Sunday, 8 May 2011

Hatching time is approaching!

Falcon on eggs and chick with broken egg fragment beside her.
STOP PRESS: It appears our first chick hatched around 2am this morning (9th May). Well done Green Class at Brigg Infants School for telling us what you saw.



Inside the Ringing Chamber at Derby Cathedral
Interest in our cameras and blog is mounting now that hatching date is approaching, Despite my sudden  departure from Derby Museum at the end of March (and a number of kind comments from some of you about my "demise"), I have nevertheless still been active within the Project. But incubation is always a quiet time, and there has been little to report upon, which has proved somewhat useful for me at this challenging time.  But visitor interest is only set to increase now, assuming that at least one of our four beautiful eggs do indeed hatch (around May 9th-10th, we think).

I had an opportunity to go up into Derby on Friday, so I called in to the Cathedral and went up to the ringing chamber to check our equipment. It was lucky I did, as one of our DVD recorders had recently frozen up and stopped recording. Having restarted them, I went through the remaining six-hour chunks of recordings that had been made and found a couple of interesting clips which I thought were worth sharing here.

The first was a lovely change over (dare I say, eggs-change?) between the female and the male, around 7.30am on May 3rd. The low, raking sunlight really highlights the shallow depression, or scrape, that the birds make for their nest, and you can really get a feel for the difference in size between the larger female (falcon) and the much smaller male (known as a tiercel)




The second clip shows a lovely sequence with our adult male arriving with food. You can just hear him calling very faintly in the distance as he flies in with prey. He continues calling from the tower top, and the adult female responds to him. She sounds so much louder because she is incubating four eggs on a nest platform on which our microphone is located, and it picks her up so much more clearly . After a few moments she flies up to take the food item from him, flies briefly around the tower and then returns to a favoured point to start the process of plucking and feeding.



For those wondering about my future involvement with the Peregrine Project, I can only say that the project partners met last week to discuss how we take things forward this season. My former colleagues at Derby Museum are also working on getting permission for me to continue accessing the City Council's VPN (virtual private network) which for the last four years has allowed me to zoom the cameras in and out, listen for activity and remotely restart the equipment or to switch camera feeds. Whether I get new passwords to access that network before the eggs hatch our remains to be seen. It'll be touch and go, I fear.

But rest assured that we'll do all we can to maintain the same level of activity and involvement which brings so many of you in to watch and read about Derby's famous peregrines, or to visit Derby for yourselves. In fact, we hope we can find ways to enhance things in the year ahead. We're always keen to listen to viewers suggestions, too. Just leave us a comment on this blog with your ideas.

52 comments:

Joy said...

Nick its great to get you back and updating the details. What lovely videos. I do hope everything goes well between you and the Museum service.

Ben said...

thanks for the update, and fingers crossed you are still allowed the access to vpn. Enjoying the webcam alot.

Terry, Herts UK said...

It would be an absolute travesty if Nick were to be denied access after all his dedication to this project. I'll hold my tongue at this point but I hope those in power are taking note of the feelings of bloggers here.

Someone in Derby needs to step up to the plate. And no, I don't know Nick other than via this blog, like most of us.

Terry, Herts UK said...

Oh dear, where are my manners?

Forgot to say "thanks" for the great video clips :) Keep them coming!

Exciting days/nights ahead and looking forward to exchanging views with my fellow bloggers and of course, the project team.

Less trauma this year please, Mr & Mrs P !

And a quick shout out to Froona, who always comes to mind at this time of year. RIP. I'm sure she's watching from somewhere.

Julie said...

Just for the record, I totally agree with Terrys comments above.

Phoebe said...

Nick,it is good to hear that you have been able to access the Cathedral and have delighted us all by posting the wonderful videos! Thank you so much! I do hope you are able and willing to continue with this project. I can echo Terry, Herts UK post @ 14:46.

I have been very quiet lately but am still watching. I have three nests in my garden, two tree sparrow nests both in boxes both with chicks and more recently a Blackbird nest in my hedge which had its first egg laid today! I am recording all the nests with the BTO. That makes it very busy for me but I will not miss out on our peregrines!

Joyce S Derby said...

Well, it's getting exciting now, isn't it?
Thanks, Nick for the video clips, they are amazing!!

Phoebe said...

A quick question: Is it known if any of the eggs have ever first hatched whilst the tiercel was brooding them?

It looks like the tiercel on the eggs at the moment and it would be great if the first one hatched while he was sitting.

Steph (Canada) said...

Update from Hamilton, Ontario....

Yesterday 2 chicks hatched within 4 hours of each other!!! Link below.

http://falcons.hamiltonnature.org/

Steph (Canada) said...

So excited about the chicks in Hamilton I forgot to say thanks for the video!!...Thanks..

Mary T said...

Great to hear from you Nick and to see the great videos you have put on. Hope everything works out well for you.
I was wondering if there will be any tours up to the top of the tower coming up?
Looking forward to an exciting week when we get our first hatchings.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Thanks for everyone's kind comments.
Phoebe asked a really interesting question about whether the male is ever on the eggs at hatching time.
We've never seen it here, and I can find no reference to it in Derek Ratcliffe's bible on "The Peregrine Falcon", and I would doubt it happens under normal circumstances where both adults are fit and active.

We get a lot of warning before the eggs hatch, with the egg first starring and then "pipping" - ie a small hole appears and the chick can sometimes be heard from within the egg. I think it can be over 48 hours between pipping being seen and hatching occurring. So the female would have plenty of warning that eggs are about to hatch - and she stays pretty firmly on the nest at that time and any advances from the smaller male smply get ignored.

I'm really looking forward to being able to zoom in the cameras again - hopefully in time to see that pipping. if you want to see what this looks like, go to our archive link on the left side of this blog and navigate to a blog post for 4 May 2008, titled "First hatch".
A functional link to Froona's blog is given at the bottom of that post, which explains how the hatching process works in greater detail. Sadly, Froona from Holland is no longer with us, but her blog still stands as a testament to her enthusiasm for all things peregrinaceous. (Not sure if that's a real word).

RJ said...

Frist hatch!!

missed the chance to get a screen grab, but around 0150.

RJ

Julie said...

Brilliant! we have our first chick!! Mr P. just arrived with a small offering for Mrs. P. which she took from him and flew away with leaving our first view of the newly hatched chick... I watched 20 mins or so earlier as she reached below her and threw to one side the empty shell! How eggciting :)

Craig said...

Morning been watching the camera for about 10 minutes and only just noticed what looks like eggshell on the back of the scrape, did we have a hatch last night. I don't recall seeing it there last night.

Hazy said...

Any news on hatching, my eyesight isnt that clever but there is what looks like half a shell at the back of the tray. :)

Craig said...

:( need to go to work, someone keep watching an grab a screenprint of the new chick.

Anonymous said...

Are there egg fragments to the rear of the scrape? The adult is very very restless but can't see anything white and fluffy yet!

Green Class said...

We think a chick has hatched because we have seen some egg shell. but we can't see the chick and the peregrine is still sitting on the eggs.She keeps looking under her self. We think that the chick is under the peregrine. We are getting relly exsitered!

Craig said...

09.41
More eggshell on the scrape, is it possible two hatched or other half of the existing shell.

09.41 First sight of the new chick, on telephone but grabed a screenprint, will post asap.

Craig said...

Sorry to report I failed to grab the screenshot of the new chick, must have pressed the wrong buttong while on the phone. Sorry, hope someone got it.

Anonymous said...

egg 9.40 but been looking under it self since 7.10 hope am right

Mo and Pete Cole said...

Well done Mrs P.....here's to the next three...yipeeeeee x

Phoebe said...

The picture Craig posted of the egg shell shows what looks like the male sitting on the eggs and chick. Strange I should ask the question about the tiercel being on the eggs when the first hatched.

Was anyone watching in the night who could say if the tiercel was on the eggs all night?

Great news I can't wait to see the chick.

Craig said...

10.37 Just uploaded printscreen of the chick. Sorry I missed the first opportunity it was a lot clearer picture.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

I've got a sneaky feeling that we have had two chicks hatch out.
I'm avidly watching the webcams whilst trying to draft a press statement for the Wildlife Trust to send out!

Nick M.

Anonymous said...

A little bit more from last night: At around 01.35, give or take, I think I remember seeing a bit of debris flicked out from under the male, who was incubating at the time (I think!). In hindsight I suspect that was a piece of eggshell. At around 01.50 there was a changeover, and the eggs were uncovered. I was idly watching when I realised one of the eggs ‘wasn’t round’ and then it moved! Before I had a chance to get a screen grab, the female (I think) was back on top.

So, in reference to Nick’s post yesterday, I’m fairly sure it was the male who was present when the first hatching took place, but a review of that changeover around 01.50 should confirm.

RJ

Joy said...

She's looking very restless. Glad to have you back Nick

Phoebe said...

Thanks RJ for the info I was wondering what would happen if an egg started hatching under the tiercel. The team may be able to shed some light on it once they have checked the overnight recording.

Phoebe said...

Two chicks!

Craig said...

Someone must be happy, he's got his zoom back!
;)

Anonymous said...

yes nick brill 2 chicks

Anonymous said...

1.50pm and a change over, definately two chicks. Andy.

Anonymous said...

I have just seen 2 chicks when mum got off them.
CM

Phoebe said...

I think the two chicks are being fed by mum while dad sits on the ledge.

Ren13 said...

Two babies have hatched! At about 1:58 p.m. your time the male and female swapped the duty, two little faces looking up at mom and dad!
Nick M., wonderful to hear from you, and thanks for the lovely videos.

Anonymous said...

think a feed took place at 2pm
CM

nat said...

2 egg's have hatched

Anonymous said...

Just before 2.00 p.m., on a chnageover, clear view of both chicks - screen grab uploaded to flickr..

RJ

Jane (Belper) said...

Nick, you were so right! We now have two lovely white balls of fluff - the fun has well and truly begun!

Craig said...

14.03 Missed most of it, but it looks like feeding time, hard to tell, Falcon standing over the chicks. Tiercel on the ledge

14.05 Food is taken away.

14.05 Tiercel has moved to the chicks.

14.08 Standing over the chicks.

14.09 Falcon is back with food in beak.

14.09 Both adults have left.

14.10 Falcon on the chicks

Becky said...

There are definitely two chicks there! Just watched the two of them being fed, and saw two remaining eggs (at around 2.10pm). Fantastic to watch!

Anonymous said...

Hi, saw two chicks at 13:55

carol said...

Nick i too hope all goes well for
you a really lovely site to visit,i use it every day and it is very interesting,well done to all the team and keep up the good work.

Green Class said...

We saw that two chicks had hatched! They were little and fluffy. they was opening there beaks because they wanted feeding. We were very excited to see them. We were jumping up and down. And we was shouting and skweling! we hope the other eggs hatch.

KerrySuffolk said...

I'm on nights so have missed all the eggcitement!

Thanks to Green Class and the rest of you for the updates!

Can't wait to see the chicks myself!

Phoebe said...

Chicks and eggs are alone and tiercel is on right side of scrape with food. Looks like he is eating it.

Mum has just arrived at the chicks and eggs.

Mum is on her way to get the food from dad!

Dad has flown off and taken the food with him I think.

Craig said...

15.58 Just turned to the camera, only saw 1 red eggy, did another one hatch or did I just not see one behind the fluffy things?

Phoebe said...

There is a thunderstorm where I am (18 miles away)and it looks like it's heading toward Derby City!

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

@phoebe yes, I'm back in the city centre, and it looks like very heavy rain is on the way in. Worcesters camera got damaged by lightning on Friday. Fingers crossed ours are going to be Ok.

Craig said...

Can I suggest that you will the thunderstorm to pass Derby and trouble you're most annoying poster... ME!!! hahahaha, I love a good thunderstorm.

Phoebe said...

The thunderstorm has gone, fortunately I don't think it reached Derby. I too love a good storm!

The falcon looks a little restless, I wonder if there is another egg hatching?