...missed it whilst posting (grrrrr) The peregrine thats remaining has a large v shaped white front. I've tried to give as much info as posible...all I can say is that was a beautiful site.

3.42pm 9 Degrees

LYNNE said...

Hi Nick

Is there anyway that you could post still photographs of last years Male & Female peregrines 'SIDE BY SIDE' in the hope that it will help new folks to the project determine which Pergrine they are viewing...it would help me too!

Thanks.

Lynne

Karen Anne said...

Lynne, if you want to capture a photo, press the Print Screen key on your keyboard (called prt sc or something like that). That will put an image of what's on your display in the clipboard, so you can control v it into Paint, etc.
and then save it as a jpg.

LYNNE said...

Oh Karen thanks so much for that but its taken me over a year to learn how to post on here..(lol) I can't see me ever mastering that...however I will try! But don't hold your breath!

Thanks again Karen.

X

Karen Anne said...

Peregrine on the pudding cam area.

Anonymous said...

pax canada 1.00am
falcon on nest ledge, very foggy there today

LYNNE said...

Peregrine on Nest Platform ledge.

9.19 am

LYNNE said...

Can anyone identify what the 'Long Snake' like thing is in the Nest Scrape Box?

9.47am

Karen Anne said...

Lynne, I'm not sure what you mean?

LYNNE said...

Hi Karen

There was a really long object in the Nest Box yesterday...A few of us looked at it and we couldn't make out what it was as it was much longer than a feather..anyway today its not so noticable and its moved .. so it must have been a feather.

LYNNE said...

Peregrine on Nest Box Ledge.

15.08pm

Nick Brown DWT said...

Sorry Lynne been busy and didn't even get time to look for the object you mention.
Will do a new post about the male/female ID soon.
Nick DWT

Anonymous said...

pax Canada 12.44am
wonderful shot of a falcon on the pudding cam have breakfast

LYNNE said...

Thanks Nick..I've tried to find a photo on the Internet...showing a Female and Male Peregrine side by side..so that you can compare the markings..size difference etc...But cant find one..and to be honest I wouldn't know how to upload it.

I just think it would be helpful for new folks coming to the sight to be able to identify whether they are viewing a male or female peregrine.

Anonymous said...

pax Canada 1.15am
falcon not visable on pudding cam, but its shadow can be seen on the wall!

Anonymous said...

pax Canada 11.58pm
falcon on the pudding cam

Anonymous said...

pax Canada 12.35am
falcon on nest ledge

LYNNE said...

Peregrine on Nest Scrape Ledge

10.33am

LYNNE said...

Peregrine on Nest Platform Ledge.

8.10am

Karen Anne said...

Peregrine at the pudding cam area.

LYNNE said...

1 peregrine on Pudding Cam & 1 Peregrine on Nest Platform Ledge!

4.45 pm

Anonymous said...

Just read your "prey list". You bloody liar.

LYNNE said...

Hi Nick

Thanks for your Post about 'Popocatepetl' How wonderful it must have been for you to visit their. So many memories for you to look back on!

Thanks also for the info on the Peregrines. I'm sure it will be very helpful for all visitors to the Project, including myself.

LYNNE said...

Peregrine on Nest Box ledge

2.20pm