Saturday, 29 March 2014

First Egg for 2014

Just around half past midnight this morning, Derby's falcon laid her first egg. She had kept us all waiting, as she has done in previous years. Although her egg looks white under night-time illumination, it is, of course, a rich reddish brown colour, which we  see in the first video, taken at 09:30am this morning.

First egg of the season.





Over the weekend Stream 3 will not be available, as SERCO gave us advance warning that they were moving offices, and equipment would be offline. This won't affect Streams 1 and 2 which change every 6 seconds or so, nor the new, live audio/video Stream 4. It does, however, impact on the Windows Media encoding laptop for Stream 3, which may be offline all weekend. Apologies for not warning everyone in advance. Nick M.

80 comments:

Phoebe said...

Yipes! Nick M that was quick! It was great to witness this on the cams. I put 2 pics on flickr. Congratulations to the falcon pair!

Phoebe said...

She is guarding that egg with her life there.

Lorraine said...

Glad Nick and Phoebe stayed up late and managed to capture clear images, as a BP doesn't do half as well. Do hope Cam 3 is working again in the morning so we can see if the tiercel brings her some food. I wouldn't put it past him as we know how attentive he is to her at this time. She just had a little look at the egg and then settled down quite nicely again.
Can now get a good nights sleep!

Joyce S said...

Brilliant news!

Anonymous said...

Eggs cellent !!!!!!
06 26.not sure if this teircel? but not keeping the egg warm, just gently dozing alongside the egg.

Kate said...

sorry that was me kate posting doh!! (finger moved to quick and sent sorry)

Helen said...

There was a lovely view of the egg a few minutes ago on Stream 4 as the falcon turned around. It was great to see her gently nudge it in to position with her huge feet before covering it again. Brilliant stuff!!

Sue Peregrino said...

Super view of it at 07.10 this (29th) morning. Standing by for another 3 now please.

Kate said...

What a pity it was too late for our viewing schools to witness, maybe they will catch a view of other eggs to come.
Thank goodness the Flikr page is kept updated and am sure Nick will post a video( when time permits)
Thank you everyone.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant news. Should be an exciting weekend!


Mary T, Belper

Helen said...

Mating just took place on the nest platform!

Caroline said...

Oops, I was so excited that I posted on the previous blog entry. Tx so much to those watching and collecting pictures for the rest of us. Happy Eggday!

Helen said...

I didn't realise that mating would still take place after the first egg had been laid. There is always something new to be learnt even after watching the webcams for several years! It would make a great video clip if Nick is able to retrieve it!

Anonymous said...

would the father gone and got some food for her and i dont understand which one is the female or male?

Anonymous said...

hello guys is anyone else webcam 3 not loading because mine is and i like to use that one please help me thank you! x

Nick B (DWT) said...

Hi all: some problems with 3 are probably due to high level of use at the moment!
It is the same adult birds that have been present since 2004/5...so they are getting quite old now as peregrines go!
Telling male form female is not easy. Scroll down comments to the last post for some discussion about this. The female as bigger than the male and not quite so contrasty in her colouring. he looks a bit 'neater' and his head is darker....but it isn't that easy since the cameras distort size.

Nick B (DWT) said...

The media has been alerted and there was an interview on BBC Radio Derby about 7.50 am this morning (that will be listen-again -able later today) and we hope East Midlands Today BBC TV will cover the story too....they have asked for a clip!
Nick
Should be in Derby Telegraph on Monday.

Phoebe said...

I can definitely see three birds at the moment, two are on the corbels below.

Phoebe said...

One bird was on the far right corbel below the nest and the other was on the fourth - the one on the right moved across toward the other bird, one corbel at a time. There is only one bird in view on the corbel at the moment. All this time there was one on the egg. I am not sure if it's the falcon on the egg or not. I have some screen grabs but cannot confirm that the other bird was peregrines. Need to be there with binos to check it out.

Peregrine Project Member (Nick M.) said...

A video from this morning has now been incorporated into the blog.

Phoebe said...

Just watched the video. I thought it was the tiercel on the egg, and this video shows the change-over. The falcon is now on the corbel below the scrape to the right. So it was the falcon along with the third bird I saw on the corbels below.

Peregrine Project Member (Nick M.) said...

Two things to advise everyone of:
BBC East Midlands will be showing the new video footage at 13:05 this afternoon. And ITV news and website will also be covering it.

Secondly: Stream 3 is offline today whilst SERCO move offices in Derby, taking out encoding PC with them. Not sure whether it'll be back online before Monday, but thankfully Stream 4 is now working well, and online just in time, eh?

Phoebe said...

Posted two screen grabs to flickr. I would say both the birds on the corbels are peregrines but maybe someone else can confirm. That means we have three peregrines around the cathedral! Hopefully it will be a youngster from last year.

AnnieF. said...

Just seen the wonderful news - and the egg. So pleased all's going well, and warm weather too. I was slightly gobsmacked that the falcon was ready to mate so soon after laying; another fascinating addition to our pool of knowledge. Many thanks to everyone for pics and video.

Caroline said...

Perhaps the ongoing mating is part of the pair bonding? Great news about all the media coverage, Nick - and that they haven't lost interest now that the East Midlands and indeed UK is lucky enough to spy on several nesting peregrines. Interesting to read about the possibility of a third peregrine on hand. Someone else will remember but didn't a juvenile visit last year briefly? And was it Bath where one stayed around for ages and took part in feeding the chicks? It was on Springwatch.

from christine said...

Good on you mrs p! U have laid 1st egg on my birthday!

Caroline said...

Happy Birthday Christine! I didn't see the large (!) prey brought in but it looks like the falcon is making up for lost feeding time on the top ledge while the tiercel sits on the egg.

AnnieF. said...

Christine, happy birthday - you'll remember this one for a long time!
Caroline, I believe there was a juvenile in Italy (Rome?) that stayed to help with babysitting duties. I hope we'll be lucky enough to see similar behaviour here at Derby.

Sue Peregrino said...

Yes Caroline, I believe it was Bath where they had an "interesting" family. The orignal male had been driven off by his son and mother and son were breeding. A third bird was later observed helping, and this was an offspring of mother and son. It begged the question, why would he do that? The answer was that he would still be "helping" his own genes. That project is facilitated by the Hawk and Owl Trust, maybe there's more info on their webpage? What I think I recall from that project is that they have a cool little door at the back of the platform and extracting the chicks for ringing is easy peasy, no daring exploits danging off an abseil rope for them!

Lorraine said...


Now that more sightings of the third bird are being reported, there was an incident which I didn't post earlier, for fear of being considered a bit loopy.(yes, I know I am - but that's beside the point!)

This is what I saw when I tuned in at one such point yesterday :-

Falcon sat on the nest in the scrape. Tiercel on the ledge on the other side of the scrape. All well and good...
Tiercel now leaning forward and making noises I haven't heard before when he is addressing his mate...
Another glance from me at the falcon and alarm bells ring in my head. Having swatted up on identification markers from HelenSara's flickr gallery, which shows both birds together with good ID pointers, a closer look at the falcon on the nest contradicted these pointers. It flashed through my mind that the falcon was an imposter! The more I looked, the more I convinced myself that -
a) the bird was definitely smaller and not as healthy looking as the falcon we know and love.
b) the head markings were different than those I had recently re-familiarized myself with, and
c) the tiercel was bodily and verbally communicating to the bird on the nest, in a manner I have never seen him use on his mate.

The bird in question then flew off (convincing me now, that his vocals to it had been of a threatening nature, though very quiet and contained, with his whole body leaning forward) who was followed directly by the tiercel himself. Very shortly after another bird landed and settled over the hollow. Close inspection satisfied me that she was the Derby mother falcon.

Now, make of it what you will, but as for myself, I think we have a female peregrine ( possibly one of last years brood )that has returned. This would account for the lenient behaviour of the tiercel, who would otherwise have fought such an intruder.

The prospect, of even the possibility of, seeing a juvie help feed this years chicks, is almost more exciting to me than seeing the first egg lay this morning. I'm keeping my beady eye propped open with a matchstick for another sighting of that mystery bird alright!

Hope you had a lovely day today Christine :)

Caroline said...

Sounds like we're all going to have to be peregrine-eyed to solve the mystery of the third bird! Tx Annie & Sue - yes, I seem to remember discussing the Rome bird now. You prompted me to go digging on the Spring watch website for the Bath story too. Here's the clip - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00thgn3

Hope all's well at Aylesbury, Sue.

Lorraine said...

Egg exposed with one of the birds sleeping head under wing on the ledge. Cover that egg!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lorraine
In 2007 we had experience here in Derby of a juvenile female from the previous year drop into the nest containing eggs. She even pushed the uncubating adult male off the eggs and attempted to sit on them herself for a few moments. This does happen, albeit rarely, and this could be another example of this behaviour. Normally an interloper that is not related would be kicked out immediately. So maybe this is what you observed.

BTW: No worries about the eggs being left exposed. This will happen frequently, and for hours on end until the penultimate egg is laid. Only then does incubation start in earnest.
Nick M.

Lorraine said...

21.15
Falcon has continued to ignore her egg. Tiercel brought small prey to scrape edge, falcon noisily ran over to beg for it, then flew off with it in tow. Tiercel has remained since, but has also ignored the egg, which has now been exposed for 1.1/2 hours.
21.56
Tiercel flown off and scrape now vacated bar uncovered egg.

Lorraine said...

Nick, thanks, found your post etc.,
Relieved to now know I've no need to be concerned about the exposed egg.

Your comments were timely - could have remained glued to the screen all bloomin' night otherwise. I'm off to wonder off and head scratch myself now - need an early night - and will swot incubation tomorrow.

Sue Peregrino said...

Hi Caroline
Things are good at Aylesbury in that we still have our adult breeding pair and they are breeding again this year. The not so good part of the story is that they seem to have a problem with fertility. They've only managed to produce one egg this year which we hope will at least be fertile. They don't have a great track record as only 50% of their eggs produced since 2011 have been fertile. Thanks for asking. :)

Kate said...

Morning all
I am no expert but looks like female incubating this morning but still wary and looking up.

Peregrine Project Member (Nick M.) said...

Hi Christine H. ONce again, I'm receiving your comments as moderator, but they aren't appearing online. You said: "Christine H has left a new comment on your post "First Egg for 2014":

Well it's all going on !! I'm desperately trying to leave my comments but try as I might, they disappear, The first Sheffield egg was left for very long periods and even the fourth was 'left out in the cold' for a good 15 minutes whilst the other three were incubated, is it strange behaviour or something we have missed in previous years ? Christine H"

Firstly, as I said in an earlier comment, eggs being apparently abandoned for an hour or more is perfectly normal. By allowing them to remain cool until all the eggs are laid, it synchronises them all so that they develop at exactly the same rate and stage. This avoids the ned for one chick to have tiny meals, whislt another needs huge stuff. This is especially important at fledging time when they are all likely to leave the nest at the same time.
I reckon some of the teachers using our webcams could ask their classes what benefit this gives our peregrines, and why other species like owls don't do this. (Some great links to conversations on issues around third world poverty, if you care to look for them!.

Finaly, Christine H. Please consider creating a Blogger account which you can use to comment from, rather than commenting anonymously. This avoids the silly numbers and letters you have to type in, and may help solve this peculiar problem of your comments not appearing on for some strange reason.

Phoebe said...

I was watching stream 4 with the tiercel preening on the scrape ledge and the falcon sitting on the egg. I heard the call of a peregrine, but not either of the two as the tiercel looked around to see where it came from. The falcon was quietly on the egg.

Phoebe said...

I think it was the tiercel calling after all, he just called again.

By the way, I am logged into Blogger and still have to put in the silly numbers.

Steven Alcock said...

Do they lay an.egg every other day and how long is the incubation period

Nick B (DWT) said...

Hi Steven: yes, about 48 hour intervals between eggs, give or take. Incubation starts either when the third or definitely the fourth egg is laid. It lasts about 30 days, maybe a day or so more.
Nick B

Nick B (DWT) said...

I was down at the cathedral this morning about 9 am. As I arrived I could see the female was on Jurys Inn lettering. However another peregrine flew past and headed off NW. It looked like a female but I only had a fleeting view. I then looked up at the platform and the male was there on the edge. In fact, soon afterwards, with the female making begging calls, he flew to JI and mated with her.
So, I can only think that the mysterious third bird is one of their offspring come back to see what's going on. They wouldn't tolerate an intruding falcon if it was a stranger.
With luck someone with a scope will see the bird perched and be able to detect if it has an orange ring on its left leg....confirming it to be one of 'ours'.
Also while I was there, two sparrowhawks circled up over the tower but avoided any conflict with the falcons.
Nick B (DWT)

Phoebe said...

The prospect of a third bird make me wonder if the screengrab I got of the tiercel flying in to the scrape and then flying off, was actually one of the pair! On looking at that picture again the bird flying in had prey in its talons. The falcon was on the ledge at the time and lowered her head to the incoming bird... could this have been to shoo it away? Don't know if I can see any rings on the legs or not. Will be worth me going through my screenshots looking for rings.

Kate said...

Did my eyes deceive me?
I was just looking at stream 2.
bird out on the stonework side,
another Bird landed on top , before I could capture he flew off.
Am sure it was not my imagination CHOL:):)

both trays empty ( except for the Egg!!!)

Christine H said...

Thank you Nick M for taking the time to help and thank you to everyone involved, it is lovely to be able to see the peregrines and learn so much about them, it is a priveledge but feel sorry they have no privacy !!

Phoebe said...

Kate, could you please tell me what CHOL means? It's a new one on me...

Christine H said...

So....we may have another egg by tomorrow morning, will be getting up extra early !

Peregrine Project Member (Nick M.) said...

Congrats Christine H, and well done for registering with Google/Blogger,

Christine H said...

Who says older people can't fathom how to 'blog' - Ha ha - feather in my cap - a peregrine feather of course ! Have learn't so much about peregrines from Derby, it has become a bit of an obsession !!!

MaryT said...

Must get down there soon with my new spotter scope. All very exciting stuff.

Lorraine said...

Got this Blog Pic of the mating that just took place.

BTW, Kate - me too, what does CHOL mean ?

Lorraine said...

Well after catching up on today,s posts, it seems confirmed, more or less, that another falcon is abroad.

Lets hope one of us can catch it on a screen grab, or one of the scopes can solve the mystery. I do hope the Aylesbury pair have success with their egg this year, they so deserve it - I'll be rooting for them.

Well, the end of an interesting week all in all - forget Romeo and Juliet btw, this is turning into The Taming of the Shrew - roll up, roll up indeed!

Class access to the blog is back tomorrow, all excited to post I hope, so will return my comments to factual quick updates after tonight.

Phoebe said...

Lorraine, a great capture, I missed it, I was out of the room!

Kate said...

Hello Phoebe , Lorraine and tuthers.
CHOL:)
CH chuckling
OL out loud..

as opposed to
LOL Laughing out loud...

If you think of it, how often does something make you really smile,when you are maybe somewhere quietish and you cannot give a BIG Guffaw, but a little chuckle would be acceptable...

Kate Chuckling !!!!CHOL:)

p.s.all quiet and settled on the Egg at the moment, will look forward to the morning,from all you night b i r d s....

Phoebe said...

Ah thank you Kate. I did wonder if chuckling was part of it.
CHOL I would use a lot.

The tiercel is doing his share of egg minding I see. The falcon has probably gone hunting.

Lorraine said...

Kate - ta very much chuck !

22.16 Falcon choosing to sit over the egg, rather than lie on it, no straining movements but a bit trance like. Will quick check later, though think tonight will be uneventful egg wise and routine in event.

Well, all seems well on the tower tonight, as the curtain closes on Act 1 !

Sue Peregrino said...

I'm just belatedly looking back at comments and saw Nick M's about the difference in nature's strategy between owls and peregrines hatching. Owls end up with a monster chick thru to a "tiddler". When times are good, woo hoo, they all fledge. When times are bad and there's little food, guess how the big monster survives ..... (and how come the "tiddler" doesn't) I think there was a disturbing episode of this a few years back on a "Springwatch" on the telly. It's a mercy that we don't have this worry to add to occasional heartstopping moments with the peregrines!

Nick B (DWT) said...

Thanks to Sue Peregrino, I have just seen that at Norwich Cathedral an intruding bird 10 days ago was a female reared and ringed in London in 2012, ie now an (almost) two year old.
http://www.parliamentperegrinediary.blogspot.co.uk/ and scroll down to 19th March.
Nick B

Lorraine said...

Gosh, I'll say Sue, just don't think I could bear it. I sometimes find it hard to square this side of nature - compassion being scarce within the animal kingdom, but I like to think adrenalin surge somewhat mutes the pain and trauma of such creatures. I fed the young magpies here on my balcony over winter, yet know deep down what they do to baby chicks in Spring, given the chance. Nature can be overwhelmingly dark, but seemingly balanced by the purest light, all we can do is behold and wonder...and wonder !

Steven Alcock said...

Thanks Nick B for the info

Helen said...

6.35am Still only one egg at the moment!

Christine H said...

Have been watching on and off since 5am and wondered if we had another egg yet, there has been a very cheeky pigeon sat watching the proceedings

Roger said...

The male (I think) was on the egg for quite a while but the female has just flown in so he's flown off and she's taken over.

During the change-over we could see that there's still only one egg.

Christine H said...

I think the female has just gone for some breakfast and a 'bathroom break' so am hoping that when she gets back we may have another egg this morning

Phoebe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phoebe said...

The falcon seems to be pondering, maybe the next egg will be soon.

Phoebe said...

Egg number 2 just laid !!!

Christine H said...

Hooray for number 2 !! Pity Mr P had to fly off and miss it !! He's been hanging around for ages

Phoebe said...

No, he was there and flew off right after.

Phoebe said...

I put Pic on flickr.

Phoebe said...

I do hope the school children were able to watch the egg being laid.

MaryT said...

Can't believe it, been watching all morning. Went for a shower and missed it!

Lorraine said...

Lovely news with trusty old flickr pics from Phoebe, for those of us who missed it. Looks like the tiercel is now in full guard duty mode.

Caroline said...

Lovely screen grab of the two eggs, Phoebe - falcon looking up and with her under feathers round the eggs. Fascinating to read your posts, Nick B, about seeing the third falcon here and the Norwich sightings of a bird from London. That shows far the youngsters can travel! But also the value all the hard work which goes into ringing the chicks. As for sparrowhawks, the pair featured on Springwatch some time ago were breeding well round the corner here in Cheshire but when a younger female took over with the male, things went awry. Not only did the eggs not hatch but by the next season, tawny owls were nesting there instead. I guess that little can compete with the peregrines for their choice spot on the cathedral - except another peregrine.

Peregrine Project Member (Nick M.) said...

New post now online, with Phoebe's Flickr picture included. (thank you)

Caroline - before we move to leave comment s on the current post, it's worth reminding you and others that some years back we did have a pair of young ravens start to try to build a nest on top of the Cathedral. They brought in sticks, although none would stay there, and they all fell to the ground. There was a lot of argie bargie between the two species, and the ravens eventually left.

Phoebe said...

We still haven't had a clear view of the two eggs as the falcon has not moved away yet.

AnnieF. said...

Well done Phoebe, and of course Mr. & Mrs. P. It's all getting very exciting. I hope you won't mind me reporting that "Lady", the veteran breeding osprey, has returned this morning from Africa to Loch of the Lowes, and is busy re-arranging the nest she and her mate always use. She has also seen off the female that her mate (who returned a few days ago)has been showing an interest in.
What a day!
BTW Nick I also have to type in all the silly numbers despite having a blogger a/c/ - but well worth the effort!

Kate said...

Morning all
Thanks all round as always.
This morning No one in sight or sound
CJOL:): but two lovely eggs visible.
Do hope the Schools report in soon.
Kate

Anonymous said...

PAUL BAKER ,
NICE TO SEE ALL FOUR LOVLEY EGGS ,AND PARENTS DOING SO WELL ONCE AGAIN SUCH A PLEASURE TO WATCH ENJOY AND LEARN THANKYOU EVERYONE INVOLVED.