Friday, 14 April 2017

Wendy's videos keep coming!

Update 30 April: 
Kate in Devon has captured this nice screenshot of the pair with their eggs at changeover:
Screenshot by Kate
Wendy also captured this video showing a recent changeover:

Now that incubation is underway, things will quieten down on the nest platform for the next few weeks with any hatching not due until roughly a month's time.
So perhaps it is a good chance for us to catch up on some of the excellent videos that Wendy Bartter has been making for us from her home in Kent.
So here are a few you may have missed and a new one from Sunday (16th):

This one shows two changeovers. First the male taking over from his mate and then the female doing likewise. He seems quite reluctant to give way doesn't he?

And here's an evening changeover where the male is again very reluctant to get off the eggs:

And some highlights from the day the last egg was laid:

And here's an additional video from (Easter) Sunday showing the male bringing prey in the early morning and then taking over incubation:

The Project Team

Monday, 10 April 2017

Egg Number Three....and now a fourth!

This morning around 08.20 or earlier, the fourth egg was laid so full incubation will now be underway. Wendy Bartter's video is below:

And here's a screen grab:
And then there were four!

Third egg story:
At 22.35 pm last night (Sunday 9th) egg number three appeared, duly watched by several people on the web cams.
Wendy Bartter has come up trumps again with a video:in which you first see that there are indeed three eggs at 22.42 pm:

So the final egg (assuming she lays her normal clutch of four) will appear sometime on Wednesday if the usual interval applies.
And here's a screen grab taken by Ann Foster showing all three:
Infra red photo showing three eggs
taken by Ann Foster
And here's a daytime shot captured by Kate in devon:
The three eggs show up well in this sunny screenshot by Kate

Thanks to everyone who was watching and alerting us to what was happening...and a special thanks also to Lynda O who has just sent us a generous donation, the latest in a sequence of donations over the years! If you wanted to follow Lynda's example, please click on the donations tab above.

The Project Team

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

An egg at last! (and a Friday Update...)

Screen grab by Kate from Devon - taken this afternoon
Update Friday 7th April: a second egg was laid sometime before 13.18 pm when the first person to spot it was Antony P. A third should appear about Sunday evening or Monday morning.
(To read more about what people are seeing and saying be sure to click on 'comments' at the bottom of each post.)

Here's Wendy's video taken this afternoon:

This is the beginning of the original post - so 'last night' refers to the night before the first egg was laid (how confusing is that!):

My colleague on this project, Nick Moyes, was writing his post last night just after midnight with no egg in sight (do be sure to scroll down and read his excellent and interesting post!).
However, at about 6.35 am this morning, an egg had appeared in the shallow scrape in the gravel where she has laid her eggs every year since 2006.
Here's a screen grab captured earlier this morning, The first sight of the egg was made at 06.35 this morning by 'early bird' Kate from Devon, a regular web cam watcher over many years.

An egg as captured on the Flickr site early morning on 5th April
by HelenSara
Wendy Bartter's videos below shows the build up to egg laying (with the female turning round several times over the hollow in the scrape. The second one she kindly created shows activity after egg-laying.

As Nick M said in his post last night, this year the first egg would be later than in any other year since 2007 by a couple of days. To see the full chart showing dates over the years do go back and read Nick's post where there's a link or visit the FAQ Tab above.

This late egg-laying date is undoubtedly due to the arrival of the new (ringed) male and perhaps also to the nave roof works below the nest as well.
Concerns that the new male might be immature or somehow not up to the job have proved wrong. His plumage (very yellow cere at the base of his beak and dark hood on his head) suggests he is fully adult. Clearly, with his frequent offerings of food to his new partner, he's entirely capable of successfully replacing the old male.

Now we can expect more eggs at roughly two day intervals. Will we get a full clutch of four - or even more as has happened at urban sites elsewhere in the UK - one nest having a remarkable six eggs!

Watching the web cams over the next week will be the only way to find out!
Thanks to all our web cam watchers for alerting us to the birds' movements.......

Nick B
Project Team

Caring and Sharing

Screenshot of the my PC as I draft this blog post
As I start to write this new post, it's late at night and I'm sitting with  Page 4 of our webcams minimised in the corner of my PC screen.
Unlike our other three webcam pages, this one never times out. These static images change every six seconds or so, and it's a great way to keep permanent watch on our birds whilst doing other important stuff.

Tonight is about sharing.

Over the last ten years of our peregrine project, Nick Brown and I have been very fortunate in being able to be able to share our enthusiasm for Derby's falcons with everyone. And you've cared and you've shared your thoughts and your observations here, too, and we've all learned so much from one another. We've all been fortunate to be able to share previously unseen moments in the lives of these birds with our visitors. Every year they keep surprising us with one thing or another - be it a rat brought back to feed the chicks, an arctic tern that had been around the world half a dozen times before becoming  meal, or the world's first published video of peregrine falcon bringing back live prey in the dead of night.

One moment we think we know precisely what's about to happen, and the next we're confounded. Over the years we've kept records of the key events in their life cycle, and this helps us work out what should happen when. For example, just look at the table of data on our FAQ page and you'll see these records tell us the earliest and latest dates our peregrines have ever laid their first egg.

The latest so far (notwithstanding the year we erected the first platform) was around 5am on 4th April 2013. As I type this, we're quite some hours past that point, but this year is very different.

We now have a new tiercel - a male peregrine with a ring on his leg that shows he's not from around here, and he has replaced our male of the last ten years who had no such ring. We know many of our new and our long-standing webcam watchers are saddened by this, and we have no idea if he was simply ousted at the nest, killed in a fight, or even illegally killed by a human  (which still sadly happens far too often these days). We care too, of course. But we did expect something like this to happen one day. As our last post explained, he had been around in Derby since the start of the project in 2004, and we'd been saying at  meetings for some time that eventually we might soon see one of our adults reaching the end of their life. In a way, it's more of an exciting time than a sad time. The cycle of life rolls on, and a new male means our Project will continue. But is he up to the job?

We have been indebted to Wendy Bartter who has been feverishly capturing our video streams and sharing some lovely videos on YouTube, and is also helping us out on Twitter by posting these clips and her observations on our behalf. Like this video clip from yesterday, 3rd April:

It's clear they're bonding well and (at 7 minutes in) this video shows the classic head-bowing 'eee-chupping' display we've come to expect at the start of each breeding season. But, with a new male, we have no idea how things are going.

We don't know precisely when he replaced our original tiercel, or what the impacts might be on potential egg-laying. If she was fertilised by the original tiercel and then a new male arrives on the scene, might her eggs be reabsorbed, or would it be too late for that? To be frank, we honestly don't know. If egg re-absorption were to happen, how long a delay would there before fertilisation and then renewed egg-laying takes place?  Our bible on all things peregrine-related is Derek Ratcliffe's monograph. But we can find nothing there to inform us. Perhaps others may know?

One thing's for certain: a lot of people care about Derby's peregrine falcons. By sharing what we know, and what we see, we can all learn so much more about them.

And as I finish this post at around half past midnight on 5th April, my little view of the webcams in the corner of my monitor tells me she's back on the lip of the nest platform, just perched there quietly - just like she has been for many a year before this, prior to egg-laying . Maybe it's the uncertainty of these real-life moments in a wild bird's life that we're now able to share so readily that makes webcam-watching so fascinating.

Nick M
Project Team