Saturday, 31 March 2018

A wet egg - in time for Easter and a second on Monday!

Update 8pm Monday 2nd April:
Egg number two arrived at 6.20pm this evening, about two and a half days after the first.
So the next one should appear during Wednesday evening or more likely on Thursday to follow tomorrow hopefully......

The first egg of 2018 was laid at some time during the night and now, in the daylight, it looks very wet - the weather has been throwing rain at the nest platform for many hours now. It is normal for the first three eggs not to be incubated until the clutch is being wet, and cooling down, isn't a problem. The egg will still be viable.
This is the female's 48th egg, laying her first clutch in 2006 (three eggs) and clutches of four in every year since making this the start of her 13th clutch.

We can expect subsequent eggs at about two day intervals.....

This screen capture was made by Kate at 7 am this morning:
Egg Number One....looking wet!

A nice little piece about the egg was on East Midlands Today BBC1 news this evening:

And here's a Wendy Barter video showing the male bringing food to the incubating female mid-morning on a very wet and cold Bank Holiday Monday:

Friday, 30 March 2018

Egg time - and a new problem

Last year, with a new male to contend with, our aging female laid her first egg on 5th April.
With the new pair going on to work successfully together last summer to raise their chicks, we might expect an egg a day or two earlier this year perhaps.....even just possibly on Easter Sunday (1st)?

If you check out the table of dates on our FAQ page, you'll see that since 2006, the earliest date for the first egg was 23rd March - way back in 2009.

In the five years prior to 2017 (ie with her old mate) our female first laid one on either 28th or 29th March - apart from that very cold and snowy spring of 2013 when she wisely delayed matters until 4th April.

So, it's really anyone's guess as to which day she'll start her clutch this time around. Do use the comments facility to guess - but there's no prize for the nearest! My personal hunch is that, given the several periods of cold weather we've had recently, she'll lay only a day or so earlier than last year but, as usual, we'll just have to wait in anticipation!

The first egg is usually laid at will any insomniac be watching when it happens? Time will tell....

A new problem
Last year both we and the birds had to contend with major work on the Cathedral roof. We were surprised how little it affected the birds, although we did have to reposition our aerial in order to get our webcam signals through all that scaffolding - but we sorted it.

This year we have a new, bigger problem.

As some of you will know, getting internet connectivity from the Cathedral tower to the world beyond so you can see the web cams is a complex business, carried out for us by Connect Derby and Derby City Council on whose systems and helpful IT staff we rely. We also rely on gear placed inside the historic Silk Mill Museum which beams the radio signal it receives from the tower over to the council house, and thence to the wider world.
The Silk Mill with the 2017 Weeping Poppies
Installation commemorating those who died in WW1

We learned only this week that the Silk Mill Museum is imminently about to undergo major refurbishment as part of a redevelopment scheme. This requires the removal of all electrical and internet equipment from the building, including the gear on which we rely, meaning we could lose webcam connectivity completely.

Finding a solution isn't easy or quick so we are hoping for a stay of execution which would allow us to keep the equipment running, ideally until any chicks fledge in late June, or until we can sort out a new location for our wireless connections.

We are doing everything possible to find solutions, with great help and support from everyone involved, including Alex Rock at the watch this space  and keep your fingers firmly crossed!

The Project Team

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Snow eggs yet.....

With snow covering the platform today (18th) it's just as well our pair lay somewhat later than some others elsewhere.

Easterly winds blow snow onto the platform again
screenshot by Kate

It seems the pair in Bath now have their first egg (as do pairs in Woking (laid yesterday 17th) and Nottingham) and no doubt the females are struggling to keep their eggs snow and frost free!
The very earliest egg ever at Derby was laid on 23rd March some years ago and of course, last year, with a new male to contend with, our female didn't lay until 5th April.
This year we would expect a slightly earlier date despite this inclement weather.....we'll have to wait and see of course if we get one for Easter or not.
Here's a new video clip from Wendy taken on 18th in the snow:

The Project Team


Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Mike Dilger visits our Project

This morning (6th March) Nick Moyes and I were joined at the top of the tower by Mike Dilger of The One Show fame, Simon Hare, from the BBC's East Midlands Inside Out programme, a cameraman and Alex Rock from Derby Cathedral.
Mike and Simon were there to film an interview with Nick Moyes about our project and how relatively safe urban peregrines are compared to their country cousins who suffer both from persecution and from the theft of chicks for the illegal but very lucrative trade selling them for falcon racing in Arabia.
The nine minute long piece is essentially about how peregrines nesting in rural quarries and on cliffs in the White Peak area of Derbyshire are being targeted by chick thieves and how steps need to be taken to catch them.
The Inside Out programme went out on Monday (12th) at 7.30pm on BBC 1. Now it is available to watch from anywhere in the UK on iplayer. HERE'S THE LINK: . The peregrine piece starts 20 minutes in.
Nick and I were there to do the annual nest clean up and camera maintenance tasks that we do every year. I say 'we' but of course it is Nick M, both a mountaineer and an all round technically highly capable fellow, who abseils down to the platform while I act as his unskilled assistant/gopher!
Nick was interviewed by Mike on the top of the tower and then filmed abseiling down to the platform.

Nick Moyes and Mike Dilger discuss our peregrines on top of the tower 
Nick prepares to abseil down to the nest platform to
clean it up and maintain the cameras

Mike was already very well informed about our project, for example, knowing all about our world first video clip which proved that peregrines hunt by night - in our case using the floodlighting to see their prey flying over the Cathedral.

Very sodden prey remains found up there today included two woodcock, two fieldfares, a blackbird and a teal.

Update on 7th: good to hear from regular web cam watcher Kate in Devon that both adults have been back to the platform this morning in the sunlight!

Male brings an offering to his mate the day after the nest cleanup. Screengrab by Kate in Devon
And a view looking south....
Now, where can I hide this........ Screengrab by Kate
And another screengrab from Kate showing the male (and his ring) with the back of the female in the foreground.
Dare I approach her? Screengrab by Kate

Nick Brown
Peregrine Project DWT team member

Ps. If you want to see a white tailed eagle web cam there's one in Latvia here: . What massive birds and beaks!
Crossbills and black woodpeckers (making their 'telephone calls') can sometimes be heard on the audio feed and I gather a party of waxwings came to look at the nest the other day (while the eagles were away that is!). No eggs yet......but this Hungarian web cam shows a tiny chick (being fed a fish at the moment I watched it!): . Birds further south breed earlier.....and here's a Dutch goshawk nest web cam: .