Sunday, 28 October 2007

Windy Morning

This morning, a blustery SW wind was certainly almost blowing the flag on the tower top off its pole! Both peregrines were on the east side, sheltering. the male was tucked in by the lead gutter, the female, initially on the platform, had moved up to sit on the same ledge as the male but half way along when I returned to look at them with the telescope.

The photo shows a fieldfare in this lead gutter which the birds use as a 'fridge'. Fieldfares don't breed in the UK but come here from Scandinavia and East Europe in the winter. The lower photo shows a close up of the bird. The photos were taken last February on the day the cameras were fixed...there's been a lot of water under the bridge (or should that be fieldfares in the gutter?) since then of course!


Thursday, 25 October 2007

Peregrines on UK TV - NEW POSTING

If you are UK based you may have seen BBC1 TV's The Nature of Britain programme last night on urban wildlife with great shots of peregrines in Bath. If you live in the East Midlands you will have seen the short sequence about 'our' Derby birds at the end, beamed just to the region. The programme is repeated next weekend (check schedules for the day/time).

If you live beyond the E. Midlands you should be able to see the Derby clip (with Nick Moyes) at this revised url:

Ps Recent prey identified by Ed Drewitt includes teal, woodcock, golden plover, redshank and, most interestingly, the second QUAIL we have had (first one in autumn 2005). Quail are very scarce summer visitors to the UK (and virtually absent from Derbyshire), migrating down to Africa for the winter. There are more in East Europe which is probably where this one came from (we've had easterly winds recently, blowing migrants across from the continent). Quail are night migrants so this one was probably taken close to the cathedral - certainly under the city's floodlighting. Peregrines in Warsaw (Poland) apparently take a lot of quail. How facinating this whole story is!

Saturday, 20 October 2007

October Update

Adult female on ledge. Photo: Jon SallowayHere are a few recent developments and observations to report to you:

Media Coverage
Although we know our Peregrines will feature on BBC TV next Wednesday evening in "The Nature of Britain", viewers will only see this if they receive their regional broadcast from the East Midlands transmitter. However, we have since learnt that the associated programme that follows on immediately afterward on BBC Four at 10pm on 24th October will include stories of urban wildlife from around the UK, including Derby's peregrine falcons. Its called "The Nature of Britain - a User's Guide", and is presented by Chris Packham. You can find out more about some of the places in Derbyshire that are featured in this new TV series by following this link on the BBC Derby website.

The BBC came to collect back their video recorder last week, and what service it has given us during our first season online! Whilst the live cameras gave us an up-to-date idea of what is happening at the nest at any moment, our recorder with built-in hard drive was recording all the action for us to review and burn to disk. By the end of the season we had over 130 precious moments captured forever, some of which you can see by following these links to video clips.

A review of the last four days of recording in October clearly shows our adult female returning to the nest platform every morning, just as dawn breaks. I would guess that this is reinforcing her and her partner's claim to this particular ledge. On October 9th we captured out last video clip. It showed the female picking up small stones and actively nest-scraping for a few moments, not so much in preparation for next season, but perhaps a simple expression of her innate nest-building programming. But it's a good sign for next season. We plan to purchase our own video recorder for next season.

Behind the scenes we are working on developing an hourly image archive for the webcams. Once operational, this should let users to look back on on past moments, and should be a great tool for school groups who might want to select images for study. More on this later.

Into The Light
Many of us will have seen the excellent photos, like the one above, taken by Jon Salloway. Now, one of Jon's best pictures of a peregrine graces the front cover of a new book of poetry which has just been published in Derby. Called "Into The Light" this is a compilation of recent work by a Derby group of poetry-writers. Open the booklet, and inside is the superb poem by Ray Woodland about our peregrines which we've featured here before. One of the group members, Fay Saxton, has asked me to tell you that the group, known as "pm Poets", meets regularly at Derby Central Library and always welcomes new members. The compilation is now available for £2.00 plus 50p. p & p. Email to reserve your copy."

The video stream froze at 13:51 on Oct 20th - we'll get this fixed as soon as we're able.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Video Clips from 2007

Here are all the YouTube videos from the 2007 season that we've posted on our blog during the year:

To play the video, find the image in each diary entry containing the triangular "play" icon. Click this to play video.

Follow this link for technical information on the webcameras and platform at Derby Cathedral.