Friday, 11 December 2009

A different bird for Christmas? (updated)

Woodcock corpse blocking tower-cam in late NovemberWoodcock, Golden Plover, Blackbird and Redwing are all fair game this Christmas, it seems. Whilst many of us in the UK are planning to tuck into a turkey meal on the 25th, Derby's Peregrine Falcons have a more exotic menu lined up.

Various remains including the head of a Golden Plover




Derby Cathedral Tower is the second highest church tower in England, and a recent visit at the start of December to remove an object blocking one of our cameras revealed a wide selection of prey items are being taken this winter. Many of them are unusual species that most people would not expect to see in our city centre at all.

We know that our tower camera was blocked by the remains of a large Woodcock, as you can see above. We also have this bird on film, being brought back in darkness at 7.30pm in late November. We saw it's final death throes, so we know it was not brought in from a stockpile on a ledge elsewhere. Clearly, these peregrines are taking birds that are reluctant to fly in daylight and feel it is safe to move along our river corridors after dark.
It might also be worth drawing your attention to the tail feathers on the Woodcock. These have bright white tips to their undersides, making them very distinctive indeed. (A headless corpse and some feathers were recently handed in by AndyS. Thanks to this key identification clue, provided by NickB , these feathers and corpse also turned out to be Woodcock.)

Blackbird is one of the less frequently taken birds at Derby Cathedral
So what else did we find? Well, NickB will probably have a close look at all the images taken on 1st December 2009, and we'll report back. Meanwhile, I think the prey list will probably end up look something like this (deep breath; all together now!):
  • Four Golden Plover
  • Three Woodcock corpses
  • Two lovely Snipe
  • One gorgeous Redwing
  • and a Black-bird on the north side.

A pleasant Christmas to all our friends and blog readers around the world from:
Nick Moyes, Nick Brown, Tony Grantham
(Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project Team)
Update 1: A woodcock was seen being brought back to the tower around 10.45pm on Dec 20th, and is still there at the time of this update (21st Dec). It has caused some alarm as some viewers had wondered if it might been one of our peregrines. Rest assured: they're OK.
Update 2: Below each post you'll now see a "Share" Icon. This lets you tell your friends about the content of this post via your choice of services, like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Delicious, etc. More on this in the New Year.

33 comments:

Pax Canada said...

One on the nest ledge again.
Wow! that is quite a haul of food,
all I can say is, what no partridge!! :)

Pax Canada said...

prey on the tower cam

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Hi there everyone, thanks for the latest pictures team. Nice to see a little snow in Derby. Or is it just a bad frost, lol. Thanks to all the team members for a fantastic year of informative reading. Thanks once more to Colin for allowing me to spend time with Cathy it will be an experience I will never forget. All the best for the Holiday season to the team and all the commentors. Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year to you all.

Anonymous said...

There's a peregrine on the letter R (south face) at Jury's Inn 11:30am Friday 18th December
Joyce S in Derby

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Thanks, Joyce.
I saw them too around 1pm, both basking in the sunshine.
Nick.

Karen Anne said...

Snow in the nestbox...

Pax Canada said...

one on the lower cam

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to wish the team a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, thanks for all your hard work - it's much appreciated. All best wishes for 2010 and let's hope the peregrines have a successful year. I'll be a regular visitor now I'm back home in lovely Derbyshire.

Mary Tong (Ex Caerphilly - now Belper)

Pax Canada said...

Two on the tower cam, and a dusting of snow

Karen Anne said...

Merry Christmas to everyone, and a giant hank you to the Derby folks for their hard work and the wonderful gift of the webcam.

Phoebe said...

Hi all, I'd just like to say thank you to everyone involved with the Derby Peregrine Project the team and the posters for the information and informative posts on here. Especially Pax Canada for keeping us up to date with sightings.

Also to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I am going away so may not be able to get online until I'm back in the New Year.

Let's have a toast to the peregrines who brought us all together!

Best Wishes

Phoebe xx

AnnieF. said...

One brought prey back to the ledge about 5 mins. ago.

Thank you to all the team for this amazing facility. It has been a privilege and a great pleasure to be a tiny part of it, and I wish you all well for next year.
Meanwhile - have a wonderful Christmas!

nick brown (DWT) said...

At about 10.45pm tonight (Sunday) I've just seen a peregrine fly off and return with prey (possibly a woodcock) so I hope NM can get the clip sometime next week and put a video of it on the blog - though I know he has a technical problem to solve first.
Thanks for all the best wishes etc - much appreciated and reciprocated too!
Nick B

AnnieF. said...

Still one on the ledge, I think; another recently arrived on the nestbox.

Pax Canada said...

One on the lower cam.

Pax Canada said...

large prey on the tower cam

Anonymous said...

Is ther somthing wrong with the bird on the ledge hasnt moved for about 2 hours.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

@anonymous Don't worry about the bird on the ledge. You are right - it hasn't moved - but this is one of the peregrine's prey items it brought back late last night. (see previous comments) Provided it doesn't freeze solid, it'll be consumed over the next few days, I suspect. We think it's another woodcock.

Dutch Eagle Fan said...

On our forum we too were wondering what kind of bird that was.
Some thought it could be a juvenile falcon. But now we are reassured by the observation that it was brought in last night by one of the falcons.

I wish you all Happy Holidays, good health and happiness in 2010 !

Ingrid (Amelandse from the Dutch Peregrine Falcon forum)

Pax Canada said...

I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy Christmas, my son is visiting his sister in Au. and is basking in 30c + you have snow a cold and here in B.C we have good old rain, but wherever you are have a good one and may 2010 be kind to you all.

Sue in Bucks (Scout) said...

Dear all
I'm writing this on the shortest day of the year while the snow is falling heavily here in Bucks. The weather has been brutal here recently but it cheers me to think that the corner has been turned, as it were. I tried to make the best of thye weather at the weekend by going out and looking at animal tracks - I was thrilled to find badger tracks. As Christmas now fast approaches, I'd like to wish you all a happy and peaceful one. Thank you everyone for your friendship and knowledge, especially the Project Team. Also remembering absent friends, especially Froona. Here's to 2010 - I look forward to seeing lots of you - and lots of peregrines - at a Watch Point or two!

Pax Canada said...

one on the nest in the snow

Phoebe said...

There's a peregrine in the nest at the moment looks like she? is checking out the nest ready for egg sitting!

I see they have their Christmas day lunch ready and waiting.

They really have stashed plenty of food going by your findings Team!

AnnieF. said...

A peregrine on the ledge looks ready to have a go at that large frozen meal.

AnnieF. said...

One on the nestbox edge now.

Pax Canada said...

Pax Canada tower cam working ok, but not the bottom two

Anonymous said...

Looks like the 'alternative view' cameras have frozen at 3am.
Joyce S in Derby

Gio said...

Time to thank your wonderful team for the great work and wish all the best for the Holiday season also to all the commentors.
A special one to Colin and Cathy! :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Project Team, thank you for your update on the dead body.

2009 has been giving some busy time for Nick M, Nick B and Tony... too many things hv happened with the birds. It's also very meaningful to me as I made my first visit to The Cathedral in March. Thank you for all your hard work, this is no doubt an excellent project, I hope to see more sponsorships coming in in 2010. My best wishes to the Project Team and webcam viewers.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

Jennie, Hong Kong

Anonymous said...

Is the pudding cam frozen? or has that bird in front of the camera been asleep there all night. It was in the same position this time yesterday as well.

Happy Christmas all.

Anonymous said...

I guess my question above about the "sleeping bird" has already been answered on the 21st by a project member.

Ah well, merry Christmas again everybody and thanks project team for another successful and fascinating year on the ledge.

Anonymous said...

A merry Christmas and a happy new year to everyone

EH

Anonymous said...

thats our cock bird dead not prey,our cock bird not been seen foe 10 days, so that must be him thats not a woodcock