Sunday, 26 February 2012

More than a Flickr of Interest

It's clear that spring is on the way now. The days are lengthening, and snowdrops are showing their  bright flowers in gardens and parks across Derby. The cool morning air is filled with the call of a multitude of birds, all  re-establishing their territories and preparing for the fast-approaching breeding season. On top of Derby's ancient cathedral the 2012 breeding season is also clearly underway. A number of you are helpfully clicking on the "comments" link to report times when interesting breeding behaviour is being seen. This forms a useful  guide to everyone else as to what is happening, but it also helps the Project Team look for and retrieve the best moments from the two video recorders installed inside the tower.

Local photographers and webcam watchers are also helping understand what's going on by uploading their photographs and screenshots to our dedicated Flickr site. We don't always highlight images posted there, but do take a regular peek at the latest images people from all around the world have seen and posted there. One local photographer is Ian (aka Superbrad) who regularly posts the most superb pictures to our site, like the one below.   We are looking up to the top of the tower on the side where our this webcam is positioned. It's here that we often see roosting, feeding and mating behaviour, and Ian has captured our falcon flying in, with the smaller male (tiercel) just visible on the stone grotesque in the extreme left side. IMG_6383

The video below shows just one of many moments when our two peregrines display to one another, and it's great to get a good side view of the falcon after the male flies off. We can clearly see how much larger and heavier she is than the tiercel. The date was 23 February.

The following day we captured this moment of nest-preparation. Look at how the nest scrape is created, with the bird lying low and pushing back with his legs. The fussing around with small stones is not actually part of the scrape-making process, and may simply be some sort of evolutionary hang-over from the full nest-building activity of most other birds, or perhaps nature's way of reinforcing the link to the nest site.

If you want to upload screenshots from the webcams yourself, or post photos you have taken outside Derby Cathedral, follow the link to our Flickr site on the top left side of this blog, and follow the instructions shown there in the introductory description. Alternatively, read this.



Caroline said...

Fascinating. Thank you to everyone who has made this blog possible over the years!

Wishing you all the very best for the season ahead.


Craig said...

09.50 Tiercel, I think, was on the scrape side ledge. Falcon landed on the other side. Tiercel went on the scrape gravel, walked to the other side, head bowed very low. Falcon gave him the cold shoulder and flew off. He stayed bowed for a few seconds before heading to the tower.

Helen said...

23.32 Peregrine on the tower cam with prey.

Sue, Derby said...

23.44 Peregrine on tower with prey - more night hunting or from a stash?


Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Thanks for that report, Helen and Sue. Nothing untowards noticeable at 12:15am, but as I'm going in to Derby on Saturday I'll try and pop in to the Cathedral Tower and see if I can retrieve any footage.

It's immensely helpful to have these reports of special activity. Look out for mating over the next few weeks.

We're working on establishing a fully live video stream this year, and the first steps have been successful. We've passed details of our new hosting company over to SERCO, our latest supporters of the project who will be working on this in the weeks ahead. Watch this space for more updates.

AnnieF. said...

There's a peregrine standing in the middle of the scrape lhs.

AnnieF. said...

That peregrine's perching on the scrape-ledge now, while the other's up on the tower.

AnnieF. said...

Courtship: one each side of the nestbox, both bowing, the one on the rhs bowing slightly lower. Then the lhs one flew off.

Caroline said...

13.43-13.49 Falcon on scrape, tiercel appeared on ledge then joined her on the scrape but on the other side of the bar. They bowed to each oher several times, then she hopped onto his side and he flew off.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Just to give you some advanced news: Thanks to Helen and Sue who left comments on the blog, we now have our second piece of video evidence to prove that peregrines hunt at night.

I have also obtained video footage of our pergrines mating on the ledge below their nest. This was on March 1st - the earliest we've ever seen it.

And a third video shows a distant adult bird landing on the lettering of the Jury's Inn.
I'm afraid it takes me tens of hours to upload these clips from home, so it'll be some time before they appear on the blog

jan t said...

both Peregrine on Tower 7.30am Jan (Suffolk)

Caroline said...

News of footage of such an early mating sounds like welcome news!

At dusk (17.39) yesterday, Mar 3, I got some screen-grabs when one peregrine arrived with prey and appeared to prompt the other one to go to the centre of the scrape and turn. It then flew from the scrape to the rump of the gargoyle. The bird delivering food left the prey for it to eat, which it did. I guess the tiercel brought food for the falcon but I am a novice and couldn't judge size as one was much closer to the camera. I've uploaded the pics to the Group on Flickr. Hope this helps.


Billie-jo green said...

All the time i see the female or the male incubating the eggs.

Billie-Jo Green Class said...

I herd that you will be ringing the chicks tonght.Everyone in my class wrote what they thought ringing ment and put it into a comment.Some people said that it might be so if the chicks get lost you no that they are from derby cathedral.I might be watching you ringing the chicks and my teacher is going to be watching you through the telescope.