Sunday, 24 October 2010

Autumn in Derby

I took this photo of the cathedral, seen from Cathedral Green, early today (Sunday). It was a glorious if cold morning (I had to remove the ice from my car windows before I could set off).

The falcon (female) was sitting on a stone ledge just below the nesting platform preening herself in the sunshine.
Later I found a fresh pair of teal wings on the pavement below the tower. The teal is a small duck often taken by the peregrines. It moves into the Derby area in autumn and can be found on local gravel pits, lakes and reservoirs. The irridescent green speculum feathers on the wings are a giveaway......
When I got home and had eaten my breakfast, I went into the garden to take some recycling out. Suddenly I heard the sound of geese so I looked up and there in the bright blue sky above the house was a skein of over 200 pink footed geese flying East. A magic sight! These Icelandic birds had been seen an hour earlier flying over Stoke on Trent and were later seen over Nottinghamshire. They would be heading for the Norfolk coast which they would have reached perhaps by lunchtime. I bet the falcon looked up as they flew over her head!
Winter is certainly approaching......

Nick B (DWT)

Ps. Do look at the Clustrmap well down on the left hand side of the blog page. Double click on the map and it enlarges. Click again on separate parts of the map and, if you are following the blog from overseas especially, you may be able to see the red dot which represents you!
If you can do, please email us and let us know exactly where you are.
For example, I see there is a red dot in NW Spain near the Pyrenees. I was there in September and met a ranger at a wonderful wetland reserve called Laguna de Pitillas. If that red dot is you then do please get in touch - it would be great to hear from you....what have you been seeing at your reserve as the winter begins to bite? Have the cranes arrived yet?

Pps. Lovely email received from a keen web cam watcher in California this morning (Tuesday) - more on this later but meanwhile do please email us and let us know where you assured that we will treat your email with the utmost care and security.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Scottish peregrines satellite tagged

Many of you will know about Roy Dennis' Highland Foundation for Wildlife and the ospreys and other species that he has satellite tagged for a number of years.

Roy recently emailed me with details of another website he has started on which he gives details of the new species he has tagged this summer in The Cairngorms National Park.

They include two juvenile peregrines, a merlin and a hobby and the movements of these birds and other raptors can be followed on his new website which is :

The young peregrines are venturing further from their nest, though within the Highlands area.

The hobby, a true migrant, is now in Senegal though poor signals (due to lack of sunshine) failed to give Roy any track down through the UK or France until the bird reached southern Spain.
It will be fascinating to see where the young peregrines go during the winter. Will they go to the coast? Will they move south and if so how far? Might they come down to the Peak District, even visit Derby?
These are the first peregrines to be sat-tagged in the UK so the information they provide is ground-breaking.
The same is true for the hobby and merlin though hobbies have been tagged in Germany and followed through a whole winter in Africa. Amazing what can be achieved as the size of transmittors is reduced, allowing their use on smaller species such as the hobby and merlin.

Nick B (DWT)

Could Roy's birds come down to Derby? Time will tell......

Reminder: The urls of our two webcam pages have permanently changed. Follow the links on the top left of this page and remember to modify any bookmarks.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

BBC AutumnWatch (and Webcam Link Change)

BBC TV's Autumnwatch gave our peregrine project an honourable mention this evening..
Shown below is our world-first video of a live woodcock being brought back late at night last December to which presenter Chris Packham referred. (Link to BBC iPlayer - for UK viewers only

It's a fascinating story, which also involved a snipe being accidentally dropped alive some hours beforehand, and the woodcock itself remaining uneaten and frozen for 18 day on top of Derby cathedral before finally being consumed. 

For new visitors who might like to read about the whole story, it's a tale told in two halves.
Part One explains the woodcock sequence and also shows it finally being eaten two weeks later

Part Two tells the story of how an incredibly unfortunate snipe was captured on the same evening.

Webcam changes
Please note that our two peregrine falcon webcam addresses have permanently altered this week, so you may need to alter your Bookmarks. The following two links will now get you there:


Single view:

Meanwhile the easy-to-remember link to our project homepage still functions at

Our three webcams run 24 hrs a day, throughout the year. There's lots of action to be seen even at this time of year. Leave a comment on this blog to share what you've noticed. (All comments are subject to moderation, so  won't appear immediately)