Thursday, 29 March 2012

Our first egg of the season!

She led us a bit of a dance, but Derby Cathedral's peregrine falcon has laid her first egg, at last!
Blog commenter, Phoebe, alerted us with a message posted here at 01:04am this morning. This just gave us time to zoom in the camera and capture this moment a few minutes later. She did looked tired, and she had certainly led us to quite a few false alarms over  the last few days.

First egg  (Laid at 1am on 29th March 2012)

We know from remarks left by viewers clicking the comments link below each post, that there are quite a lot of new webcam watchers and  a few more Derbyshire schools watching this year. A big welcome to you all. In particular we say a big welcome to Holmesdale Infants and to their teacher, Rachel, and to Megan who posted her thoughts on behalf of all the children there.

If you have questions about the lives of these amazing birds (they are the fastest creatures on earth!), do leave a blog comment and we'll do our best to answer it for you.

Two things are worth saying right now:
1) Peregrine eggs glow white under the night-time infra-red light of our camera. But in daylight they are a deep reddish colour.

2) Up to four eggs are usually laid, at intervals of just over two days between each one. Don't be alarmed if you see the nest platform with what looks like completely abandoned eggs in it. This is normal. The adults leave the eggs unattended, sometimes for an hour or more at a time. They only start incubating their eggs  properly once all of them have been laid.

Maybe some of the school children might like to talk about why they might do this, and what  advantage it gives them. We would love to hear from schools why you think this happens. We'd like to hear these ideas before the adult webcam watchers and blog readers give us their answers!

Shown below is the very first picture captured by regular webcam viewer, Phoebe. Anyone can make screeengrabs like this and post them to our Flickr Group to share with everyone here. (Follow the link at the top left of this page to go to Flickr and read how to do it)

First egg laid 29.03.2012 at  01:03

Note the careful way our female sits over her
egg, with wings slightly outspread. 1130am 29 March

An apparently abandoned egg will be a frequent sight until the
 penultimate egg is laid. Only then will incubation properly start.

Our thanks must also go to "RJ" who left a detailed comment on this blog post. He (she?) had looked back through our archives and calculated the average time between egg-laying, and forecast the second egg will be laid around 3pm local time on Saturday. (For those of you outside of our BST timezone, our webcam pictures do show local time in a narrow black bar at the top of the image.) 
Here's what RJ posted:
Looking at the last three years, it took around a week from the first egg to the fourth. Here are the gaps between them, rounding to the nearest hour:

2011
1-2: 60 hrs
2-3: 57 hrs
3-4: 58 hrs

2010:
1-2: 57 hrs
2-3: 45 hrs
3-4: 67 hrs

2009:
1-2: 70 hrs
2-3: 45 hrs
3-4: 70 hrs

This gives an average gap between each egg of:

1-2: 62 hrs
2-3: 56 hrs
3-4: 65 hrs

On those average times between #1 and #2, egg #2 this year could arrive around 3.00 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

RJ 

72 comments:

Steph (Canada) said...

Great news - just logged on at 1.56am UK time and there was the first egg in all it's glory!
Will we get 4 again this year?
Is there any news of Cathie or did I miss a post?

Project Member (Nick M.) said...

2am: Male just arrived to see the new egg. Both head-bowing.

@Steph I will update on Cathy later. (must go to bed now)

Steph (Canada) said...

Thanks Nick....sleep well - you deserve it!

Jill said...

So pleased to see her 1st egg there when I logged on this morning. Congratulations.

Mary T said...

Great news to wake up to! Well done Mrs P and looking forward to the next eggs being laid.

Let the excitement begin!

Nick B (DWT) said...

Great news to wake up to this morning!
Better late than never!
Nick B (DWT)

Craig said...

Posted in the wrong one.

Congrats Derby, hope there are more to come.

jan t said...

so nice to see well done mrs p jan (suffolk)

John B (not the sloop) said...

That took quite an effort. Let's hope that the rest come easier.

Caroline said...

Wonderful to see the 'cricket ball' red egg there this morning and thanks to Phoebe and Nick M for being up late on egg-watch!

Presumably the colour of the egg is good camouflage in the more typical cliff-face nest? Or perhaps we don't really know.

We are very lucky that Nick and Nick take as much care of this blog and the us viewers as the peregrines do of their clutch! Thank you.

Raquel said...

I am hope watching the nest for the first egg... Congratulations! I expect for the other eggs. Its so beatifull to see the falcon. I am follower of them:).
Thanks from Madrid.

Mo Cole Belper said...

Yipeeee...... Good news congratulations Mr and Mrs P...Mo x

Anonymous said...

Great news! This made my day!

Anonymous said...

At last! Right, looking at the last three years, it took around a week from the first egg to the fourth. Here are the gaps between them, rounding to the nearest hour:

2011
1-2: 60 hrs
2-3: 57 hrs
3-4: 58 hrs

2010:
1-2: 57 hrs
2-3: 45 hrs
3-4: 67 hrs

2009:
1-2: 70 hrs
2-3: 45 hrs
3-4: 70 hrs

Gives an average gap between each egg of:

1-2: 62 hrs
2-3: 56 hrs
3-4: 65 hrs

On those average times between #1 and #2, egg #2 this year could arrive around 3.00 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

RJ

Penny said...

I am so pleased to hear the news about the first egg! I have been watching almost non-stop for two days now, and I just knew the little scamp would produce when I wasn't looking! Delighted all the same - congratulations Mrs. Derby P!

AndrewL said...

This is eggcelent news (Sorry couldn't resist) This is the fourth year I have been watching the goings on and it is just as exciting each year

Julie said...

Can breathe out at last! Great news - and may well compensate for the cricket score! Here's to the next 3(?)eggs ......

Mrs Mahadevan - Stretton Handley Primary School said...

Fantastic! Now we have something to show the parents when they come in to school this afternoon!

AnnieF. said...

Just logged on - saw the egg! Well done Phoebe for the screengrab and Nick M. for staying up, you must both be exhausted but elated! And of course, congratulations and thanks to our amazing pair of peregrines. This makes all the anxiety and tension disappear, & I feel so happy.

Audrey (UK) said...

What a great sight on this beautiful sunny morning.

Sue Peregrino said...

So happy to hear you have your first egg now. And we have two eggs (so far) here in Aylesbury!!!!! We are so excited. It's extremely helpful for us to access your store of data and experience. We can't believe our birds (that we think are younger than yours) beat yours to it this year.

holmesdale infants - Ash class (Y2) said...

We are blown away by the egg! We were surprised because we thought it'd look like a golf ball or a chicken egg. It's a lovely colour!
We think that the peregrines will be collecting as much food as they can so they can fatten themselves up. We think this is because only one bird can collect food when they've started incubating the eggs.

Are we right?????

Green Class said...

Hello we have just saw the egg.The peregrin has just flew awey.We were xcssited about the first egg.The egg is redish with broun spots.It is a lovely rond shape.The femal isant incybating yet because it hasnt laid all of the eggs yet.If she sarted sitting on the egg now it would hatch befor the others.She is verry clever.She needs to make sure that they all hatch at the same time.We are gowing to keep looking for the other eggs. We carnt wait for the next fyou eggs.

Project Member (Nick M.) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Project Member (Nick M.) said...

Hello there, Ash Class at Holmesdale Infants, and Green Class at Brigg Infants. It's great to hear your comments.

So glad you were amazed by our first peregrine egg. It is a superb colour, isn't it?

Some of you made a very good guess at why peregrines don't start incubating until all their eggs are laid.

The reason peregrines can afford to have all their eggs hatch out at the same time is because they are such good hunters, and food is never in short supply because they catch so many different types of birds to eat.

There is no worry that food will ever be scarce. So, by delaying sitting on the eggs until the last one is ready to be laid, they all start developing and hatching at the same time.

This makes it much simpler for the daddy bird to bring back food of the right size for all the chicks at once. But, most importantly, when they're ready to fly they all leave the nest at about the same time.

This makes it easier for the parents to look after them, and teach them to hunt for themselves without having to worry about young chicks still sitting in the nest, unable to fly or to look after themselves.

The opposite happens with owls. Owl eggs are incubated as soon as they are laid. The first egg is the first to hatch. That chick gets the most food because it's the biggest and can push smaller chicks out of the way. In bad years, when food is short, the last chick to hatch often dies because it can't compete with big brother or sister for the food it needs.

If you have a big brother or sister at home, try imagining how horrible it would be if your parents came home from the supermarket and said there wasn't enough food to go around this week!
How would you feel about that, and who would get the most to eat in your family?

Do keep watching - we think the next egg will be laid on Saturday.

Caroline said...

It sounds like we have got some budding scientists in the primary school classes online here! That's very interesting about peregrine and owl eggs, Nick. Thank you.

Caroline

Joyce S Derby said...

What a beautiful egg. Well done, Mrs P!!

Erica said...

Wonderful. Aren't peregrine eggs the most delicious colour?

By the way, i could not replicate the captcha words and when I tried to listen the voice was difficult to hear and did not seem to bear any resemblance to the characters i was supposed to enter. HopeI am thired time lucky. Am I the only one having difficulty?

Joy said...

So thrilled

Joy said...

Not sure whether my other comment went through.

So thrilled Mrs P laid her first egg. No work will get done now, well not very quickly.

We were in Lincoln yesterday and they have peregrins on the Cathedral - have for 10yrs. They had put up a platform and cameras but the peregrins decided to nest elsewhere on the building. How disappointing for them

Phoebe said...

Looks like the tiercel (daddy peregrine) is sitting on the egg.

Anonymous said...

When will the egg hatch?
Felix from Holmedale infants ash class.

Hilary, B'ham said...

What a nice birthday present for me! Blow me, I watched until 1.00a.m and just missed seeing the first egg laid. It was fairly obvious that "a delivery was due" Derby has saved the best till last. Well done to Mr and Mrs P.Keep watching children, it gets better and better.

Phoebe said...

Our pererines have just been mentioned on East Midlands news!

Sue Peregrino said...

Our Aylesbury birds are behaving apparently totally different to your Derby pair. Derby nonchalently ignores the incomplete clutch - Aylesbury sat tight as anything on two - and then eventually we saw we have a third one. Also, is it my total imagination, but I think I see a tiny pinprick of white in the shells of the Aylesbury eggs. Is this normal? What are they? I've tried to change my blogger photo but it's sooooooo hard!!! All I've managed to do is delete the old one, how annoying!

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Wonderful news indeed, hope the others come soon and all goes well this season. Ann xxx

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Everyone will be keeping a close eye on the action now. We are off to a good start. Hope it's as exciting as all the other years.
Ann xxx

Anonymous said...

Hi Felix,
That is a good question. The mum will hopefully lay some more eggs before she starts to incubate them (keep them warm to help them grow) When she starts the incubation it will be about 30 days until they hatch, but with all things in nature that may vary a bit.
What colour do you think the chicks will be.
Chris

Anonymous said...

Anna from Holmesdale infants How many eggs do they normally lay?

Sue Peregrino said...

Another go at getting my new photo ....

Phoebe said...

Hi Anna, they normally lay 3 or 4 eggs.

RJ said...

Hi Nick, Hi all.

(I've found my 'RJ' login, hope it works..)

Thanks for putting my post up on the blog. I’m already getting the calculator out for an estimated first hatch! I’ve been following the Derby peregrines since 2009, mainly because my wife (yes, a ‘he’, and that’s solved that question!) is Derby born and bred. I’ve seen these magnificent birds on many occasions on visits to Derby, and would urge anyone to do the same.

As an aside, I have to struggle, like others, with those fiendish anti-robot word things, to post. I feel quite an idiot when it takes three attempts.

RJ

Project Member (Nick M.) said...

Hi Anna at Holmesdale Infants.
I have checked back through our records to see how many eggs they have laid each year.

Phoebe was right to say between three and four. I discovered that our birds have laid four eggs every single year since 2007. About half of those eggs actually get to produce a young bird that lives over a year - so it's a risky business being a peregrine egg!

For those of you frustrated by the "prove you aren't a robot" bit, I have removed this facility for now, but may reinstate it if we start to see problems.

Anonymous said...

Hi
At 11pm last night no falcons on scrape or tower but by 11.10pm Mr or Mrs P flew on to the tower with prey. It was too dark to see any detail but could see the work going on with the prey. Supper and one satisfied Falcon.

Joy said...

Looks as though we may get another egg today?

Joy said...

Looks as though we may have another egg later today?

Erica said...

Thank you, Nick, for responding to concerns about the captcha test. If you restore it I shall quite understand. Glad I wasn't the only one to have difficulty. What was the most irritaing was the the voicing of the charatcters didn't work for me.

Green Class said...

We where suprised when we saw the first egg. we think the next egg will be on saturday in the afternoon.We are very exited because we saw bluetits in our school box today. Bluetits eggs are quiet smaller than peregrines eggs. This morning we saw the adult bird sitting on the egg to keep it the right tempracher inside the egg.

Mrs Russell from Ash class said...

My class have loved watching the birds and waiting for the eggs. We are all very excited!!!
The children think the chicks will be either white or red (like their eggs)... they havent seen any pictures yet so they are having a clever guess.

We've seen the female (we think it's the female) sitting on her egg with her wings slightly open. Today we've seen the egg all on its own alot too.

How can we tell the difference between the male and female?

Happy egg spotting!!!

cole from green said...

hello i cant wate for the secend egg to be lade.

Christine, Dronfield said...

It gladdens my heart to hear of all the children who are getting involved with our peregrines, it gives us hope that future generations will continue to care about our beautiful wildlife. It is very exciting to think that we may have another egg at Derby very soon - best of luck to Mr & Mrs P

billie-jo ,from green class said...

It was very exciting when i saw the egg.I noticed the egg was a reddish brown colour.peregrine eggs are sometimes bigger than other eggs and sometimes smaller.

billie-jo green class said...

i was very excited when i saw the egg.I noticed it was a reddish brown colour.peregrine eggs are sometimes bigger than other eggs and sometimes smaller.

Project Member (Nick M.) said...

Hello Mrs Russell from Ash Class.

It's not easy to tell the male peregrine from the female.

But look carefully, and you'll see that the mummy bird (female) is much bigger than the daddy bird (male).

When she sits on the eggs she almost fills the nest scrape. Then he sits on them, he looks much shorter and less bulky.

Let's set a challenge for our webcam watchers around the globe:- Try and capture a picture of the male and then the female bird in exactly the same pose, and post them with clear labels to our Flickr site.

I'll select the best comparative pictures here on this blog for you all to see. Or I'll base the selection on the highest number of comments left on the Flickr photos to indicate which are the best pair of shots.

jessic said...

I howp thata the egg dus come on satorday . I am a mased that the first egg as come. the egg is brown and a redish collore.

Joy said...

Oh dear no 2nd egg as yet, convinced there was going to be another today

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Mom is keeping her first egg nice and warm and Dad is up on the watch tower taking care of them both. Beautiful to watch. xxx

Anonymous said...

Watching from France....second egg soon I'm sure....
Pierre

Phoebe said...

Is this the second egg on it's way!

Phoebe said...

No false alarm again...

Phoebe said...

Tiercel just landed on the corbel below the scrape. When the first egg was laid he was on the same corbel so it might be imminent.

MEL said...

I'm sure 2nd egg. 0741.

Mo Cole Belper said...

Morning..... Think it's Derby 2 Nottingham 4.... Mo x

Anonymous said...

It was definitely a 2nd egg at 0741 - falcon moved and 2 eggs clearly visible 0746.

Helen said...

Wow! Very good to see two eggs this morning.

Don Newing said...

Definitely two eggs now at 08.35.

jessic from green cllas said...

The bird is saton the egg to ceyp it riyt wen it is gowing to hach with the uther eggs . I thinc theys gowenter to be 4 eggs .I howp there is gowen to be 4 eggs

Phoebe said...

I got a picture as the second egg was laid - it's posted on flickr.

RJ said...

2nd egg, great, and alters the averages a bit, only approx 55 hours gap. I’ve just realised I’ve made a maths error on that second average (between #2 and #3) the average should be 49 hours. (I bet all the classes out there spotted that one!). So, looking at Monday morning, 5 hours either way of 8.00 a.m.?

RJ

RJ said...

2nd egg, great, and alters the averages a bit, only approx 55 hours gap. I’ve just realised I’ve made a maths error on that second average (between #2 and #3) the average should be 49 hours. (I bet all the classes out there spotted that one!). So, looking at Monday morning, 5 hours either way of 8.00 a.m.?

RJ

Joy said...

Great a 2nd egg thought it looked due. The next Mon???

Ethan. said...

My mum and I looked at the blog we saw 4 eggs. It was grat I coudn,t believe my eyes.