Sunday, 21 December 2014

The shortest day....

It's the winter solstice today and that is worth celebrating because from now on, the days get longer and the nights shorter.
Whether our peregrines are aware of this or not, it won't be long before they begin to show signs of courtship. By February, nest scraping and bowing will be happening on the nest platform, assuming our two birds are healthy and well.
Of course, they are getting older now so we must prepare ourselves for the inevitable. If one of them does die, we are confident that another bird will soon replace we feel sure that we won't have a year when breeding doesn't take place....fingers crossed of course!
Up the top of the tower a couple of weeks ago, Nick Moyes and I were showing Esther Kettel, a PhD student from Nottingham and her tutor the ropes. Well not the actual ropes of course, but certainly the setting for the dramas that take place every year.
We found some prey at the top of the tower of course. A lapwing had been cached on the south side, on the top of one of those wonderful mythical 'grotesques' that were carved almost 500 years ago when the tower was built. On the east side, a song thrush was also lying there uneaten. And in a lead gutter, what looked like a carrion crow was spotted, partially hidden by the side of the gutter and therefore not entirely visible. A snipe head was also discovered - so pretty much usual fare for the time of year.
Esther was delighted to see a nest site for real, having been incarcerated behind her computer for months. We hope that she will choose our project as one of the ten across the country that she selects to study. Her main interests are to log the birds' behaviour and to study their prey.
The floodlit tower on a December evening
It has been quite mild here in Derby so far this winter, with only a few frosts to date. Will we get a late dump of snow as we did in 2013? Or will it stay mild throughout? Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, Merry Solstice, a joyful Christmas and a Happy New year to all our 'virtual community' of peregrine watchers!

The Peregrine Project Team
Ps. We are now confident that we have enough grant money spare to employ Ian Layton, our popular People Engagement Officer, again next summer. Good news indeed! He'll start back with us in late February or March.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Top Ten award and another 2009 youngster comes a cropper

Our Project's web cams have been placed in the TOP TEN BIRD WEB CAMS IN THE UK by the magazine of BBC TV's Countryfile programme.
Considering how many bird cams there are now this is a great accolade and of course, it is all down to Nick Moyes who set them up and has managed them ever since.
The two cameras looking down on the nest platform went up in 2007, with the so called pudding-cam on the ledge above a year later.
Then, in February 2013, Nick fixed a new wide angled camera to the back of the platform. This is the one that gives a view out over Derby:

Another one comes to ground
In 2009, our Derby peregrines raised four young, two males and two females.
One of the females, colour ring 009, was found dead on the roof of a block of flats nearby soon after she had fledged. She'd flown into a smoked glass screen which ran around the edge of the roof and had broken her neck. She was set up by a taxidermist and we use her for educational purposes - see the previous post.
The other female, 010, injured her shoulder beyong repair and has been in the care of Colin Pass and now Dave and Lesley Robinson. Colin called her Cathy.
Last week, one of the two males of the 2009 brood, with colour ring 011, was taken to Lesley and Dave with a slightly drooping wing.
This male was found in Nottingham city in a school playground, unable to fly. Mark Speck from the Notts Wildlife Trust collected him and took him to Lesley and Dave.
He was taken to the vets who decided that, with a bit of luck, the bird might recover after some recuperation.
So, what happened to this male? He's in full adult plumage as you can see from Lesley's photo:
011, a male from 2009, injured last week in Nottingham
There are two possibilities, foul play having been discounted:
First he was chasing prey and flew into some obstacle - a wall or fence perhaps.
Second, he had an aerial battle with another peregrine. This is a real possibility since not so far from where he was found there is a pair on a church. Perhaps he tried to take over?
If he did, he didn't succeed because it now seems that the male at this site, seen this week, also has an orange ring on his left leg!
So, the plot many of our youngsters are trying to get paired up in Nottingham we wonder?
Nick Brown (DWT)

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Cathy settles in

In 2009 we had two juvenile females that came to grief.
One was killed outright by flying into a smoked glass screen on the top of a nearby block of flats. After some time spent in a freezer, we eventually had her set up by a very skilled local taxidermist. It cost us £400.
The taxidermist Chris Orgill admires his handiwork

We use her regularly at events and talks.

The other female was injured to the point where she either had to be put down or kept for the rest of her life in captivity. The damage was to her shoulder and was irrrepairable. We decided to keep her alive mainly becasue we had an offer from someone to look after her.
The offer came from Colin Pass, a local falconer and photographer, and he has looked after her right up to last summer. So we owe a big dept of gratitude to Colin for taking such good care of 'Cathy' (he named her after the cathedral....).
Cathy with Colin and youthful admirer, 2010
Now Cathy has passed into the care of Dave and Lesley Robinson and apparently she's settled in well. Dave and lesley run a small willdife hospital, so they are used to looking after birds and other animals. They have applied for and got a licence to keep her from Defra.
Now of course she's five years old and in full adult plumage.....
Photo of Cathy taken this year by Colin Pass
Nick B (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Peregrines attacking buzzards

BBC 1 TV's The One Show had a feature from Exeter where the local peregrines that nest on St. Michael's Church in the city have taken more than a dislike to any buzzard passing nearby.
So far, Nick Dixon, local peregrine expert (and also advisor to our Derby project in its formative stages) has found 15 dead buzzards close to the church, all having been attacked by this one pair of falcons.
The birds work cooperatively. The male comes in first and the buzzard flips over to fend it off. As soon as the buzzard rights itself, the female dives in and sometimes hits it with her talons. It is this impact which kills their bigger enemies.
At the time of writing the latest episode (Tuesday 15th) isn't yet available on iPlayer but it will be quite soon I think. The feature is about 10 minutes in: .

The footage the BBC got of the peregrines jointly attacking a buzzard is rather distant but remarkable nevertheless. The ferocity and speed of the peregrines' attacks are extraordinary.
Well worth watching if you are in the UK (overseas folk will be unable to get BBC I think).
In Derby people have witnessed our birds attacking a passing buzzard at least once, but they didn't press home their attacks and the buzzards, although clearly rattled, continued on their way unharmed.
A few years ago, Jon Salloway obtained some great photos of one of the buzzards turned upside down with its talons pointing upwards trying to fend off the attacking falcon.
Derby peregrine attacks a passing buzzard
turned upside down to fend off its attacker.
Photo Jon Salloway
Buzzards have a very wide food spectrum ranging from worms (they eat a lot of them) to rabbits, voles and birds, including chicks taken from nests - so the peregrines' eagerness to keep buzzards at bay is quite understandable.

Nick B (DWT)

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Recent images of the adult birds

Ian Bradley (aka superbrad) took these photos last week of our parent birds. We are grateful to him for letting us use his 'super' images. You can see more by going to the Derby peregrines flickr pages.

The male bird surveys the scene 

The female on a ledge just below the nest platform 
Apparently at least one juvenile has been seen recently but with so few people watching from the ground now, reports are few and far between. We would expect that the juveniles would have begun to move away from Derby - so hopefully they are beginning to lead an independent life.
Meanwhile, the Rolls Royce team that has been working with us since February is drawing up its final reports and I will be attending a handover session at their works within the next two weeks.

Nick B (DWT)

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Bell Ringing Open Day this Saturday 23rd August

Derby Cathedral Bellringers’ Tower Open Day, Saturday 23rd August 2014.
Roger Lawson, a bell ringer and supporter of the peregrine project, writes:

Regular viewers of the live webcam feeds will be familiar with the sound of the Cathedral’s bells, whether it’s the simple tunes at the quarters and hours, the full tunes at 9am, 12pm and 6pm or the full-blown change-ringing on Tuesday evening or Sunday, but have you ever wondered how they are rung?  Well now’s your chance to find out.
View of the bells from above. Thye are within feet of the peregrine nest platform!
On Saturday 23rd August, the bellringers are holding their annual Tower Open Day where you can climb the tower, learn about the various ways the bells are rung, see demonstrations of ringing and, under careful supervision, have a go yourself.
You’ll also be able to see the high-tech alcove which is home to the peregrine web-cam hub and recording equipment and, if they’re around, watch the peregrines live on the monitor. You can then climb the rest of the way to the top of the tower to get a peregrine’s eye view over Derby and the surrounding countryside.
The tower will be open from 10am to 4.30pm, with climbs every 30 minutes and the last one at 4pm. On the 11:30 climb there will also be a rare opportunity to watch the incredible mechanism which plays the mid-day tune on the bells.
The climbs are £3 for adults and £2 for children over 8 years old.

Nick B (DWT)

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Hen Harrier Day and an Post Rally Update and BIRD FAIR NEWS

Sunday PM Update: Well the rally was somewhat wet but a great success!
Over 500 people turned up in torential rain and stood to listen to Chris Packham and Mark Avery. There should be coverage of the rally on TV (tonight) and in the papers tomorrow (and perhaps on breakfast TV too). (and on Mark's blog ). Some photos below.

Tomorrow (Sunday 10th) is Hen Harrier Day when people will gather at three locations in northern England to show their concerns for the plight of this bird which is all but extinct on English grouse moors (there should  be at least 250 pairs but illegal persecution keeps them excluded from their moorland home).
The Derbyshire gathering is at the top of ladybower Reservoir but the event is now 'full'.

So if you are not already booked to go, here's what you can do:
First read Mark Avery's blog to understand the background - scroll down a bit (but not that far!):

And second, if you are into social media, here are some options as set out by BAWC - Birders against Wildlife Crime, who originated the idea:

"If you can't make it to one of our events but would like to have your say and speak up for Hen Harriers...all you need is a smartphone or a computer, and maybe a camera and a willingness to take a 'selfie'!

Thunderclap: The groups organising Hen Harrier Day are co-ordinating a 'Thunderclap' — a method of using Twitter or Facebook to create an amplified message across social media. The message is sent out at the same time to all of the followers of the supporters who have signed up: in effect it explodes across social media like a thunderclap bursts across the sky. BAWC would like to thank the team who met (online) and discussed the message and timing of this campaign, and especially Naomi Rose of the RSPB who took the lead on creating it.
Twitter: Let's get #HenHarrierDay trending! If you'd like to show your support on Twitter please use the hashtag #HenHarrierDay when promoting or discussing Hen Harrier Day.
Twibbon: We've launched a Twibbon campaign for both Twitter and Facebook which, after just a few weeks, has attracted over 1000 users! Note that it is very easy to remove the Twibbon — just go back to the Twibbon website, find this campaign, and revoke permission for the Twibbon app to 'see' your account. Not sure what a twibbon is or why you might want one? Have a look at .
'Selfie': Yes, we know, 'selfies' (photos of yourself posted online) have a bit of poor reputation now (thanks all you Z-list celebs) but actually they are a great campaign tool. And if you can't make it to a Hen Harrier Day event, how about being part of the action without even having to leave your home. We've uploaded a 'We're Missing our Hen Harriers' poster and simple instructions to . It couldn't be easier. Please do read the T&Cs, though; we wouldn't want to use your image using our image without your consent”.

Nick B
Male hen harrier by Chris Baines
Photos from HHD in the Dark Peak District of Derbyshire
Chris Packham and Mark Avery

500 folk listen to Chris Packham (left foreground)
Today (the inglorious 12th) there's plenty of coverage of the grouse/harrier issue on the media.
Best videos of the day itself are on You Tube - just search for Hen Harrier Day or go to Chris Packham's website or Mark Avery's blog.
Incidentally, both Nicks were present in the rain (and played an active part in the preparations for the day) plus several other peregrines volunteers (Sue peregrino included) plus a large contingent from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. Ian L was due to have motor biked over from Notts but the rain was just too impossible - the roads were deep in puddles everywhere.

BIRD FAIR at Rutland Water is this weekend - Friday, Saturday and Sunday 15-17 August .  If you have never been it is an experience for sure! Massive event!
I'm going on Saturday this time and hope to catch Ed Drewitt talking about his book Urban Peregrines at 1.30 in the author's marquee. There's so many stalls and events/talks it is always difficult to know which day to go on!

Friday, 1 August 2014

False alarm and a swift web cam that's still active

A call from the cathedral today suggested that a dead bird of prey brought into the shop/cafe was one of the peregrines.
Someone had actually seen the bird in question fly into a window not far from the cathedral while chasing a pigeon or some other prey. It died instantaneously, breaking its neck.
When I arrived in town I checked the cathedral tower and Jurys Inn first. Both adults and two juveniles were present but I couldn't see a third juvenile.
When I got over to the cathedral centre and opened the box, there inside was a juvenile male sparrow hawk, a tiny bird compared to a peregrine.
Sparrowhawk corpse and foot ruler
The bird was in perfect condition, its eyes still open showing a narrow pale yellow edge to the iris and a black centre (adults have fiery yellow eyes distinguishing them immediately from peregrines eyes which are black at all ages).
The colouraton isn't blood!
The corpse will be sent off for analysis to see what pollutants it may have - though the results won't come back for many months.
Every year we get many calls from people who think they have had a peregrine in their garden. They always (well, just about always) turn out to be sparrowhawks.
Incidentally, female sparrowhawks, like female peregrines, are much bigger than males - up to 25% bigger. This size difference probably allows the pair to occupy the same territory without competing for food but hunting a wider prey spectrum than they would do if they were the same size.
Swifts are superb aerial birds and nest all over Derbyshire and the UK. Sadly they are in steep decline. Part of the reason for this is that people accidentally exclude them from the roofs in which they nest when they have the house renovated, re-roofed or have new soffits and gutters.
A new Project aims to help swifts and engage with people, making them more aware of this excellent bird and its fascinating life.
To see chicks still in nests in Oxford .
If you are interested in learning more about the project and especially if you live in the county, please contact .
A wonderful website about swifts, run by Swift Conservation, can be found at

Nick B (DWT)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Thank you Tony, thank you Ian, thank you all

With our birds safely fledged, it's a good time to thank a few people:
Tony Grantham. Tony was the Head Verger at the Cathedral when we started this project 2005/6). He resigned his post a couple of years ago to spend more time working with his wife, Dawn, on their thriving business importing and selling cutting machines.
Tony was a fantastic help to Nick M and me in those early days. Once he saw the birds himself, he became entirely hooked on them. He opened so many doors for us, both literally and metaphorically, that I doubt the project would have happened at all had he not been there to smooth its passage.
Thanks Tony for all you did for us - without you we'd be nowhere!
Tony helps out when a juvenile comes to ground
Ian Layton
Ian came on the scene early last year when he was appointed as People and Peregrines Engagement Officer for two summers, funded by our HLF lottery grant. Like Tony, Ian quickly adopted the birds and the project. He has made a huge difference both to our engagement of people and to the Watch Points themselves.
Just now we are trying to identify enough money to offer Ian the chance to work with us again in summer 2015. Meanwhile of course, Ian has to earn a living and that may mean he becomes unavailable next summer if he gets a permanent job somewhere. Time will tell.
We'd love to have him back if we can get him - he's been a pleasure to work with!
The likely lad

Our Watch Point volunteers
As usual, our trusty volunteers have turned up come rain, come shine, to help on Cathedral Green. Standing there for three hours and more can be very tiring - so they all deserve our thanks! This year they've been helped by our excellent Rolls-Royce team of graduates and apprentices. More on them later since they continue to work with us until the autumn.
Ian with sight-impaired children from a local school
School at a special Watch Point

Our donors
We have thanked each donor individually as we always do - but they deserve our special thanks because, without them, the project would have floundered long ago. Even with our lottery grant we still need our own income every year since the grant is not 100%. It requires 'match finding' to the tune of over £1000 each year.
If you would like to make a donation - please see the tab at the top of the blog home page which gives advice about how to do it. It is very simple!

Our partners
While the wildlife trust carried the bulk of the work, we would be no where without our partners. The Cathedral staff have been wonderful again, helping in all sorts of ways behind the scenes. We must particularly mention John Armitage, a great help to Ian especially, and Jackie Croft, Cathedral Administrator and Development Manager. Jackie is leaving Derby soon and we will miss her. She helped with the recruitment of Ian and in many different ways has been very supportive of our project. Thanks Jackie, we wish you well for the future!
The Grade One listed tower, now almost 500 years old!
Thanks also to the vergers who tolerated our incursions on their territory throughout the Watch Point season. Special thanks also to verger Matt who stayed late on bird ringing night so as to lock up behind us - much appreciated!
Final thanks to the cathedral office staff (Kim, Irene and Lucille) who booked rooms for us, handled enquiries and much more.
Thanks to Antony Messenger for ringing the chicks for us, as he has done every year since 2006.
Thanks to Serco and the city council's IT team for keeping the cameras up and running. An excellent job you've done! Thanks also to Melanie at Cathedral Quarter for her ideas and support, especially to the RR team.

Our web cam watchers and blog commentators
Last but by no means least, our virtual 'community of watchers and commentators; we'd be so much the poorer without all of you. 280,000 hits since January testifies to the way you've become addicted to our special birds. And over 800 comments so far this year shows how you have chipped in with observations and comments, keeping us on our toes and helping us too by keeping watch when we couldn't.
Brilliant work!

No doubt we've missed a few people....apologies in advance.....but it has been yet another good season and we look forward now to 2015, our tenth anniversary...provided the adult pair play ball and stick around! On that subject, do keep tuning in because our birds will be visible from time to time. We will keep the blog going all year...unlike so many other peregrine sites.
Two juveniles by Colin Pass

Nick Moyes/Nick Brown
Ps Don't forget the Hen Harrier Day Rally on 10th August 'up county'. Details as ever of Mark Avery's blog ...though you may have to hunt about a bit to find the latest updates, posted every Monday at 6pm.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Final Watch Point news of a juvenile and a new book

The final Watch Point of 2014 will be this coming Saturday 5th July, 10.30 to 1.30, weather please do come along.The juvvies are still about so there should be plenty to see....and if not you can always wander off and find a white letter hairstreak butterfly - as long as it's sunny!
Update Saturday afternoon: the weather improved greatly for the Watch Point but the birds were somewhat absent for the first hour and a half. Then all three juvs appeared on the tower and, very late on, the adults also put in an appearance. Big thanks to all our great volunteers (and especially Sue who travelled up from Buckinghamshire, bringing with her a big bag of change that she and husband Andrew had accumulated over the last several months!) and to Rolls Royce team members Fred, Jon, George and Sandra.
The season is now officially over as regards watch points and the wonderful Ian, our Engagement Officer, who has run them again this year, has now only one more week to work this summer. We'll miss him! Apparently one prey item today was a swift - not really a species we want them to catch since we are starting a new project about these marvellous birds!

Last night we ran a session for a Derby school class that was doing a sleep-over in the cathedral to raise money for some charitable cause. Both adults were in view and as we finished, two juvs appeared on the JI lettering! Many thanks to Joyce Sawford for her help, use of her telescope and her photos. NB
Lakeside Primary learn about the fastest bird on the planet
Photo Joyce Sawford

(Further thanks to all donors who have sent money recently towards the project - we need more of 01773 881188 on Monday (full details under donations tab!)
Photo by Jon Salloway
News has reached us that one of the males reared in 2012, having been found injured a couple of months ago near Alfreton, will never be able to fly again in the wild, having a wing injury similar to that of Cathy, the female who has been in the care of another falconer since having her accident in 2009. Fortunately, a falconer is willing to look after this new casualty and has already taken him to the vets and administered treatment for worms and trichomoniasis. He's now in good health and putting on weight. The falconer has obtained a licence from Defra to keep the bird.

Guided wildlife walks last weekend: Joyce has sent a photo of the first group down by the river Derwent:
Looking for otters.....? They do pass through the city -
but not in the daytime!

Further, a reminder that Ed Drewitt's excellent new book Urban Peregrines (£24.99) is available from Pelagic Publishing: . It's packed with photos and information and Derby gets several mentions too. The neat cover design title copies the style of a street sign (it took me awhile to figure that out!)

There are chapters on Food and Feeding, How to study peregrines, Ringing them, How to spot a peregrine, Threats and Futures, People and Peregrines etc - and a foreword by Chris Packham. Altogether a very important and readable publication - long overdue!

Finally - and talking of Chris Packham, he has agreed to attend a rally in North Derbyshire on 10th August, organised by Mark Avery, to highlight the plight of the hen harrier. So far 200 people have pledged to come - but more (many more) are welcome! For details go to Mark Avery's influential blog at .
The hen harrier should be present on most upland moors in England - there's room for perhaps 200 pairs - but last year none bred and this year there are just three pairs (none of which are in the Peak District national park). You can find out what's behind this strange and very disturbing affair by reading the many posts on the subject on Mark's blog.

Nick B (DWT)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Lots to do and see on this Saturday 28th..walks and DerwentWISE event

Update Sunday 30th June: despite a rather grey day and some mid-morning rain, over 20 people came on the guided walks. We saw swifts entering a building, elm trees with weird looking galls, himalayan balsam, feverfew, woundwort, harlequin ladybirds, various trees, buddleia growing out of a chimney and more besides. The second group did see a white letter hairstreak sitting high up on the tree and several people said they would get back there on a sunny morning now they knew where to look. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the peregrines showed themselves mainly on Jurys Inn. The last Watch Point of the year will be next Saturday 5th July.
Thanks to those of you who have donated to our project. If you've not done so yet please consider it. There's a 'donate' tab on the blog home page - or scroll down to an earlier post.
If Andrew from Mickleover could send in his email address (to ) I'd be grateful because I seem to have lost the piece of paper on which he'd written it. NB

The peregrine season is certainly drawing to an end though the Watch Point this coming weekend should be worth coming to, with the juveniles still pestering their parents and chasing them above our heads hoping for some food. Expect plenty of action!
In addition there will be three free guided walks starting on The Green led by Nick B. Weather permitting, they are timed to start at 11 am, 12 am and 1pm so take your pick! Bring some binoculars if you have any......but we'll lend you some if you don't. They will last c. 45 minutes.
(And the new DerwentWISE project has an event 1-5 pm in the nearby Silk Mill Museum - see below)
Nick will hope to show you some swifts and at least one local building in which they nest.
A new Swift Project, joinly run by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust (DWT) and the Derbyshire Ornithological Society (DOS) aims to locate exactly where swifts are nesting both in Derby and beyond.
Swifts can be seen around the cathedral tower
Photo Stefan Johansson
Swifts have declined rapidly partly because when buildings that had swifts nesting in them are renovated, the birds, often by accident, are excluded.
If you live in Derbyshire and think you can help, do get in touch. If you live beyond, then the RSPB is running a national swift survey and they will be glad of your records - .
If you want to find out more about the exciting provision being made for these charismatic (and very urban) birds visit Swift Conservation's website .
These swift boxes near Ashbourne are in use every year
Swifts are amazing birds. The young fledglings remain airborne until they are old enough to nest themselves. They sleep, feed, drink and even mate on the wing and of course they fly to Southern Africa for the winter.
Their noisy screaming chasing low over the rooftops were such a feature of summer evenings in our towns and cities...but for how much longer?
Also, we'll look by the river for the banded demoiselle - what a beauty to find in a city!
Banded demoiselle damselflies turn up at Watch Points sometimes!
The guided walks will also take you to an elm tree that has a colony of the delightful White Letter Hairstreak butterfly on it. This little insect suffered major declines when Dutch elm disease killed most of our elm trees. This particular elm is now probably the only tree in the city where you can still find this species.
WLH sunning itself on an elm leaf, Chapel Street, Derby.
The new DerwentWISE project, funded by the lottery, will cover the lower Derwent Valley from Derby north to Matlock. Do come to the Silk Mill to find out more about it - especially if you live in the area but even if you don't. There will be activities for all ages - dream catcher making, exploring underwater life and rangoli making (what is rangoli? I better go and find out!) plus details about what the scheme will achieve in this lovely valley that runs north from Derby and over which both swifts and peregrines hunt! 

Nick B (DWT)

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Last one goes (Thursday 19th at 3.07pm)

Update Sunday 22nd June: a busy Watch Point yesterday which carried on umtil nearly 3pm because people kept coming just as we were about to pack up! Plenty of bird action too with two of the three juvs in view back on the cathedral above the nest and both parents visible on and off. At one point the falcon brought in some food and was chased about by two very noisy juvs. She dropped the prey deliberately to encourage them to cathc it but they failed. Her attempt to retrive the falling bird before it hit the deck also failed....and the bird dropped to earth feet away from punters enjoying a quiet drink in the outdoor beer garden behind The Dolphin pub....much to there bemusement! the corpse was hastily retrieved and deposited in a waste bin. Thanks to our volunteers and to Joel and Sandra from Rolls-Royce who stood on Irongate enticing passersby to go and see the birds.
Don't forget to make a donation to support the project and keep it running. Get the details by scrolling down to an earlier post. NB

The last juvenile has flown....watched by several web cammers including Mrs. Lewis' class from Alfreton. Many thanks everyone for alerting us - we'll nip down soon and check where he ended up! The other two were on top of Jurys Inn this morning - so they are still both OK.
Norma's screen grab showing departing juv top centre
A trip downtown circa 5pm showed the two juvs on Jurys' roof but no sign of the third bird. However the parents seemed very relaxed so I'm sure it's up there somewhere...maybe even on Jurys already.
Interesting to check the clustr map on the blog and see that we've had 20 hits from Brazil - far more than usual.....some Derby based England fans must also be peregrine fans methinks! Nick B (DWT).
Update Friday evening: all thre juvs seen by Christine which bodes well for tomorrow's Watch Point. NB.
So, that's that for the time being. We'll keep you updated as best we can and you may well see birds on the nest and above too occasionally in the coming days.

A few things to mention:

1. Please donate to the project to keep it running - scroll down to the previous post for details. And a big 'thank you' to those how have donated already - it is much aprpeciated!

2. Come along to the Watch Point this Saturday morning (21st) to see the youngsters learning to fly and hunt.
Be sure to have a delicious Bakewell tart and a coffee in the Cathedral shop opposite the main entrance and look for the green men that stare down at you by the sides of the west door....they are very nearly 500 years old!

3. Think also about coming the following Saturday (June 28th) when there will be three short Guided Walks starting at the Watch Point to show you some of the other great urban wildlife in the vicinity - details to follow.

White letter hairstreaks live close by......
Swifts nest in nearby properties
4. If you live locally, consider joining the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. To find out more about what the Trust does visit the website - . If you live further afield - you might join your own local trust - visit .

Nick B (DWT)

Monday, 16 June 2014

Time to lend a helping hand.......

Update Wednesday 18th midday: the final youngster has still not fledged!
Please see new photos of the juveniles at the foot of this post....and more on Derby Peregrines Flickr site at 

Every year since 2006 when we started this project, we have put out a plea to folk who have enjoyed watching our family of falcons grow up - and each year the respnse has been magnificent!
So, as the fledging of the last youngster draws close, now's the time to make our annual appeal to you.
Some of you will know that we have been using a grant from the lottery (The Heritage Lottery Fund) to assist us. The grant has paid for staff time, essential equipment such as the new camera we installed last year and replcement video recorders and also for the 'connectivity' which allows you to see the web cam pictures from anywhere around the globe. But the money is now beginning to run out.....
In addition, the grant we get is reliant on us raising some money ourselves (roughly £1300) each year to match what the lottery contributes.
In addition, Cathy, the injured peregrine that we have had to keep in captivity since 2009 will require new funding to pay for her upkeep now that she is about to change keeper. A further £350 a year.
Finally, the grant we received from HLF only funded the cost of having Ian Layton for two summers, this being the as things stand, this will be his last with the project (he finishes with us in three weeks time!)
Ian has injected new spirit and energy in his role as Engagement Officer and we would like to have him back next summer. There may be a small underspend on the grant which may help us here but will will have to look elsewhere to acquire the total amount we would need. Ian is keen to come back again next summer and it would be good to be able to offer him a role in 2015 now rather than keep him in limbo until next spring.
In addition we have many new ideas to improve what we do, many emanating from the excellent work of our Rolls Royce team.....but these too will require money to fund them.
So, if you have enjoyed watching our birds on line please consider making a donation, however small (or large!).You can donate in one of the following ways:

UK donors:
  • Post a cheque made payable to DWT to the Trust at East Mill, Belper, DE56 1XH including a covering note stating that your donation is only for the peregrine project (include your address so we can acknowledge receipt).
  • Ring Elizabeth Woodward at the Trust during office hours (01773 881188) to make a payment over the phone by debit/credit card (office hours are 9am to 5pm, weekdays, to 4.30pm on Fridays).
  • You can also use the donation mechanism on the Trust's website at  Go  to 'support us/make a donation'. We use Virgin Moneygiving and find it works very well.

To UK Taxpayers only -  you can greatly increase your donation by filling out a Gift Aid form whereby the tax people give the Trust a further 20% of the value of your donation. The form can be sent to you by email or through the post…please just ask us for one.

Overseas donors:
  • 1) Please email asking for the codes you need so your bank can transfer money to the DWT account. (Unfortunately Gift Aid does not apply unless you are a tax payer in the UK.) Note that banks may charge for this service.
  • 2) Donors from most overseas countries can also ring the Trust (weekdays on 0044 1773 881188) to pay by credit long as you can work out when the office is open of course (check the webcam's local timestamp!)
  • Use our online donation mechanism via our website - see above.
Payments should only be made to 'Derbyshire Wildlife Trust', the lead partner for the project. No other organisation or website is authorised to collect funds on our behalf.

Please clearly mark on your payment that it is for the 'Peregrine Project' for use in the current financial year or, better still 'in this and next financial year' (this allows us to carry your money over from year to year should we need to).

Thank you in advance,
The Project Team (Ian L, Nick M and Nick B)

Latest photos of the juveniles: these photos were taken last night (16th) by Jon Salloway and Cliff Pearson. The two flying juveniles were both on Jurys Inn with their parents.....the final male still in the nest.
Wing stretching on a local chimney

Both juvs are flying well

Trying to be clever.....

Two adults and two juvs on Jurys

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Second Fledging on Sunday 15th

Things are getting confusing now, what with juveniles fledging and then returning.
Yesterday we had all three juveniles back on the nest platform, and this morning we had a helpful blog comment left by Nick Shailer in Australia (thanks Nick!) who noted the precise time this morning that our second juvenile had flown from the nest. Noting the exact time-stamp really helped, and this allowed me to 'look' inside the camera and extract some of the video recordings that are automatically made on movement detection.
So below are two clips of the moment of fledging of youngster number two, taken just a few seconds apart.

At the time of writing (2pm), Nick B has just returned from Cathedral Green to check where she was, although by the look of its strong flight (see the second clip below) it seemed likely to be fine.
Nick said he could see one (male) still in the nest platform, one on the stonework below the nest and a third on top of Jury's Inn. Judging by size alone, it seemed likely the Jury's Inn bird was the newly-fledged female from this morning and the one below the first fledging male.

Nick Moyes

UPDATE MONDAY 9 AM: a lovely sunny morning saw one fledgling on top of Jurys, the male still in the nest platform but no immediate sign of the third. I'm sure it will be up there somewhere out of view from the ground. Meanwhile nearby, the small colony of white letter hairstreak butterflies are now on the wing on an elm tree.....good to see them again. More on this in a later blog post (and on the 'pigeons' on the tower).
Really good BBC East Midlands Today TV piece (featuring Ian) was shown twice today already and hopefully will be again this evening. Should be available later to watch on iplayer..but only for a week! Link to follow.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Fledging and Watch Point Update - Saturday 14th June

Sunday morning update (15th): all three juveniles in the nest platform this morning and it is now easy to confirm that we have two (smaller) males and a (much larger) female - and also that it was one of the males that has flown (and has now returned).

Saturday (14th) afternoon Update:
There was a good (and dry!) Watch Point today with lots of visitors using our telescopes, as well as a BBC East Midlands Today TV film crew (their film will now probably be shown on Monday  - viewable only if you can get E. Midlands region TV - because a light aircraft has crashed near the M1 which is clearly going to be the major news story today).

There wasn't much fledging action today, unfortunately, although most people saw at least one if not all three of the youngsters. The female insisted on sitting high up on the backside of a pinnacle out of view from the Watch Point and the male on Jurys Inn. At one point there was plenty of flapping from the two still in the nest...but will they fly soon or keep us waiting?

The video clip below was captured earlier this morning, and shows just how active the young birds can be (larger female on right, male on left).

Watch a similar clip here:

It was good to see plenty of new (and old) faces on The Green today including families from a school in Alfreton. Their teacher, Sarah Lewis, unable to bring a class down in school time, encouraged parents to bring their children today - and it worked a treat! Ian Layton gave them a short talk about the birds and of course they all had a look through the telescopes too. 1
By the next public Watch Point next Saturday it is fairly safe to say that we will have all three youngsters on the wing!
Photos from yesterday (Friday 13th)
Children from a local school walked over to the Watch Point and enjoyed a sunny morning there looking at the young (and old) peregrines. Photos by volunteer Joyce Sawford to whom many thanks:
Ian and volunteer Steve Creswell point the children in the right direction

Getting to grips with the equipment!

This is what they saw - much flapping in progress!

The falcon (female, above) keeps an eye on her able fledgling!
The Project Team

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Fledging starts

UPDATE Thursday 12th: the fledged juvenile is fine and on top of the tower. 
UPDATE Saturday afternoon (14th): please see the following blog post.
Two photos from this morning: one shows the first fledged bird on top of a pinnacle and the other the two remaining birds on the platform. The colour ring numbers were 026, 027 and 028 with probably two males and one female.
Remaining two getting warm in the morning sun.....

First fledger high up above the nest
This morning (Wednesday 11th) beady eyed web cam watchers spotted that there were only two juveniles in the nest tray and one early-bird watcher saw a third one leap off the edge.
When I arrived at 9 am, all was quiet. Often, if a juvenile has flown and landed somewhere precarious, the female flies about overhead and is very restless.
This morning she sat calmly and for long periods above the platform with the male close by.
Then, she suddenly flew down to the nave roof, something I've never seen her do in nine years. So, putting two and two together, it seems almost certain that the fledged youngster is on the roof. It will be quite safe there and if the female (the falcon) is happy to go down to feed it, we can relax for the time being anyway.
We weren't expecting any fledging for perhaps another week. Usually the youngsters spend days (and days!) flapping and strenthening their wings with us all on tenterhooks wondering if they will fly.
How soon the other two follow suit we'll just have to wait to find out. It could be tomorrow or not for a week!
Certainly, if anyone sees a bird actually fly off then please post a comment.....we usually pick these up pretty quickly since they appear in our email inboxes.
Three years ago, this female came down on a low wall
If one should come down to ground (or, as above, on a low wall), then we'll catch it and put it in abox and take it up to the top of the tower for a second attempt...usually that works. They can't get airborne again on their own so we have to rescue them. This happens more at the cathedral than on a cliff where the bird making its maiden flight can usually circle round and land further down the cliff. Our urban 'cliff' just isn't that wide or long!
Watch Point THIS SATURDAY (14th) - if you can get to Derby this Saturday morning for the watch point it could be interesting.....anytime 10.30 to about 1pm, weather looking good too! It's free and everyone is welcome!
A fine photo of an adult taken recently by Cliff Pearson - many thanks Cliff!

Nick B (DWT)