Sunday, 31 May 2009

Watch Point May 30th


Watchpoint Report Saturday 30 May, by Andy and Chris Marshall:

A beautiful sunny day today in Derby. We had a steady stream of visitors, some new (including a German family) and some now well known to us.

There was little activity from either of the adult peregrines throughout with the male sat on the top right “gargoyle” until he flew off just after midday towards the town centre. The female spent most of the session sat just below the nest platform, in the shade, dozing and occasionally preening although she did do a couple of laps of the Cathedral before returning to her perch.

The chicks performed well, putting on regular displays of wing flapping although it wasn’t until we came away that all four were seen at the same time. By next weekend, they should all have lost most of their down and be spending a lot of time perched on the edge of the platform exercising their wings ready for fledging – a sight definitely worth seeing!

Other sightings were 5 Painted Lady butterflies and sparrowhawks – one at midday, a female, flew past us and between the Cathedral and the building to the right carrying a prey item (possibly a Blackbird) but was gone in an instant (are they breeding somewhere nearby?). The other was seen overhead climbing in a thermal before heading off to the south. This didn’t bother our female at all – she just carried on preening as if nothing had happened. Sparrowhawks are obviously considered less of a problem than buzzards!

Thanks again to Celia for coming down to help us.

50 comments:

Fiona Arrowsmith said...

Oh my word!, I've just got back from a week away and i can't believe how big the little blighters are! I have really missed them! I shall enjoy looking through the photos on Flickr later on this evening. They all look wonderful!!

Phoebe said...

Has anyone seen a feed since I have be5pm today? I went to see the peregrines this afternoon - the falcon was sat by the pudding cam and the tiersel was out, presumably hunting, he returned at 6:45pm with nothing, they had a quick scream at each other then he flew off and didn't come back before I left just after 7pm. I saw to youngsters pop their heads up over the tray.

Roger (AT) said...

The youngsters are very active this morning, lots of wing stretching and scampering about.
In between screen refreshes they vanish from one tray side and pop up in the other.

In last year's blog someone made the comment that it looked like "teleporting" - it certainly does!

The webcam shows a clear blue sky - another fine morning in Derby.

No sign of the parents at the moment on the cams.

Fiona Arrowsmith said...

Is it just my very early morning eyesight, i can only see three??

Fiona Arrowsmith said...

It's my eyesight, i see four!! one is very blending into the scrape very nicely, cheeky blighter! :)

Phoebe said...

Mum landed with prey I think, and is at plucking post preparing breakfast.

Phoebe said...

That didn't seem much of a feed but the youngsters look happy enough, though the youngest hardly had any. Mum is still sat on the edge of the tray.

Anonymous said...

Is that a Collared Dove in view this morning? Seems interested in the chicks below and taking in a view of the hotel. Didn't appear to be bothered by a falcon on the waterspout just down the ledge either. Brave or foolish?

Chris, Alrewas

Roger (AT) said...

@ Chris:
I did not see the dove this morning, (I am supposed to be working), but there is quite often one there.

The peregrines seem to pay it no attention, as it does not fit their hunting style.

It is amusing to think of how different a human parallel would be: Fat, soft person, lots of bling, sits near local hard guy! The latter would feel honour bound to conduct an immediate whacking.

On the other hand, the dove may be from their version of the Extreme Sports Club, winning 100 points for ten minutes of nervous perching!

Seriously now, I had a barn owl and a chough both nesting in my barn in Scotland, and they did not seem to interact.

Roger (AT) said...

@ Chris:
I see that Cocotags has just posted a very nice shot of the very dove on Flickr.

What excellent timing!

Tracey said...

Dinnertime :-)

Anonymous said...

Having been away for the past 3 weekends (and working on Saturday) I was disappointed to find no watchpoint on Sunday after the Cathedral service. I suppose if there have been extra ones over half term, you don't want to impose on the volunteers.

Kate, Derby

Anonymous said...

Oh, I've just looked at the calendar and see that you're not doing them on Sundays this year!

Kate

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

Kate: sorry, organising WPs every day for nearly six weeks, as we did last year, really took a huge amount of effort so this year we're only running 2-3 per week and then only when we have willing volunteers. We are still struggling to sort out a mid-week one this week! There will however definitely be one on Friday and on Saturday this week - and indeed every Friday and Saturday for a month or so...hope you can get to one of those.
Nick B (DWT)

Phoebe said...

The webcams seem to have frozen at 15:28:55!

MEL said...

Camera frozen on left side but alternative view camera (inc. tower) still working. Time 16:39

Terri said...

Right camera frozen at 15:29:13 but the multi-view is fine.

Karen Anne said...

Cocotags, that's a wonderful photo of the dove and peregrine.

Roger (AT) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger (AT) said...

Looks like Dinner has arrived up on the tower, Mum preparing and Dad - observing.
Lots of flapping and squawking from down below.

Sorry about the deletion, 10 spelling mistakes in 20 words was just too much!

Anonymous said...

RE:Dove/Pigeon
I would say the same ( no collar ) and the colouring does not seem sandy enough. I am guessing interbred, or maybe this years bird and not in adult plumage.
Cathy (Coco)

Sue in Bucks (Scout) said...

Glad to be home - been wondering how things were all the time I was away in Brittany. Feel I should be saying "my, how they've grown" etc - but we're on night view and only the multi (smaller) view working and I have to confess I can't see brilliantly well. I'm glad to be back though.

Karen Anne said...

I'm not a bird maven, esp. given US UK differences, but it looks very much like a dove to me, based on what the mourning doves at my bird feeders look like. Over here, pigeons are bigger and bluer.

Terry, Herts UK said...

#1 is perched on the ledge

Phoebe said...

Looks like I just missed a feed! Did anyone see it?

Tom said...

I've been lucky enough to tune in when mum (or dad) has returned with a stricken dinner for the chicks three times now, and the 15 second sequence was fortuitously timed to catch the stripped carcass falling over the edge from her beak once. This morning, the chicks are huddled in the shadiest corner as usual, and one is gaping with it's beak to cool down.

I live in Bath, and I've tried to persuade the local Catholic church (which has a Peregrine box and usually a breeding pair) to set up a similar system next year - I'd love to follow the progress of our locals, but am still happy to keep an eye on yours up there in Derby! Thanks for a great project.

Tom said...

re Phoebe's question about the feed - I didn't see this mornings, but I saw the supper yesterday evening.

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

Hi Tom: the chicks do get quite hot on days like this but they seem to cope and the sun goes off the platform by midday.
A cooling east wind helped considerably yesterday - not quite so strong today I suspect.
Nick B (DWT)

Tom said...

Re the softie collared dove sitting next to the local hard-guy, I have heard that most birds of prey do not hunt too close to their roost as it upsets the general social balance. It would make sense not to, I think. Pike will always catch their prey upstream for similar reasons, and go downstream to urinate, or whatever pike do!

Sue in Bucks (Scout) said...

What a massive difference in size between the males and females! I see a whopping great big chick, still sporting a fair amout of white down - presume this is a female; and a couple of much smaller ones looking almost like perfect little peregrines - presume these are the males (I'm sure the 4th one is there, lost in the scrimmage)
Ref the talk of birds perced on the cathedral, we've had this discussion several times before. Generally, peregrines take their prey on the wing (the famous "stoop") - should they try this with birds not flying, they'd do themselves a mischief!

Phoebe said...

LHS cam is working now and a juv. is perched on the edge of the tray! Pix on flickr now

Julie said...

Yikes - just seen the chick perched on the edge! I am sure they are perfectly fine but I would be a lot happier at this stage if they had safety harnesses on!! It is getting harder to distinguish the chicks from the parents now though ..

Ann ( Canada ) said...

@Phoebe
Thanks for the wonderful comment on my latest photo, it is much appreciated. I was very lucky to get such a good shot. Finding it hard to stay off the site and get my work done. Can't wait for the first flight. Hope all goes well and no rescues needed from the pub lol. Happy viewing everyone.

julie/chesterfield said...

can someone please confirm that all four chicks are still on the platform! I know they are hard to spot against the gravel now .

Colin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terri said...

What on earth is going on in the left side of the tray. Just took a quick look in and found that one of the chicks is being attacked by what can only be described as ectoplasm, it looks really rather ethereal, absolutely no idea what it is. Unless it's a trick of the light? Can you look at the footage and see what you think - it's about 14:20 at the top of the webcam.

Phoebe said...

@ Terri

I've been watching that all morning I think it's probably some down caught on the webcam.

Terri said...

Yes I've just thought maybe it was some fluff on the camera and not actually something attacking the chick after all. Phew!

Sue in Bucks (Scout) said...

I'd assumed the "ectoplasm" was a blob of projectile poo! And I can definitely see all 4 chicks now - as someone said, it's getting so hard to see them against the platform background. Glad to see Colin's comments too (for newcomers, Colin is pretty much the expert) When Colin refers to "number 11" I think he's talking about the ring IDs - this year's brood are numbered 8 to 11 (so 11 is what we also aka "tiddler")

Ann ( Canada ) said...

I only see 2 in the nest Something on the pudd cam not sure what it is looks like a pigeon or maybe dove. What does everyone else think?

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Sorry that should read 3

Phoebe said...

@ Ann

I think it was a pigeon, it looks too big for a dove.

Roger (AT) said...

All 4 are in the nest, but from the back it is very easy to think that one is an adult. The least deveoped one blends in with the gravel to perfection!

Phew - the most adventurous is leaping about onto the edge and back again! Hair raising antics.

Phoebe said...

@ Roger

I thought it might go off the edge for a moment!! Cor don't they make you sit up! Pic on flickr

Anonymous said...

Pax Canada 9.03am
Oh there not chicks anymore, they
are starting to look so adult like,
lots of wing flapping. I remember
last year when there was just one left to fledge a fledged one would come back to the nest and keep it company.

Roger (AT) said...

@ Phoebe and Coco: Lovely shots of their daring brinkmanship and balancing escapades!

The team may need to put a soft cushion out for that rascal.

Reminds me of my kids learning to ride a bicycle .. but the ground is further away.

Roger (AT) said...

Feeding time: Now the falcon has to stand on the edge of the tray to reach their beaks easily.

I think there was some self feeding - not too sure.

Tom said...

A quick (and possibly stupid) question for the project members: am I right in thinking that infra-red is switched on after dark on the box? If so, is the light-source surrounding the lenses, or is it further away?

Phoebe said...

@ Colin

Thanks for your morning report, it's good to hear from someone who has been to see them. Someone said they thought No.11 was Tinker, do you know if it is?

Phoebe said...

Just been having a last look at the peregrines tonight and one was still wing-stretching, they all looked up as mum left the scrape to go sit up top. They all seemed settled and sleeping now.

BTW the 'ectoplasm' is, I think, a cobweb lol