Sunday, 6 January 2013

Six years online

Derby Cathedral - now wired for sound . . .and video.
Webcam update: See end.

Six years ago I was blogging about fitting webcameras  onto Derby Cathedral, and sharing my  fears about whether it would be possible or not. Just look at these posts from our first month of running a blog to see where we were starting from.

Boy, that seems such a long time ago now.

Back then I was happily employed at Derby Museums, racing against time to obtain cameras to add to our one year old nest ledge, installed in 2006. Now I'm happily employed elsewhere, albeit part-time, but that means I am still lucky enough to be able to remain  involved with Derby's amazing peregrines. Over those years they have given me such satisfaction, mainly because I've known how much pleasure they are capable of giving to everyone else. And, of course, I've had the massive help and support of Tony Grantham, then head verger who 'opened all the cathedral doors' to enable the project to get the cathedral's approval and support and of Nick Brown, who was the first person to see the potential of the project and who invited me to get involved in the first place. Nick was then working full time for Derbyshire Wildlife Trust (DWT). Now he continues to put in hundreds of voluntary hours of work each year helping to run the project in all manner of vital ways.
Fllashback to 2008: Mock-up of a new camera
location on Derby'cathedral tower

Being a bit of a nerd, I spent part of my Christmas break investigating the best new cameras to add to our peregrine nest ledge, and am about to make our first purchase - a replacement for "pudding cam" as it still affectionately known. I shall be using funds donated anonymously to our project to buy the camera next week from a supplier in Derby (always good to be supporting local businesses), and hope to test it out at home to get the day and night focus settings just right, before installing it on top of the Cathedral Tower in place of the old one. And it has been your donations over the years that have helped pay Network Webcams to stream our pictures to your computer or mobile phone.

Our project has grown so much over those years -  thanks to the partnership that runs it and especially to your interest and enthusiasm in watching the fastest creature on this planet care for and raise young on Derby's ancient stone cathedral tower. Most recently we've added a live stream with audio. 

And, excitingly, a new chapter is about to unfold.

Soon, thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund,  we shall be welcoming Ian Layton, our new Peregrines and People Engagement Officer, who starts with us on January 14th. He'll be helping us reach out to local communities and other groups around Derby and Derbyshire, and supporting schools to see the potential for using Derby's amazing peregrines as a learning opportunity. We'll be working to improve our public reach and to share the lives of these incredible raptors with many new audiences.

Whilst we are now starting to reach out via Twitter and Facebook, this blog will undoubtedly remain the core way we share what's happening up there on the gritstone tower of Derby Cathedral. Ian will no doubt want to introduce himself to everyone on this blog, and will be keen to listen to your ideas, suggestions, or offers of support.

A Happy New Year to everyone, and lets hope 2013 will be another successful breeding season for Derby's amazing peregrines.

Update: Tower cam is now offline for a while. The camera has been removed and a new mounting unit  is being prepared for a replacement.


Anonymous said...

It's like a miracle that peregrines have done so well learning how to live with us. I'd never seen a peregrine "for real" until they came to Derby and the Project put in the cams and set up Watchpoints. Thank you so much Derby Project for showing the way on how to let as many people as possible share. It does nothing but make my heart sing when I look at the list in the Links tab - we have a peregrine "network" now! I hope I've just managed to spread Derby's fame a bit further, I've posted a link onto the Estonia White Tailed eagle blog - their fantastic web cam is here click onto WTE (or try the wild boar instead if you prefer!)

Yes, what a journey we've all come on in 8 years!

Anonymous said...

10:10 female shuffling around in the scrape?

Jane (Belper) said...

Happy New Year to all the team. 16.13 Mr & Mrs P both on the scrape - with food. Hope they don't think it's springtime yet!

AnnieF. said...

Thank you Nick, Nick, Tony et al for all your efforts over the years. It took vision, persuasion and hard work but it has been so worth it. We have the technology -all we need now is for the Derby pair to oblige again with another four chicks!

Project Member (Nick M.) said...

Just a note to warn everyone that it's possible that Towercam might go offline tomorrow (Tuesday 8th) for a period of a week or two.
If the weather's not too bad in the morning I plan to remove the camera and its wooden mount that holds it in place on the lead guttering.

This will allow me to measure up for a replacement camera and make a new mount.
If this happens, it will be some time before the new camera comes back online, I'm afraid.

PS We had a hiccup with a post from Hilary B'ham earlier today, which was accidentally deleted.
It went:
"It's all good Nick! Thank you so much for all the hours you put in.I don't think your expertise comes across. It's great to know that we are able to install a new camera on the Cathedral. I'm really looking forward to the new season, might need a new camera myself."

Thank you Hilary - I'd like to also point out that the other Nick (Nick B) has been continually working away behind the scenes, giving tons of time to the project in readiness for Ian Layton starting next week. It's easy to forget that without his efforts (sometimes involving driving me in the right direction) we really wouldn't be where we are today, either.

Green Class said...

We sore a perign falkon siting on dorby cathedral. It was on the nest was looking for its prey.It had its hed down.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jane (Belper)
Yes, I've noticed lots of pre-breeding behaviour too. As well as peregrine behaviour around Derby cathedral, I've noticed the birds in my garden have really started singing. However, despite the madness in recent weather patterns, I'm confident Nature does know best. I'm sure the Derby peregrines will just be reinforcing the pair bond and keeping their nest site "bagged". I'm sure the Derby pair are wise old birds - if you recall, in 2012 they bred somewhat later than should have been the case but by so doing they missed the terible storm that wreaked so much havoc elsewhere. Was that just chance or did they somehow "know"? We can never know, but my feeling is that they did somehow sense it.