Monday, 31 March 2014

Second Egg

Just a few moments before 11am local time, our falcon laid her second egg of the season.
The screenshot below as captured by webcam viewer, Phoebe, and placed on our Flickr photo pool.

And another from later in the day

This photo pool is a great place to see and share other images taken by lovers of Derby's peregrines. Do remember we regard our webcam images as non-copyright (creative commons). You are free to use any images taken as screenshot from our webcams which are posted there. But all other photographs may well be copyright of the photographers, and should not be used without their permission.  A simple email to the photographer may well get you the OK, of course.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

First Egg for 2014

Just around half past midnight this morning, Derby's falcon laid her first egg. She had kept us all waiting, as she has done in previous years. Although her egg looks white under night-time illumination, it is, of course, a rich reddish brown colour, which we  see in the first video, taken at 09:30am this morning.

First egg of the season.

Over the weekend Stream 3 will not be available, as SERCO gave us advance warning that they were moving offices, and equipment would be offline. This won't affect Streams 1 and 2 which change every 6 seconds or so, nor the new, live audio/video Stream 4. It does, however, impact on the Windows Media encoding laptop for Stream 3, which may be offline all weekend. Apologies for not warning everyone in advance. Nick M.

Monday, 24 March 2014

False Alarm, Comments and Live Streaming

UPDATE: Webcam Stream 4 - live from the nest is now working, complete with audio. And teachers; please scroll down to read about our new Resources boxes for schools!

Last night many of us thought our female was about to lay her first egg of the season. There she stood, motionless, in the nest scrape for well over an hour, which is very typical behaviour before egg-laying happens. Although peregrine falcon eggs are a deep reddish brown colour, under infra-red light they look totally white in camera working in night-time mode. So, egg-spotting ought, in theory, to be easy at night providing she moves a bit. But our experience has been that although the falcon may inspect the egg very briefly after laying, she  will then sit on it for quite some hours afterwards, leaving us uncertain of whether she has laid, or not.

But last night she moved away to the edge of the platform, revealing an empty scrape. Another false alarm.  For newcomers to this blog, do keep an eye on the 'Comments' page of the topmost post. This is where webcam viewers from around the world may leave up-to-date information. If you post to older pages, your comments will probably not be seem by anyone. (We do use blog moderation from time to time to keep spammers at bay, so don't expect every comment you post to be available instantly.) Please ensure comments are all relevant to the peregrines, and remember that some children do see this blog in school, as it can be a valuable learning experience for them. If you are a teacher, please see the previous post here.

Last night, Nick Brown left a comment containing  the following egg-laying dates at Derby, which are worth repeating here:

Date of first egg
2006 - first year - no cameras so no date for that year tho' we know it was late April sometime.
2007- 3/4
2008 - 28/3
2009 - 23/3 (earliest ever)
2010 - 24/3
2011 - 2/4
2012 - 29/3
2013 - 3/4
2014 - any guesses? (leave a comment with your date and time, and why not predict the date and time the first chick hatches in a months time, too? 
Note that every year since 2007 she has laid four eggs,  but there is only a 60-75% success rate for reaching a year old. Success rates vary from year to year, however.

The first of our two live audio-video streams is now working again, thanks to Mark from SERCO, one of our supporting partners. The stream should run for 10 to 15 minutes, and currently there is a lot of background noise, presumably from building work following the recent car park fire at Derby Assembly Rooms. This stream can be a bit temperamental, so apologies if we have problems with it from time to time.
We hope the second live stream from the wide-angle nest camera will be connected shortly. (Changes have to be made within Derby Council's firewall, which is out of our control. But we think this will now happen very soon.)

Friday, 21 March 2014

A Welcome to Teachers...and news about our new School Resources Boxes!

With a big teacher Eco-conference taking place today (21st) in Derbyshire, organised by the county council, we are very pleased to welcome new teachers to this project - both to the blog and the web cams. We think the project is a great resource for schools and are keen for many more to get involved. Email us at if you would like more information about what we do and what we can offer schools. (See below for an update about other sites' eggs).
For almost a year now, Ian Layton, our Engagement Officer, has been working with a small group of teachers and the county council's environmental studies services manager, Georgina Greaves, to prepare a number of resource boxes for loaning to schools both in Derbyshire and in Derby City.
These are now ready and are FREE for local schools - indeed several have been 'booked' already.
Any teacher wanting to find out more about how to loan a box should email  PROVIDED their school is outside Derby city but inside the county. If you are in Derby city please email to enquire about the boxes for use with city schools.
A resource box displayed....
Each box contains:

  • a plastic peregrine, 
  • a replica egg, 
  • a squeaky toy peregrine (with a totally life-like call), 
  • teacher work sheets, 
  • laminated photos of the birds, their nesting season and their prey 
  • three CDs and a DVD about the birds.

Already a few schools have taken advantage of the project, its web cams and blog to teach children across the whole curriculum - and to engage them with our brilliant birds.
This by Ellen from Becket School in Derby
One infant school regularly allows its children (under supervision) to make comments to the blog about what they have been seeing on the web cams (we had one from Green Class at Brigg Infants only the other day!). And the children there and at other schools regularly draw peregrines and learn and write about them too.
From Holmesfield Infants in Dronfield
So, what's not to like? Do get in touch as soon as you can to secure a box for your school!
A local school visits a Watch Point.....

Nick B and Ian Layton (Peregrines and People Engagement Officer)
Ps. If you want someone from the project to visit your school (for a negotiable fee) please get in touch to discuss the details.

Egg Update 21st March: as we wait for our first egg in Derby, we can report that eggs have been laid a several other urban peregrine nests. The first egg was laid at a site in London and  already this pair has a full clutch and incubation has begun. Now there are also  eggs at Aylesbury, Sheffield, Norwich, Nottingham to name but four! 
The Aylesbury nest courtesy of sueperegrino

In Derby our first ever egg was laid on 23rd March 2009 so our pair are a bit later than many others. But last year, by laying late and avoiding the unseasonal snow, the Derby birds gained a definite advantage. So early laying isn't necessarily a 'good' thing......more on this topic later.

Useful teaching video: this new video, focusing on peregrines in the SW of England, provides a useful introduction and might suit teachers wanting to put our city birds in a historical context: (with apologies for the earlier error).

Ps. The hits counter has been reset by Nick M to record the number of hits since 1st January 2014....roughly 32,000 so far. (2.6million since we went online in 2007!) More about the project stats in a future post!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Massive fire in Derby does not affect our birds and some new school resources

IMPORTANT NOTICE: last Friday (14th), a massive fire destroyed the top of the Assembly Rooms Car Park near the cathedral. As a consequence, equipment on that building used to relay signals from the cathedral to the internet were damaged and our the web cam connectivity went down. Rest assured the cathedral was NOT affected and that our birds are safe (see below).
Today, by a miracle of technology, the connectivity has been restored back to how it was! However please note that we still have technical problems with streams 3 and 4 and it may be awhile before they are sending out streaming images.
The Project Team

Smoke rise up but stays clear of the cathedral Andy Trenier

View the peregrines had with the fire just out (Andy Trenier)

The scene the morning after the fire. (Nick Brown)

The male looks fine - taken a few days after the fire (Andy Simpson)

For almost a year now, Ian Layton, our Engagement Officer, has been working with a small group of teachers and the county council's environmental studies services manager, Georgina Greaves, to prepare a number of resources boxes for loaning to schools both in Derbyshire and in Derby City.
These are now ready and are FREE for local schools. MORE ON THIS TOPIC IN THE NEXT POST.
Nick B

A peregrine bathing - a rather good video taken in Somerset is at

First UK (urban) eggs of 2014: a pair of peregrines in London have started to lay their eggs with the first last Friday/Saturday and a second and third during the Charing Cross Hospital: . This pair was very early last year too.....