Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Watch Point events on Cathedral Green and two reports

Please Note: we are aware of connection issues which are affecting our live cameras. These are beyond our control, but rest assured they are being investigated by Derby City Council's network engineers as a matter of priority since other services are also being affected.

Upcoming Watch Points:
The next Watch Popint will be on Wednesday 8th June and will start at 10 am and run straight through until just before David Lindo's talk at 6.30pm (have you booked your ticket yet?).
Before and after the talk we will have a display and videos of some highlight moments showing in the cathedral . Do come and say hello before or after David's talk entitled 'Tale from Urban Jungles'!

For details of the talk (which will include slides about our Derby peregrines) and to book tickets, see here.

Report on Watch Point 4th June
A near perfect day for a first watch point of the season (fairly calm with bright but not too sunny skies) resulted in steady views of the adult birds.
Nice to meet up again with some old friends and greet some new people. If you are new to our website and visited us today (along with approx. 130 other people) we offer you a warm welcome and hope you enjoyed seeing these magnificent birds.
We had a steady stream of visitors from as far afield as Eritrea and Austria along with many local people.
The chicks are still rather small to get really good views of but we did get some tempting glimpses of them moving around. They are now losing their fluffy white down and the feathers are showing below. This gives them a very scruffy appearance at the moment.
The adults performed a food pass at about 12.45 right above our heads. It’s a good job they are very skilled at this! We held our breath in case the prey landed on or near us but of course we should not have worried  - the parents have impressive skills.
The falcon was present for most of the time, either sitting on the platform or on the nearby Jury’s Inn. The male brought in the large prey item and was met and relieved of it by mum.
We were all surprised a short time later to see the male seeing a buzzard off the territory which had obviously strayed a little too close for his liking. The buzzard put up no resistance and left, an argument he had no wish to pursue.
We closed the watch point at approx. 1.45
(We were pleased that people could see us via the web cams Karen - we did wave a few times.....).
Volunteers Chris and Andy M on behalf of the Watchpoint team.

Every summer, once the chicks are big enough to become visible from the ground, the Wildlife Trust organises a series of Watch Points on Cathedral Green - the grassy area immediately at the back of the cathedral on Full Street.
This year Emma Wood from DWT is the organiser, ably assisted by Marc Whitlock.
The first Watch Point will take place on Saturday 28th May between 10 am and (roughly) 1.30 pm depending on the weather and how many people are still around by that time.
Report on Watch Point 4th June
Another very busy and successful watch point today. There was a constant stream of visitors throughout the morning, including many families. It was good to welcome back some familiar faces from previous watch points, as well as lots of newcomers. A special hello to the home education group who attended today. They were clearly very knowledgeable about the falcons and it was great to know that they had made such fantastic use of our online resources. We would love to see their finished drawings and work!
Although the chicks spent quite a lot of time at the back of the nest platform, there were some good views of them wing flapping and stretching. They seem to have grown a lot since last week's watch point and have lost much of their white downy feathers. Both adult birds were around, and at one point they could be seen on the nearby hotel sitting next to each other on the lettering, which made for some interesting photo opportunities. Even at that distance it was easy to see the difference in size between them. The birds were also seen in flight on several occasions and the female's loud calls attracted lots of attention from passers by and our watch point visitors.

The volunteer team

There will then be Watch Points every Wednesday and Saturday up to and including 9th July.

For more details please click on the Watch Point tab above.
Please note that these events have no protection from the elements so if it is raining hard with no sign of stopping, the Watch Point that day won't happen.

If you live near Derby please do come along and introduce yourselves to Emma or Marc and to our wonderful team of volunteer helpers....and see our birds 'for real', flying about and perching on parts of the cathedral you can't see online.
The team will have telescopes at the ready giving you close up views. It is a quite different experience from watching online and well-worth making the trip to Derby for.
Watch Points are free and open-ended - so just turn up when you want.

The cathedral cafe is open opposite the front (West) end of the cathedral (on Irongate) and they do excellent lunches and brilliant Bakewell tarts...so why not drop in after you've seen the peregrines? The Silk Mill pub (also close by and a good friend of the Peregrine Project) also does light lunches and has an exciting range of beers!

David Lindo's talk on Wednesday 8th June
On Wednesday 8th, in the early evening (6.30 start) the self-styled 'Urban Birder' David Lindo, will be giving a talk in Derby Cathedral as part of Derby Book Festival. 
He calls it 'Tales from Urban Jungles' and it will include a section on Derby and our peregrines which David visited a few years ago.
Beforehand, our team will run a special Watch Point for anyone to visit before the talk begins.
To buy tickets for the talk (the Watch Point is free to ticket holders) visit the Festival website here .
Nick B and the Project Team

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Full brood at last and an Update

Update 12th May: after days of rain and an east wind blowing that rain directly into the nest, it's good to see how well the parent birds keep the chicks dry. Peregrines have been nesting on exposed, wild cliff ledges for millions of years and have evolved to protect their chicks and keep the rain off them so we shouldn't worry about the chicks survivability. As many commentators have said, peregrines make excellent parents and unless there is something genetically wrong with one of the chicks, or it gets some infection or disease, they normally will raise all four chicks to fledging.
The main mortality for these young birds comes after they leave the nest. At this stage there are many risks the novice juveniles have to face and it is not surprising that some don't make it to adulthood.
When you think about it, our adult pair only has to produce two offspring which go on to breed themselves to keep the population stable. Currently, urban peregrines are increasing across the UK so clearly pairs are producing more than two successful offspring during their lifetimes. The situation is quite different in some parts of the uplands of the UK such as the Peak District where persecution of many species of raptor, illegal as it is, continues unabated.
The project team

After a short delay, the last egg hatched last night (May 6th) about 8 pm.
Many thanks to all our dedicated commentators who kept vigil and reported what they saw.

Wendy Bartter captured this video clip, see here .

And Kate in Devon took this screenshot showing the egg shell:

Screenshot by Kate at 8.14pm last night
shows the eggshell just after the last chick emerged
A screenshot by Ann Foster showing all four chicks (that's food under those yellow feet!):

Nick B (DWT)

Thursday, 5 May 2016

And then there were three and an Update

Update Friday pm: still no fourth chick but there's time yet for the last egg to hatch so let's not give up hope just yet!
Thanks to everyone who has commented and sent screen prints or put them on the flickr site. We can't put them all on the blog but they are great to see - so many thanks!

Our Watch Point season approaches so Emma Wood, who's organising them this summer, will be putting the details on this blog in a week or so's time. The first Watch Point is on Saturday 28th May with more on the following Wednesdays and Saturdays into early July. Hope some of you can get along to one or more.
Nick B 

On a bright sunny morning in Derby, a female peregrine falcon tends her new charges, sheltering them from the heat of the sun shining down on them. Her partner comes in, and for a brief moment three white balls of fluff are exposed for us to see, then just as quickly hidden away from view as he takes over their care..

It seems that our third chick may have hatched at first light this morning, around 6am.

Screen capture s- 09:22am 5th May

Here are some lovely videos which Wendy Bartter captured at home earlier this week, including a changeover and first feed of the newly-hatched eggs:

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

First chick of 2016 (and now two)

Update Wed 4th May 2016: We now have two chicks (see bottom picture)

Finally! After keep us all waiting, our first peregrine chick of the 2016 hatched out around 5pm this evening.
The video below was captured by one of our regular webcam-watchers, Wendy Bartter, to whom many thanks for uploading.

We had been hearing the faint cheeping of the unhatched chick on and off throughout the day. And, as so often happens, many of you were watching and caught the moment, whilst others (like us here at peregrine towers) missed it!

The screenshots below were also captured by our webcam watchers, and posted to our Flickr goup.
(Note: All our webcam images are freely provided under a Creative Commons CC by 3.0 licence, and this includes images subsequently posted to Flickr)

May 3rd 16.19 Chick hatching

May 3rd 17.41 Chick 1

May. 03 16.59 First chick hatches

Two chicks, captured on the webcams at 08:45, Wed 4th May.
Note the broken eggshell fragment in the right-hand corner

May 4th 08.43 Two chicks