Thursday, 6 March 2008

Third Camera and First Video Pictures

The adult female peregrine steps up close for her first photo with our new camera. Click image to enlarge.It took a lot of late nights and a lot of missed lunch breaks this week - but I think this shot makes all the work of wiring-up Derby Cathedral and preparing a mount for our third camera completely worthwhile. (In fact I have to admit: it's been rather fun). It shows our female peregrine taking a meal on top of one of the three gargoyles on the east side of Derby Cathedral's tower. Directly below her is the peregrine ledge, and at 17:15 this evening we were excited and delighted to watched her feed before flying off to land below the platform, whilst our male bird stood still and quiet in the nest scrape. Click the image below to view the video clip from YouTube.

The camera is still being tested, and from time to time you may see sudden changes and maybe wonder why the links aren't correctly labelled. Please bear with us whilst we consider the best way of supplying three video feeds via two webcamera pages. Of course, we could easily arrange for a third video page, but first we would need to find a sponsor willing to offer us £150 for a three month webhosting contract.

Sitting on the central gargoyle we can clearly see the countryside north of Derby beyonfd the adult peregrine. Click image to enlarge.Of course, acknowledging sponsorship or donors gifts is very important, and right now we would like to thank Acam Technology Ltd of Prime Enterprise Park in Derby for donating this little dome camera to our project. It meant we only had to purchase the special cabling we needed, and this support has helped us spread our limited resources much more effectively. We recently purchased a new video recorder with some of the donations made on Cathedral Green last summer, and I hope we can soon bring you the first video clips.

The night-time shots are not so successful, and appear to be suffering from infra-red flare. The eye of the adult bird reflects the light back to the camera and appears white.

The camera looks northwards across two of the three gargoyles. In daylight we can see towards Rivermead House, thankfully one of only two tall residential buildings in our city. Immediately beyond it we see Darley Park, and in the far distance the undulating countryside around Crich. In the extreme lower right-hand corner we catch a glimpse of St Alkmund's Way, part of the busy inner ring road that skirts the city centre. The night-time view is not so clear, and the picture unfortunately contains a lot of flare from the infra-red illuminator bouncing back into the camera lens. We'll see if we can make this better just as soon as we're able, but there may not be much we can do owing to its close proximity to the stonework. The horizonatal line of bright lights you see is highway lighting along the A38 - the outer ring-road that runs northwards around Derby.

Finally, although this really deserves a diary entry in its own right, we would like to draw your attention to a fantastic new peregrine blog run by a Dutch enthusiast called Froona. Her site seems to be unique in that it compares the progress of a number of peregrine webcams around the world, and her use of captured images from their webcams is brilliant for seeing what other pairs of birds are up to. In Rome for example, they already have eggs, whereas we don't expect ours until the end of March/early April. (I just wish I had the time to watch them all!)

(New visitors to this blog may wish to read an overview of the peregrine project, or have their names added to our mailing list.)


Anonymous said...

This pudding cam was a brilliant idea! well done, the pictures are incredibly addictive!!!
Ashley Sims

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Thanks Ashley - as you're the film producer who is putting together the new DVD on our birds, I know you'll be looking forward to seeing the video footage we've captured just as much as I am!

(I've taken the liberty of reposting your comment, as it was made to an earlier entry which is easily missed. Nick M.)

Karen Anne said...

It's really excellent being able to see all three images on one page without flipping back and forth.

Bird on that ledge thing below the nest box.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Thanks for all the hard work, and new info. and pictures on latest blog entry.
Fascinating day for all we lazy stay-at-homes to see what is happening with the third camera.

Despite the flare bouncing into the lens, was thrilled to see even the faint image of the peregrine late last night

Even more exciting this morning.

Anonymous said...

13.10, just looked in to find both birds on the platform, one on each side,they almost landed down at the same time....mustve been racing eachother to get home.....
can clearly see the size difference of the male and female with the split screen , its great.
the male was also looking to be cowering as the female was over looking him, maybe a part of courtship????
lyndsey, chesterfield

Karen Anne said...

There's a falcon in the nestbox, originally actually in the center of one side. Only there an instant before being on the edge, so I couldn't see if that side was being prepared for eggs?

Something very interesting must be going on further up, because he or she is constantly looking upwards.

Ash said...

This blog is excellent but to-day I managed to do something even better...I went along to the launch of the WildDerby 2008 programme and actually saw our birds in flight. They did a couple of loops of the Cathedral Tower as though they were putting on an aerobatics display for the crowd..which indeed they were.

Karen Anne said...

Interesting thing happening as I watch the nestbox camera. Last night your time when I checked, the nestbox was a black abyss, this time it started out that way, but then changed to a very clear photo. Sometimes there is a slightly reddish photo. It seems to be cycling, but not in a pattern I can determine.

Is this part of the experimenting you're doing, or is some light going off and on?

Karen Anne said...

p.s. There was a peregrine in the nest box for a bit.

Karen Anne said...

froona's web site is amazing. She must spend an enormous amount of time on it.

Anna Simpson said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog. Have the peregrines decided to breed again at Derby this year then?

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Hi Anna S. - yes, it looks like it they're going to breed again. There have been some amazing scenes outside Derby Cathedral recently with a pair of ravens (which until a week or so ago had never set foot in Derby) have decided they'd like to settle on the top of the tower, and have tried to nest. This rather upsets the peregrines! Tonight at 5pm, in glorious sunshine, both adult peregrines were swooping high in the sky above the tower and were trying unsuccessfully to dislodge the ravens. These are such special things to see, even in the mountains, let alone in the middle of our city. Of course, I stood there in the street, like some dummy, staring up into the sky whilst people walked past me, oblivious to what was going on. Did I care? You bet I didn't!
May I take the chance to recommend your blog to others, as it's unusual to have a Derbyshire schoolgirl write such interesting blogs as yours?
It's at

Hi Karen Anne: It might have been me fiddling late last night in the dark that caused changing images you saw! I tried to reset the iris of our camera so that the tower floodnights didn't fool the camera into thinking it was still daylight. It appears to have settled down, whereas the third camera doesn't seem to be tripping over into b&w mode at all at night. Hence the poor picture, I think.

Anonymous said...

11.00p.m. (UK time) lovely view of falcon. Love the new setup!!

mark murfin said...

fantastic very moody shot over the gargoils, female up there now and the male in the box...brilliant i,m almost tempted to sponser a forth cam..cheers mark

Nick Brown said...

re. sponsorship and/or donations. the project is seriously in need of funds with very little left now in the kitty from donations made last year....despite us being very frugal!
So if you wished to send us a donation, however small, please do so. We are exploring having a direct link for donors but for now the easiest way may be to phone the wildlife trust on 01773 881188 and ask how to donate over the phone using a debit/credit card or where to send a cheque to.
Nick B

Froona said...

Thanks for mentioning my Peregrine Falcon Blog. I'm very honored.

Love the new camera position, the images are spectacular. I'm looking forward for both peregrines to start breeding this year. I was wondering: did you name both peregrines?

Karen Anne said...

Peregrine on the pudding cam.

mark murfin said...

again male on the box female on the gargoyle....must get over soon with my meade telescope, thanks for the info nick...i'm doing a walk in may around the south coast path and may raise me with any ideas..i'm on the mailing list

Karen Anne said...

Hi, froona,

I don't think they name the Derby peregrines.

I like last year's San Jose, CA names, Jose Fernando and Clara de Guadalupe.

mark murfin said...

we should name them....???