Friday, 27 June 2008

Watchpoint ends this weekend



After six weeks of daily operation, with hundreds of people coming along to see the peregrines, the Watch Point, organised by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, comes to an end this weekend (the last day is Sunday 29th).

A huge thanks to the 20 or so dedicated volunteers who have trundled the telescopes, table, donations boxes, plastic model peregrine, banner and box of leaflets to and from the area among the fencing set aside for the Watch Point.

It has been a trying season, with so much redevelopment going on all around and Full Street cordoned off by ugly barriers. No wonder that donations have been down on last year when we were able to welcome people to Cathedral Green when it was still green and open.

Having just looked at pudding cam and seen probably four birds up there in the fading evening light, we can be pleased with the way the season has gone. We do have concerns about one of the four young (possible the female 003) who has not been seen now for a week as far as we know.

However, there comes a time when these young birds simply have to face a difficult and dangerous world on their own. We've done what we can to give them a start - it's down to them now. The photos by Colin Pass show one of the young flying in front of the platform and another about to 'mewt' - the old falconers term for you know what!
Incidentally, early on Thursday morning, the project team was called to a local solicitors close to the cathedral. In one of the offices the staff had heard flapping from behind a closed-off fireplace - clearly, something had fallen down the chimney...could it be a peregrine?

We unscrewed the boarding revealing a pile of debris and soot but no bird. It was higher up the chimney and had to be reached by putting a hand up into the darkness. Fortunately it proved to be a wood pigeon, which, apart from losing a few feathers, seemed none the worse for its adventure. It was released much to the delight of the office staff of course who were not relishing the thought of a bird of whatever species left to die a slow death in their chimney.

Obviously, although both adults and young only occasionally use the nest platform now, the present of pud-cam will allow folk to keep an eye on the family when they perch above the platform on the gargoyles, as tonight.

Watch out for new exciting news about the DVD coming shortly plus regular updates about what we are seeing from the ground.

Nick B (DWT)

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Thanks from Schools - and some questions for teachers

Letters from a Stanley Junior School, Middlesex, UK. Click image to enlarge The school-children from Class 5JC At Stanley Junior School in Middlesex in southern England wrote to us recently. Thanks, everyone.

Shown below are a few extracts of the things they said. For other teachers reading this blog, we've included a questionnaire at the end which we'd ask you to complete and return to us.

Simone M: The parents were good when the babies were born, keeping them warm, the dad was going out and geting food to bring them. I have enjoyed waching them and found it interesting.


Stanley G: My teacher has been showing us the webcam of the peregrine falcons. They are very high up and always seem to be hungry. I am worried they will fall out of the nest. I would love a photograph of the peregrine falcons. I am sure my teacher will pay for it.
Lianne K: I am very very worried that they are too high up. They have a very dangerous nest they might die up there from the height can you do something so they don't fall out, and also I am worried that the bells might make the birds deaf.
George: I have learnt about them and know they are birds of prey. I have also learnt that they were very rare but now growing in numbers. Best of all I enjoyed watching the babies being fed by their parents.
Nassam A: My name is Nassam. I have enjoyed watching your video. I was worried the babies might fall down on to the street and die. I'm looking forward to watching more footage of the falcons.

I'm sure most of the readers to this blog -wherever we are in the world - would like to thank the children of class 5JC for writing to us. (They must all be around 9-10yrs old.)
The Peregrine Project Team were certainly pleased to hear from you, and we can tell you that the young chicks are very clever at staying on the nest ledge, and rarely fall out. But you'll have seen that a few weren't quite strong enough to make their first flight. (We have plans to stop that happening next year.) Of course, it helps to be up high, especially when taking that first flight - so we don't worry about that at all. Peregrines like being high up on cliffs and mountain tops, even if some of us humans don't! Nor should you worry that the Cathedral's bells may make them deaf. The bells certainly are loud, but not enough to damage their hearing. The birds seem to completely ignore them - and their hearing is still pretty good.

And from Red Class, Brigg School, Derbyshire:
Thank you for answering all of our questions. We were happy and excited to see them on the website. We learnt lots about peregrines. We enjoyed reading the answers. We are going to make a book all about peregrines. Our headteacher is going to put the name of the website on our school news letter. Some of the children have been to Derby to look through the telescope. They liked it when the birds were flying around in circles. We watched the video clips of the mummy bird feeding the chicks. They made lots of noise. Thank you very much from Red Class.
For teachers everywhere

If you are a teacher (anywhere in the world, but especially in Derbyshire) please have a go at completing this questionnaire which we hope may guide us to aiding more schools use our webcams. We want you to tell us what we need to do to help you take better advantage of them in class.

It's probably best just to cut, paste and edit the text in an email, sending your replies back to peregrines@derbyshirewt.co.uk.

1) Have you personally visited the Watchpoints or seen our peregrines for real? YES / NO

2) Has your school or class watched the webcams or used our blog? YES / NO
. . If YES, how often and in what way?

Once or twice / weekly / daily
General interest / Environment / Life cycles / ICT / Numeracy / Geography
Other-please specify:

. . If, NO, what are the constraints?
 Not aware
 Not relevant to teaching
 Too technical, or insufficient ICT resources
 Can’t view for technical reasons (sites blocked)
 Too distracting
 Other – please specify…

3) What would encourage you to use Derby’s peregrines as a teaching tool?
 Nothing – I use them already.
 A visit from an expert to talk to your class or assembly (Derby & Derbyshire schools only)
 A school visit to the Cathedral and Watchpoint (Derby & Derbyshire schools only)
 WEB: More background information on peregrines (FAQs)
 WEB: More help and ideas for teaching opportunities/links to National Curriculum
 WEB: Downloadable activity sheets
 WEB: High definition video clips on intranet/learning platform
 WEB: An hourly image archive for you to select, store and re-show images of your choice from any past hour, day or year. (if you like this idea, feel free to expand on how you might use it, or what functionality you might like to see)
 Other suggestions:

Would you be willing to pay for? (and how much):
Unrestricted access to live video feeds YES / NO
Classroom visits by experts with supporting material. YES / NO

Your Name:
Name of School:
Town/County/Country:
Age of Children Taught:
Would you like us to add your email to our mailing list for peregrine news and updates? YES / NO

Paste and edit in an email, sending your replies to peregrines@derbyshirewt.co.uk

Monday, 23 June 2008

Buzzing a buzzard



The other day John Salloway managed to get photos of the female peregrine driving off a passing common buzzard....and here's the evidence!
The buzzard clearly had to turn on its back to fend of the attacking peregrine. John commented:
"The Falcon did seem to have the upper hand. The buzzard was nearly always upside down in the pictures I managed to get. It would be a good fight if the birds had locked talons but thankfully the buzzard got the message without any harm to either bird. What highlighted us to the event was that the Falcon flew from the cathedral screeching in a straight line of attack. By the time she got to the Buzzard they were a good 300m away, making it difficult to hear any noise.The Buzzard was no match for the agile falcon. These birds are truly masters of the skies. Fantastic to see."


Buzzards do pass across Derby quite frequently but only when they are low and close to the tower does the falcon feel the need to drive them off.

Buzzards are a species that has re-colonised Derbyshire in the last 10-14 years having been previously 'excluded' by gamekeeping and shooting interests and also by the decline in rabbits from myxomatosis.
Unlike peregrines, buzzards take a wide range of food items including worms, small mammals, rabbits and in summer, the young of many birds (including crows, magpies and other corvids).
Of course they are much slower birds in flight (with large rounded wings for soaring and gliding). They are certainly not designed to hunt on the wing but do so exclusively on the ground or by taking young birds from nests.
Other birds of prey that sometimes fly past the cathedral include sparrowhawks, kestrels and once only, a hobby and a honey buzzard.
Nick B (DWT)

Friday, 20 June 2008

Another peregrine sighted

Another peregrine was spotted in the city yesterday, on the roof of a building near the Ambulance Station by Bold Lane. It doesn't appear to have moved much, nor do other birds seem too concerned by its presence. It'll probably be there for some time if anyone wants to see it!

There's also a rumour of an Eagle Owl being seen in a similar situation on a roof on St Mary's Gate.

Meanwhile, we'd urge viewers to visit Froona's blog for her superb presentation of many of the webcam pictures from Derby ( and for her nice comments on our DVD) See June 19th

Here we have a short clip of one of our chicks and a parent on top of the tower in the morning sunshine yesterday. Notice how the youngster's breast has vertical stripes and a generally brown plumage on head and back, whereas Mum has horizontal barring and slaty grey plumage. (Sorry - just realised the vertical barring doesn't show up in the YouTube video very well)

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Urgent call for help at Watch Point


Due to a last minute cancellation, we are short of just one volunteer for tomorrow (Friday's) watch point between about 10.45 and 1.30. No previous experience is required, just a willingness to help to show others the birds you have been enjoying on line. We will have to cancel unless we can find a second volunteer.


If you are free tomorrow and could help (and live close to Derby) please ring DWT on 01773 881188 for fuller details and a chat about what's required as soon as possible today (Thursday).

There are also some gaps next week which need filling too......

Many thanks,

Nick B (DWT)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Licenced to Thrill

Tiddler on The Roof
Here is just one of the photos 0f 007 I took on Tuesday night.

Here's the link to the full story broadcast on BBC's "East Midlands Today"

(The drinker in the red T-shirt is Dean, to whom we owe our thanks for capturing the bird and calling the police. The chap in yellow is Peter who also contacted us via the police.)

















It was an exceptional evening for us but especially for my wife who has never been that close to a wild Peregrine before. Thanks to Nick M for helping to make this happen and, of course, to 007 himself!!

In response to an earlier comment - yes I think I will charge for my autograph now!!: Please send a minimum of £2 to the Peregrine Project at DWT and I will send you my autograph!!! £20 will ensure I do not appear on film or in print for at least a day!!!!

Seriously, the project can only continue, and grow, with the generosity of yourselves. Please, please help us to continue this very important work. See earlier postings for details of how to donate. It has been, as always, a privilege to work alongside Nick M and Nick B but the Peregrines must be the real stars - your support is vital to them.

Tony G
Derby Cathedral

Write You Own Caption!

Tiddler on The RoofTony the Head Verger from Derby Cathedral can be seen tonight on BBC "East Midlands Today" rescuing tiddler or "007" as described in the yesterdays blog entry.

We don't think he'll be demonstrating his water-skiing pose, as we see here. But who knows? Perhaps you can suggest a better caption for this picture?


How Wild is Your City?
Tonight at 7:30pm (18th June '08) there will be a short walk from Derby Market place to the river and back to the Cathedral to see how much (or little?) wildlife we can find. Join staff from Derby Museum outside the Assembly Rooms/Tourist Information Centre for this easy walk on mostly level ground, finishing with a peregrine watch, of course.
(I owe a small apology to all 35 people who turned up for this walk tonight: I promised to tell them at the end how many different plant species we recorded yesterday whilst walking in just a 300metres in any direction from Derby's Tourist Information Centre in our Market Place. The answer is: one hundred and twenty five! Nick M.)

Learning Outside the Classroom
And tomorrow (Thursday 19 June) school teachers are invited to call in at Derby Museum & Art Gallery for an event showcasing our new primary education services.

Drop in any time from 1pm – 7pm to find out what’s on offer and sample some taster sessions.
These new sessions include:
Secrets of the Mummies; Roman Derby; Vikings; Looking at Art; Habitat Heaven; Nature Detectives; Victorian Voyage; Houses and Homes; Time Travel Toys and Children at War.

Pupils will be demonstrating sessions from 1pm-3pm, and there'll be a chance to tell us what you'd like us to do to help you use the Peregrine Falcon project in your classroom.
(All teachers/teaching assistants who attend will receive a free voucher entitling their class to 50% off one of our new sessions.) Follow this link to find out more about Learning with Derby Museums

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Latest news: third youngster rescued tonight

Tiddler, 007, has just been rescued from the car park of The Dolphin, a local pub close to the cathedral.
Nick Moyes received a call from the police about 8pm this evening and, with Tony Grantham, the cathedral head verger, headed for town.
Apparently, a member of the public found 007 on the ground, picked him up and put him in a basket and took him to the pub itself.
Nick and Tony took him back up to the top of the tower to release him as the light began to fade.
So all's well that ends well for 007......but we still have concerns for one of the other fledglings since we have only seen three youngsters all day. ...unless 007 is indeed the fourth.
Hopefully the missing bird will turn up somewhere in the morning.
Nick B (DWT)

new photos for your delectation


Herewith a few new pictures, this time by Graham Whitmore who helped me shepherd 003, the big female eyass, into a garden where we could catch her up.




Graham works in photography so his pictures should be good and by goodness they certainly are!


The first shows 003 safely captured but complaining somewhat all the same!

Note the size of her feet - a feisty bird this one.......




Next Graham's picture of 003 before she was caught, standing in the shady alleyway below the trees through which she fell.


Once these powerful birds come to ground they are very vulnerable. They can't take to the air unless they can clamber up to some vantage point - and there no chance of that in a city environment.






Graham's third photo shows a couple of the fledglings being tempted by the falcon with a big morsel of food, right up on the top of the tower.

Double click on the image to see the details.

Thanks Graham - great shots!


Donations and DVDs

Thanks to those of you who have either offered or already sent donations to the project via the wildlife trust. These contributions really make a difference to the future of this project.

If you have enjoyed the web cams and the blog as much as everyone else seems to have done, then do please consider making a contribution. Email enquiries@derbyshirewt.co.uk or ring the trust on 01773 881188 in office hours.

And just a reminder that the excellent DVD is still on sale and is another way of contributing to the project, with 40% of the selling price going to the project for every copy sold via the wildlife trust. Again, ring 01773 881188 to purchase your copy.

Thanks

Nick B (DWT)


Ps. So far today as far as we know, we have only seen three youngsters. The fourth must be somewhere in the city, hopefully up on a roof somewhere and not down in some back alley or yard.

Monday, 16 June 2008

more pics of this morning's fun

Stop press: the live video feed has now resumed, albeit without sound. (Nick M 6pm)

Jon Salloway and Colin Pass kindly sent me these photos which add further to the story of this morning's rescue of 003 (see blog entry below).

First, Jon's photo of 003 on the ground in the alley before we shepherded her through a gate and into the garden where we could catch her up safely.












Next Jon's fine photo of the falcon (female) flying round while we were up the top of the tower releasing 003. She was calling anxiously of course, but soon settled down once we departed.
Great flight shot Jon!

Next Colin's photo of one of the youngsters trying to get in between the wooden louvres of the window by the platform. Hope it didn't get stuck!


Finally, another of Colin's photos showing one of the youngsters flying in front of the tower.
Thanks guys!
DONATIONS
Please remember to donate to this project if you have been glued to your web cams - see my plea at the end of the previous blog entry. Thanks.
Nick B (DWT) Ps. Double click on these pix to enlarge them and see the detail better.

Back up top

More drama this morning when 003, our only female, took her turn to fall to earth.
At 7.30 she was on the top of this building which is just West of the tower. As you can see the roof is being repaired and when a workman went up to start work she took off and flew round the north side of the tower.

Unfortunately she either didn't clear the trees that grow there or tried to land in the top of them. By the time I got round there she was hanging upside down from a branch but soon came crashing down through the branches onto the paving below. Fortunately Jon Salloway and Graham Whitmore were on hand to help shepherd the bird into a small garden where she could be easily caught.

She was much bigger in the hand than the male, 005, that came to ground on Friday (see previous blog entry). In a strange way, we had rather been hoping 003 would come to ground because worries had been expressed privately about her foot being swollen up. In the hand we could see that her feet were absolutely fine and the rings were loose and free.

Our gloves and carry-box were inside the cathedral but fortunately the verger, Heather, had just arrived to open up, so we boxed her up (the bird not the verger!) and took her up the 198 steps to the very top.

We held the box by the crenellation and she just scrambled out and sat there looking inwards, none the worse for her ordeal....if a little bemused.
These are my less than wonderful photos...some of Jon and Graham's to follow no doubt
Nick B (DWT)


DONATIONS NEEDED!
By the way, should you want to make a donation towards this project and the work we do to look after these fabulous birds (and rescue them when the need arises) please email enquiries@derbyshirewt.co.uk and we'll send you the details of how to get money to us. This is an expensive project to operate. It takes a lot of man hours to achieve everything we have achieved and this does cost money (we do get paid for some of the time we spend on this work, though by no means all, as we give a lot of time voluntarily).
The Wildlife Trust is a charity and it has to earn its keep. We try hard to get external funding, legacies, donations and raise money in many other ways too. Despite this effort, we have a deficit budget again this year so we'll be working even harder to get the funding in to keep all out work for wildlife across the whole county going. See the Trust's website for more information about its work. Derby Museums also has to raise monies for its various project work such as this one, so here again, money underpins everything we do.
Many thanks in advance.

Latest Fledge

A phone call from outside Derby Cathedral this morning brought the news that juvenile 003 had fledged but hadn't quite made it. She had landed on a nearby roof but been frightened off by workmen. Taking to the air again she made for a tree, but failed to get a hold, and fluttered to the ground. Just as before she was rescued by Nick Brown from the Wildlife Trust, aided this time by John Salloway (so we should have some good pictures to show you).
As I write this (08:00) they were waiting for the Cathedral staff to open up, so she'll soon be returned to the tower roof once more.

There'll be more news of this later today, and we now have just one bird left to fledge.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Britain's Got Talons!

Juvenile 005 shows us his talons after being captured from an unsuccessful fledge from the tower of Derby Cathedral, England
There was more excitement in Derby City this morning.
Juvenile male 005 decided to land on the pavement in Irongate, next to one of the many pubs in Derby's Cathedral Quarter. Called out of staff meetings, or days off, or church services, the project team all rushed to the scene, armed with sturdy gloves and cardboard boxes. Nick B swiftly got hold and, after a few minutes posing for the cameras, we took him back up to the roof of the tower (the bird, that is).


We carefully carried peregrine 005 up the spiral staircase in a cardboard box and decided it was best to release him on the edge of the tower stonework, facing inwards to recover.


He remained perched there for an hour or so, watched from just a metre or two below by another recently fledged bird.

Mum circled around the tower, calling loudly, whilst Dad kept watch from the air some distance away. The shot below shows Mum zooming past.

Not long afterwards we were emailed this webcam screen shot by Carol Crowe, showing all six birds in view at once. We still have further fledgings over the weekend to look forward to, and hope to meet some of you down on the Green at our Watchpoints.


Our thanks to Helen Bousie who (we've only just learnt) spotted the downed bird at half past eight this morning and set in chain the events reported above.

If you want to see more of Derby's peregrines, may we once again recommend our new DVD with much unseen footage and insights into how this project was set up. Your purchase helps to fund this project, and here's what one anonymous viewer said earlier this morning:
Wow! I've just received my DVD today, thankyou, thankyou, thankyou truly wonderful the imagery insight and also the music. Well done [everyone]
Follow this link for more information on The Peregrines of Derby Cathedral DVD.

Peregrines in Action - Latest News

Stop Press Friday 12noon: Juvenile 005 came down after fledging this morning and had to be rescued. We'll bring you photos of this shortly. Meanwhile, in response to a suggestion from a viewer, we've switched the main camera feed to "multiview" to give you a clearer picture of what's happening on the tower. (At the time of posting, one of our fledged juveniles is right in front of tower-cam) For those of you in Derby - come on down to the Cathedral Green Watchpoints for all the aerial action this weekend.

At 5pm local time yesterday a lone observer(Barry) outside the Cathedral witnessed four peregrines in the air at once. Two were adults but that left two juveniles in flight! I came along just after the main action was over, but there was still lots of calling and one juvenile ended up on the very top of the tallest spire on the cathedral, where it remained for some time, whilst three were later seen back on the platform all together. There's clearly quite a gap between the most developed and the least developed youngsters, but over the weekend we should be seeing a lot more activity around the Cathedral as our birds prepare for their first flights. As always, we'll be on standby in case any bird comes down and can't get to safety on its own.

The view above shows a recent feed at 07:30am this morning, whilst the video below shows a great tussle for food between young and parent. For more pictures do visit Froona's blog in Holland where she has been posting lots of photos of our birds, and many others peregrine nests around the northern Hemisphere.

video
Follow these links to:

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.

Monday, 9 June 2008

More photos from Colin


Colin Pass was in action yesterday and here are a couple of his photos. First, one of the male bird with food (not exactly nouvelle cuisine and he wouldn't get any marks from Gordon Ramsay for presentation would he?).


The second one (below) shows one of the eyass's about to do you know what. Note both the colour and metal rings in evidence.
Colin tells me that, in the absence of any significant wind, the resulting projectile missed him as he stood below, close to the side of the cathedral!


Reading the peregrine 'bible', namely 'The Peregrine' by Derek Ratcliffe (Poyser Press), fledging can take place between 40 and 46 days after hatching.
So, by my calculations, we can expect some flying quite soon......within a week probably.
This is a worrying time for the project team of course. In 2006 there were very high winds during the fledging period and our three chicks that year ended up on roofs and, of course, with one on the ground (see previous blog entry). As I recall the world cup was on at the time and the local bars were full of beer swilling, football-watching men while we were outside, standing on street corners trying to keep a watchful eye on our youngsters.
Let's hope for calmer weather this time around.
BTW:
If anyone watching on the ground should observe a youngster flying (as opposed to just flapping on the platform edge) please get in touch either via the cathedral vergers (eg at a weekend) or the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust office (01773 881188) or Derby Museum office (01332 716659) in the week.
Nick B (DWT)


- read an overview of the peregrine project
- find out about buying the brand new DVD: "The Peregrines of Derby Cathedral")
- add your name to our mailing list
- see many more pictures on Froona's very detailed blog over in Holland (both from
our webcams and from many others around the world)

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Hot and busy



We've had a long, hot and very busy day at the watch point and I trust everyone who managed to come and have a look at the birds 'for real' had a good time despite the fencing and the absence of any grass to spread out on!
Special thanks to the many volunteers and the two DWT staff members who helped out...without you it wouldn't have been possible!



During the day we saw the falcon (the female) flying low over our heads with a large prey item dangling from her feet and later, chasing off a passing buzzard (at least three drifted past the tower during the morning plus a hobby too) .
The tiercel (the male) although absence for long periods ('he'll be likely having a pint in the pub' is my standard reply to 'where's the male then?') he did finally appear midday with food and fed the young standing on the platform edge.
The youngsters showed well (we could often see the red colour rings on their legs when they stood on the edge of the platform) and there were several bouts of wing flapping and making their begging calls when they were hungry and eager to be fed.


It was good to see some folk who had been down in previous years and many new faces too. We had a low level telescope set up for the many children who came along. They were seeing a peregrine for the very first time in their little lives.
We also had a visit from an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair who had apparently been pestering his daughter to take him to 'see the birds'!



Apparently extracts from the DVD were being shown on the Big Screen in the Market Place nearby where the rest of the environmental fair was taking place.
The watch point will continue to run everyday for the next few weeks, 11 am to 1.30/2 pm depending on volunteer stamina and the weather....
Nick B (DWT)

Ps. The second photo, was taken today by watch-point visitor Nikki M. It shows the female flying away from the tower and one of the youngsters behind her, an unusual shot, thanks Nikki!
Pps. Incidentally I've just managed to get 10 minutes of live streaming viewing, admittedly minus sound - though there wouldn't have been much anyway at that moment.

- read an overview of the peregrine project
- find out about buying the brand new DVD: "The Peregrines of Derby Cathedral")
- add your name to our mailing list
- see many more pictures on Froona's very detailed blog over in Holland (both from
our webcams and from many others around the world)

More pics and a reminder




Here are a couple of excellent photos taken by Graham Whitmore and although they have been used on this blog last year I make no apology for using them again. The upper one shows the male indulging in a bit of preening and quite by chance, looking as if he is waving to the admiring watch point viewers below.



The second is a flight shot of the female leaving the tower and was used on the cover of the DVD which continues to sell well. Click on the link in blue at the top left of the blog to see how to obtain your copy - or just come down today and buy one at the watch point between 10am and 4pm.)




All the worries expressed by commenters on the blog recently are understandable and it is always a possibility that one of the chicks could fall or get knocked off the edge of the platform, but these birds have a very strong instinct to stay put and to cling on!




Fledging won't happen for awhile yet hopefully. The youngsters need to get much more strength in their flight muscles and there will be days of flapping before the most advanced one attempts to take off.
Those of you around in 2006 may recall that one of the three young that year failed spectacularly on its maiden flight and came down in a car park close by. Fortunately it was rescued, taken up to the top of the tower and performed better on its second attempt. This photo shows that bird in the my hands...and quite a handful it was I can tell you (its talons are firmly embedded in a leather gardening glove)!
Note that this bird has no white fluff and looks a lot more advanced in plumage than the young in the platform now.
Nick B (DWT)

Friday, 6 June 2008

More photos by Colin Pass

Colin was down again today and took more photos which he has kindly let us use. These two show the falcon (female) sitting on one of the topmost pinnacles and also perching on one of the lead gutters which they also use to cache spare food. Note the lightning conductor.
Just a note that for anyone thinking of going to the watch point tomorrow, Saturday; currently we have failed to find anyone to volunteer so there may well not be any telescopes there to look through.

However, on Sunday we will be there most of the day (from 10.30 until at least 4pm, weather permitting) ......so that's the day to visit. Don't forget to bring some small change (or something bigger even) to put in the donations box...
We should have some of the lovely prey feathers that we have found over the years to show you too - swift, teal's green speculum feather, woodcock tail feather with that startling white tip underneath, lapwing......and several more too.

Nick B (DWT)
- find out about buying the brand new DVD: "The Peregrines of Derby Cathedral")
- add your name to our mailing list
- see many more pictures on Froona's very detailed blog over in Holland (both from
our webcams and from many others around the world)

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Precocious youngster


These photos were taken today from the watch point area behind the cathedral by Colin Pass, a local bird watcher, falconer and expert photographer.... as you can see!
To enlarge them and see the birds much better, just click on the image. Both shots are of the falcon (the female).


The youngster on the left is clearly standing on the edge of the platform - and a bit earlier than it should be really, judging by the behaviour of the young in the last two years. It seems quite steady and there was very little wind in Derby today, so we're sure it will be OK. If it were to fall, it would end up on the nave roof and we could rescue it from there if needed.





Regarding Sunday we look forward to seeing some of you during the day. The tower tours are now full but there will be many other things to look at in the Market Place and of course at the Watch Point where you might be lucky and see an adult bringing in food.


Don't forget that DVDs will be on sale on Sunday - so do snap one up while stocks last!


Parking is free in some car parks and on-street too, but be sure that you check first. The nearest free one is Chapel Street CP, NW of the cathedral but only a short walk away.

Nick B (DWT)

* read how to watch our new live a/v stream
* read an overview of the peregrine project
* find out about buying the brand new DVD: "The Peregrines of Derby Cathedral")
* add your name to our mailing list
* see many more pictures on Froona's very detailed blog over in Holland (both from our webcams and from many others around the world)

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.