Friday, 25 May 2012

Ringing Day

Peregrine Watch Points will occur on Derby's Cathedral Green off Full Street every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday between 11 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. between now and the end of June 2012 (weather permitting).
Check out the map on the left to see where we are located.

I have to admit to being very nervous today. It wasn't the thought of lowering myself on a  rope from the top of Derby Cathedral Tower that did it. I was worried about having to pick up four feisty young peregrine chicks, place them carefully inside a specially padded bag and lower them down on a rope to my friend, Anthony, waiting below. Ant is a licensed bird ringer, and had asked me if I would assist him with the abseiling bit of the process as his normal helper wasn't available. I'd never held a young peregrine before (everyone has their first time), but the idea of accidentally doing them harm or damaging their growing feathers was concerning me greatly. Dropping them all would not go down well at all.

Arriving at the nest platform, I found our four downy chicks were cowering quietly in one corner. Every year we have a narrow date range during which  to ring the chicks before their reaction turns to running around or lying on their bags with their sharp talons waving, ready to fend off an attacker.
Well, we did get the date right, but nevertheless they certainly did a good job in the fending-off department. Claws and beaks were most forthcoming, and I soon began to wonder what I had let myself in for as I tried to subdue and pick up one angry chick at a time. I was too fearful of hurting them to pay any attention to our adult falcon who was flying round and round the tower, calling for all she was worth.

With a small crowd of onlookers below, many armed with such long camera lenses you thought they might reach up and touch you, it was a real responsibility being up there. It was also tinged with the realisation that any stupidity on my part would be captured on film forever, and certainly held against me!

But I eventually got all four chicks into the bag which was then lowered carefully to the nave roof.
Inside the clock tower where Ant, the ringer, Tony Grantham, and Helen and Joyce, two stalwart peregrine supporters and Watch Point leaders who had both been invited to come along to watch.
As you can see from the pictures below, they have now all been rings and returned safely to the nest platform.

From  the size of each bird, Ant believes we have three males and one female. One ring broke whilst being out on, so our 2012 brood looks like this:

Male     Orange ring no 016
Male     Orange ring no 018
Female  Orange ring no 019
Male     Orange ring no 020

Once again, thanks to Ant for doing the actual ringing and to Joyce who took the photos inside the tower.There are more of her pictures of the ringing event on our Flickr page as well as a number of screen captures from the webcams.


Tail feathers already coming through - we may ring earlier next year.

Ringed chick back ion the nest platform

Hey, just look at this bling!

SNAG-0030
Look - all that meat and it's getting away!

On a different note, of our local photographers, Ian (aka Superbrad) has posted a lovely set of his photos he took at  Wednesday's Watch Point. You can set the speed at which the pictures change.  Ian, I'll be dropping you an email to see if the Project Team can use a few of your super shots.

43 comments:

Anne in Derby said...

I've just been enjoying looking at a set of wonderful photographs taken by Ian. Marvellous they are so clear.

Thank you so much for letting everyone look at them.

Hope everything goes well tonight for the ringing - does that also include the bells???!!!

Green class, aged 6 and 7 said...

Here are some of green clases ideas. I think that peregrines have rings on there legs because if they got lost and somebody found it then they would know were to send them. I think they have rings round there legs so you know witch is female and witch is male. I think that they have rings so the joovniyls don,t get miksst up with the adalts. I think that the chicks are growing up into bigger chicks.

Phoebe said...

Thanks team. I was wondering when ringing was going to be. I was thinking how young the little one is and whether it would delay ringing by a day or two.

I look forward to seeing any photos you take.

Good luck with the ascent!

megan age 7 florence age 6 anna age 7 from Homesdale infants school said...

we thik there doing this because if they get lost. people can phone
the nuber that it is.

nathan age 7 homesdale infants said...

when are the chicks feathes change to adult faethers? can we see some adult feathers now on the chicks.

Erica said...

Thanks for the photos. Ian. They show the beautiful barred chests very well.

Erica said...

Thanks for the photos. Ian. They show the beautiful barred chests very well.

Anonymous said...

What an astonishing set of photos Ian, thank you for sharing. They really help to make it clear how they fly, if that doesn't sound silly...

Jane (Belper) said...

Lovely to watch the chicks being ringed - they didn't look too impressed - but great to see them all back safe and sound. Thanks to the team for another job really well done. Looking forward to hearing what you have gleaned about our little family.

Phoebe said...

Thanks for leaving the cameras running during the ringing. It was quite funny watching the chicks after they were put back they never took their eyes of that 'great big human thing'! They all look okay and happy with it all. I would think from the way the falcon was kicking off beforehand that she will be back sooner rather than later.

Deb (from Canada) said...

Was delighted to watch the last part of the ringing. I think it was Nick M who abseiled down and did work at the scrape, including returning the chicks after the ringing. My, they did look a bit put out by it all. Very happy that the cameras were left on. Well done to everyone. I've lost track of what the number sequence is for these chicks. Any chance of an update?

Phoebe said...

Joyce - thank you so much for sharing your photos of the chicks on flickr. They brilliant!

Rej (AT) said...

Well done the Derby team! Ringing done without incident, and all youngsters returned indignant but safe and sound.

Nick - what a splendid reward for your efforts, what a memory to treasure! To actually collect them for the first time, nerve-wracking, daunting, and exciting all together.

Ian ( superbrad ) said...

@ Joyce
Cracking shots on Flickr Joyce Yes I am rather Jealous of you being so up close and personal with those wonderful little (well not so little) bundles of joy.

Thanks love them all

Ian (superbrad)

Ian ( superbrad ) said...

@... Anne...Erica... &... Anonymous

Thanks for the comments on Wednesdays Shots

Regards Ian (superbrad)

Phoebe said...

NickM - I've just read you write-up of yesterday. It put shivers down my spine thinking just how it would feel to do what you did for the first time! It must have been such a thrilling experience. I envy you. You did a fine job and the chicks never took their eyes off you, how exciting!

Really well done!

Thanks to Joyce for posting some brilliant photos, it must have been a thrill for you too, being so close up to four beautiful young birds.

Thanks to all involved for yesterday.

Julie said...

Managed to see the chicks being returned to the scrape yesterday - loved watching it and I am sure they were just waiting for an opportunity to practise their "flesh tearing" skills! Well done to all concerned. The irrational part of me would have loved to have a cuddle (sorry - not you Nick!) - they were so gorgeous. So now we wait for the first flights...

Caroline said...

Huge thanks to the ringing team for a great write-up and the pics :) How interesting that you have such a narrow window for ringing, given the chicks' behaviour. Thank goodness the weather was kind. Presumably the parents don't attack humans at the nest because they aren't bird-shaped? I read that peregrine chicks do have bird predators in the USA for example.

Looking at the pics on the blog and Flickr, I felt amazed by evolution... the chicks' feet are enormous and look rather like hands and yet of course they are not 'hands' since zillions of years ago the dinosaur ancestor of all birds evolved wings from their upper limbs instead. I wouldn't be here typing without my hands but a pair of wings is pretty tempting... ;)

@ Ian, I am still enjoying your brilliant slide show. I notice something new every time I watch. My thanks again.

JO - MICKLEOVER said...

Have just been down to the watch site for the first time, shame I couldn't stay longer. Strongly recomend popping down - its wonderful to see the adult birds in flight. And thanks for all the brilliant pictures from the ringing and from Ian

Anonymous said...

well done nick m on the chicks ringing last night as i watch from amen alley mrs p was not happy
i thought i was watchin grand prix for peregrines at one stage
however chicks back safe
mum back with them all is well
great job done

Phoebe said...

A couple more screen grabs from the ringing on flickr.

NickM - one just for you!

Helen said...

It was beautiful sunny day in Derby for today's Watch Point. The adult birds were very active throughout the morning treating the many visitors and photographers to some fantastic aerial displays. There was some very low flights right above the Watch Point and against the blue sky the birds looked stunning. There was a spectacular food pass between them, with the female carrying off a large item of prey. It was interesting to note that the chicks were fed at almost exactly the same time as last week around 12.20 - lunchtime! The chicks are now visible from the Cathedral Green and could be seen popping their heads up from the platform and moving around the scrape.

Ian, Antony and Helen

Phoebe said...

The falcon has just left the scrape, she was staring at something up in the air before she left.

Phoebe said...

The chicks had a very late supper, the falcon fed them at 01:15! Just a snack as it only lasted 6 minutes. A pic on flickr.

Well it's another warm day and the chicks are all shading in the left corner.

They are getting more inquisitive now and starting to look over the edge at times.

Joyce S Derby said...

I have just posted a picture on Flickr that I took this morning at 9am. One of the chicks was looking over the edge of the nest ledge, along with the falcon.

RJ said...

Haven’t been able to post for a while so great to have the opportunity at ringing time. As in the past, you watch these small bundles of fluff from the time they leave their shells, growing up in the confines of their scrape, without realising just how big they are actually getting. It always astonishes me when it’s ringing, and you get a reference to their size by the person holding them.

Well done Nick (M) and the rest of the team – abseiling around is difficult at the best of times, but to stop off and to have such important cargo to handle, well, bravo!

RJ

Phoebe said...

Not sure if that last post went through. I had been looged out of Blogger for some unknown reason.

billie-jo said...

nice bling chicks

Phoebe said...

The chicks are all huddled together on the left except one who prefers the other side. I see one of the adults is sat on the corbel below the scrape.

John B (not the sloop) said...

One of the photos clearly shows the cream band at the tip of the emerging tail feathers. These will stay with the youngster for quite a while and makes a handy feature visible from long range for distinguishing juvies from adults.

Sue Peregrino said...

I was away for the weekend so it was a lovely surprise to get back and read the ringing account. I was so surprised that you were nervous Nick, you always come over as very chilled out. I'm sure you've been part of the abseiling team before? Was that maybe "just" to raise and lower the bags as opposed to grabbing the little perishers? I would be rigid with terror at the whole lot, I just can't imagine doing any of it so, well done you!
I visited Lincoln as part of weekend trip and it seems that after 4 successful chicks last year, the eggs aren't going to hatch at all this year. In a very horrible season, looks like derby has done extremely well.

Erica said...

Well done with the ringing and all the photos.

Phoebe said...

Although the youngsters seem to be left alone for long periods I notice an adult is on the corbel below. The Watchpoint is on so they will be keeping an eye on things.

AnnieF. said...

Not posting here very often, but watching frequently! It's as delightful as in previous years, and those adults are such experienced parents now that the juveniles have every chance of successfully fledging. What happens after that, who could tell? maybe the ringing will give clues later.
Thanks to everyone involved in the ringing (though it gave me vertigo just to see Nick M. dangling in mid-air with four uneasy chicks staring back), and for those lovely videos.
Also to Ian (Superbrad) for the wonderful sequence of photos, quite breathtaking - thank you.

Phoebe said...

Where is the fourth chick I can't see it anywhere?

Phoebe said...

The right view webcam appears to be frozen.

Phoebe said...

I have posted a pic on flickr of one of the youngsters stretching its wings - not so small now are they?

Phoebe said...

A very welcome feed is being served by the falcon, it's been a long wait.

Ian (superbrad) said...

@.JO - MICKLEOVER
&.AnnieF
Thank you for your comments on the photos.

Regards Ian (superbrad)

Phoebe said...

It's a rainy day in Derby and the chicks have been attended more today. The first feed was later than usual. The falcon has just landed on the scrape and is looking up.

Good luck for the watchpoint.

Phoebe said...

I have posted a screen grab on flickr showing how big the birds are now and the wingspan is huge!

Project Member (Nick M.) said...

Watch the blog folks - some exciting news to follow shortly!

Phoebe said...

Oh come on Nick! We are on tenter-hooks now!

Should we watch or listen, or both?