Saturday, 5 December 2015

Invite to Join, great news from Rutland Water and a new Video Clip!

On 20th November, 180 days after it was ringed, one of the juveniles reared last summer was seen alive and well at the Egleton Nature Reserve at the west end of Rutland Water, the biggest reservoir in England. The bird had moved 61 kilometres in an East South Easterly direction from Derby.
The bird, a female, was ringed with colour ring 030 on its left leg. Steve Lister, a bird watcher visiting the reserve, saw the bird and another birder was able to read the number on the ring so a big thanks to them for taking the trouble to report the details to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) who are responsible for bird ringing in the UK.
This is an exciting report and shows that our juveniles do move away from Derby in the autumn. The photos are by John Wright (see his video clip of her below).
030 standing on a post at Egleton Nature Reserve at
Rutland Water, photo by John Wright
030 in flight - photo by John Wright
030 showing her orange ring, photo by John Wright
030 even had a go at a short eared owl, as you can see in John's photo. There is a flock of lapwings behind:
030 (left) short eared owl (right) with flock of
lapwings behind. Photo John Wright, taken
at distance....

Steve Lister has emailed us explaining more about 030:
He wrote:
"The colour-ringed juv female Peregrine has been virtually resident at Rutland Water since late September: I first noticed the colour ring on the 29th and, along with many others, have seen it regularly since. The bird has spent long periods sitting around on the islands on Lagoon 4 of the Egleton Nature Reserve. Nobody was able to read the ring until John Wright managed it with his top quality equipment in early November".  

Video clip of 030 at Rutland Water

John Wright has kindly sent us a video clip of our young female. It is on Dropbox and the link is: .

It seems the quickest way to access the video is to right click over the photo and click on 'Open in a new window'.

Nick Brown, Project Team

Monday, 30 November 2015

False alarms

Over the winter, we usually get a few phone calls telling us that a peregrine has been found dead in Derby or perhaps been trapped in a building - and we had the latest of these last week.
Not knowing whom to ring, the person who found a dead bird of prey and thought it might be a peregrine rang the local radio station (BBC Radio Derby) who then contacted the wildlife trust.
When I emailed the guy he said he was a couple of miles from the cathedral when he had found a dead bird. Fortunately he had taken a photo and it was clearly not a peregrine but a male kestrel.
Here it is:
Male kestrel by Ian Lay
 In previous years the bird has always been a sparrowhawk. On one occasion, we received a call from the manager of the biggest shopping centre in Derby, then called the Westfield Centre, to say that some bird of prey, possibly a cathedral peregrine, was trapped inside the building and couldn't get out.
The red circle marks the spot  where the sparrowhawk
was trapped inside the glass frontage some 20 feet up!

When I went down to look I discovered a sparrowhawk that had obviously been chasing some prey or other and had flown in low down through the large glass doors. When raptors do this, they invariably fly up as high as they can get, to get away form the milling crowds below. This bird was on a rail at the top of the very tall glass frontage. A small cherry picker was brought in and I was taken up close to the bird which by now was somewhat exhausted. Moving towards it very slowly I was able to grab it from behind and bring it down to the ground.
The exhausted sparrowhawk finally in hand
Watched by a growing crowd of shoppers, I released the bird up into the sky and it flew off none the worse for its shopping trip!
(Note the bright orange eye - peregrines have dark eyes....).
On another occasion someone found a dead bird of prey thinking it was a peregrine. When I got down to investigate it too proved to be a sparrowhawk:
Dead sparrowhawk

On another occasion a kerfuffle from inside an upstairs chimney in the cathedral centre itself suggested a trapped bird was inside. When we opened up the back of the grate, there was a very sooty pigeon. It too was dusted off and released.....
So, as yet, no dead Derby peregrines...but the next phone call could just be one. Let's hope not!

Nick Brown
Project team

Ps. If you are a first time visitor to the blog, welcome.
Please note that the web cams are currently not in the best of conditions.
They have mostly been up there, exposed to the elements, since 2007 or '08 so it is not surprising that they are now struggling. We have bought some new cameras using our recent lottery grant money. Nick Moyes is configuring them and will get them in place before the season starts (February/March).
Also note that to save money we have also shut down Camera 3 until the spring.
If you want to see some great video clips of the highlights from the project's past (courtship, feeding the chicks etc) then we have over 50 video clips on You Tube that you can watch. Scroll down the right hand side of this blog to find the links.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Gear on the move down

Today, Nick Moyes moved all the various technical gear and gyzmos down a floor inside the cathedral tower. This involved turning the whole system off so we apologise if you were getting a black screen today!
It took two of us about six hours to make the move down. Unplugging everything was no simple task and each lead had to be labelled to ensure it went back in the right socket!
Fortunately the wiring Nick had employed back in 2007 when the web cams were set up was long enough to be fed through the ringing room floor and down into the room below.
Our new home is bigger than the previous one and well supplied with sockets too!
Clearly there may well be some teething problems (and the pictures seemed to be somewhat blurred at first) but we hope to have these sorted out when we next do a maintenance abseil....please bear with us.
Nick M figures out the wiring in
its new location
Finally, as if by magic, a picture appears on the monitor. There's some tidying up yet to be done but at least the system seems to be working.
The monitor in position with an old display board from upstairs
adjacent. This will be replaced before the summer.
A problem with Stream 4 seems to be caused by some external factor interfering with the signal as it travels from the tower to the Silk Mill Museum or, more likely, from the museum across to the council's IT.
One possible cause is a new hotel being built further down Full Street behind the cathedral. 
The new hotel which may possibly be getting in the way of the signal
with the nave roof in the foreground

Sorting this out is beyond our control but we have reported the problem - so fingers crossed.
We are aware of the ongoing problems with the camera that looks horizontally above the nest (towards Jurys Inn) and we plan to address this before the start of the new breeding season.

The project team
Ps. Stream 3 is off air until the spring.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Another one bites the dust

NOTICE: We have been asked to relocate our IT equipment into a different part of Derby Cathedral's Tower. This necessitates our webcams going offline at times. We hope to undertake most of this work on Monday 23rd November.

This time it isn't one of our peregrines but a juvenile bird from St. Michael's Church in Exeter, fledged (and ringed) in 2013.
It was found dead in Halifax in the spring with five lead shotgun pellets inside its body. The whole story has just been made public.
Read about it here .
X-ray of the Exeter peregrine clearly showing round lead
shot in its neck, base of skull and leg

It is of course illegal to injury, harm or kill any bird of prey, with special penalties if you kill a bird on Schedule One - and the peregrine is on that Schedule because of its rarity.
Sadly, peregrines are persecuted both up on the hills and moors where they come into conflict with the grouse shooting industry and also in more urban/lowland situations where pigeon fanciers sometimes decide to take the law into their own hands.
Where this bird was shot at is unknown but it seems more likely that it may have been shot as it flew over the grouse moors to the south of Halifax rather than in Halifax itself. We'll never know.
In Belper, a town in central Derbyshire, where peregrines have nested for a few years, earlier this year the resident male was found dead, again with lead pellets in its body. So we can surmise that many other peregrines suffer a similar fate but their corpses are never found.
Thanks to Lorraine for alerting us to this recent case and to Nick Dixon in Devon for the full details and the x-ray photo. Nick has been a constant supporter and source of wise advice to us here in Derby right from the beginning of our project in 2005/6.

Petition to ban the use of lead shot
The use of lead in shotgun cartridges is a subject much in the news at the moment. There is a petition to call on government to ban it completely since it does so much harm in the environment. Please sign the petition here. To read about the background (why it needs to be banned) please see Mark Avery's excellent blog here  - though you will need either to scroll back several posts or use the link saying 'Lead' on the right hand side of his blog. There are also concerns about anyone eating game shot using lead, a Mark explains.

Thank you.

The project team

Ps One bit of good news today is that the estate in Norfolk (Stody Estate) on which corpses of several buzzards were found (and proved to have been poisoned by the estate's gamekeeper) has been heavily fined.
To read about this see Mark's latest post.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Time for a read

We are now in the quietest period of a peregrine's year: the breeding season is long gone, the 'kids' have departed and the nights are drawing in. There's not much to see on the web cams either especially while the 'pud cam' that looks horizontally across the ledge above the nest is out of operation (it will be fixed sometime soon we hope).
So, maybe it is time to read up about these iconic birds and check back through video clips to remind ourselves of previous breeding seasons.
As for books on and about peregrines, here are a few I can recommend:

The Peregrine by J A Baker, 1967, with a new edition by New York Review Books.
Superb nature writing, a classic for sure. It tells the story of peregrines in winter on the Essex coast but in such a wonderful way that the book is difficult to put down.

The Peregrine Falcon by Derek Ratcliffe (Poyser Books 1980). This is undoubtedly the 'peregrine bible' written by someone who studied these birds in the wilds of Scotland and England and who was a supreme scientist. The text is very readable and well worth the effort. There are many fine vignettes by the wildlife artist Donald Watson.

Falcon by Helen Macdonald (Reaction Books, 2006). Well written, this book describes how the peregrine has been used in falconry for centuries, used a heraldic symbols and even worshipped as a god. A surprisingly entertaining read.

Urban Peregrines by Ed Drewitt (Pelagic Press 2014).
A comprehensive account of how peregrines have taken over our towns and cities. Our Derby project gets several mentions too.

Top Gun of the Sky by Martin Bradley Ceratopia Books 2013. A thin volume aimed at children but with some excellent graphics.

The Peregrine Sketchbook by C F Tunnicliffe (1996, Excellent press). Tunnicliffe lived and painted in Anglesey and his wonderful studies of cliff nesting peregrines were made at South Stack.
I'll put up a further post before the year end about peregrines and art - but there's no better place to start than with this marvellous book.

To see video clips look down the right hand side of this blog to find 'Archived Clips'. Or go to the You Tube site and search for either Derby peregrines or UKVC57 which also brings them up.

Nick Brown
Project team member

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Skype For Schools

Teachers! Would you like one of our Project Team to drop in to your school classroom to answer questions on Derby's Peregrine Falcons. We're willing to travel anywhere in the world to chat with you!

We can offer schools a free, 30-40 minute classroom chat via Skype on some Mondays or Tuesdays. These need to be pre-booked and can be tailored to best meet your class needs.

Children from Brigg Infants School in Derbyshire made these drawings
of our first Skype classroom session 
The activity would be teacher led, and requires preliminary teacher-expert hook-up to plan and schedule the Skype activity. We would expect your class to have already done some peregrine falcon activities, and to have watched our webcameras on Derby Cathedral. Pupils would be encouraged to think about what questions they might put to an expert. For best effect, these questions would already have been sent to us in advance by the classroom leader. 

We also suggest a preliminary Skype hook-up with the teacher a week before to discuss the teacher’s needs, and to agree on how best to approach the session. 

Our Skype session is best scheduled immediately after a school break or lunch period. This allows time to ensure everything is set up and working before the class arrives. With pupils positioned in front of the school webcam, the teacher could invite each one to come up, singly or in pairs, to ask their question. This is not to preclude spontaneity, but is intended to ensure a well-structured session. 

Our volunteer Team member would be happy to explain the background to peregrines starting to live on Derby's Cathedral, or the current position in the peregrines’ life cycle, and what might be expected to be seen on the webcams in the weeks/months ahead.

Following the Skype session, teachers could encourage pupils to do  follow-up work, such as KS1 children doing drawings to show how they class hook-up went, and the responses they got from the Project Team.

This is a new activity for the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project, and is volunteer run. So we may have to give priority to local schools if demand is high.  But for now we can offer Skype sessions only Mondays or Tuesdays, most easily between the local British time of 9am to 10pm. 

Download a  Session Plan  Or contact the Project Team volunteer to discuss availability:

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Words of thanks

As our three year Heritage Lottery Fund grant comes to an end, it is time to celebrate what has been a very successful project and to say a 'thank-you' to the people and organisations involved.
We'll do this over at least two blog here goes with part one!
First, way back in 2011, Tim Brooks at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust coordinated and led on putting our bid for £49,000 together. While he is no longer with DWT, we owe him a debt of gratitude for his hard work getting the bid approved - never easy these days!
Our success with the bid was announced in May 2012 and work began in June of that year.
HLF Grant launch June 2012: the Deputy Mayor of Derby, a Cathedral
Quarter ranger, Nick B, The Dean and an HLF trustee.

Nick Moyes was taken on as our 'Technical Consultant' - though of course he has been the key player in this project right from the beginning - and much more than a technical adviser too!
Nick set to work in 2012 redesigning the blog, making a massive improvement to its previous format. Cathedral Quarter, a partner in the project kindly helped by designing a new logo and header for us (see the header above!)..
He also dreamed of getting a  new wide-angled camera...but more of that later.
Nick Moyes in abseil mode

Project Logo

Meanwhile, over the winter of 2012/13, we advertised for a Peregrines, People and Places Engagement Officer and Ian Layton was selected. Ian began (part-time) work in January, quickly getting to grips with what he was being asked to do.
Ian Layton - an engaging fellow!
He set about contacting both minority communities in Derby and also groups and institutions catering for people with disabilities.

Over the following three summers, he drew many new audiences to our project. Too many to name here, the photos below give an idea of the range of people who learned about peregrines and their presence on the Cathedral. Ian also ran the series of Watch Points each summer - assisted by our wonderful band of volunteers!

Ian (left) talks to and with refugees at Derby Refugee Advice Centre
Eritrean lad with harris hawk at Peartree Library
Eagle owl meets local resident at Peartree Library
Never too young to be wowed by a peregrine!
Woodlands School hearing impaired unit
visit at Watch Point
Lad from St Benedict's School sees his
first peregrine falcon
A busy Watch Point 2015

Engaging people at a Watch Point event
Note Ian at the far end on his knees!

In addition to this work, Ian organised the production of a number of excellent Schools Education Resources boxes which have proved very popular with schools across the city and county.

Education Resources box contents displayed

While Ian was carrying out all this engagement work, Nick Moyes completely redesigned the blog layout and design. He also fixed a wide angled camera to the back of the nest platform which gave excellent views of the birds: 

In the first spring with the new camera in place, it snowed
heavily just before the eggs were due

Three eggs and a tiny chick, May 2015 as seen
from the wide angled camera

Nick also created a display to go in the window of the Cathedral cafe in Irongate. This allowed passersby to see a live streaming view of the nest, a mock up of the platform with eggs and gravel and a time lapsed display of the various stone faces which peer down from the tower;

                                                               Cafe window display

Nick also maintained the IT and cameras, abseiled down each spring to clean the platform and adjust the cameras and also collected the chicks for ringing each May.....stalwart work!

More about the project and how the HLF grant enabled us to do so much more than we would otherwise will appear in a later blog post.

For now though - a hearty thank-you not only to Nick Moyes and  Ian Layton, but also to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Cathedral staff (especially the vergers, Jackie Croft and Rachel Morris) to Cathedral Quarter (especially Ashley Lewis) and to a host of staff at the Wildlife Trust who helped Nick and Ian in so many different ways throughout.
We must also thank our splendid Watch Point volunteers who stood out there in rain and hot sun and helped so many people to see the birds 'up close and personal' through our telescopes. You are all Champions Without you we wouldn't have been able to run Watch Points at all!

Nick B (DWT)


Sunday, 9 August 2015

Hen Harrier Day 2015...and a peregrine flies over!

Today has been Hen Harrier Day 2015, a gathering of many hundreds of people in the Goyt Valley of North West Derbyshire to raise the level of awareness about the illegal killing of birds of prey, and in particular the Hen Harrier, on our moorlands.
The Hen Harrier day crowd assembles in the Goyt Valley
Organised by Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC), a small voluntary group, the event was supported by the RSPB, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and our own peregrine project, among many others.
Speakers represented DWT and RSPB  - and even our project was given an honourable mention as one of many that have raised awareness of raptors and brought these fine birds to a new audience.
The keynote speaker was Chris Packham who spoke with verve, passion and total commitment. Videos of his speech will doubtless appear on You Tube early next week.
(Meanwhile, to see last year's torrential rain and the gathering of the 'sodden 570' and to hear Chris speak go here . It certainly was a day to remember!)

Chris Packham speaks with knowledge and conviction,
watched over by a huge model harrier
The previous evening in Buxton Chris had spoken without any notes for over 25 minutes to a crowd of 300 people, the highlight of an evening of films, talks and drama all about the hen harrier and birds of prey.
Earlier, Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller talked about the thinking behind his iconic image of a hen harrier carrying a Range Rover:

What a great weekend!
It was good to see some people from our peregrine volunteer group among the crowd. After all, this protest was about the persecution of all raptors on the moors, including peregrines.
Apparently a real live peregrine did fly over the assembled throng mid way through proceedings and certainly the same or another bird was seen over the moorland behind when people were dispersing.
Quite apart from raising the profile of this important issue, Hen Harrier Day is a great coming together of like minded people from all over the county (and far beyond) and from many different conservation groups.
We really do need to work together to tackle issues like this.
While our Derby peregrines appear to be reasonably safe from persecution, certainly while they are in the city, the same cannot be said for peregrines that choose to nest on grouse moors...their lives are usually short - and very far from sweet!

Nick B (DWT)

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Peregrine Resources for Schools - online now! Plus a Hen Harrier Day invitation

NOTICE: Stream 4 is now active. View it here
(And for details of Hen Harrier Day on Sunday 9th August see below.

Over the last ten days we have completed two final tasks we were committed to deliver under the terms of our Heritage Lottery Grant. Our three-year support from the HLF for the 'Peregrines, People and Places'  comes to an end this summer, and soon we shall have to look to new ways to continue funding some of the amazing outreach work we have achieved in that time.One task was a production of a self-guided leaflet for visitors to Derby Cathedral (more on that later); the second was the publication of an online schools resource pack.

Contents of Schools Loan Box on Peregrines
Earlier last year Ian Layton (our amazing Peregrines and People Engagement Officer) worked with a number of school teachers to develop a set of Education Resources Loan Boxes for teachers to use. There are four of these available to county schools, plus one for schools in Derby City, and a number of schools have borrowed and used them very successfully.

We also undertook in our grant bid to HLF to convert these for wider use by schools anywhere in the country - or indeed the world - and these have just been made freely available online for teachers to use. The resource pack offers ideas for using peregrines and other nest cameras as the core of a wide range of curriculum activities, from EYFS right through to pre-GCSE classes.

These include:

  • Design Technology, 
  • Science, 
  • English, Mathematics, 
  • Art and Design, 
  • Literacy, 
  • Speaking and Listening, 
  • ICT/Computing
  • History
  • English
  • Geography

All we ask in return is that teachers using our resources let us know how they got on, and give us feedback which may help to improve them in the future. (A few photos would be nice too!)
Many people have helped us compile these resources, and we are especially grateful to Helen Naylor from Brigg Infants School and Georgina Greaves of Derbyshire County Council's Environmental Studies Centre.

The Online Resource Pack is available as a 14Mb zipped download of 26 files from our Project's Google Drive here.  If you want to see what's in the resources box, or make your own, download a contents list here.

Let us know how what you think!
Visit our dedicate Schools page on this Blog for more teaching resources on offer from the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project.
Nick Moyes (project team member)

Hen Harrier Day Sunday 9th August - a rally in Derbyshire.

Our Peregrine Project is now an official supporter of this important day and event. See our logo among those of many others (including DWT and RSPB) on the hen harrier day website henharrierday .
At least two of the project team and several of our Watch Point volunteers will be there (along with Chris Packham) - so why not come and join us and hundreds more trying to raise the profile of the hen harrier which should be breeding on our Peak District moors but isn't....and neither are peregrines incidentally.....
If you don't know why there are no raptors on grouse moors (or why you should support this rally) then have a read of Mark Avery's blog here for example (a post from May).
And if you can't come along, then at least please join the Thunderclap here.
If you want to let us know you will be there or to ask any questions, email .

Saturday, 1 August 2015

YouTube's Online Video Editor

A little known YouTube secret is that it now has its own online video editor. This means that if you've already uploaded some video clips, then want to merge  two or more together, cut bits out, or add cross fades and captions, this is now incredibly easy to do. Absolutely no software is needed.

Just go to

This simple but effective tool is proving useful to the Peregrine Project Team, as we frequently upload clips for inserting into this Blog. The one problem we have found is that our newest camera, (an Axis P3364VE IP camera which looks out from the back of the peregrine falcon's nest) has movement detection which records little clips for later retrieval.  Unfortunately it rarely records the whole sequence in one go, so a number of consecutive clips have to be downloaded from its internal SD card. These clips also come in an usual format (Matroska .MKV) which are difficult to view or edit with familiar software. Luckily they can be watched in our favourite free software programme (IrfanView), and also directly uploaded to YouTube in that format, which thankfully does the converting for us.

So, with one's clips uploaded, it's just a simple task of dragging the required clips into a sequence, cutting out the unwanted bits, and adding titles and fades as required. It even lets you add a background soundtrack, though we've not used that facility yet.

The video above was put together in just a few minutes using four clips made from our ringing day back in May this year. Once edited and saved, we then deleted the original clips so as not to bloat our YouTube channel.

Footnote: For those wondering when Stream 4 will be coming back, we can tell you it should be available after August 3rd. The problem was caused by sudden changes that our webcam host, Streamdays required Derby City Council to make to their firewall. Streamdays  needed to change their servers and, in order to continue pulling the live images from the new nest camera, they needed security changes made at our end. The security committee at the Council who need to consider and approve all such changes has now met, and these will be enabled soon. Had we received a few week's notice this problem wouldn't have occurred, but I'm afraid it was beyond anyone's control here in Derby. Thank you all for your understanding.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Final Watch Point 18th July

With the juveniles still around the tower (and showing on the web cams), Ian Layton, our Engagement Officer has decided to hold a final (really final) Watch Point tomorrow Saturday 18th July.
Two of the juveniles together. Photo Roger Lawson

So if you've not been down to see the birds and meet Ian and his trusty band of brilliant volunteers, then tomorrow is your last chance.
The Heritage Lottery Fund grant, which began back in summer 2012, finishes next month. Ian has done a superb job both in organising Watch Points for the public over the last three years and in engaging new audiences. In the absence of a grant next year, it remains to be seen if we can get Ian back to help us once more. A future blog post will cover both what we have achieved with the help of our £49,000 HLF grant and how the future of the project looks.
Meanwhile, if you would like to donate (and it is so easy via Virgin Moneygiving) please do so.
Just click on the 'Donate' tab on the home page of the blog and hey presto!

Nick B (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)

Ps. And you anyone would like to join the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, please ask for a form at the Watch Point, phone the Trust office 01773 881188 (in office hours) or go to the Trust's website: and click on 'Join Us'. It's quick, simple and entirely painless!

The Trust has 14,000 members but is striving to achieve a total of 20,000 by 2020.
If you live in or near Derbyshire there are so many reasons why you should join us. And we also have many 'ex-pats' and others living beyond the county who support our work to Protect Wildlife, Restore Landscapes and Inspire People.
The Peregrine Project certainly seems to do the latter with over 350,000 hits this year to the blog and web cams and over 3,000,000 since the cameras began in 2007!

Watch Point report. Jane Tagg, one of our newest recruits to the ranks of our volunteers, reports that there was a steady flow of visitors.
Final Watch Point 2015 Joyce Sawford

All three of the juvenile peregrines were present during the morning though they flew off later, at which point, the adults were visible.
Hope that lion doesn't swish its tail! Photo Joyce Sawford
 So we were delighted that the whole family was still around to be seen and admired! 

A really BIG thank you is due to Ian and to his wonderful band of volunteers who have helped out in a fair old mixture of rain, wind and hot sun all summer. At least it didn't snow!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Post-fledging Update and Watch Point Summary

For those web cam watchers who live far away from Derby, here is a photo showing the layout of the cameras and nest platform.
The platform sits at the bottom left of the louvred 'window' which, incidentally is just wood and has no glass in it.
The two original 'nest cams' are sited on posts attached either side of the Nest Platform. A more recent camera with the wide-angle lens is fixed to the back of the platform, and looks out over the nest towards Cathedral Green below (where the Watch Points are held) and beyond to the River Derwent.
Tower Cam (sometimes known as 'pud cam' because it looks like a Christmas pudding) sits in the lead gutter to the left of the three carved 'Grotesques' which appear on the photo as dark blobs.
It is on these grotesques that the three fledglings often sit.

Here's the 'peregrine's eye-view' from the top of the tower looking over Cathedral Green and out towards the River Derwent:
View looking East taking in the winter showing
Cathedral Green and the River Derwent
If you were to peer over the top of the tower and look down, this is the view of the platform some 20-25 metres below:
Photo looking down on the platform taken on chick ringing day
And here's a photo from a previous year of the adult male bird sitting on one of the carved stone 'grotesques':

Photo by John Salloway
Wednesday Watch Point (July 8th).
Over 150 people came through the Watch Point. They saw all three juveniles plus both the adults, though not all together (only one adult at a time).
At one moment, the juv males saw a pigeon and set off from the top of the tower chasing it. He didn't achieve a meal but clearly he's well up on his learning curve.
Here's a photo from a previous year (2012) showing three juvenile birds in the air, one of them carrying prey passed to it by an adult and the other two screaming that they would rather like to have meal that for themselves!:
Photo by Ian Bradley
It is this sort of exciting behaviour that you will see (with luck) if you come to the Watch Point on this Saturday, 11th July.
Last year, a less than competent juvenile failed to catch a prey item dropped for it in mid-air by the female. The prey dropped perilously close to people sitting outside a local pub (The Dolphin) drinking beer and eating their lunch! Fortunately it just missed landing in someone's pint pot!

Nick B (DWT)

Ps. A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to the project recently.
If you've enjoyed the web cams and blog but haven't donated yet - please scroll down to the previous post to read about how to donate. It is VERY simple and easy and quick!

11th July Watch Point Report by Helen Naylor:
Another very successful watch point today, with plenty to show the steady stream of visitors that arrived throughout the morning. All three juvenile birds were seen on the tower, looking very fit and healthy and enjoying the sunshine. They made several flights over the watch point and around the cathedral. It was great to see them flying so confidently. The adult male was around for much of the time, even perching on the nearby roof of the Silk Mill Museum giving us superb close up views. The young birds were very vocal and could be heard calling to him on numerous occasions, hoping for some food! The juvenile wood pigeon that was still in its nest last week below the peregrine platform appears to have gone, so hopefully it managed to fledge successfully! Another big thank you for all the kind donations that we received today. 

Friday, 19 June 2015

We need your donations!

Update Saturday 20th June: Our webcams now have an internet connection, thanks to speedy work on Friday by Derby Council's infrastructure agent, WormPurple. However Stream 3 is temporarily inactive whilst an essential computer upgrade is carried out to replace an old Windows XP machine.
Reports on previous Watch Points are at the bottom of this post.

So, with all three youngsters having left the nest (please scroll down this blog to read the story), there will be less to see via the web cams from now on (even when they are working - and we do apologise once more for the recent problems which are clearly beyond our control!)
It seems a long time since March when the birds really started to display and start scraping a depression in the gravel for their eggs.
Since then, there have been well over 300,000 hits to the blog and web cams - testiment to the continuing popularity of this project - and the birds.
We hope you've derived pleasure from watching these fascinating falcons go about their breeding. Perhaps you feel a part of the 'virtual community' that seems to develop each summer. If you are lucky enough to live within reach of Derby, perhaps you've been to a Watch Point and seen the birds for real - and met some of the staff and volunteers (and 'supporters'), who make this project such an enjoyable one to work on.

As you will know, our lottery grant ends very soon. By August we will be back trying to stand on our own financial feet - so we make this appeal to you to make a donation to keep the project running in the future.
All donations are welcome, however small or large.
Last Wednesday, for example, someone drove up to the Watch Point and handed Steve, one of our volunteers,a crisp £50 note! If it was you - MANY THANKS! 
If you can't afford that much, we will be delighted to receive anything - however small. And every donor will receive a personal 'thank you' from the team.

How to donate - the details are to be found on the side of the blog home page and via the 'Donations' tab but here's a quick summary of the most commonly used methods:

1. Click the My Donation button on our blog homepage, or click below to make a contribution via our   VirginMoneyGiving page (or click above)

2. Phone the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust office in Belper (01773 881188) in office hours (9- 4.30 Fridays and to 5pm other week days) and make a payment using a credit or debit card. It is easy, quick, entirely safe and many donors use this method.

3. You can also donate at a Watch Point. They are on Saturdays and Wednesdays.

4. Send a cheque, payable to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, to DWT, East Mill, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 1XH. Please enclose a letter or note making it clear that your donation is for the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project.

For further payment methods, please click on the Donations tab on this blog.

GIFT AID - if you are a UK tax payer, you can agree to have your donation gift aided which adds a further 20% to the total we receive with no cost to you at all! Please ask for details. Really all we need is your full address and something saying you are indeed a UK tax payer, willing to have this donation gift aided. 

Many thanks in advance,

The Project Team  (Nick M, Ian L and Nick B)

Report on the Watch Point on 20th June by Ian Layton:
Another wet – but still rewarding day on Cathedral Green today. 
Things started well with the two adults on the tower with two of the young more hidden against the brown stonework.
By the time we had fetched the kit from the Silk Mill and from the Cathedral and sorted out the multi-lingual A Board for Irongate – we were treated to one of the best sights of year so far. The two adults had decamped over to Jury’s Inn and were sitting to the right – one on the spire and one on the lettering on the east side. Then all three young appeared in short order against the skyline sitting on the hotel’s roof. The adult male took a short hinting trip and soon returned with what appeared to be a blackbird – which caused quite a kerfuffle with the youngsters!

At this time town was reasonably busy and we were quite busy on the scopes – but before long it began to drizzle quite persistently and the street soon emptied. The rain got heavier and we moved under the shelter of the trees but set a scope up closer to the Silk Mill pub where we could show the birds whilst having a little shelter. Unfortunately the rain seemed to get stuck over Derby and we lost at least a third of our time with very few people around.
The rain cleared up a little soon after 1.00pm and the streets became a little busier and we were able to return the scopes out to the Green where they belong. By close of play at about 1.45 we had counted almost 100 people at the scopes – a very good showing on such a wet day – and it was especially lovely to see our “new regulars” down on the Green again – so a special thanks to Jane and her Mum (“cos we know you’ll be reading this!) and to Saul, Blythe and their Mum too – who now know more about peregrines AND how a motorbike twist throttle works too! Glad to be of service!!
Throughout all this time the youngsters remained on the roof, hunkered down out of the weather, though one (probably one of the female young judging by her size) could be seen trying her wings out and hopping around the rooftop. On a couple of times the adults took a flit around the Green and around the tower but soon returned to Jurys Inn where they could keep an eye on their charges and seemed to be quite content despite the rain – which we hope means that all is well with all three of them. 
Update Sunday 21st 8 am. All the juvs on top of Jurys Inn.

Two juvs together on the tower -  Photo Roger Lawson
Watch Point 27th June: a sunny day at last and all three juvs on the cathedral - so there was plenty for everyone to see.
They're up there somewhere!
Antony explains the project's history

The next Watch Point is on Saturday 4th July between 10.00 and 1.30pm with the probability of a final one on July 4th. As always – everyone is welcome.
Report on 1st July's Watch Point by Joyce Sawford, one of our trusty volunteer helpers:
"It was very hot at the watchpoint today, 1st July. We arrived at 10:30am and all three fledglings were visible in various places on the tower and were very vocal. On adult was tucked in on the tower in a shady spot. One of the young ones took flight when the other adult arrived and joined it in several circuits of the tower before landing again. The young ones changed places several times, but spent most of the time resting on the grotesques and water spouts. 
We had a steady stream of visitors over lunchtime, particularly as quite a number of folks had brought their lunch to have a picnic on Cathedral Green. It was good to be able to introduce so many folks - some of whom were visiting Derby for the first time - to 'our' peregrines.
I have put some pictures up on Flickr".
Report on July 4th Watch Point: we enjoyed decent weather after a very thundery and wet night. The three juvs were on the tower in view but generally a rather quiet morning. The highlight was  a mallard with her brood of seven ducklings appearing as if from nowhere and walking them down to the river, watched and abetted by several of us from the Watch Point. 
We're on our Joyce Sawford

Phew, we made it....... Photo Joyce Sawford
Thanks to our volunteers Tony and Joyce, Helen, Sue H (coming up from Buckinghamshire!) and Antony plus Liz who was on the recruitment table.  And welcome to Jane Tagg who has offered to help us with running the Watch Points next year 
A banded demoiselle flew past us, as did a rather faded red admiral and one or two swifts flew high overhead. The wood pigeon squab on the nest just below the new platform is growing fast.....
Pigeon squab - keeping a low profile! Photo Joyce Sawford

Had the walks taken place (there were no takers unfortunately, people would have seen the tiny population of White Letter Hairstreak butterflies which live on a single wych elm tree on King Street near the cathedral. Colin Bowler saw about 20 butterflies mostly at the top of the tree but with a few coming down low enough to be photographed.
Can you see the 'white letter'? These scarce insects
are very small but up close like this, very beautiful.
Photo Colin Bowler