Tuesday, 23 March 2010

On Tenter Hooks

Newsflash: First egg laid c.5am 24th March.

Derby's peregrines are keeping us all waiting and wondering. Will there be an egg appearing soon? How much longer?  The answer is we're not sure, but it probably won't be too long now. Earlier this lunchtime we caught these scenes of the male peregrine (tiercel) sitting in the nest scrape with the female rather oblivious to his presence, eating some food item or other. But eventually she went into the typical head-down bowing display, accompanied by short, muted calls from the male. Managing to zoom in on him, it was interesting to note that he seemed to be nodding off at times. The white "eyelids" (called nictating membranes which move across the eye from bottom to top) lazily closed his eyes from time to time. Perhaps all this courtship is simply too much hard work.

When the falcon is ready to lay we'll probably see her on the scrape for some considerable time, showing virtually no activity at all, and in a more horizontal, back-hunched sort of way than we're used to. We are often asked how long it will be between the first egg being laid and hatching, but we'd rather answer a different question.  We prefer: How long betwen the last egg being laid and hatching?  Please don't become alarmed when you see our peregrines appearing to abandon their newly lain eggs for a few hours at a time. This is quite normal. Incubation only starts in earnest once a full clutch is laid. This time period is 30 days. This is quite unusual, as we tend to think of most birds of prey and owls staggering the hatching of their young. We can talk about the reasons for this later on. Meanwhile, for those of you new to watching Derby's webcameras this year, and finding yourselves totally hooked, the Team would like to apologise in advance for you doing absolutely no work for the next few days! Eggs can be laid at any time of day or night.



May we take this chance to thank everyone for keeping us all up to date with descriptions of what they're seeing over the cameras? It gives us all a chance to learn what has been going on during the times when we're away from the cameras. Last year our first egg was laid on 23rd March. No prizes, but an honourable mention will go to the person who cares to guess the date and time of that first egg, and gets the closest to the right answer! Just leave a comment and your name.



46 comments:

MEL said...

Suggested first egg 25 March, 8 pm

AnnieF. said...

First egg: 27 March, 06.00

Anonymous said...

24th March 10 p.m.
RJ

Pax Canada said...

March 30 11pm

Pax Canada said...

One on the nest, now on the ledge

AnnieF. said...

@ Phoebe: Yes I see what you mean about the dark blob hanging over the top of the camera - but both birds are visible now, one on the scrape ledge and one plucking that snipe/woodcock on the tower, so it must be a bit of debris.

Anonymous said...

Just subscribed to my first Feed! Have been watching these perries for a few years now, but it's interesting to have regular comments about them. I'll guess March 27th for the first egg. Looking forward to seeing how many for 2010, hopefully all will survive.

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Have no idea about the first egg, but feel things are moving along ok. The birds are certainly spending more time around the nest. That has to be a good sign. A wild guess for me would be March 26th. 10.30pm. We will have to wait and see. Hi every one and welcome back to a new season, to which I am so looking forward to. A special welcome to any new members. This is a great site and you will be in for a lot of fun and action. Much better than T.V. watching. All the very best to this years hatch.

matthew said...

First egg 25 march 8 am,
Matt Derby

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

The prey item seen recently on the pudding cam above the nest was a woodcock. Some of these birds are now migrating back from their wintering quarters here in the UK (and further west too) to Scandinavia and Russia even, where they breed. We have our own breeding woodcock, birds which probably spend the winter further west or south west of us. They too are moving back to their nesting areas.
So perhaps the peregrines caught this woodcock as it flew over or past the cathedral at night, this time heading north or east.
Nick B (DWT)

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Some great suggestions for times. Colin has been very quiet recently, so in his absence I'm going to have a stab at 25th March at 12.30am.

People were asking about the "blob" hanging down in the top left corner of the right hand view. I was hoping no-one would notice. I'm afraid this is the tiny microphone which picks up all the sounds you hear on the recordings and which should be glued to the underside of the shield above the camera. Unfortunately it came unstuck last season, and I forgot to take any adhesive up with me when we went to maintain the cameras at the start of this March.

Anonymous said...

Egg seen at 5:15 a.m. Wednesday 24th

Anonymous said...

Just seen the first egg.

Ted said...

First Egg

http://i42.tinypic.com/ehzm2r.jpg

Nick Brown (Derbyshire Wildief Trust) said...

Eggciting stuff - thanks for the eggy comments. We'll get a press release out asap.
So who won the competition?
Nick B (DWT)

Anonymous said...

maybe only one egg this year as looks like incubation already started

John B (not the sloop) said...

Don't give up on more eggs yet. Peregrines have a "maintenance" setting when incubating the first part of their clutches. This keeps the eggs just warm enough to stay viable without any serious chick development going on. Full incubation starts when the clutch is complete. The point of all this is having all the eggs hatching close together so that you don't get the hatchling size disparity you see with other raptors. This means that big sis probably won't eat the "shrimp brother" if times get hard. Peregrine families are "equal opportunity" families.......

Anonymous said...

So, we have our first egg! My productivity will now take a dip for the next few months, and as a demonstration, I’ve just had a look back to see the times of last year’s laying; gives an idea of when we can expect the next this year.

23rd March - 21.27
26th March - 19.30 (?)
28th March – 16.30
31st March – 15.00

RJ

Anonymous said...

And unless of got that 2nd one wrong, that gives the time differences between the eggs as:

1-2: 70 hrs
2-3: 45 hrs
3-4: 70.5 hrs

Which, if it followed the same pattern (does it, anyone?) and my maths is not crazy would give

2nd - 03.15 Saturday 27th March
3rd - 02.15 Monday 29th March
4th - 01.45 Thursday 1st April

RJ

Dutch Eagle Fan said...

Congratulations on the first egg of the new season!
Last year this event was the last entry Froona made on her Blog :(

Ingrid (Amelandse)

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Wow wonderful news to-day. Glad I checked in quickly. Lets hope for more. Mum looks quite content at the moment.

AnnieF. said...

Wonderful news! A bit too early for me to see the event, but maybe next time - do you think she will lay again today? She has settled down now, and if she's not incubating the first egg, might the second be on its way?
Congrats, BTW, to all the surrogate parents who made this possible!

mark murfin said...

female sitting on scrape 1145hrs, first egg 28th @1500hrs

mark murfin said...

oops should have read the thread first!! above date for second egg.

Phoebe said...

Wow I knew is was going to be very soon. Unfortunately I was at hospital this morning so only just logged on to the good news!

It has started! Can't wait!

harvtheviking said...

hi im pretty sure its not gonna be long so im gonna say 25 march at 11.30am

harvtheviking said...

i reckon that it will 25 march around 11.30am and maybe 4 eggs again

harvtheviking said...

i reckon that it will 25 march around 11.30am and maybe 4 eggs again

harvtheviking said...

ni the first will be at 24 march 1 pm

John B (not the sloop) said...

Close but no cigar harv. Your prediction was posted about 8 hours after the first egg was laid. I reckon that RJ has it.

Anonymous said...

@John B

Thanks, I reckon you’re right! I was trying to work out whether they time it with rising average temperatures (in which case the bit of a cold snap recently might have delayed things) or whether they can judge the lengthening days, or there is more prey around (the above factors having an affect on that as well; migration and the like). So guessed, with absolutely no scientific basis, an extra day from last year.

This first egg was first ‘seen’ at 5.15 this morning, though could have been before (I bet the team are checking). So really only a matter of a couple of hours difference from one year to the next, remarkable really.

RJ

Karen Anne said...

There is a lot of information about peregrines on the website Froona's info was moved to:

www.falcoperegrinus.org

Only some of it is in English so far, since we English polishers are not very speedy and then it takes awhile for the results to get onto the web.

But there is stuff about brooding, time intervals between eggs, and so on in quite a bit of detail.

Karen Anne said...

Egg photos on flicker.

John B (not the sloop) said...

Avid viewers won't have failed to notice that Mrs P has been taking some time off from sitting on egg #1 this afternoon. This suggests that she's on a "defer hatching" incubation cycle which requires the egg not to stay too warm for too long. This is good news as it suggests that more are to come.

She knows what she's doing......

Anonymous said...

I know that the Queen is attending the Maundy Thursday ceremony at the cathedral next Thursday. Hope that all the extra security etc won't be upsetting for the peregrines?

Mary T

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

Mary T: no, special security shouldn't affect the birds as far as we know at the moment. We will run a special watch point that morning (April 1st) becasue there should be plenty of people milling about.Further details to follow.
Nick B (DWT)

Helen said...

The children at school today were very excited to see the first egg. FANTASTIC! Now they are wondering when the next one will be laid?!

Karen Anne said...

Just a request that it's nice (imho) if photos posted to flicker contain the time stamp of the camera.

AnnieF. said...

@ Nick: Thanks for the 2 videos, they're super. Wasn't she helpful with her timing of the egg?! Do you think the tiercel wanted to make sure it was the right falcon that had arrived, hence his unwillingness to let go? She did her best to tell him with all those chirrups, but he was being very cautious.
@Phoebe: Hope your hospital trip doesn't mean trouble?

Mary Tong said...

Hi Nick - thanks for the information re the royal visit. I'm sure that security will be very high all around the Cathedral. I would love to come down myself but Her Majesty is visiting the Royal Derby Hospital where I work to officially open it that day.
It's great to see the videos and good news about the first egg.

Phoebe said...

@ Annief, I feel the same about the tiercel not letting go! It did look like he was protecting the egg, he was very cautious.

Thanks Annie for your concern the hospital was for some steroid injections to help my arthritis, nothing to worry me.

I agree also impeccable timing from the falcon!


@ Team, the videos are excellent!

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow! The first egg - I hope we get three more. Nobody on it at the moment - nobody in sight at all, in fact. A very mild night, though, so not a problem for it. Marvellous - can't wait for June now! (Next comp: First Fledgling to Fly??)

Joy said...

Oh dear, lots of work will now get left adn more time spent on the web. Great news. Joy

Anonymous said...

Egg No.2 is on board! Yayyy! Female not on the nest at present.

Anonymous said...

this is the first time i have had the honour of watching nature at its best, i never tought i would be able to see something as unusual as this. the dedication of hte adult birds is amazing. i will watch as much as i can when not in work. brilliant donna liverpool

Craig said...

Donna, Liverpool, glad to see you like it.

I'm sure most of us do really enjoy watching the birds after/during work hours, it's a nice way to wind down.

You won't see much in the way of excitement for a couple of weeks - that's when the eggs are due to hatch - after that there should be plenty to watch and smile about.

There is plenty of posts if you want to catch up - not that there is much to catch up on. Most of the recent ones are under the Easter Eggcitement blog.

Keep on watching and posting.

Craig, Nottingham