Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Update

Webcams
As you will no doubt have noticed, we're still having problems with our wireless link (Cisco 1200 series access point) which sends our signals out from Derby Cathedral. The engineer came on Friday and replaced the faulty unit - but the problem remained. The original unit was recalled by the manufacturer for tests. Once again, it's apologies from us and that familiar phrase: "we'll keep you informed of developments."

Injured Peregrine
Regular blog readers will be aware that one of this year's juvenile females suffered a severe wing injury which will prevent her ever flying wild and being capable of fending for herself.
We refer to her as "010" after her ring number, but she is now being cared for by a falconer who has long been supportive of our project. Colin now calls her "Cathy" - after the Cathedral - as he says he needs a name to shout to her when he's exercising and getting her to fly. Colin reports that she is doing fine as can be seen in this high-quality video made by local photographer, Jon Salloway, and taken about two weeks ago. It shows the incredible progress she has made since she was found on the ground, but her damaged wing can be clearly seen in some of the shots. Since then Colin reports that she is still doing well, and we're pleased to support him in the fine job he's doing with her.

Derby's birds have suffered a 50% loss this year, which is better than normal for urban peregrines. The greatest risk to birds is in their first year; elsewhere in the UK and around the world some nests have failed completely, or others have suffered natural losses, whilst others have experienced persecution at the hand of man.

In other news: Nick Brown from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust from reports that at a peregrine nest on a church in the town of Grantham in Lincolnshire about 40 miles East of Derby, a quail leg has just been found bearing a ring put on in Belgium in May. This is the first recovery ever of a foreign ringed quail in the UK, never mind one caught by a peregrine. The bird would have been caught close to Grantham, rather than being taken by a wandering peregrine traveling over to Belgium. In other parts of the world, peregrines do migrate long distances, but here we see them staying relatively close to their place of origin, and spreading out gradually to return to those areas from which they had declined so dramatically to a point of near extinction some 50 years ago. The 5 to 6 year old children from Brigg Infants School in Derbyshire have produced a short but stunning video telling the story of Derby Cathedral's peregrines in 2009. We hope to bring this to you in the very near future.

14 comments:

Sue in Bucks (Scout) said...

Doh! It was me who suggested in the earlier topic that quail might not be good aviators - wrong! I now discover that they are migratory between N Europe and Africa. I will say this for the Derby Peregrine blog - it facilitates discovery and self education. It's that fascinating migration topic again. Since DWT suggested some publications, I have luckily found a super book in a charity shop, costing me the princely sum of £3 - I hasten to add that I wrote my comment before researching! It just simply never crossed my mind that there could be a game bird that migrated (rather like there's just the one sort of migratory falcon)

Karen Anne said...

Thanks for the update, Nick.

For those of us in the U.S. who have been wondering what an infants school is, I finally looked it up :-) It seems to be the equivalent of kindergarten and years 1-2 of elementary school.

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

More about quail: this tiny game bird used to be very common throughout Europe but has declined very severely due to shooting and trapping in Europe and on migration (it winters in Africa). In the UK we get variable numbers year by year but they are never common - far from it! There have been a handful of records in Derbyshire this year. The difficulty is that they are virtually impossible to see, remaining deep in standing cereal crops from which they give their characteristic calls (roughly transcribed as 'wet my lips, wet my lips')....
Each spring, variable numbers move north and recent evidence suggests they make early breeding attempts in Europe (France for example) and, quite remarkably, the young, once a few weeks old, fly further north (to the UK perhaps) and start to breed themselves! This was described in a recent article on Birdguides' webzine.
We have had three (I think) records of quail being taken by the Derby birds over the years - two in autumn and one this spring.
In Poland (where quail are commoner) peregrines regularly take quite a few quail according to Ed Drewitt.
Nick B (DWT)

Amy said...

Can see last night's dinner or this mornings breakfast!!!

John B (not the sloop) said...

Some more Quail trivia.

Did you know that they can make themselves invisible to the human eye? In the field you can get to within 2 or 3 metres of them and they'll still sit quietly in the grass unnoticed.

Their call reminds me of a distant passing goods train running on rails connected by good old fashioned fishplates.

Ann ( Canada ) said...

What a great video thanks so much for allowing us to see how well she is doing under the expert care of Colin. I can't wait to see her and Colin in person. Boy time is going fast. Has anyone seen any recent sightings of the Falcons around the Cathedral? Does all seem to be well?

Karen Anne said...

Amy, that was dinner or breakfast from 4 weeks ago.

We are being good. Are we not being good? Very little whining about no webcam... Just the quiet sound of rending garments in the background...

Sue in Bucks (Scout) said...

Today's not been a good day for bird news. First, news of a dead Red Kite from my neck of the woods at Marylebone Station (London) - presumably hit by the train when taking carrion from the track. Second, news of another poisoned Golden eagle in Scotland - believe this one was near Dundee?
I've also been pondering about the nesting tray on Bucks County Hall, placed when we had high hopes of a passing peregrine staying and nesting (sadly unfulfilled). What does the team think about the suitability of the tray location? It was built to the Derby pattern but if you can seen it in my little ID picture, it's right at the top of the building. If anything were to fall from there, it's a sheer drop down 11 stories plus a bottom layer that is equivalent to approx another 3 stories. In the light of the Derby experience, it's beginning to make my blood run cold ....

Karen Anne said...

Sue,

I'm not an expert, but I would think having things to branch to around would be better.

Karen Anne said...

Operation Migration, which is introducing a population of migrating whooping cranes to the Eastern U.S. (you may have seen photos of the first year cranes being trained to fly behind a trike to get their migration path established) has a webcam up as of today, that will be showing the training each day, etc. This is Eastern U.S. time:

whoopers

There is sound, although at present it seems mostly silent. They will be panning and focusing in the camera manually.

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

Sue: the poisoned Scottish golden eagle was called Alma and had been satellite-tagged by Roy Dennis of Highland Foundation for Wildlife He tags the ospreys up there too - including the famous 'Logie' who also seems likely to have been either poisoned or shot).
Alma was illegally poisoned on an estate near Brechin and the police are investigating. To read the full story go to http://www.roydennis.org/Golden-eagle/index.asp?id=10
Alma was just two years old and had given Roy a massive amount of data about her movements during the two years since she was ringed and tagged as a chick (in July 2007).
And so the awful persecution of raptors continues unabated.....
Nick B (DWT)

Nick B (DWT) said...

Sue: re. the Bucks nestbox I'll reply to you by email directly.
Nick

Sue in Bucks (Scout) said...

Thank you, Nick for the additional information. I'm absolutely distraught about Alma. I'm not up to speed about the Logie story - don't think I'm strong enough for more bad news just now - but I did see my first Ospreys just 3 weeks ago on a first trip to the wonderful Loch Garten (readers, if you ever have a chance to go, grab it) I didn't see your comments until today (Saturday) because I was out on a bat survey (the furry kind, not the ones you hit balls with ha ha) ... which included the man who made the Bucks peregrine platform. Apparently our male peregrine has returned again - bang on the same date he arrives every year. He's clearly nesting elsewhere and returns to "Fred's Folly" when breeding is over. If I'm lucky, bird box man will show me a hobby's nest this afternoon ....

Karen Anne said...

I was wrong, the Operation Migration webcam is in Central U.S. time. I just took a peek and it is pitch dark, but you can hear the water lapping.