Sunday, 16 June 2019

The long wings of the law......

After a phone call from Mike Goold, who is helping to run the Watch Points this summer, I dashed down to the cathedral at about 5.40pm today (Sunday 16th) to find that the male youngster had fledged but come to ground.
As I arrived at the car park next to the cathedral, I could see a group of four police officers and a traffic warden standing near the far corner - so I knew I was in the right place.

Looking somewhat dishevelled, the young male chick was on the ground in the corner, wedged between the brick walls and a couple of pallets. Gently I moved the pallets aside and the bird adopted the usual defensive posture -  on his back with his talons facing up at me.

Fortunately I had remembered to bring an old cloth and a cardboard box and was quickly able to catch him and show the force the full force of its powerful talons!
After they had taken a few photos and I had explained why the bird had ended up there and what its two rings were for, I put the bird in the box and, with the help of a cathedral steward, made my way to the foot of the tower.
Sunday evensong would begin in 15 minutes and the bells were being rung - so, box in hand, I climbed the tower as quickly as I could and released the young falcon on the top, feeling the tower shaking due to the bells swinging below me as I did so.
Safely in custody
All boxed up

Given that this bird had fledged (or been pushed) a bit too early (he still has some fluffy white down here and there as you can see) I decided to release him not straight onto a parapet but onto the roof of the tower. His parents will certainly find him there and feed him until he feels confident to jump up onto the stonework and launch himself once again.....
Where am I now?
I was soon back on the ground and off home but not before meeting up with Mike who had come to watch, unfortunately just too late to see the action (next time Mike!).

Big thanks to the folk at the cathedral who helped, the traffic warden who found him, the police officers for standing guard, the Rayner family who worked out a way to get in touch with the project  and to Mike for alerting me! Mike told me subsequently about the very roundabout way that some bystanders (the Rayners) managed to contact him. They did so via a relative who knew someone connected with the Wakefield Peregrine Project who managed to trace Mike via Facebook! A somewhat circuitous route but involving a great degree of quick and clever thinking. Thanks to all involved!

The next Watch Point is on Wednesday (19th). Perhaps by then the heavier female will have taken the plunge? Do come down and see....

Meanwhile, scroll down this blog to see live footage of the nest platform set up by Peter who lives in the flats opposite the cathedral....hopefully there should be one female juvenile still there (though sometimes crouched down and not showing above the front!).

Nick B
The Project Team

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Amazing Live Stream from opposite Derby Cathedral!

Whilst we await the complicated radio link  connection to be established between Derby Cathedral and Derby Council House, we have to applaud the initiative of  a local Derby resident, Peter, who has established a live webcam link of their own.

Screenshot of Live link on TwitchTV
He clearly owns a telescope and lives in full view of the Cathedral Tower, and he posted on our Facebook page that he'd established live stream on TwitchTV which we recommend to those who - like us - have deeply missed our own webcam links.

You will have to sit through some 30 seconds of initial adverts from the website, but the service also seems to store past broadcasts which can be viewed, too. The Peregrine Project are not connected in any way with this service, and we don't know how often it will be run. But we welcome it most warmly, just as in the past we have welcomed those who have taken our live footage and created videos which we can then share. 

Sadly, it seems very unlikely that we'll re-establish the internet link in time for fledging in the next few weeks, and we thank everyone for their patience. We hope this brilliant initiative will be of interest to all our frustrated watchers, wherever they are in the world.
Chicks being fed by parent - screenshot of live stream at 3pm 15 June 2019

It's great to see the two young, rapidly developing peregrines actively moving around the nest platform  (though less impressive that everyone can see I've still not tidied up some messy Cat5 camera cabling which I didn't think anyone would notice!)

So, Peter, thank you so much!

Nick M
for The Peregrine Project Team

Monday, 10 June 2019

Ringing the chicks and a washed out watch point

Today's Watch Point was cancelled needless to say due to the interminable rain 
we are having.
Hopefully Saturday's will be OK since the weather looks better by then!

Newly-ringed chick

Before it started to rain this morning (10th), the two chicks were ringed successfully!
It looks as if one was a female (the bigger one weighing circa 900 grams) and the other a male (ca. 700 grams).
Chick plus new shiny ring shows off its developing primary wing feathers.
 Photo Gillian Foxcroft
Calm chick waits to be returned to its nest.
Photo: Gillian Foxcroft

Nick Moyes returns the chick to its nest platform
Photo taken from the monitor in the tower

The Project Team

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Two chicks confirmed and Watch Point Updates

NOTE: Watch Point Saturday 8th June is cancelled due to the rain.

A trip up the tower to look at the monitor screen this morning (4th June) revealed that there are just two chicks this year as you can see:

Photo on the monitor screen shows just two chicks
They look healthy and are just starting to get their pin feathers on the wings.

NEXT WATCH POINT: this Saturday 8th, weather permitting. The weather forecast doesn't look too good this time! It has been CANCELLED!
Do come along if you can and meet our excellent volunteers and see the birds for yourselves.

Report on Watch Point Wednesday 5th June:
A good session this morning with a steady flow of people. Quite a few locals as you would expect but several from further a field. A lady from Osnabruck in Germany (Osnabruck is the city Derby is twinned with), some guys from Birmingham and further away still a father and son from the US state of Vermont. Both our adult birds were in good sight for fairly long periods. They were out hunting successfully and returned to feed the two chicks. We had good sightings of the chicks, not together though but one at a time. For a few moment one of the chicks was stretching and flapping its wings, great to see and hopefully bodes well for the future. Volunteers on duty were Steve, Hilary and David.

The project team