Sunday, 9 March 2008

Sunday Action

Arriving early at the cathedral this morning, as soon as I opened the car door I realised the ravens must be about because the female peregrine was screaming and flying round the top of the tower.

However, as I dashed round to the south side, there was no sign of the ravens but I guessed they must be on the roof. After a while, one raven appeared and hopped over onto the favoured right hand gargoyle at which moment the peregrine renewed her attacks, diving down on the raven. Before I could get my scope in place, the raven and its mate flew off to the west and the female peregrine, joined by her mate also retreated out of view.

So here's a shot of the tower's south side with the female peregrine visible as a tiny dot in the sky to the left of the tower. The nest platform is visible as a blackish protrusion on the partly visible east face of the tower.

The second photo shows the gargoyle that the raven's are trying to put sticks on. It is the right hand one on the south side of the tower, ie round the corner from the next platform side.

Incidentally, the 'gargoyle' is strictly a 'grotesque' since it doesn't function as a water spout and is purely decorative. Make up your own minds what sort of creature it is! I assume that's a tusk rather than a tongue protruding from its mouth!

Ten minutes later the cathedral was devoid of birds except that a sparrowhawk flew in from the east and briefly perched right on the very top-most pinnacle before continuing on westwards.

It was a lovely sunny morning as you can see. A gale is forecast for this evening....
(New visitors to this blog may wish to read an overview of the peregrine project, or have their names added to our mailing list.) And be sure to se the previous blog entry about the new pud cam!

Nick B


Karen Anne said...

Do ravens or peregrines prey on each others fledglings or eggs?

Nick Brown said...

Hi Karen Anne: checking through 'The Peregrine' by Derek Ratcliffe, there are a very few records of peregrines taking young (fledged) ravens but none that I know of where a raven has taken the eggs or young of a peregrine.
If you recall last year, the female peregrine in particular sat on the eggs very closely and they were rarely left unattended. I guess if ravens were present, the peregrines would be even more careful not to leave eggs or small young on their own.
Nick B

mark murfin said...

looks like a small dead bird stashed in the nest tray...may be some good pics later when its meal time..

Karen Anne said...

The pudding am is great. It's twice now that I've seen two birds at once, one at the nestbox and one on the pudding cam.

Karen Anne said...

I guess this is my personal thread :-)

Peregrine on the pudding cam, in what must be the middle of your night. They sure spend a lot of time up there.

What's the "infra-red illuminator bouncing back into the camera lens"? I'm not sure what the setup is, is there a infra-red source separate from the camera? Is it possible to put a cone or something around it to direct it away from the horizontal stonework? Or put it up higher and direct it downward? Or wouldn't that help? I am clueless...

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Hi Karen Anne
I'm just as clueless as you are! The daytime image is perfect, but the "mistiness" at night is odd. I've emailed the company who generously donated the camera to our project, so we'll see if they can offer any solution. We may just have to live with it - it was quite a challenge to find a camera sufficiently small to fit through the hole in the guttering, and ours was the last one available.
The camera has a ring of infra-red LEDs around a central lens, mounted behind an acrylic protective cover. The whole things is a ball-shape, which can be rotated in any direction. Whether masking it off would work I simply don't know at this stage. I'll also check our video recordings: once the floodlights go off in the early hours of the morning, it'll be interesting to see how the camera responds.
Nick M.