|Looking more like a drowned rat, our peregrine falcon tries to |
keep all four eggs warm and dry during Sunday's downpour.
Our own peregrines clearly struggled in Sunday's heavy rain and winds, but the lateness of hatching this year might well have saved their young. The video below was captured at 10am on Sunday morning. A drenched male (notice his small size) is relieved by the larger, drier female falcon. We glimpse the four unhatched eggs for a moment and a wonderful light-coloured patch of dry gravel around them. We checked what happened next. The rain and wind continued unabated even if the bells themselves ceased. Half an hour later our female was looking pretty wet herself. But she remained on those eggs through all that the elements could throw at her. For another nineteen hours solid she kept those eggs warm and dry, until relieved once again by her mate at 5am the following morning. Scenes like these would have been repeated across millions of nests of a wide range of bird species this April, and some will have got through it, and others will not. This is nature, of course, and we are fortunate to witness this fight to reproduce the species, distressing as that sometimes can be, and frustrating when we are powerless to intervene.
Meanwhile, we are on the brink of being able to tell you two items of good news, though that news is now tempered to some extent by what has happened in Nottingham and, perhaps, at other peregrine nests elsewhere in the UK.
Just as the birds are keeping us all waiting to see when the first egg will hatch, so, for reasons beyond our control, we have to keep you waiting too (this is because we await permission to 'go public' with our news).
If you've been following this project for a while, you might well guess what we are talking about (but don't let on yet!). The other bit of good news is very recent and has come out of the blue. All will be revealed soon - hopefully within the week, perhaps just about the time our eggs are due to hatch, if they survived yesterday's weather - and we are hopeful that they have.
Newcomers to this project blog can read previous posts to see what stage we are at - just scroll down this blog and you'll come to them - or look at the links to archives on the left side of the page.
Essentially, we have four eggs that are now well incubated. The first was laid on 29th March and the last on 4th/5th April. Incubation starts with the third egg usually and the incubation period is about 30-33 days. So you can work out roughly when hatching might start.....
Some of our web cam watchers, both adults and children have been guessing when the first chick will appear....we have dates from 30th April to 9th May so far.....
For now though, we'll just have to wait and see on all fronts!
Patience, as they say, is a virtue.....
Nick B/ Nick M