Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Watch Points to start soon and news of Cathy

Update 25th May: news has just reached us that Cathy, a peregrine reared at the cathedral in 2009 has recently died of natural causes. Cathy injured her wing and shoulder soon after fledging and had been in care ever since. More on this in a future post to the blog.
The Project Team

As the chicks grow bigger by the day, they will soon be visible from the ground as they start to peer over the lip of their nest platform. Once they can be seen from below we start our annual Peregrine Watch Points on the green behind the Cathedral.


Telescopes are set up so that anyone passing by (or visiting especially) can get a close up view of the chicks and their parents. Volunteers are on hand to help explain what people are seeing and the background to the project.
This series of events are organised by Emma Wood from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's People Engagement team, assisted by Marc Whitlock.
School groups can visit by arrangement....
contact peregrines@derbyshirewt.co.uk 



The Watch Points will take place (weather permitting) on every Wednesday (11 am - 1.30 pm) and Saturday (10.30 am - 1.30 pm) starting on Saturday 3rd June and running through into July. 

The definite dates confirmed so far are:
Saturday 3rd June
Wednesday 7th June
Saturday 10th June
Wednesday 14th June
Saturday 17th June
Wednesday 21st June
Saturday 24th June
Wednesday 28th June
Saturday 1st July
Wednesday 5th July
Saturday 8th July
Wednesday 12th July
Saturday 15th July

If you've not been to see the birds 'for real' before, then do make the effort to come along.
You need bring no equipment - we supply the telescopes!
If you've not been before then do please come along and meet our friendly volunteers and see the birds that you've watched online 'in the flesh' flying about (just the adults initially!) and finally all five (we hope.....).
Cathedral Green is on the East side of the cathedral, divided from it by Full Street. There's parking on street and at various council and private car parks within easy walking distance.
And the cathedral shop does very good light lunches not to mention their Bakewell tarts!
An added attraction this year will be the Poppy Weeping Window installation at the Silk Mill between our Watch Point position and the River Derwent. This begins on June 9th and runs until 23rd July every day. For more details see here .
The Project Team

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Three cheers

Three of our four chicks have now successfully hatched out, which is great news. The first emerged early on Saturday morning; the second hatching out on Saturday afternoon. By early Sunday morning we saw our third chick, though it probably hatched late the evening before, judging by viewers' comments. However, it seems we may not be successful with the fourth egg - but this sometimes happens.

For viewers new to our webcam and blog, do check out the comments left by other watchers below each post - it can often update you far more swiftly than our Project Team can, and people are often quick to respond to questions you may have.  (Sometimes comment moderation is employed which can itself lead to a delay in information appearing, but we keep this to a minimum). The pictures and video below have all been captured by our wonderful band of peregrine enthusiasts. Again, links to these may be found in the comments left, or you can check out our Flickr group for screenshots captured and uploaded.

Three chicks with an egg, and dad!

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 18.37.58


Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 18.36.27

This 20 minute video by Wendy Bartter shows some lovely moments when all three chicks are fed so tenderly.


All our camera images are available under a Creative Commons share-alike licence. You are free to use and modify them, provided you are also willing  to make them freely available too.

We are having dificulties this morning with the camera feed on Page 1 not always appearing, However other cameras are functioning, and you can get an audio feed by clicking the link below

Listen Now (20 minute timeout):

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Who's The Daddy?

Our first chick of 2017 hatched very early around 04:37am today. Once again, it was one of our keen webcam watchers (BeeThistle) who spotted and reported this on the comments section of this blog.
Here are some initial screen shots taken this morning - first showing a broken egg fragment, then just a very brief glimpse of a tiny chick. (scroll down for the full video of this morning's events)



Don't forget to check our other cameras - the view from our new Cam4 on Page 2 gives a great, low-down view, letting you see the chicks more easily. As its audio isn't compatible with our streaming service, here's a live audio feed from another camera which you may want to run in the background. It stays on for longer than the cameras, and is a great way of monitoring next activity.
Listen Now (20 minute timeout):



Once again, our webcam watcher, Wendy Bartter, has come up trumps with a great video compilation of this mornings action, together with a first glimpse of the newly hatched chick and its caring parents.






2017 has seen the latest ever date for egg-laying and hatching, as you can see by the chart on our Frequently Asked Questions page. Previously, the latest date was 10th May though, of course, this season has seen a significant change in the nest dynamics at Derby. As some blog readers may be aware, we now have a new male this year. This bird (with a ring on its leg) either ousted or replaced the previous (unringed) adult male (read more here). We still don't know precisely when he moved in, or indeed whether the eggs we see hatching today were fertilised by him, or the previous male, as the first evidence we had of his arrival was in early March - quite some time after we normally start to see the adult birds mating.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Watching and waiting . . . and now listening

Our webcams see their most traffic when our peregrine falcon eggs are about to hatch, with a second spike in views at fledging time. So right now is our most popular time.

Listen Now (20 minute timeout):



We currently have four cameras, two of which are new this year. Only the camera on Page 1 currently has sound, although we did purchase a second camera from Network Webcams with an in-built microphone and the ability to be remotely controlled, which you can see on Page 2.

Unfortunately, we discovered too late that the encoded audio from this new camera (Panasonic SW-175) was incompatible with Network Webcam's own Streamdays service, which we've used to great effect for the last 10 years. Having expressed our disappointment to Network Webcams, they offered to make good this shortcoming by providing us with a free "audio only" feed, taken from our other camera. This has a much longer timeout period (20 minutes) than three of our four camera streams, and so viewers might wish to click on the "Listen Now" button below to add in the missing audio.

As we watch and wait for what we are hoping will be imminent hatching, I'm sure many viewers will appreciate the ability to monitor the sound for that bit longer. If you wander away from your computer, leaving the sound running, you can dash back to restart the video feeds when you hear sounds of activity on the nest - perhaps a changeover between the adults.

Our other new camera can be found on Page 3, also with a 10 minute timeout. However, there is no timeout to the camera feed on Page 4, as this is series of static images which updates every 6 seconds or so. Viewers with limited internet connectivity, or a desire to run screen capture softeware (e.g Irfanview) all day long to capture those magic moments, may find this stream ideal.

If you do capture a moment you'd like to share with everyone, you can find details (here) of how to post them on our Flickr page.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Forthcoming events

There's a lot to look forward to in Derby this season.

Poppies:Weeping Window by Paul Cummins
(image from Derby Museums website)

Pretty soon we hope to be seeing the first signs of hatching of our (very late) eggs. We had a change of male this year, causing the eggs to be laid much later than normal as you can see from copy of our master timetable, normally found on our 'FAQ' page.
Extrapolating from past dates, we can expect hatching next week, around Wed 10th or Thursday 11th May.


  EVENT    
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
Mating
Observed
-
March
Feb-March
22 Feb - 30
March
22 Feb -
30 March
1 March
16-24 March
15 March
8-16 March
-
-
1st Egg Laid
5
April
06:30am
28 March
13:00 pm
29
March

14:15pm
29
March
4April
29
March

April
24 March
23 March
28 March
3 April
no cams
2nd Egg Laid  
7
April
13:15pm
30 March
19:00pm
31
March 19:30pm
31 March
6 April
31 March

April
-
-
31 March
-
no cams
3rd Egg Laid   
9
April
22:30pm
2 April
08:00am
3
April 04:20am
2 April 
9 April
2 April

April
-
-
2 April
-
no cams
Last Egg Laid
11
April
08:15am

April
17:00pm
5April
13:30pm

April
11 April
5 April
9
April
31 March
31 March
4 April
9 April
no cams
First Egg Hatches

3
May
5
May
2
May
10 May
5
May
9
May
1
May
29 April
4
May
8 May
no cams
Ringing Date
no ringing in 2017
n/a
24 
May
 23 May
 29 
May
 25 May
30 
May
no ringing in 2009
20 
May
26 May
1 June
-
First Fledging

16
June
17
June
11-22
June
19-22 
June
14-17 June
18-22 June
14-16 June
9-11 June

July
23 June

July
No of Eggs Laid/
Hatched/
Fledged
.
4
4/4/4
4/3/3
4/4/3
4/4/4
4/4/4
4/4/4
4/4/2
4/4/4
4/4/4
4/2/2
3?/3/3
1M;2F
Chick Ringing
Orange
Ring No. (Gender)
(Note: orange ring on left
leg; 
silver 
on right leg)
none ringed
-
030 (F)
031 (F)
032 (M)
026 (F?)
027 F?)
028 (M?)
021 (M)
022 (M)
023  (F)
024 (M)
016 (M)
018 (M)
019  (F)
020 (M)
012 (F)
013 (F)
014 (F) 
015 (M)
none ringed
008 (M )
009 (F)
010 (F)
011 (M)
003 (F)
004 (M)
005 (M)
007 (M)
001 (F)
002 (F)
not colour-ringed

We'll then be announcing our WatchPoint dates to the media though we can tell you that they will start on Saturday June 3rd and run every Wednesday and Saturday mornings until early July at least. This year we're expecting big crowds coming down to see the Weeping Window poppy display at the nearby Silk Mill Museum on Cathedral Green. Maybe we'll see some of you there?

Friday, 14 April 2017

Wendy's videos keep coming!

Update 30 April: 
Kate in Devon has captured this nice screenshot of the pair with their eggs at changeover:
Screenshot by Kate
Wendy also captured this video showing a recent changeover:





Now that incubation is underway, things will quieten down on the nest platform for the next few weeks with any hatching not due until roughly a month's time.
So perhaps it is a good chance for us to catch up on some of the excellent videos that Wendy Bartter has been making for us from her home in Kent.
So here are a few you may have missed and a new one from Sunday (16th):

This one shows two changeovers. First the male taking over from his mate and then the female doing likewise. He seems quite reluctant to give way doesn't he?

And here's an evening changeover where the male is again very reluctant to get off the eggs:

And some highlights from the day the last egg was laid:

And here's an additional video from (Easter) Sunday showing the male bringing prey in the early morning and then taking over incubation:



The Project Team

Monday, 10 April 2017

Egg Number Three....and now a fourth!

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 12th APRIL:
This morning around 08.20 or earlier, the fourth egg was laid so full incubation will now be underway. Wendy Bartter's video is below:



And here's a screen grab:
And then there were four!



Third egg story:
At 22.35 pm last night (Sunday 9th) egg number three appeared, duly watched by several people on the web cams.
Wendy Bartter has come up trumps again with a video:in which you first see that there are indeed three eggs at 22.42 pm:



So the final egg (assuming she lays her normal clutch of four) will appear sometime on Wednesday if the usual interval applies.
And here's a screen grab taken by Ann Foster showing all three:
Infra red photo showing three eggs
taken by Ann Foster
And here's a daytime shot captured by Kate in devon:
The three eggs show up well in this sunny screenshot by Kate

Thanks to everyone who was watching and alerting us to what was happening...and a special thanks also to Lynda O who has just sent us a generous donation, the latest in a sequence of donations over the years! If you wanted to follow Lynda's example, please click on the donations tab above.

The Project Team

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

An egg at last! (and a Friday Update...)

Screen grab by Kate from Devon - taken this afternoon
Update Friday 7th April: a second egg was laid sometime before 13.18 pm when the first person to spot it was Antony P. A third should appear about Sunday evening or Monday morning.
(To read more about what people are seeing and saying be sure to click on 'comments' at the bottom of each post.)

Here's Wendy's video taken this afternoon:




This is the beginning of the original post - so 'last night' refers to the night before the first egg was laid (how confusing is that!):

My colleague on this project, Nick Moyes, was writing his post last night just after midnight with no egg in sight (do be sure to scroll down and read his excellent and interesting post!).
However, at about 6.35 am this morning, an egg had appeared in the shallow scrape in the gravel where she has laid her eggs every year since 2006.
Here's a screen grab captured earlier this morning, The first sight of the egg was made at 06.35 this morning by 'early bird' Kate from Devon, a regular web cam watcher over many years.

An egg as captured on the Flickr site early morning on 5th April
by HelenSara
Wendy Bartter's videos below shows the build up to egg laying (with the female turning round several times over the hollow in the scrape. The second one she kindly created shows activity after egg-laying.




As Nick M said in his post last night, this year the first egg would be later than in any other year since 2007 by a couple of days. To see the full chart showing dates over the years do go back and read Nick's post where there's a link or visit the FAQ Tab above.

This late egg-laying date is undoubtedly due to the arrival of the new (ringed) male and perhaps also to the nave roof works below the nest as well.
Concerns that the new male might be immature or somehow not up to the job have proved wrong. His plumage (very yellow cere at the base of his beak and dark hood on his head) suggests he is fully adult. Clearly, with his frequent offerings of food to his new partner, he's entirely capable of successfully replacing the old male.

Now we can expect more eggs at roughly two day intervals. Will we get a full clutch of four - or even more as has happened at urban sites elsewhere in the UK - one nest having a remarkable six eggs!

Watching the web cams over the next week will be the only way to find out!
Thanks to all our web cam watchers for alerting us to the birds' movements.......

Nick B
Project Team

Caring and Sharing

Screenshot of the my PC as I draft this blog post
As I start to write this new post, it's late at night and I'm sitting with  Page 4 of our webcams minimised in the corner of my PC screen.
Unlike our other three webcam pages, this one never times out. These static images change every six seconds or so, and it's a great way to keep permanent watch on our birds whilst doing other important stuff.

Tonight is about sharing.

Over the last ten years of our peregrine project, Nick Brown and I have been very fortunate in being able to be able to share our enthusiasm for Derby's falcons with everyone. And you've cared and you've shared your thoughts and your observations here, too, and we've all learned so much from one another. We've all been fortunate to be able to share previously unseen moments in the lives of these birds with our visitors. Every year they keep surprising us with one thing or another - be it a rat brought back to feed the chicks, an arctic tern that had been around the world half a dozen times before becoming  meal, or the world's first published video of peregrine falcon bringing back live prey in the dead of night.

One moment we think we know precisely what's about to happen, and the next we're confounded. Over the years we've kept records of the key events in their life cycle, and this helps us work out what should happen when. For example, just look at the table of data on our FAQ page and you'll see these records tell us the earliest and latest dates our peregrines have ever laid their first egg.

The latest so far (notwithstanding the year we erected the first platform) was around 5am on 4th April 2013. As I type this, we're quite some hours past that point, but this year is very different.

We now have a new tiercel - a male peregrine with a ring on his leg that shows he's not from around here, and he has replaced our male of the last ten years who had no such ring. We know many of our new and our long-standing webcam watchers are saddened by this, and we have no idea if he was simply ousted at the nest, killed in a fight, or even illegally killed by a human  (which still sadly happens far too often these days). We care too, of course. But we did expect something like this to happen one day. As our last post explained, he had been around in Derby since the start of the project in 2004, and we'd been saying at  meetings for some time that eventually we might soon see one of our adults reaching the end of their life. In a way, it's more of an exciting time than a sad time. The cycle of life rolls on, and a new male means our Project will continue. But is he up to the job?

We have been indebted to Wendy Bartter who has been feverishly capturing our video streams and sharing some lovely videos on YouTube, and is also helping us out on Twitter by posting these clips and her observations on our behalf. Like this video clip from yesterday, 3rd April:

It's clear they're bonding well and (at 7 minutes in) this video shows the classic head-bowing 'eee-chupping' display we've come to expect at the start of each breeding season. But, with a new male, we have no idea how things are going.

We don't know precisely when he replaced our original tiercel, or what the impacts might be on potential egg-laying. If she was fertilised by the original tiercel and then a new male arrives on the scene, might her eggs be reabsorbed, or would it be too late for that? To be frank, we honestly don't know. If egg re-absorption were to happen, how long a delay would there before fertilisation and then renewed egg-laying takes place?  Our bible on all things peregrine-related is Derek Ratcliffe's monograph. But we can find nothing there to inform us. Perhaps others may know?

One thing's for certain: a lot of people care about Derby's peregrine falcons. By sharing what we know, and what we see, we can all learn so much more about them.

And as I finish this post at around half past midnight on 5th April, my little view of the webcams in the corner of my monitor tells me she's back on the lip of the nest platform, just perched there quietly - just like she has been for many a year before this, prior to egg-laying . Maybe it's the uncertainty of these real-life moments in a wild bird's life that we're now able to share so readily that makes webcam-watching so fascinating.


Nick M
Project Team

Friday, 31 March 2017

In memory of a fine peregrine

It is perhaps appropriate to look back on the life of the male who, until recently, had been present on Derby Cathedral probably since 2004 and possibly before that.
This wonderful photo of him was taken by Graham Whitmore in one of the very early years.
He looks as if he's waving to an adoring crowd below whereas in fact he was just about to preen his head:
As you can see his eye ring and cere (at the base of his beak) are a bright yellow indicating a mature adult so we think he was at least three years old in 2006 and possibly older.So this year he would have been at least 14 years old we think.
The male in about 2007 by
Graham Whitmore

Within a week of the first platform going up (in April 2006), the male had flown down to it and enticed his new mate to follow. That first year three chicks were eventually reared, several weeks later than in any subsequent year due partly to the very late arrival of their new nest and partly perhaps because this was te female's first clutch.
Our city peregrines are a good deal safer than those living out in the countryside so whatever has happened to him, he's certainly enjoyed a far longer life than most other males in the county.
Unless he was already dead when the newcomer turned up there will certainly have been some sort of fight since males don't relinquish their hold over a female or a nest site without one.
It is unlikely his body will ever be found....but it isn't impossible if, perhaps it is on a Derby roof somewhere.
Most other urban peregrine pairs we are aware of have changed mates for whatever reason much more frequently than Derby.
At another urban nest site in Derbyshire, the male has changed at least three times in only some seven or eight years since breeding first started there
One male probably flew into the building it was nesting on in a bad storm, another was found dead, presumed to have been killed by an intruder and a third was found dead and on xray had shot in his body.

So the change at Derby is quite a shock to us having had the same pair all these years.
Together they have reared 37 chicks to the fledging stage a very high productivity rate.
So as a new era starts, there's a lot we owe to our 'old' male.
The Project Team

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

A new male at Derby

Yesterday it became apparent that a new adult bird with a small ring on its left leg was on the platform and was behaving as if it was the male of the pair. It was first spotted yesterday by Helen who is a teacher and was showing the web cam to her class. Some of her children's young eyes could see the ring clearly. We're really impressed by this bit or original observation.

We've checked back our recent camera footage, and the two clips from 27th March below clearly show this new, ringed, male bringing in food as part of the courtship ritual. A second video clip later that morning shows the ring even better.






This video by Wendy also shows the ring very clearly as do these screen grabs by Kate, watching from Devon. This demonstrates just how effective all you webcam watchers are in keeping us informed of what's going on on a daily basis.We have checked back through Wendy's YouTube channel on which she puts all the video clips she makes. So far, we've not been able to see evidence of a ringed bird earlier than this.Would you like to give it a try?  If so, here channel is here

Ring on left leg showing clearly
                                                     
Note the ring here also


So it begins to look as if the male who had been at the cathedral since at least 2004 has died or at least been ousted by this new male.

So it begins to look as if the male that had been at the cathedral since 2004 has either died or has been ousted, or even killed, by this new male.
What we don't yet know is when this changeover took place - so we've had a look back through some of the video clips that Wendy Bartter made from our webcams earlier this season. What we can see is that nest scraping and food exchange is still happening. But we've only managed to spot a ring as far back as 16th March. If you fancy trying to help by looking through these clips yourself, check out the myriad of videos Wendy has posted on YouTube, and let us know what you spot.

Footnote: Wendy subsequently found this video clip below from 12th March, the latter half of which (2min:30sec in) clearly shows a quite agitated male bird repeatedly flying back up to the nest ledge, whilst calling loudly. (at 2:56 one can imagine a ring - at other times one can't see one) This also appears to coincide with other reports that our adult male hadn't been seen on the nest ledge much around this period.



What effect this swap has on the female, we don't know. She certainly looks well pairing up at the moment. Of course, this could mean a delay in egg laying.... but if not, stand by for any day now . . .

The Project Team


Thursday, 23 March 2017

While we wait for an egg......and a possible change of male?

Update 27th March: Helen and others seem to have seen a ring on the left leg of the bird that is assuming the male role. If that's correct either our old male has died or been ousted and the new male is busy courting our female. If anyone gets good screenshots of the ring do please put them on our flickr site and let us all know via a comment or send them to peregrines@derbyshirewt.co.uk . Many thanks.

While we wait for our birds to lay (see the previous blog post for likely dates), here are the links to some of the other peregrine projects in the UK with thanks to the Leicester Peregrine Project for compiling it.
Peregrine projects have really taken off in the last few years as you can see. If you know of any more do send us a 'comment' with the link.

Aylesbury Peregrines
Malham Cove Peregrines (nb. non-urban)
Shropshire Peregrine Group (nb. non-urban)
York Peregrines

The Project Team

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Derby is always late......

As the first eggs start to be reported elsewhere in the UK (for example Nottingham's was on 17th with a second egg already!) it's tempting to think that our Derby birds should be laying any day now.
However, despite having the same birds since 2005/6. the Cathedral's peregrines can be as much as a fortnight later than the early egg layers like those in Nottingham.
The very earliest date for a first egg at Derby was 23rd March in 2008.
2015's clutch of four.

The latest was 4th April in 2013 though in the first year (2006), the first egg would have been much later - we had no cameras up then of course but the first chick to fledge did so on 7th July whereas in the last eight years, first fledging has always been in the middle of June.
The mean date for a first egg starting in 2007 is 29th March, a day on which first eggs have been laid in three of the ten years to date.
So we have maybe some ten days to wait yet......
Do please keep on adding comments with news of what our birds are doing if you will (of course it would be impossible to stop you!!).
And finally a big welcome back to everyone who is now returning to look at our web cams and blog as things start to hot up!
Who will be the first to spot an egg?

The Project Team

Monday, 20 February 2017

Roof matters (part 3) and an Update

UPDATE 23rd February: the nave roof is now completely shrouded in its white plastic cover. So the workmen below the nest, who'll be there for the next five months replacing the old lead roof, will now be invisible to our peregrines on their nest platform above.
For anyone not looking at the comments to this blog we advise you to do so, since the excellent Wendy Bartter is making lots of video clips of our birds when they appear on the nest and posting them on You Tube. The links to each video is in her comments.
Three of her clips are embedded below,  but many more really interesting ones can be found in her comments. Just click on the  'comments' button at the foot of each blog post.

Work is proceeding apace to cover over Derby Cathedral's nave roof. The specialist scaffolders, (Tamworth Scaffolding) appear to be well ahead of schedule, which is great news.

We've been keeping an eye on progress and hoping their activities below the peregrines' nest platform would not put them off from breeding again this year. As the video below shows only too well, this is clearly not an issue. Watch this speeded up video from Feb 17th, showing strips of the weatherproof covering starting to be hauled into position like some giant roller-blind. At 1 min 20 sec our falcon flies in and looks down on the workers below. She stays for over 50 minutes whilst a number of people are walking about below, and is clearly quite relaxed about their presence.The same thing happens again later that afternoon.





Another sequence, also brilliantly captured by webcam watcher Wendy Bartter, shows clearly that courtship on the nest is still going well. At 2am on Feb 18th,  Wendy captured this sequence of 'ee-chupping'. The smaller tiercel (male) flies in first, and moves over to the nest scrape. At 2 min 30 sec the larger falcon (female) flies in from where they ee-chupp away to one another. At 3 min 30 sec into the clip he then flies off, leaving her alone on the platform.






We've finally managed to repair our damaged internet aerial cable and have managed to recrimp a couple of brand new specialised RP-TNC plugs onto our thick, LMR400 high frequency cable.
So, it's now ready for it being relocated on the outer edge of all the scaffolding, although we've just learnt that we will probably have to permanently relocate it within the tower itself. Whether we can beam our signals out through the fine leaded glass windows in the Clock Room where our control equipment is now located remains to be seen. But it's inevitable that our camera feeds will go down for a brief period whilst the builders try to rig up a suitable alternative location. So once again, do bear with is. Normal service will, as always, be resumed as soon as possible!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Roof matters (part 2)

Image by Tamworth Scaffolding
As expected, the scaffolders are now active on the nave roof of Derby Cathedral. This week they will continue fitting the long metal beams across it to form a central apex over which a strong, weatherproof plastic 'shroud' will then be stretched. Once it is, our peregrines will then not be able to see any movement of the builders working on the roof below them. Apparently, the work is ahead of schedule, which is good news.

Let's hope the birds are not phased by this activity and still visit their nest after 4pm (when work generally stops) and at weekends. If you see a bird on the platform at any time during the weekday, do please let us know by leaving a comment here on our blog, or sending a tweet to @derbyperegrines


For those of you who are aware of the law which states that disturbing a peregrine falcon on its nest is a serious offence, we can assure you that we have worked closely with the Natural England's wildlife advisors. Their advice has always been to ensure that roof work started well before the breeding season so that, if they did end up being disturbed by the activity below them, then they would simply give nesting a break for that year, and no offence would be caused because there would be no nesting activity to disturb. The Cathedral staff and builders have worked hard to schedule this work at the optimum time, and so it's been very pleasing so far to see our birds still happy to return to the nest ledge over the weekend of 4th/5th February. See here.







The end of our directional Yagi aerial can just be seen in the
bottom of the picture as a grey cylinder.
  Will it be able to stay in contact with The Silk Mill as work continues?
The one technical  problem we will soon be facing is the fact that our internet connection relies on a highly directional aerial to send our signals wirelessly to the Silk Mill opposite. (From there, a laser beam sends our signals onwards to Derby Council House and then out to the big, wide interwebby world.)  We expect the forthcoming metal beams to be blocking these signals, so are now looking to temporarily extend our aerial cable by 15metres (50ft) and place it at the edge of the scaffolding. And this has also been posing us a small challenge. Read more on this here

The Project Team





Here's another video captured by Wendy Bartter on Saturday morning showing that, clearly, our falcon has not been put off nest-scraping as a prelude to breeding this season.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Ee-chupp 2017 and an update

It's wonderful to see and hear our two adult peregrine falcons in their annual courtship routine in advance of this coming nesting season.  They will both fly to the nest site, face one another, with the much larger female calling loudly in an "ee-chupp, ee-chupp" manner. This may go on for a minute or more, and eventually the smaller male will eventually fly off, to human eyes seeming rather intimidated by her over-bearing presence. There she may remain at the nest site, for quite some time afterwards, giving us confidence that the building work below them has not put off this year's attempt to breed.

Once again Wendy Bartter has captured this lovely footage from our live webcam whilst watching from home at 5pm yesterday in fading daylight. You see them both arrive and then, 3mins 30secs into the video the tiercel (i.e. the male peregrine) flies off, leaving her alone and silent on the platform except for the ringing of the 5 o'clock cathedral bells.



This clip gives us a chance not only to compare the sizes of the two birds, but also to show how the very wide angle of our camera lens can itself lead to confusion. Close to the lens, she looks enormous; farther away she seems so much smaller - and this often causes us difficulties in determining whether it's the male or female when we just see the one bird in view.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Recent Activity

Whilst progress is still being made behind the scenes to bring you three new camera  feeds from Derby Cathedral, it's brilliant that webcam watcher, Wendy Barter, has been capturing moments from our one working web camera and posting them on YouTube.

The camera was refitted to our brand new platform, installed just before Christmas, as described here.
Screenshot by Kate showing the new gravel/slate and
the pale woodwork at the top of the scaffolding
which will soon hold the shroud which will cover the roof


We have additional new cameras which we will be putting online very shortly.

The clip below was captured early this morning, and looks like our adult male chilling out on the new nest site. Ignore the speeding traffic below - Wendy has speeded this up from real time.
Note also how the bird coughs up a pellet during the video.....we think this is the first time we've seen this on a video.





Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A lovely donation in memory of John Sims

Notice: The first of our webcams finally came back into operation today! See this link to view.


John Sims
We recently received a lovely donation which has paid for the entire cost of constructing and installing our new peregrine nest platform on the east face of Derby Cathedral's tower.

Ashley Sims has made a substantial donation in memory of his father, John Sims, who passed away in 2014.
We had asked Ashley to wait before donating as he had expressed a wish to support a specific, key element of our project. When the need for a new platform reared its head, he agreed that covering its costs would be a fitting tribute to his father.

Ashley and John have been staunch supporters of our project since the early days of the project.
Indeed, any eagle-eyed reader who owns a copy of the 2008 DVD, "The Peregrines of Derby Cathedral", may just recognise John. He briefly appears  in it,  looking up alongside fellow watchers at the peregrines on the tower above them.
Indeed, it was his son, Ashley Sims, who first approached us with a proposal to make the DVD and who then so generously gave the copyright to our project once his initial outlay had been recouped. We've sold hundreds of copies since 2008 and the profit has really helped us cover our costs alongside all the excellent individual donations we have received over the years.

Ashley said he wanted to ensure that some of the money he inherited from his father would be put to good use and in a way from which others might benefit. He wrote to us saying:  
"As you know both my father and I have been keen advocates of your fantastic Peregrine Project for some years now, visiting it very often in the early years and keeping in touch since via your website.
He got a great deal of enjoyment out of your vision and work so it only seemed fitting to help in any way
."

So a really big thanks to Ashley from the Project Team at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. It was a great relief to finally complete the platform installation just before Christmas, albeit a year later than we had initially intended. We are sure John would have approved of what we've achieved.

View of the peregrine platform from one of our newly
installed cameras. The cost of constructing this replacement
was met from a donation made in memory of John Sims. 

And here's the first recording from our cleaned up and newly replaced platform, made by webcam watcher, Wendy Barter.