Monday, 21 September 2009

Cathy doing well

Colin took this photo of Cathy (010) recently and isn't she looking well? More photos are promised soon.

Down under the tower on Sunday morning I found the lovely, recently moulted peregrine feather shown below as well as several prey feathers.

These included those of teal (a small duck) and woodcock (a wader) both of which are typically winter food for our birds....the year is definitely turning now.....

Just as well peregrines are not migrants (though they do get shot at in the UK of course - more on this later).....
To read about a terrible massacre of raptors in Malta see this report from Birdguides or go to Birdlife Malta's own website:

If you have any spare money at all please consider supporting this determined group of brave conservationists fighting against appalling and indiscriminate shooting of birds on that island, from tiny robins and warblers to storks, eagles, ospreys, honey buzzards, stilts, bee fact anything that flies.
You can donate directly via Birdlife Malta's website or send a cheque through the post.

Nick B (DWT)

Friday, 18 September 2009

Scheduled Downtime

Our webcams will be unavailable during Monday 21st September. This is due to the electricity supply to The Silk Mill Museum needing to be disconnected. As a result the Museum itself will also be closed to the public on that day.

Before our webcam pictures can reach your computer, they first go via a radio link to the nearby Silk Mill museum. From there they go via a laser link (shown above) to a corresponding unit on Derby Assembly Rooms. And from there, well lots of other strange and amazing things happen before they reach you. But if one link in the chain is broken - no webcams.

So instead, why not spend the time planning to watch the International Space Station as it flies overhead? I've just used my standard birding telescope to watch the ISS fly over the UK, using a fantastic website to predict when it will be seen from your own location on earth, and from what direction of the night sky it will appear from. I didn't need a 'scope or even binoculars to see it because on some fly-overs it can be as bright or brighter than any star in the night sky. But with a birdwatching scope it was a wondrous sight to watch the ISS zoom past some 400 miles up, then fade away to dull red and disappear into the earth's shadow, and then to turn the telescope onto Jupiter. It's really bright in the night sky and tonight all four of its well-known "Galilean" moons were clearly visible, lined up in an almost perfectly line to the right of the massive planet. The position of the moons change from night to night -even hour to hour - so from now on I shall be using my birdwatching telescope to look for many other things in the sky apart from peregrines!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Peregrine Falcons get to bat

(Updated 11/09/09)
It came as a delightful surprise, but we've just learnt that Derbyshire County Cricket Club have decided that from next year they are changing their name for their limited-over cricket team from the "Derbyshire Phantoms" to the "Derbyshire Falcons". What an honour!

It surely reflects the increasing awareness that our majestic peregrines have become very special to the city and to the county of Derbyshire. They really are becoming big hitters!

Interestingly, peregrines have very occasionally been known to include bats amongst their very wide range of prey species though not, as yet, here in Derby. But next season won't it be great to see lots of wickets being taken by the Derbyshire Falcons, too?

We understand that a new mascot will be created, and that a name has not yet been chosen for him. As well as being a graphic image there will also be a human-sized mascot created to attend matches, events and even make school visits. We look forward to welcoming him or her to Derby Cathedral in due course. No name has been decided upon yet, but two are currently under consideration. The cricket club would welcome any suggestions you might care to make. The mascot probably needs both a cricketing and a peregrine-related name, hinting at a fast, furious ability to take wickets and strike at balls. Remember, we're trying to help them name a cricketing mascot, not one of our real birds. Just leave a comment on this blog, and we'll pass the best ones on to the Derbyshire Cricket Club, and maybe you'll meet up with "??????? The Falcon" next year!

The Peregrine Project is a partnership between Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Derby City Council's Museum Service and, of course, Derby Cathedral, without whom none of this would have been possible.
We're also grateful to all our supporters and their donations which help keep the webcam and the project up and running.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Half a Million hits!

Yesterday (3rd September) we logged our 500,000th hit since the beginning of this season, well up on last year despite the cameras being down for over a fortnight in July.

So a big thanks to all you 'hitters' out there! It seems you still can't get enough of these birds!
And over 1000 photo's on Flickr also indicates your commitment and interest as the season unfolded.

The photo here shows the male, the 'tiercel', on one of the 16th century 'grotesques' on the tower, the photo taken by Colin Pass earlier in the year.
Thanks to him and indeed to the many other photographers for their excellent shots which they generously allowed us to use - and also your many great screen captures during the season.
Nick B (DWT)

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Two soggy juvs!

Added note: at 7.20am on 3rd September there are only 448 hits to go to the big 500,000!

This afternoon (1st September) we have had heavy thunderstorms in Derby.
This screen grab, taken in the late afternoon by Helen Naylor, shows both of our young males visible from the pud cam together......the first time for quite awhile. This is good news of course..... and especially as 008's colour ring was found under the tower a few days ago, prompting some speculation that he might have come to harm. Fortunately not it seems. The ring must have snapped somehow and then fallen off....we better ask for our money back from the ring makers hadn't we?

Nick B (wildlife trust)

Ps Hard hitting: Only just over 1000 hits short of our half million target keep up the good work!