Sunday, 5 April 2015

Fourth and final egg appears on Easter Sunday!

Update: New video added
Exactly on schedule, the female Peregrine Falcon on Derby's Cathedral has laid her fourth egg of the year today, Easter Sunday (5th April), thereby completing her clutch.
Four eggs clearly visible
The egg was laid at about 13.27, almost exactly 57 hours after number three.
Now the long and (especially for her) arduous business of incubation will keep her tied to the nest platform for the next 30+ days.The male will do all the hunting while she takes the lion's share of incubation duties.
Last year, the final egg was also laid on 5th April and the first chick hatched on the 3rd of May.
So if the incubation period is the same this year, we can expect the patter of tiny talons to begin around the same date.
The egg laying period has been watched by people around the globe - see the Clustrmap lower down on this blog which shows where people are watching from (double click and you even get a list of countries and also the number of hits from both within and beyond the UK!).

As many of you know, the project is funded mainly by donations though we have enjoyed a 3-year lottery grant which finishes this summer. Even that grant has to be matched by donations of over £1000 each year - and so far we are hardly off the ground - so any little will help!
Should you feel like making a donation (handled by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust which manages this project), then click on the Donations tab on this blog or visit the Trust's website where you will also find links to our VirginGiving page. Thank you.

The Project Team (Nick Moyes, Ian Layton and Nick Brown)

Ps. Tomorrow (Monday 6th) there is a bell ringing event at the Cathedral - full details are on the previous blog post reached by scrolling down.......

Friday, 3 April 2015

A True 'Easter Egg' and a Bell Ringing Event

Egg number three was laid early on Easter Friday morning. At 04:21 to be precise, exactly 57 hours after the falcon laid her second egg. We were lucky to capture the moment immediately after laying, as well as a video, too.

The moment before the 3rd egg is laid.04:21am
10 seconds later - an egg for Easter.
First view in daylight, on Good Friday morning. The tiercel looks on.

Quite by chance I was stopped by a roving reporter from BBC Radio Derby in town on Thursday morning at the top of Amen Alley. With a microphone thrust towards me, she asked what Easter meant to me. I replied that this might seem unusual to most people, but to me it meant that the peregrine falcons on Derby Cathedral would be laying an 'Easter Egg'. I'm pleased to say my prediction was correct.

Though of course it's no prediction - it's simple biology. It takes approximately 57 hours for the next egg to develop and be laid since the last one. We will now see incubation beginning in earnest, but the question is, will there be a fourth and final egg? Any guesses as to when that might be?

Nick Moyes
Project Team


On Monday (10 am - 4.30 pm) the cathedral bell ringers will be holding their annual open day and everyone is welcome to attend. Tower tours will run every 30 minutes throughout - though you won't see the nest from the top of course. Notices are already
in place to prevent anyone leaning over the East side of the tower (even then the nest cannot be seen being recessed) and someone will be on top to ensure that people keep their voices down.
As you all know, the bells don't bother the birds at all - even when being rung at full volume!
The bell ringers are a friendly group and have been very accommodating in letting us house our equipment in their bell ringing chamber. We hope they have a good day.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

And then there were two!

We've just seen signs of a second egg, which was laid at 19:30 local time. Once again our wide-angle nest camera captured the moment in sound as it fell to the gravel floor of the nest scrape. So the gap between eggs one and two was about 53 hours, ie just over two days!

Egg no. 2 - laid around 19:30pm on 31st Match 2015

Seen at night-time under infra-red illumination, a peregrine egg looks white

Sunday, 29 March 2015

First egg of 2015

Falcon with egg, two hours after it was laid, on 29th March.
(Post Update: New video added)

At last we have an egg!

It was laid at 14:12 local time, today  - just twelve hours later than  last year. The screenshot below was captured by Phoebe, one of our regular webcam-watchers, and posted to Flickr. It was the first image captured by any of our viewers (including the Project Team!)

Screen shot immediately after egg-laying. Captured by Phoebe.

With this cool, windy weather, we may expect our female peregrine (known as the 'falcon') to remain with her egg to keep it warm. However, it is quite normal behaviour for the birds to leave the eggs for some considerable time until all but the last egg is laid. This has caused some viewers in the past to wonder whether the nest has been abandoned, but this is not the case. It results in all the eggs remaining cool and not developing much until the final egg is produced, so causing all the eggs and subsequent chicks to develop at the same speed and be at exactly the same stage at the same time.

We'll post more pictures later on if we have them.

Definitely no egg at 14:07 today, but then . . . 

. . .with her back firmly set to our new nest camera for over half an hour after laying the first egg of 2015, this was the first glimpse the Project Team managed to capture. 

The movement detector inside our Axis P3364-VE IP camera caught the actual moment of egg-laying this afternoon. Right at the start of the clip, look for the shadow of the egg dropping, and see if you can hear the dull thud it makes as it hits the gravel.