Thursday, 23 May 2013

Watch Points begin - plus Updates

UPDATE: Saturday's Watch Point (25th) was very well attended with some 300 visitors counted in the sunshine. A full account is at the foot of this blog post and another about Monday's Event. The next public Watch Point is this Saturday 1st June, 11am to 1pm and longer if fine.

Ian Layton, our Engagement Officer writes:
So far so good! We have four apparently robust youngsters (if you are new to this blog please scroll down to read the latest news of our chicks and see photos and a video of them).
Let’s hope the weather is kind to them and we see all four fledge.
Let’s also hope that the weather stays fine so as many people as possible can come along and see what’s happening up on the Cathedral tower. Once again the project will be organising “Watch Points” and encouraging people to use our telescopes to get a close up view and “share the magic” of the peregrines.

This year Watch Points will be run from 11.00am till about 2.00pm each Saturday from May 25th to at least June 29th. As the falcons were late in laying their eggs this year, we may run our Watch Point season a little later too.

Watch Points, as always, are free to attend. Donations are always welcome of course and if you do want to find out more about becoming a member of DWT, then we will have the necessary literature for you.

So it would be wonderful to see you all on Cathedral Green over the next few weeks if you can make it!
In addition to the Saturday Watch Points we are holding our annual Peregrine Event on Bank Holiday Monday 27th May (next Monday!). This will include a Watch Point, hourly Tower Tours taking people to the top of the tower (there will be a charge for this) and a small display and some children’s activities in the cathedral itself. Just turn up at any time between 10.30 and 3pm. Tony Grantham (our cathedral rep.) and I will be there and Nick B will pop in too.

Looking up at the nest with a scope

I have also been busy visiting a range of community groups and encouraging them to come and see the peregrines for themselves. So far we have six group visits to mid-week Watch Points confirmed and we have a further six groups arranging dates. These range from local Brownie groups, through groups of people with hearing or visual impairment – and on to folks from Care Homes. As much as I love seeing the birds via the web cams I’m really looking forward to seeing the expressions of people who have never had the opportunity to see the falcons ‘for real’ before.

We still have some free dates towards the end of June – so if you know of a group who haven’t seen the falcons but might enjoy their magic – please let me know and I’ll get in touch (email

And while you are in Derby (if you get there!) do be sure to catch Nick M’s great display showing the nest platform with eggs (and a monitor with the live web cam view) in the window of the Cathedral café on Irongate, opposite the main entrance to the Cathedral. It’s well worth stopping for a look and indeed going inside for a bite to eat or a coffee/tea!

Hopefully we’ll see lot’s of you at the Watch Points over the coming weeks. Please don’t be shy – introduce yourselves as blog readers or web cam watchers – and let us know what you think of the project and how we might improve it.

The 'wow' factor!
See also the Watch Point tab above for more information about dates - coming shortly.

Watch Point Report for Saturday 25th by WP volunteer Andy Marshall: A fine sunny morning prompted an early start so we were on Cathedral Green at 10 am setting up . The female peregrine was on the platform shading the chicks but the male was nowhere to be seen (earlier he had been perched on the green “spike” above Jury’s Inn).

At 10.50 she flew off briefly, returning to one of the food caches above the nest and dislodging a pigeon which had unwisely settled there - before returning to her chicks.
A Cancer Concern  sponsored bed push plus pushers  stop to see the birds! Photo Sue H

Just after 11 am, the male put in an appearance, perching on the right-hand waterspout. This brought his mate out onto the edge of the nest platform calling to the male who eventually took the hint and flew off again. The female flew up to check whether he’d brought in any prey but flew back to the nest without anything. At 11.40 she flew off and circled over the River Gardens area for some time before returning at midday with prey. She proceeded to pluck it before dropping down to the nest and feeding the chicks.

Feeding over, the female cached part of the remainder of the carcase at the top of the louvres above the nest then flew with another piece before returning to settle down and brood her (no doubt) sleeping chicks. From then until then end of the Watch Point just after 2 pm the most we saw of any of the birds was the females head as she occasionally peeped over the platform edge.
Watch Point and Tower Tours - Monday's event: With another 200 people turning up (or being dragged screaming and kicking off the street) to see the peregrines, a good day was had. The sun
WP Monday 27th - a quieter moment
stayed out and many people went up to the tower top to see the great views of the city and beyond.

The birds showed themselves quite well with some flying about and at least two feeds. Among people who came were some from Spain, Greece, The Philipines and France too. If today was your first experience of the Derby Peregrine Project do watch our birds on line and come back to a future Watch Point. The next one is on Saturday 1st June, 11am until at least 1pm, weather permitting.


Green Class said...

The chicks look so cold they are cudling up to each other because it is freezing out side. They are cuddling up because they only have little feathers. we can here the wind blowing.

nick said...

Yes Green Class - it is a cold and windy day in Derby for sure. But the chicks are now quite big and will survive this without any problem.
We hope some of you will be able to keep on watching the web cams over half term at home, even make the trip down to Derby on a Saturday (or on Bank Holiday Monday 27th) to see the birds through the telescopes on Cathedral Green.

Caroline said...

Good luck with the Peregrine Day on Monday everyone! I came down from Manchester for it last year and can really recommend it and the Watch points. Fantastic that you have invited different groups along, Ian. I'll be down again sometime soon :) Btw, I put some more pics on Flickr this morning including Chick 4 getting more than he bargained for but swallowing it anyway!

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Oh poor darling looks very cold and windy up there to-day. Hope to get to one of the watch points you are having while I am in the U.K. Enjoy your long holiday weekend everyone. I arrive in Derby on Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

The new camera is great - well done all involved. Today is warmer and some great views of feeding.

Anonymous said...

Aylesbury project was honoured to be at Derby's first watchpoint of 2013 on a glorious day of weather. We had an amazing approx 300 visitors and we hope they were all as thrilled with the birds as we were and enjoyed getting a close up look through our scopes.
One visitor told us she worried about the smallest chick but we reassured her that it might always get left until last, but it always got a full tummy in the end.
Not sure how we got there, but we talked about the year when disease struck and the project were forbidden to intervene. What happened to the casualty(s)? Were they consumed by siblings, disposed of by the adults or simply left on the platform?

Anonymous said...

PS the display in the Cathedral shop is excellent too! It puts it all into context - when the adult is brooding the chicks, very little is visible from the Green but a quick trip up to the shop reveals what is happening via the webcam display.

Liz said...

Had a good day taking screen shots, got some nice pictures....... in between taking a long, long walk by our river where I live, in the beautiful sunshine....

Anonymous said...

Really enjoying the new camera. Such a great privilege to see the birds so close up. What brilliant parents this pair are. Looking forward to seeing the chicks grow and fledge. Exciting times to come!

Mary T (Belper)

Helen said...

Now that the chicks are starting to become more mobile it's easier to see the difference in size between them all. One chick seems much bigger than the rest so I am guessing that there is at least one female! After being fed the largest chick waddled over to the front of the platform. It looks as if they will start to become more visible from the ground now too - good news for the watch points!

Anonymous said...

Could you tell us when you will be ringing the chick's as i would like to come to Derby from Stoke to watch from the green if i can make it.....many thanks george.

Caroline said...

Great to hear about turnout and Watch points. Hope everyone has another great day today. I got a screen-grab yesterday pm of the falcon feeding 'little' and 'large' after the other chicks were clearly stuffed. These two were still at it though!

Kathy said...

Spent a wonderful hour watching Mrs. P this morning, Mr.P was flying around but didn't come to the nest site.
Many thanks to all the team for setting up the watch points the views were spectacular.
Hopefully we will be back in a couple of weeks when the chicks will be bigger and we may be able to see them a little clearer.

nick said...

George - at the moment we hope to do the ringing about 7pm on Wednesday, weather permitting. Obviously high winds or rain would mean that we would have to delay this for a day or two since we rely on someone (a guy called Martin) abseiling down to the nest.
Nick B

Liz said...

Feeding time 9:00pm 27th May 2013 The chick on the far left of my Liz1155 Flickr Pic h11 Is the chick unfed at teatime. After all the other chicks had finished it finally was able to rouse itself to eat, managing to eat quite strongly but not as much as the others had.

Liz said...

I managed to catch pics that are on Flickr, of the food being prepared for the 9:00pm feed 27th May 2013.

Anonymous said...

once again an inspiring insight to the life of this Derby family what a privilage I have let many friends abroad know and they also watch the new cameras are better good in real time. Well done to the parents for the devotion to raise this brood.