Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Up the tower

Two trainees from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Peter Eley and Steph Woodhead, visited the project and the cathedral today (26th September). I took them up the top of the tower to admire the views and see the set up in general. Fortunately it was a lovely autumn afternoon!
I think they were impressed by what has been achieved.

Steph and Peter pose on the top of the world
(well, nearly.......)

There were no peregrines to be seen but we did find the remains of a common tern, a species we've found before once or twice over the many years the project has been running.
The roof work will be completely finished by Friday with just a few scaffold poles to be taken down and some clearing up to be carried out.
I had a brief chat to Bruce, the project manager and thanked him for his helpful cooperation throughout the whole period. He and his team have had close-up views of the birds through the summer and have been interested to watch and learn about them.
The new roof looks great and should last many years - though the peregrines are already doing their best to cover it in prey remains apparently.....

Nick B
Project Team member

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Getting back to normal

The renewal of the Cathedral nave roof is now complete and the workmen have been busy removing the plastic sheeting and now the scaffolding which supported it.
Wendy Bartter captured this video today (14th) of the men who (speeded up) appear to be scurrying about like ants:

Hopefully next year, everything will be a lot simpler and less fraught.
Occasional sightings of bird at the nest platform are still being made.....but not that often. Perhaps when the workers have gone we'll see a bit more of our adults.....

Old wild peregrine
People at watch points and on the blog often ask "how old do peregrines get in the wild?"
We usually reply that we are not sure but we know many are persecuted (especially on grouse moors) and will be lucky to survive long. Away from game shooting enterprises, wild peregrines should be able to live many years and proof of this has recently come from a tagged bird (though not a Derbyshire one) that was at least 21 years old!

The Project Team

Friday, 21 July 2017

Donations, the last Watch Point and a lovely letter

Update 22nd August:
Thanks to Helen and Kate for reporting seeing two peregrines (probably both adults) on the nest platform and below it recently and an adult and a juvenile on nearby Jurys Inn.
For those new to the project, both adults stay around all through the winter making sure that no intruders try to take over. Juveniles usually leave by or during September though it seems as if one is still remaining.
There's sometimes a short period of courtship behaviour in autumn but normally it doesn't last long. So hearing the birds calling and even seeing them scraping the gravel (as they do before egg laying) is not that unusual.
Kate has recently put photos on the Derby Peregrine Flickr site which is always well worth a look:
https://www.flickr.com/groups/derbyperegrines/ .

The Project Team

A big 'thank you' to everyone who has sent a donation to the Peregrine Project this summer.
As always we are really very grateful. Your contributions allow us to run the web cams, the blog and the Watch Points and without them we would really struggle to keep going.

We've known for years that people who are unable to get out and about, for all sorts of reasons, derive a lot of pleasure from watching the web cams and reading the blog.
So it was really delightful to receive not only a generous donation last week from Meriel Jones who lives in Port Sunlight on the Wirral in Cheshire but also this letter about her mother:

"My mother, Mrs May Jones, is currently 99 years old but unable to get out. She has been keen on nature all her life.
The web cams of the adults and the young peregrines this year have fascinated her - a great window on the world for the housebound."

We have had letters and emails from people in their 80s before but never one from someone so close to becoming a centenarian!
So a big 'hello' to Mrs. Jones from all of us at the Project. We are honoured to have you as one of our many watchers in the UK and indeed around the world and we send our best wishes to you and many thanks to your daughter.

Ps. If you haven't yet sent us a donation, please click on the 'Donations' tab on the blog to find out how easy it is to donate.

Final Watch Point Report   
The final Watch Point (on Saturday 15th July) went well with over 500 visitors logged.
At least two of the young were visible and the female came and sat on the platform too.
A massive thanks to all our brilliant volunteers this year who worked tirelessly throughout.
More on this year's Watch Points will follow later but it has been a very busy and successful season with many more people seeing our falcons due to the poppies nearby.
A 2017 Watch Point

Hits top 300,000
Since January the blog and web cams have received 312,000 hits. While most come from the UK, we've had visitors from over 60 different countries this year. So thank you for watching and either stay with us through the winter (our web cams and blog stay live throughout) or rejoin us next spring.

The Project Team

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Final Watch Point and a youngster turns up in Doncaster

The final Watch Point of 2017 will take place this Saturday 15th July, usual place, usual time.
As you can read by scrolling down to the previous post, two juveniles were visible along with their parents last Saturday....so there's still plenty to see (and the poppy display is still drawing the crowds too). Do come and see these magnificent birds if you possibly can. It is your very last chance this year!

This screengrab (above), taken by Kate from Devon today (11th), shows a fledged peregrine on the platform.

I'm off to Yorkshire!
In April last year (2016) a photographer called Bob Usher took a photo of a male peregrine on Doncaster Minster, which is also known at St George's.

015 on Doncaster Minster. Photo: Bob Usher
On closer examination the bird had an orange ring on its left leg bearing the number 015.

He sent the details to the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) who organise the ringing (banding) of wild birds in the UK. They identified the bird as a male ringed as a chick at Derby Cathedral in June 2011.
We are grateful to Bob for sending the photo to us for use here.
Bob said a female was also present in 2011 but he saw no direct evidence of breeding. He promised to try to visit again this summer and see if 015 is still there.
It seems likely that the birds are nesting on the Minster somewhere but so far there's no direct evidence.
The Project Team