Sunday, 10 March 2013

The Green Man, eggs-pectation (and an UPDATE)

(To read about the replacing of the 'pudding' camera and the new camera, scroll down to the previous two posts).
See Update at foot of this post added 13 and 14 March.....

The splendid 'green man' stone carving below has stood the test of time near the base of the cathedral tower, just to the side of the cathedral's west door (be sure to seek him out when you next come to Derby!).
This ancient symbol, with leaves coming out of his mouth, nose or ears (or all three) evokes the links between nature and humans. Versions of it can be found on many cathedrals and churches in the UK and as far a way as Asia (try a wikipedia search to find out more about the green man: ).
This Derby green man (there is only one) has seen some 500 springs come to Derby since the early 16th century, when the tower was built.  Had his ears not been covered by foliage, perhaps he would have heard the songs of many birds through the centuries.
In the last eight springs, he would certainly have heard the loud display calls of peregrine falcons as they carved through the air above him.

Green man by the west door
With our pair being seen mating recently, it is fair to say that we are on the cusp of the 2013 breeding season. As the days have lengthened, so the birds' hormonal state has changed. Nest scraping has been reported for many weeks now, a pre-cursor to full display and copulation. (If you do see mating occurring please email us at giving 'chapter and verse'.)
So, with the same parent birds as we began with in 2006, we can be fairly confident that we will have a full clutch of eggs before very long - with the first appearing by Easter or soon after. Last year the first egg was laid on 29th March. The dates for other years were: 2006 - late but unknown/no web cam, 2007 - 3/4, 2008 - 28/3, 2009 - 23/3 (the earliest of any), 2010 - 31/3 and 2011 - 2/4.
Anyone want to guess on what day the first egg will appear in 2013?
Peregrines elsewhere: there are web cams set up on peregrine nests at many urban and other locations across the UK and abroad too. Keeping an eye on all of them is a big task but if anyone spots the reporting of a first egg somewhere else in the UK before our birds lay one, do let us know!

Peregrine eggs are a wonderful colour
The male does some scraping 13 March
UPDATE 13 March: Kate has sent two screengrabs taken this morning (13th) one of which is copied here.
Clearly from Kate's comment, the birds are getting really noisy and active despite the freezing weather. She guesses a first egg on 18th which would be very early - but who knows! Thanks Kate for sending in the grabs.
UPDATE 14 March: Nick M has put the new camera view up but it is not streaming, just refreshing every 6 seconds. Also, we are aware of the problem with the 'pud' cam but won't be able to fix it for awhile unfortunately. NB

Nick B (DWT)
Ps. While we await an egg, Beatrice, one of Roy Dennis' satellite tagged ospreys, has begun her migration north. She winters in southern Spain but has flown up to SW France, a regular stop-over spot for this bird. To follow her go to .


Rej (AT) said...

Thanks for the links - fascinating stuff!

slumpy said...

Has one of the birds been leaning against the pudding cam? It's gone incredibly murky.

Nick B (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust) said...

Hi Slumpy: we are aware of a problem with the new 'pud' cam, probably caused by the fact that it sticks out more than the old model and seems to be catching the rain etc.
Nick M will try to sort this out asap but that may not be until Saturday at the very earliest due to other pressures on him.
Nick B (DWT)

Anonymous said...

I've been a Derby follower for ages and I never realised you had a lovely Green Man too! Pardon my massive religious ignorance, but which is the west door, is it the big main entrance? I will definitely seek him out on my next "peregrination" to Derby .... which if I'm very lucky may be as soon as Thursday (if I can summon up the courage to tackle Derby's ring road, a scarey prospect) Those who know me will know what I'm journeying for if I say I will be retrieving a certain pot of BRONZE AWARD winning marmalade from Penrith (yes, it's worth it). It'll also be another opportunity to look for the peregrines too :)

Nick B (DWT) said...

Hi Sue: the west door is the main door into the cathedral from Irongate (the nest platform is on the east face of the tower so the west door is under the opposite side of the tower if that makes any sense)?
There are carvings either side of the west door, just above head height, one of them is the 'proper green man', the other just a head.
Snowy and very cold here today...not (peregrine) mating weather for sure!!
nick B (DWT)

phoebe said...

There's a peregrine sat in the right side of the tray.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for pointing me virtually to the West Door, Project Member Nick B! It'll make searching him out simpler whenever it is that I am able to visit! Yes, the weather has put a damper on things for now, the view of one of the pair yesterday was of them sitting on a carpet of snow. Just a week ago, it felt like Spring had sprung with reports of the first brimstone butterfly. But no, it's as Roger McGough has it in his poem "The Fight of the Year". Spring will come eventually .... but it does feel far off today.

Kate said...

"Anyone want to guess on what day the first egg will appear in 2013?"

My Guess 18th March, was really vocal this morning on Nest