Saturday, 16 June 2018

Fledging begins - plus some updates and a non WP

PLEASE NOTE: the Watch Point tomorrow (Wednesday 20th) has been cancelled due to the unavailability of the volunteers. We hope this causes no inconvenience to anyone planning to go.
Saturday's WP is DEFINITELY ON!

Reports yesterday suggested the male had flown and was sitting up on a roof nearby.
Males rarely come to ground so now he's made one good flight he should be OK.
The Watch Point today (16th) will look for him and report back if they find him.
the two much heavier females may not fledge for a few days yet.....we'll see!
This morning is damp and cloudy with the prospect of showers - not the sort of weather that chicks usually fledge under.
UPDATE mid morning Saturday 16th: the news from the Watch Point is that the juvenile male
(a 'chick' no longer!) is on the roof of the tall hotel nearby with its mother standing we don't need to worry about him! His sisters are unlikely to fledge today given the weather and their remaining fluff!
UPDATE Saturday pm: Antony and Helen at the WP report that the young male flew back to the tower landing a bit lower than they would have liked (and it would have liked too I suspect!).
It's a windy day and flying isn't easy round buildings because of the turbulence. He should be OK though.
The WP was fairly quiet both of people and 'bird action' but it was good to see a grey wagtail collecting insects on the grass nearby and flying off to a building to feed its young.
And in Swift Awareness Week  (see below)- it was also great to see a few swifts zooming past the tower!

And we apologise about the problems with the cams.....beyond our control over the weekend certainly though it seems that at least some are now working again.

The Project Team

Ps If you are in Derby or can get to today's Watch Point do please go and help the team to find the male....

Pps. On another subject, today marks the start of Swift Awareness Week (16-23 June) with 90 local events running around the UK. Swifts have declined by over 50% in the last 25 years so they need our help and a raised profile!
To find out if there is an event near you go to this map, enlarge it and click on a 'swift' near you.
The full details will appear on the left of your screen. Do support events near you if you can. .

UKSAW - there are five events in Derbyshire (in Chaddesden (Derby) and Bakewell on Tuesday (19th), Hathersage (20th), Chesterfield (22nd ) and Melbourne 23rd.
Please support them if you can,,,full details are on the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust website: .

Swifts are fascinating birds which only touch the earth when they need to lay eggs. They nest inside our roofs and under our tiles but when buildings are renovated  the tiny holes they need to access their nests get blocked up and the birds are suddenly homeless.
Two swifts looking for a non-existent hole to nest in. Photo David Naylor
And there's a fab web cam in Poland which is inside a swift's nest. The birds have four eggs soon to hatch - well worth a look - you might even get hooked!

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Ringing the chicks and two Watch Point reports

Report on the Watch Point of 9th June by Helen Naylor:

The watch point went well, after a fairly quiet start. The chicks were seen preening a lot of the time and doing some vigorous wing flapping, which sent clouds of fluffy white down floating from the tower.  All three chicks could be seen and the difference in size between them was quite noticeable, even from the ground. One of the youngsters was very bold and perched on the edge of the nest platform for a while. The adults were around on and off throughout the morning. One of them sat on the Silk Mill chimney giving us some good views. Some food was eventually brought in by the female after she appeared to retrieve it from a cache on the other side of the tower. It was immediately grabbed from her by one of the chicks, although the adult bird soon took charge again.

Report on the Watch Point Saturday 2 June:

The adult birds were around for much of the time during today’s watch point, either on the tower or on the nearby hotel lettering. The female could be seen sitting above the nest platform on the left hand side of the tower, keeping a close watch on the chicks below, but often out of view of the cameras. The chicks were quite active and it was great to be able to see them through the telescopes. There were at least two fluffy white heads appearing above the edge of the nest box at regular intervals. The chicks were fed just before lunchtime and again later in the early afternoon as we were packing away.  The weather remained fine and the watch point was busy, with many visitors coming from further afield, including New Zealand, Iran and the Ukraine, as well as Portsmouth!
Thanks to Helen and to Antony (our volunteers today).
Next WPs: Wednesday 6th and Saturday 9th.

Ringing the chicks

With several alterations to plans due to the rain today (30th May), the chicks were finally ringed in the early evening.
Nick M abseiled down and lowered the chicks in a rucksack and they were ringed inside the cathedral tower by Chloe and Dave, both experienced and licenced ringers.
The chicks were noisy and feisty and obviously in good health.
Their weights were 545 gms (the male) and 815 and 665 (the two much bigger females).
The unhatched egg was recovered and will be sent for analysis.
If you wanted to see video footage - Alex Rock from the cathedral captured film and put it on the Cathedral's Facebook site.
Here are some stills and screenshots:
Nick M abseils down and reaches the chicks
One of the chicks about to be ringed
Colour ring in place, just the metal BTO ring to go on
All three safely back in the nest
The female is soon back to check on her chicks
Thanks to Chloe, Dave and Alex for their help.
The project Team

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Growing fast.... more Watch Points and a poem

The three chicks are growing very fast and soon they will change their looks and become slightly less attractive!
Within seven weeks from hatching they will achieve the weight and height of their parents!

Following the first (successful) Watch Point yesterday, the next ones are on Wednesday 30th May and Saturday 2nd June so, since it is half term, we hope to see many families coming to see the birds.

Meanwhile, Marc Whitlock, who's a sessional education and community worker for DWT and who is helping Matt Robinson run the Watch Points this summer was inspired to write some verse:

Peregrine Watchpoint’s back another year,
For one mum, her twelfth  spent here.
On the platform, out of sight
Huddled three white chicks who were quite
Unaware of those unseen
Gathered there on Cathedral Green.
The falcon led the way in getting food
Shaming her tiercel to tend to his brood.
Both performed for the visiting bunch
In dramatic attempts at catching lunch:
Above our heads both adults flew
In tandem there, but even two,
This time, could not dispatch
A meal and left without a catch.
The weather fine, they came from far
On foot, by bus and plane and car.
Over 90 strong enjoyed (it would appear)
This first eventful watchpoint of the year.

Hope you like it!

The project team

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

First Watch Point is this Saturday (26th May)..and went well!

The first Watch Point went well today with both adults putting on fine flying displays.
It was good to see some familiar faces  and to meet some people who have supported the project over the years for the first time (a special hello to Lynda who has been a staunch supporter of the project for many years and who had to get three buses to get there! It was great to meet you at last!).
The next WP is on Wednesday 30th, same times, same place. It's half term so bring the whole family down!

The first of our usual series of Watch Points (WP) begin THIS SATURDAY May 26th on Cathedral Green behind the cathedral on Full Street.
there are plenty of car parks nearby and some street parking (but it is all metered).

So if you live anywhere near, do come down and meet our super volunteers and Marc Whitlock from the Trust (he'll be bringing all the gear down with him from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's HQ where it is stored).
WPs start at 11 am and run on until about 1.30 depending on whether there is much to see and how tired the volunteers are by then.
A 2017 Watch Point - note the roof is now finished and there is no white plastic 'shroud' over it

It is WEATHER DEPENDENT so if it is really wet it won't happen. Also be aware that it gets very hot standing on the Green so do come prepared with skin protection, hats etc.
We have telescopes which will allow you to see the birds 'close up' and by the weekend we expect the chicks to be just big enough to poke their heads above the front of the nest platform.
Subsequently, WPs will take place every Wednesday and Saturday morning until Saturday 7th July.

Meanwhile the chicks are growing fast, fed on the 'Atkins diet'  - ie all meat - and not even any water (they get what they need from the meat unbelievably!). The first feather 'pins' will soon start to appear and they will get a bit less appealing to look at!

Wendy Bartter captured this video yesterday:

Hope to see some of you at a WP during the summer....

The project team