Monday, 28 March 2016

Easter Egg and now a second one

Latest news 8pm Wednesday 30th: we have a second egg, first reported by the blog comments received (for which many thanks). It was laid about 7pm today. This screengrab photo taken by Kate clearly shows the second egg! (Thanks Kate):

And then there were two.......screenshot by Kate

The video below was captured by Wendy Bartter to whom many thanks:

Here's the original text written on Monday after the first egg was laid:
It's always nice to receive an egg at Easter-time. After leading us a merry dance, our falcon finally laid her first egg today, just around 1pm.
Over the last few days she had repeatedly visited the nest platform, spent a while scraping in the gravel, then standing over it for a while longer. This lunchtime however she looked distinctly like she was about to lay, and after a while of searching through the camera recordings we could confirm she had definitely laid between 12:58 and 13:05, though there was little sign of the egg itself.
Camera 2 gave the best view a little while later, and the second photo below was captured as a screenshot and uploaded to Flickr by HelenSara729. We'll upload a second video later today.

Because of he cold, damp weather, we should expect her to spend some time on the eggs, although in fairer weather it is not unusual to see the egg or eggs apparently abandoned for some considerable time. Incubation proper does not  occur until the penultimate egg has been laid - and this delay in development ensures that all the eggs hatch out around the same time.

Peregrine Egg 1 28th March (2.15pm)

Screen Shot 03-28-16 at 04.57 PM

Sunday, 27 March 2016

A merry dance and a welcome to newcomers.

It seems to be an Easter tradition for Derby Cathedral's peregrines to keep us all waiting for the first egg, when so many other peregrine pairs around the country have already laid.

It looked last night as if she might lay, and then again this afternoon it was nice to see her in the scrape leading us to believe the time was upon us. But as the pictures below show, we are still being led a merry dance, and are still waiting.

We have three out of our four webcam streams working right now, with Cam 4 providing both sound and video. Once it has timed out, refresh the screen with F5 to get it to play again. If you see anything of interest, do please leave a comment with the time stamp from the webcams - this helps us try and retrieve any video footage to share on this blog.
And it is an appropriate moment to welcome all newcomers to this project such as Leanne and also Vicki in Canada. Both left messages on our comments facility (see foot of every blog post, their comments can be seen on the previos post).
If you would like to send in a comment telling us where you are watching from it is good to know that our worldwide reach continues. If you scroll down the blog on the right hand column you will find a Clustrmap which, on double clicking, shows not only where people are watching across the globe but also lists every country and the number of hits.
Since 2007 when the cameras were installed, we have had over 33.5 million hits from well over 70 different countries!
Since 1st January this year we have had 59,000 hits from 40 countries. Most hits are naturally from the UK (6720) followed by the USA (466) and Holland (147). In the last half hour we've had visitors from San Francisco, Biggar, Wisbech and Nottingham to name but a few!

Posted by Nick Moyes and Nick Brown

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Will we get an Easter egg?

(Blog post updated with video)
With Easter being so early this year we stand a better than evens chance of getting a first egg laid before or over the weekend than in most other years.
For some unknown reason, our Derby female, despite having laid eggs in ten previous years, lays rather later than many other presumably younger females elsewhere.
Already as I write this on Maunday Thursday (24th), we hear (thanks to our super-comment sender Kate in Devon) of eggs at Nottingham (4), Sheffield (3) and Exeter (1).
The last two years she had laid her first egg on 29th March (ie next Tuesday) so perhaps she will just 'miss the boat' as regards Easter.
When she does lay it will be her fortieth egg....quite some achievement!
Usually she lays during the night and therefore under the infra red camera lights which make the eggs look white.
In fact, peregrine eggs are usually a lovely brick red colour when seen in daylight, with varying amounts of darker blotches.
Four clutches from a collection in the British Museum
Our female has laid four eggs every year since 2006, her first, when she probably laid three (she certainly reared three chicks). That year there were no cameras so we can't be sure there wasn't an addled egg which failed to hatch, and the birds' legal protectoin prevented us from looking over the top to count them from above.
The gap between eggs is usually about 2-3 days so her clutch will not be complete until over a week after she lays the first egg.
Full incubation doesn't start until the last egg is laid, though she may spend time covering her eggs before that if the weather is particularly cold. In fact, the early eggs can withstand going cold so we don't need to worry about them being left is normal peregrine practice to do so!
This delayed start to egg incubation means that the eggs all hatch out more or less together, though sometimes there is one which takes longer to chip.
However. peregrines are great parents and will ensure that even a smaller chick gets fed and thrives.
Of course, we shouldn't really count our eggs before they hatch...and certainly not before they are laid, so we need to watch and hope that we do indeed get an egg for Easter (or soon after!).
No doubt our eager web cam watchers will put up comments as soon as anything happens. So keep an eye on the comments as well.
Some clever viewers have even been capturing their own screenshots and videos of the webcams. This one by Wendy Barrter was shared on YouTube: 

Nick B (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)

Friday, 18 March 2016

Does our 030 think she's an osprey?

The latest news of 030 (the colour ringed female that fledged from Derby Cathedral's nest last June) came in an email from John Wright yesterday.
John is a key player in the amazing osprey reintroduction project at Rutland Water.

John contacted us in the autumn with photos and a video of 030 which featured on this blog here.
John's latest email says:

"030 is still present most days on Lagoon 4 at our Egleton Nature Reserve. I haven't seen any other Peregrines associating with her.
Her most recent kills have been Common and Black-headed Gulls, Lapwings, Wigeon, Mallard, Moorhens, Coot and Oystercatchers.

We renewed the Osprey nest/platform that is on Lagoon 4 yesterday. This has been her favourite sitting place for much of the winter. It had lost most of its sticks and nest lining but is now in tip top condition. 030 went straight on to the new nest today, excitedly playing with nest lining. 
030 sitting proudly on an osprey platform
She's too young to think of nesting herself  but clearly
enjoys the view from this mega nest.
Photo: John Wright

A four year old male Osprey (51) spent much of last season on this nest platform but failed to attract a female. It will be very interesting to see what happens if/when he returns to his nest in the next few weeks and finds this squatter on the nest......very probably fireworks!"
030 this time on an osprey perching post nearby.
Burley House looks close by but is a mile away on a hilltop!
Photo: John Wright.

Many thanks to John for keeping us briefed about 030. How exciting to discover what one of our fledged birds is getting up to - and where!

Nick B (DWT)

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Exciting Derby Book Festival talk in June

As part of the second Derby Book Festival, there will be a talk by David Lindo, "The Urban Birder" in Derby Cathedral on Wednesday June 8th so, if you live within reach, make a diary note!
David will talk about his travels to watch birds and other wildlife in cities across the globe and, since he has already visited Derby and seen our project first hand, he has agreed to include a section about us in his
David first visited the city in 2010 to research an article for a bird watching magazine. Nick Moyes and I spent an enjoyable and sunny day showing him around. We climbed the cathedral tower, explained about the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project and we also took him to see The Sanctuary Nature Reserve, long before it was threatened by development.
Nick Moyes with David Lindo, clearly dazzled
by the sun and by the project!
Derby Book Festival was a new venture last summer see here .
It was so successful that the organisers have widened its scope this year. They wanted to include some environmental authors and the first one to accept an offer to speak was David. Read more about his talk, entitled "Tales from Urban Jungles" here
Emma Wood, who is organising the Watch Points this year with help from our brilliant team of volunteers, will organise a special pre-talk Watch Point between 5 and 6 pm. Full details to follow.
Tickets for the talk itself will be on sale from 5th April either via the Festival's website or from Quad in the Market Place.

Nick Brown (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust/Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project)