Our posting earlier yesterday (Tuesday) detailed some of the events that unfolded at Derby Cathedral's tower. The full story of that first flight can be seen in the video clip below:
For those interested to know more of what happened, here's my rather long-winded account of some of today's events:
It so happened that around lunchtime I was already inside the bell-ringing chamber, checking on yesterday's video clips when a mobile phone call came in from Nick at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. It suggested that one of our juvenile birds had left the nest. So, swapping immediately back to the live cameras I found that, sure enough, where there had just a few minutes before been four birds, now there were only three. Nick urged me to look out over the nave roof as reports from the Green suggested it may have fallen straight down onto it. But peering out of the window of Derby's highest toilet, there was no sign of the peregrine.
Rushing back to the video recorder and reviewing film captured only moments before, it soon became clear that our young bird had not taken off in usual style. Rather, she had stumbled in the breeze and lost her footing. (Or was she pushed? ). This was more serious, so a trip out onto the nave roof was called for, guided by mobile calls to Colin and Wayne out on the Green below. The adult female was calling loudly and I was watched by three juvenile birds on the tray high above me as I stepped carefully onto the lead-covered ridge of the 18th century nave roof. Walking along its full length, there was still no sign, and by now people were gathering from nearby offices, some offering to search the surrounding area. Back inside the tower, word soon came through that she had been spotted on the low roof of a nearby building. She was safe. For now.(This great photo by Colin Pass captures 010 mid-fall! Please note that the photo is Colin's copyright) .
I returned to complete the task of putting a few clips onto DVD for our blog and for local TV, promising to drop them into to the TV station on my way back to work. I rather liked this one of the remaining three birds excitedly bouncing around the platform a few minutes after the first bird had left:
But as I was about to descend down the tower's long, dark spiral staircase another call came in . . . the bird had eventually come down and, after a bit of a chase around a car park, Colin had captured it! I wouldn't have dared do this without gloves, but Colin is an experienced falconer and knows how to handle the birds. So there was falcon (number 010) calmly sitting in a cardboard box in the Cathedral. We showed her to a number of young boys from Derby Cathedral Choir who had just arrived for a rehearsal and told them how, with any luck, this bird might grow up to be one of the fastest creatures on the planet.
Meanwhile Tony the Head Verger had arrived from his day off, followed shortly afterwards by a photographer from Derby Evening Telegraph whom, along with our young falcon, we took back up to the top of the tower. There she was photographed (you'll have to buy tomorrows local paper to see all the pictures, I'm afraid) and she eventually let go of the long leather gauntlets we were using to protect ourselves from those sharp talons and scuttled off into a corner. We left her there, knowing this was all we could do, but that she would be OK. Mum was circling and calling nearby and would bring her food if needs be. Soon she'd be strong enough to fly up onto the stonework ready for her second attempt at flying. Tomorrow perhaps?
Derby Museum & Art Gallery
Our thanks to David Bradley for capturing these images today of Derbyshire falcon 010.