Thursday, 28 April 2016

Hatching time approaches... novel behaviour from Sheffield and Updates

Update early May 2nd: no hatching yet but at least the weather is warmer now here in Derby and due to get warmer as the week proceeds. If you are watching the webcams from say California or Brazil do let us know what your weather is like by sending a comment to this blog.
You can see where folk are watching from by scrolling down the blog until you see a world map on the right hand side. Double click on the map and each red dot shows where people are watching. there's also a list of the most recent hit locations and another of all the countries we've been 'hit' by. A good way to spend a few moments as we wait for the first signs of hatching...and a lesson in geography for any youngsters too.

Update 1st May: Wendy Bartter captured this screenshot of the male with the four eggs last night about 8pm:

Male with the eggs captured last night by Wendy Bartter
to whom many thanks.

As we approach the time when we hope the eggs will hatch, we'll probably see our female get more and more fidgety as she begins to hear the chicks calling inside their egg shells. Perhaps she knows that hatching is getting close anyway....
We would expect the first egg to hatch early next week...but exactly when remains to be seen of course.
The egg shells either get partly eaten or eventually just crushed by parental feet. They disappear quite quickly.
Meanwhile chicks at other urban nests have hatched already and are growing day by day.
Wendy Bartter captured some remarkable behaviour in the urban nest at Sheffield which is well worth watching. See here. Thanks Wendy for sharing.
My hunch is that this could be the first time this behaviour has been captured on film anywhere in the world - but time will tell. I'm awaiting to hear from some peregrine experts to whom I've sent the link so let's see what they say.
Meanwhile Kate in Devon sent this link to an incident in Devon some years ago - see here.
Sadly the chick in this case didn't survive but the parent made a valiant attempt to rescue it for sure.
Hopefully this very unpleasant cold weather will have passed before our chicks hatch though our birds are such good parents they won't allow any chicks to get cold. The forecast suggests it will be warmer in Derby by Monday. It needs to be, especially for smaller birds which must be struggling to keep their eggs or nestlings warm and fed or to look after already fledged young.
And what about the recently arrived migrant birds like swallows and warblers which depend on a supply of insects? They can stand short spells of cold weather but this one has gone on too long already!
Nick B (DWT)

Ps. If you live near Derby, don't forget to buy your tickets for David Lindo's talk on Urban Wildlife in the Cathedral on June 8th as part of Derby Book Festival. Details are here
David will include a section on our Derby falcons who he came to see a few years ago. He dedicates a few pages in his book to his visit to Derby on which he was accompanied by Nick Moyes and me. For more on his book, Tales from Urban Jungles, see here.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Clutch completed...and news of the David Lindo Talk

Update at 26th April: we've had some very unpleasant cold winds these last few days with fierce hail showers added in. Fortunately the wind direction has been North West so the nest has not been in the direct line of fire (or ice!) and everything seems to be running smoothly with the incubation. Wendy Bartter has captured video coverage showing the changeovers between the male and female over time. See here .

Update at 12th April:
judging by lots of helpful comments to this blog, the incubation period seems to be going smoothly despite some unpleasant easterly winds which have blown directly into the nest platform. 
At least it hasn't poured onto the incubating bird as it did in a previous year when she was totally soaked and the gravel was very slow to drain the water away. Let's hope the weather improves as we head towards hatching in early May.

Tickets for David Lindo's talk are now on sale
Please see our blog entry (scroll down to find it) about David's talk called 'Tales from Concrete Jungles' at the cathedral on Wednesday 8th June at 6.30 pm.
Full details of the talk and the special Watch Point that DWT will run beforehand are now available on the Derby Book Festival's website here from which tickets (£8 /£10 each) can now be bought. Project volunteers and staff will be on hand with a display and a monitor showing the live web cams to the audience as they do come and meet us if you can!

David's Book
If you don't live within reach of derby, or even if you do, David's book, Tales from Concrete Jungles (see here) is available in kindle and hardback versions. It includes a few pages about David's 2010 visit to Derby and his encounter with us and with our project.

Our female laid her fourth egg this afternoon (Monday 4th) so now her clutch is complete.
Some screengrabs have been sent in by Wendy Bartter, Yvonne Harvey and Helensara to whom many thanks.
Now the long incubation period starts in earnest and will last for about 30-33 days. Hatching will take place hopefully in early May.

Four super eggs - on Monday afternoon!

And here's a video clip captured by Wendy Bartter and taken about the time the egg was laid. As she says, there's no great reveal, just brief glimpses of the eggs.

If you have enjoyed watching the egg laying sagas, then please consider making a donation to the project which no longer has any lottery funding and so relies more or less entirely on donations. the hosting of the web cams costs about £1500 each year for a start!

Click on the 'Donations' tab on the blog which explains the various ways to send money across.
Many thanks in advance.
Nick B (DWT)
Note that Derbyshire Wildlife Trust manages this project on behalf of a partnership between the Trust, Derby Cathedral, Cathedral Quarter and Derby City Council. DWT holds and manages the project finances.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Third egg and now a fourth1

Update 4.47 pm Monday 4th April: 'dutch eagle fan' reported seeing a fourth egg at 15.22 pm and this was confirmed an hour later when she got up and flew off, leaving all four eggs on show! Photos etc to follow when we get them.It's been a day of heavy hail showers in and around Derby today....though the nest has remained more or less dry since the wind is from the SW.

We now have three eggs, as shown by this screen grab, captured this morning  (Saturday 2nd) at 9:30am.
The smaller male or 'tiercel' (left) takes over incubating the eggs -
the larger female (the 'falcon') then flew off.

Comments left on our blog at an earlier changeover suggest there were only two eggs this morning at 08:00
Our records show that the Derby pair have, without fail, laid four eggs each year. However not all of these survive to either hatch or reach their first year. See the FAQ tab on our blog's main page for a chart showing past events in the lives of Derby's peregrines.

Finally, thanks to Wendy Bartter who has been capturing the feed from our cameras and checked back this morning to see if she had caught the moment of egg-laying. Not quite, it seems, but very close.
(Wendy has now explained her method of capturing this footage in a comment to this blog post. Scroll to the bottom of the post and click on the word 'comments'. )

And a big welcome to all newcomers to this project blog and web cams. Do post a comment to the blog and let us know where on the planet you are watching from!

Peregrine eggs look white under infra-red light at night-time!