Friday, 29 June 2012

Catch 'em young (and old!)

One lovely thing about this project is the sheer range of people it engages. We've had children aged four or five and an elderly gentleman aged 96 at the watch points......and people from every walk of life and all parts of the globe.
Recently we had a visit from a local primary school who came to the Watch Point for an hour to see the birds.
Their teacher, Ian, attended the county eco-conference in March at which the project was present and since then he has pestered me to allow his class to come to Cathedral Green to see the birds for real (they have been watching the web cams at school of course). That is the kind of pestering I like!
Finally, we managed to agree a date. The weather was good and the birds were on show. In fact, during the hour, all four juvs were visible on the tower and both parents both showed up too!
The children certainly knew quite a lot about peregrines even at their young age - all thanks to Ian. We need to find more teachers like him and that is what the new Engagement Officer will be tasked to do when they start early next year, paid for by the lottery money we won.
Meanwhile, there is only one final Watch Points left - tomorrow, Saturday (30th) if you've not made it to Derby yet, now's your (very last) chance this season.
On the donations front, money is still coming in so a big big THANKS to everyone who has been so generous. We have had over £700 come in with the multiplier effect courtesy of our anonymous donor, that means an extra £2800 towards our work. Keep it coming! Can we make £1000?

Nick B (DWT)
Ps Lots of thanks to Hilary and her son Jim and to Tony G for helping out with the school and the WP.
Pps. The peregrine's menu isn't quite as extensive as the drawing sheet makes out but two categories out of the five are right for sure.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Drawing to a close - or is it?

With all four youngsters now fledged, the season is drawing to an end.

But don't forget that the family should remain around the cathedral until August at least and that watching the young learn to fly and the parents teach them to hunt is a great spectacle. You may still catch one of the young or an adult via the web cams though their presence will be less reliable (three birds were visible on the tower web cams on Thursday evening I'm told).
Watch Points continue until the end of next week (on 23rd, 27th, 28th and 30th) weather permitting - so do try to come down and meet us if you've not been already (and if the weather is better than today!).
And please do send us a donation if you've not done so yet - especially as we have this amazing offer still operating: namely, whatever you give us, our anonymous donor will add on three times what you give! We've received over £500 so far from many donors (see below) which equates to £2000 when the multiplier effect is applied. That is a marvellous start - but our target is much higher!
We want to do so much more than the HLF grant will allow us to please send us something, however small. How to do it is explained on the previous post. For most people in the UK at least the easiest way is either to write a cheque payable to DWT and send it to DWT, East Mill, Belper, DE56 1XH or to ring the Trust on 01773 881188 (office hours) and pay using a debit card.
Donors so far include the following to whom many thanks:
Jane W, Phoebe, Mr. G, Ann G, Brian Q, Anon, Caroline H, Mrs Burton, Kevin H, Terence B, Gorsefield Primary School, Helen D in Arkansas, Anon, Mrs C, Brenda P in Montreal, @sueperegrino, Mrs P, Ann Frogatt, Mrs Tillett, Mrs W and Roger S in Austria. There may be more, eg those sent in via the bank but for which we don't yet have the details.
Anyway, a big thank you to everyone for your generosity. It really is very heartening to see how much the birds and the project mean to so many people.
A tail of two halves: this afternoon, I had a call saying there was a bird on the ground in the main city bus station that looked like a peregrine. When I arrived the bird had flown but a photo taken on a mobile phone showed it to be just a mistle thrush. Clearly, any bird found in the city is now thought by the public to be a peregrine!
I also called at the cathedral and was handed a brown envelope by the head verger which, once opened, contained a crisp £50 note, an anonymous donation. A big thank you to whoever left this generous contribution should they be reading this....and sorry if you had come to Derby specifically to attend the watch point. The weather this morning (Thursday) was really appalling and not fit for running a Watch Point.
Thanks to Tim: Tim Brooks has now left the employ of the wildlife trust where he was the People and Wildlife Manager since summer 2009, and as such officially in charge of this project. He steered the HLF bid to success, kept both the budgets under control and a wary eye on Nick M and me too! His contribution to the project will be missed. The post he held is not being continued with so it seems the project will now fall under the aegis of Matt Croney at DWT.
We wish Tim all the best in his new job and thank him for his contribution to the project.

Nick B (DWT)
Photos: show a juv in front of the stonework (by Andy Byron) and a food exchange between adult and youngster/sand the adult female passing the flag on the top of the tower as she arrives on the pinnacle on which she likes to watch over proceedings (three shots by Ian Bradley). And a photo of Jurys Inn on top of which the juvs have been spending quite a bit of time recently.

Lottery grant launch talk: this link on the DWT website gives the history of the project;

Sunday, 17 June 2012

It's time to help us benefit from a wonderful offer.....

(Please see the end of this blog post for the latest updates and a link to a great video by Jon Salloway)

Peregrine watchers in Derby city centre
Each year we invite donations from people keen to support the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project and who want to see it flourish. These donations, from all over the world, help to keep our webcams running. This year is no exception, and anyone wishing to contribute is invited to follow one of the methods outlined below.

But this year, 2012, is also very different.
You may have read of the Heritage Lottery grant we recently won. This will enable us to employ an outreach person for three months in each of the next three summers, use a 'technical consultant to fix the IT side of things and to purchase some new essential equipment as well. The money can only be used for the specific purposes identified in our bid document. And we will tell you more about this once the chicks have fledged. 

Funding all other developments still has to be done using our own resources. This  includes visiting schools (the lottery expressly excluded that) and further outreach work.
So please rest assured that your donations to Derby's peregrines will still have a very important impact, no matter how large or small.

Nick B with a fallen juvenile female peregrine, back in 2006
But now, thanks to a very generous anonymous donor,  there's a way for your money to have much more impact. This donor has agreed that whatever you give by way of a donation, they will match it threefold, up to a pre-agreed, four figure total.
So if you give £1, they will add £3 making a donation of £4.
If you give £25 they will add £75 making £100......and so on. 
This is an unbelievable opportunity which we will not get again, so please do consider donating something as a contribution to our work if you have enjoyed this season.
Each donor will be individually thanked by one of the project team. To help you understand our anonymous donor's reasoning, this is what they have written:

"Last year, I lost somebody who I loved very much.  He delighted in urban peregrines and although he didn't live in Derby, this project held a very special place in his heart and he visited the city often. It was simple for me to know what would be the right thing to do to mark his passing – to help the project with a moderate windfall legacy.  It gives me some comfort to know he will be continuing to help the birds he loved so much.  I'm sure he knows and approves about this and that he rests in peace. The Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project has so many hopes and plans for extending its brilliant work, getting more children involved and more people who would otherwise not come into contact with the birds. The new HLF grant is a massive help and this new legacy will help too.  However, more money is really needed and I am very conscious of the risk that you fellow project enthusiasts may perhaps think  you can all sit back now and feel happy the project is provided for, rather than make the donation you might otherwise have made. This is incorrect, more is always needed!  The project depends on all of you Friends out there.  Please, if you have taken any delight, amazement, knowledge or pleasure from DERBY'S PEREGRINES, please make a donation to help the project reach more people like you and develop its technical quality too. Please give whatever you can afford to keep this lovely project in the air and on the air!"

We are extremely grateful for this heartfelt offer and invite you to contribute whatever sum you feel is appropriate. Thanks to this donor's amazing generosity, your money will have an amazing three-fold effect! So here's how to donate:

The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust (the lead project partner) is a registered charity and a 'not for profit' organisation. It is the only recipient of project funds. Rest assured that any money given to the Wildlife Trust will be used only to support this project provided you clearly state that it is for the Peregrine Project. All donations, however small or large, are acknowledged either by email or letter. Note that UK donors can increase the value of their donation by Gift Aid by 20%. (If you have donated and gift aided before we should still have your form so there's no need to ask for another).

We will publish a list of donors (but not the amount they donated) here on the blog later on. You can choose whether to be anonymous, to have your full name used, or some semi-anonymous abbreviation (eg Mrs S from Matlock or Stan H from Toton). Let us know your preference.

You can donate in one of the following ways:

UK donors:
  • Post a cheque made payable to DWT to the Trust at East Mill, Belper, DE56 1XH including a covering note stating that your donation is only for the peregrine project (include your address so we can acknowledge receipt).
  • Ring the Trust during office hours (01773 881188) to make a payment over the phone by debit/credit card (office hours are 9am to 5pm, weekdays, to 4.30pm on Fridays).
  • You can also use the donation mechanism on the Trust's website at  Go  to 'support us/make a donation'. We use Virgin Moneygiving and find it works very well.

To UK Taxpayers only -  you can greatly increase your donation by filling out a Gift Aid form whereby the tax people give the Trust a further 20% of the value of your donation. The form can be sent by email or through the post…just ask.

Overseas donors:
  • 1) Please email asking for the codes you need so your bank can transfer money to the DWT account. (Unfortunately Gift Aid does not apply unless you are a tax payer in the UK.) Note that banks may charge for this service.
  • 2) Donors from most overseas countries can also ring the Trust (weekdays on 0044 1773 881188) to pay by credit long as you can work out when the office is open of course (check the webcam's local timestamp!)
  • Use our online donation mechanism via our website - see above.
Payments should only be made to 'Derbyshire Wildlife Trust', the lead partner for the project. No other organisation or website is authorised to collect funds on our behalf.

Please clearly mark on your payment that it is for the 'Peregrine Project' for use in the current financial year or, better still 'in this and next financial year' (this allows us to carry your money over from year to year should we need to).

Thank you in advance,

Nick M, Tony G and Nick B, the project team
Update Wednesday: good weather for the Watch Point and a big thanks to Joyce S, Jim M and Will M for their help. At least two and sometimes three juvs on Jurys with one on the cathedral. All seem confident fliers.

Update Tuesday 4pm: Christine reports seeing all four juvenile birds on the cathedral ('flying well') and the parents too - great news! Thanks Christine.
Update Tuesday 19th 8.30 am: just back from the cathedral. No sign of the fledged female, two males above the nest and both parents present, the male finally on the platform. A search of local roofs and car parks revealed nothing and there was nothing on the nave roof when I went up and had a look out over it. All seemed calm so I'm sure she will turn up. Nick B.
Update Monday 18th 6pm: the last juv has still not fledged....but may do anytime, of course. The three males have been on or around the tower all day,

Update Monday 18th 7am: 
the female is clearly ready to leave the nest now. With her three brothers gone, she's flapping from one side of the platform to the other. So we expect this final youngster to fly either today or maybe tomorrow.

Females, being heavier than males, are the ones that have most difficulty on their maiden flights. So it is possible this one may end up on the streets below the tower. The project team is poised to deal with this eventuality.
Watch Points continue until the very end of June (Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 11 - 1.30) so do come down and see the youngsters flying about if you possibly can. With luck they will stay on and around the cathedral for a further month at least as they learn the art of fending for themselves.
Live Video with Sound: This is working  again - just follow 'Key Links' at the top of this blog, or go here

The video below of our Derby birds was taken by Jon Salloway on Sunday 17th from the ground. (Duration: 15 minutes)

This video was captured on 14th June, a day or two before the first fledging occurred.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

We have lift-off! And some Updates

Update 12 noon Sunday: all six on cathedral - thanks for that Ian & Cliff.
Update Sunday 8 a.m.: a second male has fledged, leaving the female and the last male still on the platform. One of the two fledged birds was on the tower for awhile but later neither could be seen despite searching of local roofs and open spaces. The adult female was high up on a pinnacle watching everything but she didn't seem too concerned. A bright sunny morning with a strong west wind blowing but some ominous dark clouds in the distance.

Update 4pm Saturday: 
Watchpoint Report from Chris and Andy M:
A showery morning saw about fifty visitors to Cathedral Green today. All had good views of the three chicks remaining in the nest and both adults who were around the tower for most of the session. The highlight was at about 11.00 when the female flew off returning a short while later with some prey which she dropped in the nest for the chicks to feed themselves from.
At about 12.00 a heavy shower meant rain stopped play and we decided to close the watchoint early.
Chris and I went to do some shopping returning about 1.00. There were the three chicks on the edge of the platform, the male was sitting above them on top of the louvres with two further birds on Jury's Inn. Closer inspection by telescope revealed them to be the adult female, sitting on the hotel sign and the 4th chick on the parapet above her - so all birds are still safe and well!
Ps. An hour later a report from Hilary Mckay said that the youngster had flown back to the parapet on the tower (north side).

Update at 08.30 Friday 15th - Missing male has just been seen on the Silk Mill roof this morning (Friday) so thanks to Jon S (and others too no doubt) for their smart detective work!!

16.50 on Thursday: still no sign of the fledged youngster. Hopefully it will make its way back to the tower..We'll have someone out there looking tonight I'm sure.


With immaculate timing, Derby's first peregrine apppears to have fledged this morning. By 8.30am there were only three chicks visible on the cathedral nest platform, and we were initially unsure if it had simply climbed up one of the camera poles and was out of view, or whether it had  properly flown.

The exact picture is still unclear (I'm writing this a long way from Derby and without webcam access), but we'll know much more once today's Watchpoint volunteers on Cathedral Green report back in. What is clear is that today on Cathedral Green  we were joined by representatives from Derby City Council, SERCO, Derby Cathedral Quarter, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and - most importantly - the Heritage Lottery Fund for the formal luanch of our three year Peregrines People and Places project. Whilst it won't fund all the things we'd like and need to do to keep the project running, it will certainly help us deliver some specific outreach targets and take Derby's Peregrines into new areas.

But more of this later.  This post will be updated as more news of todays events unfold.

Meanwhile you can now watch one of our three camera feeds.
Only one is fully live and with audio, and has been set up by the folks at SERCO in Derby.
The other two remain the same - live images updated every six seconds, and without sound.
See the Key Links on the upper left of this blog page

08:09 hrs 14 June 2012 - All four


08:10 hrs 14 June 2012 - Now only three