Monday, 30 March 2009

In the Spotlight

Jennie outside Derby cathedralIt was a pleasure to welcome one of our regular webcam viewers to Derby today. Until recently we knew her simply as "Jennie from Hong Kong" after she was one of the first to start leaving frequent comments on our blog back in 2007 . But a business trip to London last weekend gave Jennie Mak the chance to make a 'small' detour and come up to Derby to see our peregrine falcons for herself. With her permission, of course, we had mentioned this to our local paper and they wrote about her imminent visit. And then our local radio station picked up on her visit, as did regional TV, too!

So it was that at 1pm outside Derby's Cathedral today Tony Grantham and I finally met "Jennie from Hong Kong". But she was soon whisked away to pose on Cathedral Green, there to be quizzed, interviewed and photographed by our local Jennie being besieged by the local presspress who were intrigued that someone with no ties to the city would make a special trip just to see our birds, and maybe buy a few football souvenirs at Pride Park before heading for home.

We can't promise every visitor from afar such a welcome (sighs of relief from most, I suspect), but it was a delight to share our project with such a keen supporter. Jennie wanted to see inside the ancient cathedral tower, so together with Head Verger, Tony, we climbed the stone staircase up to the bell-ringing chamber where our control equipment is located, and she posed in front of our brand new TV monitor - a generous gift from another supporter of our project - whilst we explained which bits of the equipment do what. (Perhaps we should run this as an online quiz for everyone to work out!)


Jennie Mak inside the ringing-chamber of Derby Cathedral with a female peregrine visible in the monitor behind herOn the monitor we saw that much-commented upon smudgy mark on the tower-top camera and then climbed up the rest of the spiral staircase to the top to see if we could fix it. Unfortunately not today. But we will sort it out soon, being careful not to disturb the birds in any way. We now think the problem is caused by a severe case of a highly technical condition that low-lying wildlife cameras are sometimes prone to (We'll simply refer to it here as "peregrine poo"). Although we couldn't look over on the nest side, we did spot golden plover and lapwing prey remains on the south side of the tower top, whilst Jennie expressed delight at the view out across our city. "Wonderful view," she said. - "No skyscrapers!" Later on, sitting over lunch in the Cathedral Restaurant, Jennie made a very generous donation to the Peregrine Project's funds, and we'd all like to thank her very much indeed for that. Before leaving us we gave Jennie a copy of our Peregrine DVD and some recently published articles on our urban peregrines, written by Nick B. of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. Nick wasn't able to be here today, but had made all the arrangements which, with her agreement, had put Jennie firmly in the media spotlight.
Also in the spotlight tonight is a small spider. It seems to have taken up residence oimage of a spider lit by the camera's infra-red illuminatorn our second nest ledge camera, as if competing with the smudge on the lens of pudding cam up above. Of course, had Jennie come outside of the breeding season we might have offered her an honorary abseil to gently remove the offending creature herself so that she could return to Hong Kong knowing she had ensured the clearest of pictures to be seen by all. Now we'll just have to let nature take its course.
We wish Jenny well in her travels home, and look forward to Derby's new eco-tourism feature appearing in the next edition of the Lonely Planet Guide to Britain, attracting more visitors from around our ever-shrinking globe.
Listen to Radio Derby's interview with Jennie Mak. (Click "Play" then scroll player forward to 1 hr 19 min and 30 seconds.)
Or watch Chichester's Peregrine Falcons on The One Show earlier tonight. (Scroll forward to 5 minutes and 50 seconds.)

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pax Canada 3.01pm
So nice to see a pic. of Jenny, sounds like she had a very good time, a wonderful memory to take home :-) I am standing by in case we get a fourth egg, evan taping my soap that comes on at 4.00pm so I do not miss anything on here.

Karen Anne said...

"Lister live/listen again at http://www.bbc.co.uk/derby -links in bottom right corner."

I clicked on listen again, but I didn't know where to go from there?

Sue in Bucks said...

Er - where's this "bottom right corner" to click on? (I can't find it) You'll be pushing me into the arms of I-Player to listen to the One Show about the Chichester peregrines that my brother told me to check out. Yes, it was really great to see Jennie. I'm afraid I SHALL be expecting the same next time I come and visit though! Not long to go now for possible egg 4 - just another hour.

Anonymous said...

Hi colin its Andy again, well im tired so im retiring and going to bed, ill see in the morning if my ealier prediction was right. Just to let you know colin i hope you realise it, but it would seem that you are responsible for keeping most the uk and europe awake tonight. Hope to see you down at the cathedral soon colin. Regards Andy.

Sue in Bucks said...

Hi all, I wasn't kidding about the One Show. Here's the link http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00jkdm2/The_One_Show_30_03_2009/
I know the practical reasons why the birds choose where they do, but isn't it magical that so many of our country's beautiful cathedrals are chosen. Apart from Derby (OK, I admit, Derby was my first love and always my favourite) there's Chichester and Lincoln to my knowledge. Also Exeter?

Anonymous said...

The thing is andy I forgot to consider the clocks going forward,might be some tired folk in a zombie state.
Regards
Colin

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

1) Now you tell us, Colin!! But thanks for some brilliant information recently. It was Colin who, as a peregrine breeder, advised us to add the "grip strip" to the platform edge to give the young birds a better hold whilst exercising their wings.

2) I understand why Karen Anne couldn't find the right Listen Again" link on Radio Derby's website. I've added the hyperlink and the timing to the bottom of this blog entry, as well as that for The One Show on National BBC TV earlier tonight.

3) I do know there are still some outstanding questions that we've not answered from earlier comments. Please ask them again if we've failed to satisfy your thirst for knowledge.

Anonymous said...

OK must admit have,nt gone to bed yet just waiting to see if anything does happen 2nite. She does look a bit restless to me, maybe possibly maybe another egg on the way. Just wish you might have mentioned you forgot about the extra hour earlier looks like i might be that zombie at work tommorrow. Andy.

Anonymous said...

Pax Canada guess the time works for me this time only 4.31pm here

LYNNE said...

I was just thinking the same thing Andy...Did Colin account for the clocks going forward.

She was wriggleing about a bit at 12.24...

12.32aqm

Anonymous said...

lynne it would seem from colins earlier comment that he did seem to forget to tell us about the extra hour.But i think he can be forgiven as he has been spot on so far, and been very imformative regarding the biology of peregrines and there eggs. Andy

LYNNE said...

Thanks...Do the hens have contractions when they are Laying...She's either breathing heavy or contracting.

LYNNE said...

Well I'm off to bed...I thought she was about to lay about 20 minutes ago when she lifted her rear end...but she's not moved since so I'm not sure if there is a number 4!

Night Night All

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Lots of fussing going on and chcking under her I think if its goin gto happen it just happend. Can only stay up a little longer.

Anonymous said...

Pax Canada I thought I saw # 4 at around 3.15am you time, but maybe not

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Yes Pax I thought the same but not sure

Ann ( Canada ) said...

She looks so much more content now and peaceful. Sleeping which is what I should be doing lol. Can't believe I am doing this. Wish I could keep my eyes open.

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Well I think all the fuss is over as she looks like she is settled in for what is left of the night over there. I think there was a good chance if the other egg did come it came at somewhere between 3.10am and 3.15am. Because there was so much movement and checking out done, more so than all evening. Passing the watch over to who ever is left out there. Good Luck.
Good night and hopefully when Mr. P. brings her breakfast the Brit's will be awake to take over the watch.

Nick Brown (wildlife trust) said...

It's 0545 here in the UK and although the incubating bird changed her position on the eggs just now, she didn't allow a view of them....so we'll just have to wait some more to find out about the final clutch size.
It was excellent to see Jennie on TV last night - that should help to boost the hits which are already nearing 100,000!
It would be great to know where people are logging on from, especially if you are in some usual, exotic place...so do just post a comment telling us where you are? You can remain entirely anonymous if you wish and we have no way of finding out your email address (and no particular interest in doing so either) so please do leave a comment. Judging from the clustrmap on the blog (which you can enlarge by double clicking on it) we have web cam and blog-watchers in South America, India, Turkey and several other interesting and far-flung places too...so do leave us a short comment please!
Nick B (DWT)

mark murfin said...

i was watching between 0300-0317 and agree that there was so much movement, number is hopefully there.

mark murfin said...

ooop's number 4 it should read.

Roger (Vienna) said...

4 eggs. 07:00

mark murfin said...

bingo 4 beauties seen at 0701

slider said...

Nice to see Jenny, 4 eggs fantastic, didnt think she was gonna do it

Anonymous said...

Pax Canada 11.04pm
well as you will see from my post and Anne's sent earlier I guess we were right when we said we thought she had laid the fourth egg at around 3.15am your time

Brenx said...

I live 2 miles from the Cathederal, so often visit in person, which is awesome!!

Brenx

Roger (Vienna) said...

It was such a thrill to see the falcon fly off at 07:01 - exposing the much awaited 4th egg. It was not more than a minute before they were covered again. (The tiercel I think, as he was previously perched below, but unless they are together I cannot tell them apart).
So ... two Q's for the experts:
a) Their back feathers seem very ruffled up when sitting. Is that normal? temperature control?
b) Do you log the number of feedings? With all these eager viewers a feed-blog would catch a very high percentage.

Terri said...

Hurray, good girl! I knew she could do it. Really great to wake up this morning to news of a 4th egg. I suspected the clock change hadn't been taken into account in the original prediction which is why I made another enquiry about the time of arrival yesterday, but she was rather late with this one as it turned out anyway. No chance of a no.5 then - give the girl a break ;)
FYI, I live in Newark 40 or so miles East of Derby, so not particularly exotic although it's quite a nice place.
Yes, I'm also rather interested to know when they feed and what exactly they feed on. It would be good to keep a log of that. (Pity the poor prey but it's only nature after all).

Terri said...

Oh and one more question - do you know the proportion of time that the male/female spend on the eggs during incubation? I know it's unlikely to be 50:50 but perhaps the female does 70 or 80 percent of the sitting duties? Or maybe more?

Sue in Bucks said...

THRILLED to start the day with the news of the arrival of the 4th egg. Phew, this has been nearly as nerve racking as fledging has been in previous years. I sat up as late as I could last night but only saw a lot of fidgeting going on. I'm bleary eyed this morning and I'm late getting ready for work, but it's all worth it. "See" you all at tea time!
PS Thanks for adding the links, I thought I was going mad when I couldn't find them!

Anonymous said...

I was glad to read this morning about the spider. Last evening it looked like some ghostly third falcon.
I am watching from Matlock. I found the site on the day the first egg was expected and I was thrilled to actually see it being laid.
This is an excellent site, not just for the pictures but for the speedy way we are updated and the informative and enthusiastic comments of the bloggers. Thanks.

LYNNE said...

Hi Guys!

Sat up until around 1.45am, but sleep got the better of me!

Fantastic that we have four eggs again this year!

I'm so lucky that I live 5 minutes away from the Cathedral so I can go and View as and when.

I'm also a Project Volunteer and I'm looking forward to setting up the telescopes for interested children and adults to view the chicks close up. The look on peoples face when they've taken a look for the first time is wonderful!

It will be lovely to be back on newly laid lawn at the back of the cathedral. Last year we were on the concrete with workmen and noise all around us!

Lynne
Derby

Ruth Z said...

Phew - there's a relief: egg #4 is safely there. Now I can concentrate properly on my work :-)

A couple of birders down here in Grenoble (South-eastern France)check the site regularly, and we tend to update each other whenever a "big event" happens.