Friday, 23 January 2015

Drifting into February

Anyone new to this blog and our Derby Cathedral peregrines may be surprised that, even as early as February, the pair begin to court and scrap a depression in the gravel.
This pair have been with us since 2004/5 when they first began to be noticed. So they are an old couple, well used to each other by now.
Not surprisingly, there isn't the same level of noisy display flights as there was in the early years though courtship behaviour on the platform or 'scrape' seems undiminished.
If you are lucky enough to see and hear the pair together on the gravel (as Lorraine in Devon did recently), you will be able to hear the 'e-chupp' calls, especially from the female as the pair bow to each other and go through their 'ritualised' courtship 'facing each other and bowing' displays.
It is clear how dominant the larger female is (the male is about a third smaller - hence the falconer's name for him - the 'tiercel'  - from an old French word meaning a third).
If you have never seen courtship or heard the 'e-chupp' calls we have over 50 You Tube videos available for you to watch.
To find them, once on You Tube do a search for VC57UK (Nick M's code) which will then bring them all up together for you to scroll down to the ones you want to see. Here are a few suggestions of some that show courtship and/or nest scraping (using the feet):

2008 Derby Peregrine Falcons (8) Courtship and E-chupping

2008 Derby Peregrine falcons (5) Courtship and Nest Scraping

Derby peregrines 2013 (6) Nest scraping and a good peer at you all (this is excellent, taken using the newest, wide angled lens!)

Our female takes a look at the new lens soon after
it was put up ( early in 2013)
And a mating sequence (best watched after 9 pm!):

2012 Derby Peregrines (8) Good mating Sequence.

All these clips were extracted by Nick Moyes, our technical wizard. For each one he had to climb the tower to the ringing room, find the clip on the video server (no easy matter!), save it to a CD and take it home and put it on You Tube. Where would we be without him?

Nick B (DWT)

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year (and a talk)

Best wishes and a Happy New Year to all followers of the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project which is now managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust on behalf of a partnership consisting of the Trust, The Cathedral, the City Council (especially its IT team) and Cathedral Quarter.
Overnight and during the day, the snow on the platform, as elsewhere, has vanished as the temperature shot up by 10 degrees. Clearly there has been some feeding on the platform today (or last night?) since there are now lots of feathers and a length of some prey's alimentary canal!
Since this blog began, early in 2007, we have put up 570 posts, that's roughly 70 posts per year. In response we've received over 15,000 comments which is very encouraging - we really do have a virtual support community don't we?

So a big thank you to everyone who has posted a comment, sent in a donation, attended a Watch Point or just watched our birds on the wen cams.
2015 will be our tenth season and, naturally, the tenth breeding year for our resilient pair of falcons.
There's much to look forward to!

Best wishes,

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

Ps. Nick B will be giving an illustrated talk about the project to Staffs Wildlife Trust Local Group at All Saints Church, Branston Road, Burton on Trent on Tuesday 6th January at 7.30pm. should anyone live in that parking is over the road in Hurst Setters Assocs. CP.