Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Watch Points, a report on day one and a nice donation


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.



The 16th May saw the start of this summer's Watch Points on Cathedral Green (on Full Street behind the Cathedral).
For a report see the end of post.
With telescopes set up, anyone who comes along can see the birds really close up and'for real'! The four chicks will soon be poking their heads above the front of the nest platform and be visible from the ground...exciting times ahead!
These 22 events are run by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust on behalf of the partnership, which also includes The Cathedral, Cathedral Quarter and Derby City Council (which hosts the web cams for us).
The Watch Points will occur (weather permitting) each Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday between 11 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. between now and the end of June. If it is really wet or windy on a particular day then they won't happen - so please be aware of that.
So, if you live within reach (and I know one keen fan of the Derby peregrines is coming up from Buckinghamshire), then do pop along one day and see these wonderful falcons as they fly about, sit in places the web cams can't see them and generally go about the business of raising their family. You will get an entirely different perspective on them...and you'll also get to meet some of our wonderful volunteers - without whom these events wouldn't happen at all.
Buses and trains run into Derby of course but if you are coming by car, then search for 'derby car parks' to see where the nearest are located (Chapel Street and the Assembly Rooms CP are closest). There is also on-street parking in the area.
We look forward to seeing some of you in the coming weeks. Please introduce yourselves when you turn up!
If you are new to this blog - then to read the news about the chicks themselves and see some great video clips, scroll down to previous posts.

Report on the first Watch Point (16th): a sunny morning though it did cloud over later and the very cold wind increased too.
This was also a training day for new volunteers so a big thank you to Hilary M., Hilary Mc. and husband Kevin and Ian Mcl for sticking it out until 1.30 without a drink or any food!
The birds were very active and showed well all the time (but the chicks are not quite big enough to poke their heads over the edge - though they will  be soon!). The male flew about quite a bit and the female too at one point. We didn't see any food being brought in though.
Over 40 people came along including some old friends such as Sue H from Bucks., Tony G and Joyce S. BBC Radio Derby's Sally Swinfen turned up and I did a live broadcast for the afternoon show. NB. Note to other WP vols - bring plenty of warm clothes (and maybe a brolly too!).



Donation from the DOS: The Derbyshire Ornithological Society has been very supportive of this project since it began. Recently we received a donation from them of £200 which is very much appreciated. If you are interested in the county's birds then this is the group to go to, to join and support - google 'derbyshireos' and you'll find their excellent website. Go to the latest sightings page to read what birds have been seen in the county of late.
Again, a big thanks to them and to a few other individual donors who have kindly sent us some money recently and unsolicited. Keep it coming in! 

Nick B (DWT)

37 comments:

Sue Peregrino said...

Yes, it's me that's the keen fan from Bucks! Courtesy my satnav, I'll be there. I hope it doesn't play me up too much and Derby drivers, please be patient with an idiot driver unfamiliar with your Derby roads and traffic (I ALWAYS manage to get into the wrong lanes)
I've had a stern word with the man upstairs to send some nice weather but I kind of think he may not have heard. Looking forward so much to coming and seeing lovely Derby, lovely Derby people and lovely Derby peregrines. :)

Phoebe said...

I hope the weather stays finne for the first Watchpoint, I will not be able to come unfortunately.

Nick M - did you say audio/visual? I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

As a member of the Cathedral congregation, I miss the days when you used to have watchpoints on Sundays! I'm working unil 1.00 this Sat. but will try to get into town one Saturday morning.

Kate (Allestree)

Phoebe said...

What a nice sunny day for the first watchpoint. The falcon, I think it is, is sat on the ledge with her back to the crowds. The tiercel was on the corbel below earlier.

I hope it goes well, and look forward to reading a report on sightings out of view of the webcams.

Anonymous said...

Quiet Wednesday afternoon and the adult bird came to feed the chicks. lt was magic! Better than Housework!

Liz

Green class, aged 6 and 7 said...

the chiks have got bigger because when the adult peregrine sits on the chiks we can still see the chiks.We are very happy that the bluetits eggs have hatched in our shchool box. the bluetits chiks are smaller than the peregrines chiks and they dont have any fethers yet.

ncik b (DWT) said...

Kate: sorry there's no Sunday Watch Points but Sundays tended to be much quieter than Saturdays so we went for the latter. However if you are free on Tuesday (Bank Holiday) 5th June we have a special event with tower tours and Watch points too between 10.30 and 3pm ...full details will be on the blog nearer the time.
Nick B (DWT)

Phoebe said...

This looks so funny, an adult, not sure which, maybe tiercel has landed on the right side of the scrape with large prey, the chicks are mostly sleeping but one has its head up looking across at the adult, he has now taken it across to the falcon and chicks and is feeding them.

Phoebe said...

Re: my last post. Pics are on flickr.

Thanks for the update on the watch-point. So pleased it didn't rain for your first one and at least you saw the birds flying around. I was watching the webcams. I saw the falcon looking down at you from the ledge.

Phoebe said...

Watching the webcams at the moment I suspect there may be some night-hunting going on, the falcon is looking up and down all the time - the tiercel left the tower a few moments ago and I wonder if he is hunting.

Sue Peregrino said...

Hello Derby, this is Sue Perigrino back home in Bucks (via the university of Buckingham, it's been a long day). Thank you for a lovely watchpoint, we had nice sunshine at first but my goodness, it got chilly later. I think I missed a flurry of peregrine activity just before I arrived, the male was just being sent off to get some provisions and hadn't made it back by the end of the watchpoint. There was that wonderful peregrine cry as I arrived, that one that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. As I've arrived home, my husband tells me that the "Notts Monster" is being ringed tomorrow. And we in Aylesbury are having our first ever watchpoint tomorrow. We ring on Saturday.
Kate, you are so lucky to be able to visit the cathedral on a regular basis. You might miss the organised watchpoints but hey, you can go and look at the birds yourself any Sunday you like! Why not treat yourself to a nice pair of binoculars, they wouldn't be too heavy to carry to services on Sunday!
I hope to come and see you all again soon. :)

Rej (AT) said...

I hope you get some nice photos from the Watch points. I remember that previously Colin and some other visitors posted excellent shots from around the cathedral.

Oh! I am really jealous of the fans that can drive there - even from the depths of Buckinghamshire :) (I used to live in Flackwell Heath)

Caroline said...

Fantastic to hear that the Watchpoint went well yesterday in spite of the cold. Thanks to all concerned and to DOS and others for their donations. I plan to come down for a Watchpoint and to hear that peregrine cry as Sue describes it :) Another interesting feeding chart up on Flickr thanks to REJ and Phoebe. The feeds are amazingly regular when one considers all the hard work involved in catching prey.

megan age 7 homesdail infants school said...

I love the ferrey white chicks.
we have been doing some peregrine
diry,work.
its so fun doing it.
I bet they feal so soft.

megan age 7 homesdail infants school said...

I love the ferrey white chicks.
we have been doing some peregrine
diry,work.
its so fun doing it.
I bet they feal so soft.

felix age7 Holmesdale Infants said...

the peregrines foalcan are feeding the chicks alot.

felix age7 Holmesdale Infants said...

the peregrines foalcan are feeding the chicks alot.

florence age 6 Holmesdale Infants said...

in class we have bean doing a peregrine dairy and a live cicle of
a peregrine folcan and a peregrine puppet.

florence age 6 Holmesdale Infants said...

in class we have bean doing a peregrine dairy and a live cicle of
a peregrine folcan and a peregrine puppet.

beth from homesdaleinfant school said...

Hello . We have been doing peregrine activertys like a peregrine life cikel and a peregrine diry. The chick are geting bigger evry day and they are so flufy.

ash class from holmesdale infant school by baylie g said...

we or surprised haw the chicks hav grone in such a short space of tame.

zoe from holmesdale infant school age 7 said...

I have been surprised how the chicks have groun.we have seen them eat.I cont blive how there feet have groun.

Phoebe said...

What on earth is the prey just brought in? It is quite large and has wing feathers like a sparowhawk!

Phoebe said...

The parent bird seems to be having trouble controlling the chicks at the moment. I wonder what is happening?

Brian Ashley said...

What a pleasure to read the interest of young children and entered in there own text. Keep up the good work kids.

Sue Peregrino said...

Rej, If you still lived in Flackwell Heath, never mind drive, you could probably get the bus to Aylesbury and watch peregrines. I know it sounds unbelieveable but it's TRUE. Derby was my first love though and always holds a special place in my heart - even to the extent of struggling up there on a nightmare drive through the Milton Keynes roundabouts, up the awful lorry infested M1 and into the confusing roads of Derby itself.
Caroline, you can get a quick "peregrine cry" fix on the RSPB website - they have a brilliant section with bird calls. It's never quite as good as the real thing though.

Sue Peregrino said...

@Phoebe - just noticed your question about the prey item at 12.32. I asked a similar question at Aylesbury 2 nights ago and the answer was NOT something I was thrilled to hear. I'd rather not say what, but if you look on the Bucks Bird Club website, I think it says there.

Phoebe said...

@ Sue peregrino - I have looked at the site you mention and if it is the pictured wing then that was my second thought. Unfortunate as it is they are in the food chain along with all the others. I agree with your sentiments though.

Project Member (Nick M.) said...

@Phoebe @Sue
Do remember that the impact of peregrine falcons and other raptors on the numbers of song birds in this county is virtually nil. Compared to the losses caused by gun-toting and glue-wielding hunters in Mediterranean countries, or losses to birds caused by habitat destruction and mismanagement here, and even to predation by domestic cats, the impact can be discounted. In fact we do gain a lot of scientific information about bird movement through peregrine prey remains.

Peregrine numbers are so small, and their menu so broad, that native song birds have far greater factors affecting their survival than a few hungry natural predators.

Sue Peregrino said...

@Phoebe and @Nick I wrote my comments after our watchpoint when we saw something with the naked eye that webcam viewers wouldn't have seen. We believed we saw the tiercel bring a SECOND unmentionable to his favourite cache and we jumped to the conclusion that a second one had been taken. Wiser heads have now said what we probably saw was just the original one being moved, after all, just the wing was seen in the scrape on the first occasion. One would have been sad but TWO ....... On reflection, it would have been pretty statistically crazy for them to have caught 2 such scarce birds. We're all committed birders but I think we all felt twinges at the thought of two being taken.
What was great at the watchpoint was engaging with loads of people who hadn't previously had a clue what was happening in their town and seeing a great big smile on their faces when they looked down the scopes and got their first view.

anna and rona andzoe ash class said...

they are so big now.the chiks are moveng around the nestbox. I like the little chiks. when the bells ring wud it hurt the chiks ears? I think it is noisey.

Rej (AT) said...

Two questions fo anyone who knows!
a) Are the Derby peregrine pair unusually houseproud? Apart from an odd wing and foot their tray seems very clean compared the pictures from Aylesbury (Sorry Sue).
b) I notice that they still have a "shufflebottom" means of locomotion. When I think of chicken chicks, which scamper about after a day old their development seems slow. Is that normal for raptors ? or larger birds in general?

Sue Peregrino said...

Hi Rej
I'm not sure I know what I'm talking about but it strikes me that the hideous mess increases with the development of the young. Derby seem to me to have been extremely "late" this year (very fortutous given the dreadful weather) so although they have twice as many chicks, as us, they are much smaller. Our nest was pristine once! Our Mrs P had a big clean up yesterday, think she tried to remove the infertile egg but seems to have just pierced and broken it before shoving it to the side. Having said all that, there are a distressing number of heads that seem to have been hanging about in Aylesbury for ages! I've just been shopping in the town and seen some more "off the scrape" action. It really is great if one is lucky enough to see both the web images and real life - each is only a part of the story. So, all you lucky peole who live in Derby, do try to get down to one of the watchpoints if you can, it adds so much to the experience.

Green class, aged 6 and 7 said...

Its amazing the chicks have grown very big since last time because we have looked at them this morning in thact we are looking at them right now.A adult is keeping a eye on the chiks but it is not brooding them right now because it is to warm the chiks dont need to be brooded right now and the adult is not there now it is.We think the adults are looking after four little cute chiks which are pritty big as we have already menshernd.The peregrins chiks dont get fed a very lot because the peregrines chiks eat pritty big birds.The adult peregrine is standing over the chiks right now. We would like to know when the peregrines chiks get there juvinile feathers. Why do the juvinales have brown feathers and the adults have grey and black feathers? Why do juviniles have grey beaks, talons and adults have a yellow sear?

Sue Peregrino said...

Hello again Rej, it's Mrs Amateur again! Onto question 2, I think the answer lies in what I have observed at Nottingham. The "monster" at first had a very strange gait with its "knees" (I think thet's actually ankle?) bent backwards and an enormous pair of feet shuffling it along. As it has grown and strengthened, the legs have straightened out and if you look at the beast now, it is a fine upstanding thing!

Phoebe said...

Rej - I don't know the proper answer to your question of locomotion but I think that because a peregrines normal standing position is more upright as opposed to a chicken whose body is somewhat horizontal that would account for it. the bottom shuffle is the tarsi that they use for balance until their legs and body mature.

Looking at the webcam now, the falcon appears to float atop the pile of chicks!

Sue Peregrino said...

Ringing successfully accomplished at Aylesbury. Seems we have one male and one female. The infertile egg retrieved under licence to be given to the County Museum as a record of our first breeding peregrines in the county.