Monday, 26 August 2013

Still around ...and a juvenile is shot in Bath

Thanks to recent observations by several people (especially Lorraine, Phoebe and Helen) our birds, or at least some of them, are still appearing on the web cams from time to time though being sure whether they are adults or juvs can be difficult - especially at night.
Lorraine's self-devised technique of using a screen grab as her blog profile photo (as an alternative to posting on the Flickr group) seems to work though there is some lose of quality when you enlarge the grab. This is the screen grab she described in her last few comments to the previous post:

If anyone wants to send any particularly interesting screen grabs to us, please use the email address and we'll pick them up from there and use the best on the blog, ditto with any 'real' photos taken outside the cathedral.

Bath juvenile peregrine shot: thanks to anonymous who posted this link to an item which appeared on 22nd August:

Nick B (DWT)

Thursday, 15 August 2013

What next?

Great as it is that some of our peregrine family continue to appear on the web cams from time to time (and thanks to everyone who has been posting comments to let us all know what they have been seeing) for many of us it is time to turn our bird watching attentions elsewhere.
If you have discovered 'bird watching' via this site, then now is a good time to go and 'buy some bins' and get out and about to see birds 'for real'. It is a great hobby and will give you hours of pleasure. In addition you can also make a contribution to conservation by taking part in local and national surveys once your identification skills increase.
And there's much more to this nature business than just birds. If you are lucky enough to have a garden and to have planted some nectar-rich plants like buddleia, sedums and michaelmas daisies, then you will have noted a huge number of peacock butterflies in the last few weeks
Peacock by Shirley Freeman
along with many other species, all benefiting from the prolonged hot weather in July.
Even if you live deep in a city there's still much wildlife to be seen. Waste patches, allotments and even some parks these days may well hold interesting plants and insects.
If for any reason you really can't get outside, then you can watch birds migrate south as summer turns to autumn. Our peregrines don't migrate but other raptors do. Among them are the ospreys, a species which is now beginning to set off for West Africa. With the advent of satellite tags, it is possible to follow every flap the tagged birds make from your computer. Many start in Scotland, fly south (sometimes right over Derbyshire) and then down across France, Spain and Morocco before crossing the Sahara Desert. Roy Dennis has pioneered this work and his tagged birds can be followed via his website.
Ospreys at Rutland Water by John Wright

Osprey with fish copyright of  Pauline M Greenhalgh
Google 'Highland Foundation for Wildlife' to see what he's been up to and to follow the remarkable flights that some of these ospreys make. One bird flew non-stop from Scotland to Spain a couple of years ago, flying through the star-lit night and landing exhausted on the Spanish coast some two days after setting off.
Update 17th August: I see that Beatrice, one of Roy's female ospreys is already down in SW France, leaving her nest and single youngster on 9th August. She tends to winter in SW Spain so hasn't as far to go as most other birds that go to Gambia/Senegal:

Another falcon, closely related to the peregrine, is the hobby. This small raptor arrives back in the UK from Africa in late April and early May and its breeding season is much later than the peregrine's. So late in fact that the chicks are just fledging about now. By the end of September, most will have set off for southern Africa where they spend the winter catching termites! A few hobbies have been tagged but none that I'm aware of this year.
Other birds about to depart soon include swallows and martins, with our swifts and cuckoos already gone. The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has been tracking cuckoos and you can see the journeys their tagged birds have been making by going to

Then as winter approaches there are other interesting web cams to  watch - with one focussing on eagles in Estonia already mentioned in a recent comment from sue peregrine to the last post. More on these web cams in a future post.
For now though - do get out and see what wildlife you can find for yourself!

Nick B (DWT)
Ps. And if you simply can't bare to be parted from peregrines, remember that this species also nests 'down under' and a few nests there also have web cameras - this one is in Brisbane and eggs should be laid quite soon: