Friday, 11 November 2011

Tony Grantham, an interview with him & a Raptor Rescue

Webcam Update:
Derby City Council whose network connections we use for our webcams has changed its website today. If you are having difficulty accessing the normal webcam pages, please use the links in the Webcam Tab on our blog's homepage.

Hear Tony's long interview on BBC Radio Derby on Monday at:  (it's 1hr 8 minutes in)
News has reached us that Tony Grantham, the cathedral's Head Verger for the last eleven years, has just resigned from his post and will leave the cathedral's employment at the end of January 2012 to begin work in the family business, which urgently needs more manpower.
Tony has been an essential element in the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project since it began way back in 2005.
It was he who rang Nick B at the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust early in 2005, hoping that the trust could provide some clues as to why he and the other vergers were finding dead birds on the pavements outside the cathedral.
And, once he knew about the peregrines, it was Tony
who quickly became interested in them and helped to 'unlock cathedral doors' for us, both real and imagined.
He gave us access to the tower to look both for bird remains and for the birds themselves and he quickly became an avid peregrine watcher and web cam addict in his own right.
It is fair to say that without his help and guidance in
those early years especially, this project might well not exist today. In particular, he managed to persuade the cathedral hierarchy at the time to allow Nick M and his mate, Nick E, to fix the nest platform. Ever since, Tony has bent over backwards to help us and the watch point volunteers in all manner of ways.
He has helped with rescuing fallen youngsters, helped organise the ringing of the chicks and the various annual nest clean-up operations. He found us somewhere to store the gear for the Watch Points, looked after the donations, brought in signs when we had forgotten to do so and drove back to the cathedral from home to help out when we urgently needed it.
Tony always has a cheerful disposition and we couldn't have wished for a better Head Verger to assist us.
The good news is that Tony will continue to be part of the project as a volunteer next year, helping at special events, opening up the tower for us when we need evening or early morning access for ringing etc - so we are not losing him entirely.
We wish him well working alongside his wife Dawn in their family business which has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years.
Tony: you have been a real friend and an amazing advocate for the peregrines. You have been the 'quiet man' of the three of us, always willing to help and to assist.
We will miss your cheerful presence at the cathedral hugely! With luck we'll lure you back to help out from time to time - if you can get some free time that is!

Nicks M and B

The photos show Tony watching as chick 005 was rescued in 2008 (top) and standing by as another rescued youngster was released on the tower roof (below).

Raptor Rescue: last Friday I got a message that a peregrine was trapped in the huge Westfield shopping centre in the city so I quickly set off to investigate. As I suspected, the bird wasn't a peregrine but was a sparrowhawk. It had chased some avian prey inside the large entrance lobby and found itself behind a huge wall of glass. It was about 30 feet up and would never find its way out. The maintenance staff quickly brought a cherry picker along and I climbed
into the bucket cab and was hoisted aloft as an audience of onlookers gathered below. Fortunately the bird was easy to catch and release, much to the disgust of the fleeing local feral pigeons. It's not unusual for sparrowhawks to end up inside buildings as their prey seeks cover. They fly upwards and rarely make their own way out.
All's well that end's well on this occasion!

Nick B (DWT)
Photo; the male sparrowhawk just prior to release. It was panting but flew off strongly into the blue beyond.


Anonymous said...

Good luck Tony in your thriving family business and future ventures. It has been, and will be always a pleasure to meet you. It's not as if we will be losing you entirely so we will still see you on Cathedral Green.
You are a thoroughly nice guy and it's thanks to you (and other members of the team, obviously!) that this project is so successful and respected everywhere.
Good luck and all very best wishes for the future.
Mary T (Belper)

Mo Cole Belper said...

Saturday 7.45am.... Morning... Mr and Mrs P up close and personal on the tower what a wonderful site.... Best wishes for the future Tony ... x

Ian said...

@ Tony.

Allways a pleasure to meet and speak with you Tony.
Hope to see you around the Green in the future.
Most of all Good luck and Best wishes to you in the new Chapter of your life.

Ian "superbrad"

AnnieF. said...

One peregrine on the tower.

I'm sorry I've never been able to get to Derby because apart from not seeing the peregrines live, I've also never met Tony Grantham. Perhaps one day I'll rectify both of those sins of omission; but in the meantime may I wish Tony all the very best for the future.What a loss to the Cathedral and the Project, but it's good to know he'll still be about.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photograph of the rescued sparrowhawk. Not what you expect to find in the Westfield Shopping Centre....

Mary T (Belper)

Joyce S Derby said...

Wow, Nick - that was an exciting rescue! Well done, you!

Slumpy said...

What's happened to the webcams? they appear to be accessable only via Derby council site.

Ren13 said...

For anyone else who is having trouble finding the new address for the cam, here's the link.

Best wishes to Tony and his family, I'm glad he will be able to stay involved with the project.

Wonderful job on the rescue mission!

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

A dead lapwing is visible on the nest platform today. Note its green mantle feathers and black and white tail.
Male peregrine sitting nearby.
Both birds were in night-hunting mode last night when I looked about 9pm. Sitting on the top ledge, they were looking around the sky almost in synchrony. Maybe the lapwing was caught then - they do fly (and feed) at night as well as by day.
Nick B (DWT)

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

At 10.45 last night it was raining in Derby and predictably the two adults were roosting. One, probably the falcon, was in her usual position in the middle of the top ledge, facing inwards, the tiercel was tucked into his favourite nook when it's wet, the small hole in the stonework below the ledge and above the nest platform.
Rain stops nocturnal hunting.....probably in part because it stops birds migrating and flying by night.
Nick B (DWT)

AnnieF. said...

In today's Observer there are 2 letters from environmental organisations expressing serious concern about the Coalition's intentions regarding wildlife. It seems that "red tape", including that which affects the protection of wildlife, is going to be scrapped. The argument is apparently that, for the economy to grow, we need to dispense with such "hindrances". What can, or should, we do?

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

Hi Annie F; good question! The major wildlife organisations are making their views known. A friend of mine has recently written a short blog summary as follows:
The big wildlife news this week is the Government's Autumn budget statement... where, tucked in amongst the headline-making stuff about the continuing decline of the economy, was the statement that “…we will make sure that gold plating of EU rules on things like Habitats aren’t placing ridiculous costs on British businesses.” Hidden behind the use of the kind of language that implies the hoisting of extra red tape by 'those pesky Europeans' is the fact that the Treasury would like to see the protection for Britain's wildlife reduced, to clear the way for development, development and yet more development...

Remember, this is the Government that said it aimed to be "the greenest administration ever".

The conservation community is, predictably, alarmed...

To see the reaction from The Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB go to their respective websites.

Something (else) you can do....
There is a new e-petition recently started to try to get the UK government to strengthen the law about the persecution of birds of prey in England, Wales and N. Ireland. More on this is the next blog post soon...

Ian said...

Thanks for the heads up on this one
Annie & NB

I have signed
HAVE YOU !!!!!!!!


Mo and Pete Cole said...

Job done Ian x

AnnieF. said...

Thanks Ian, done.

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to update the two 'Key Links' on the blog homepage to go to the new webcam URLs? Thanks.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...


Anonymous said...

Just listened to Tony's interview on Radio Derby. Really enjoyed it - Tony what an interesting life you have had. So glad you came to Derby and I wish you all the very best for the future. Will look forward very much to meeting you at peregrine events next year.
Very best wishes to you and your wife and have a very peaceful and happy Christmas.
Mary T (Belper)