Friday, 14 April 2017

Wendy's videos keep coming!

Now that incubation is underway, things will quieten down on the nest platform for the next few weeks with any hatching not due until roughly a month's time.
So perhaps it is a good chance for us to catch up on some of the excellent videos that Wendy Bartter has been making for us from her home in Kent.
So here are a few you may have missed and a new one from Sunday (16th):

This one shows two changeovers. First the male taking over from his mate and then the female doing likewise. He seems quite reluctant to give way doesn't he?

And here's an evening changeover where the male is again very reluctant to get off the eggs:

And some highlights from the day the last egg was laid:

And here's an additional video from (Easter) Sunday showing the male bringing prey in the early morning and then taking over incubation:



The Project Team

Monday, 10 April 2017

Egg Number Three....and now a fourth!

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 12th APRIL:
This morning around 08.20 or earlier, the fourth egg was laid so full incubation will now be underway. Wendy Bartter's video is below:



And here's a screen grab:
And then there were four!



Third egg story:
At 22.35 pm last night (Sunday 9th) egg number three appeared, duly watched by several people on the web cams.
Wendy Bartter has come up trumps again with a video:in which you first see that there are indeed three eggs at 22.42 pm:



So the final egg (assuming she lays her normal clutch of four) will appear sometime on Wednesday if the usual interval applies.
And here's a screen grab taken by Ann Foster showing all three:
Infra red photo showing three eggs
taken by Ann Foster
And here's a daytime shot captured by Kate in devon:
The three eggs show up well in this sunny screenshot by Kate

Thanks to everyone who was watching and alerting us to what was happening...and a special thanks also to Lynda O who has just sent us a generous donation, the latest in a sequence of donations over the years! If you wanted to follow Lynda's example, please click on the donations tab above.

The Project Team

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

An egg at last! (and a Friday Update...)

Screen grab by Kate from Devon - taken this afternoon
Update Friday 7th April: a second egg was laid sometime before 13.18 pm when the first person to spot it was Antony P. A third should appear about Sunday evening or Monday morning.
(To read more about what people are seeing and saying be sure to click on 'comments' at the bottom of each post.)

Here's Wendy's video taken this afternoon:




This is the beginning of the original post - so 'last night' refers to the night before the first egg was laid (how confusing is that!):

My colleague on this project, Nick Moyes, was writing his post last night just after midnight with no egg in sight (do be sure to scroll down and read his excellent and interesting post!).
However, at about 6.35 am this morning, an egg had appeared in the shallow scrape in the gravel where she has laid her eggs every year since 2006.
Here's a screen grab captured earlier this morning, The first sight of the egg was made at 06.35 this morning by 'early bird' Kate from Devon, a regular web cam watcher over many years.

An egg as captured on the Flickr site early morning on 5th April
by HelenSara
Wendy Bartter's videos below shows the build up to egg laying (with the female turning round several times over the hollow in the scrape. The second one she kindly created shows activity after egg-laying.




As Nick M said in his post last night, this year the first egg would be later than in any other year since 2007 by a couple of days. To see the full chart showing dates over the years do go back and read Nick's post where there's a link or visit the FAQ Tab above.

This late egg-laying date is undoubtedly due to the arrival of the new (ringed) male and perhaps also to the nave roof works below the nest as well.
Concerns that the new male might be immature or somehow not up to the job have proved wrong. His plumage (very yellow cere at the base of his beak and dark hood on his head) suggests he is fully adult. Clearly, with his frequent offerings of food to his new partner, he's entirely capable of successfully replacing the old male.

Now we can expect more eggs at roughly two day intervals. Will we get a full clutch of four - or even more as has happened at urban sites elsewhere in the UK - one nest having a remarkable six eggs!

Watching the web cams over the next week will be the only way to find out!
Thanks to all our web cam watchers for alerting us to the birds' movements.......

Nick B
Project Team

Caring and Sharing

Screenshot of the my PC as I draft this blog post
As I start to write this new post, it's late at night and I'm sitting with  Page 4 of our webcams minimised in the corner of my PC screen.
Unlike our other three webcam pages, this one never times out. These static images change every six seconds or so, and it's a great way to keep permanent watch on our birds whilst doing other important stuff.

Tonight is about sharing.

Over the last ten years of our peregrine project, Nick Brown and I have been very fortunate in being able to be able to share our enthusiasm for Derby's falcons with everyone. And you've cared and you've shared your thoughts and your observations here, too, and we've all learned so much from one another. We've all been fortunate to be able to share previously unseen moments in the lives of these birds with our visitors. Every year they keep surprising us with one thing or another - be it a rat brought back to feed the chicks, an arctic tern that had been around the world half a dozen times before becoming  meal, or the world's first published video of peregrine falcon bringing back live prey in the dead of night.

One moment we think we know precisely what's about to happen, and the next we're confounded. Over the years we've kept records of the key events in their life cycle, and this helps us work out what should happen when. For example, just look at the table of data on our FAQ page and you'll see these records tell us the earliest and latest dates our peregrines have ever laid their first egg.

The latest so far (notwithstanding the year we erected the first platform) was around 5am on 4th April 2013. As I type this, we're quite some hours past that point, but this year is very different.

We now have a new tiercel - a male peregrine with a ring on his leg that shows he's not from around here, and he has replaced our male of the last ten years who had no such ring. We know many of our new and our long-standing webcam watchers are saddened by this, and we have no idea if he was simply ousted at the nest, killed in a fight, or even illegally killed by a human  (which still sadly happens far too often these days). We care too, of course. But we did expect something like this to happen one day. As our last post explained, he had been around in Derby since the start of the project in 2004, and we'd been saying at  meetings for some time that eventually we might soon see one of our adults reaching the end of their life. In a way, it's more of an exciting time than a sad time. The cycle of life rolls on, and a new male means our Project will continue. But is he up to the job?

We have been indebted to Wendy Bartter who has been feverishly capturing our video streams and sharing some lovely videos on YouTube, and is also helping us out on Twitter by posting these clips and her observations on our behalf. Like this video clip from yesterday, 3rd April:

It's clear they're bonding well and (at 7 minutes in) this video shows the classic head-bowing 'eee-chupping' display we've come to expect at the start of each breeding season. But, with a new male, we have no idea how things are going.

We don't know precisely when he replaced our original tiercel, or what the impacts might be on potential egg-laying. If she was fertilised by the original tiercel and then a new male arrives on the scene, might her eggs be reabsorbed, or would it be too late for that? To be frank, we honestly don't know. If egg re-absorption were to happen, how long a delay would there before fertilisation and then renewed egg-laying takes place?  Our bible on all things peregrine-related is Derek Ratcliffe's monograph. But we can find nothing there to inform us. Perhaps others may know?

One thing's for certain: a lot of people care about Derby's peregrine falcons. By sharing what we know, and what we see, we can all learn so much more about them.

And as I finish this post at around half past midnight on 5th April, my little view of the webcams in the corner of my monitor tells me she's back on the lip of the nest platform, just perched there quietly - just like she has been for many a year before this, prior to egg-laying . Maybe it's the uncertainty of these real-life moments in a wild bird's life that we're now able to share so readily that makes webcam-watching so fascinating.


Nick M
Project Team

Friday, 31 March 2017

In memory of a fine peregrine

It is perhaps appropriate to look back on the life of the male who, until recently, had been present on Derby Cathedral probably since 2004 and possibly before that.
This wonderful photo of him was taken by Graham Whitmore in one of the very early years.
He looks as if he's waving to an adoring crowd below whereas in fact he was just about to preen his head:
As you can see his eye ring and cere (at the base of his beak) are a bright yellow indicating a mature adult so we think he was at least three years old in 2006 and possibly older.So this year he would have been at least 14 years old we think.
The male in about 2007 by
Graham Whitmore

Within a week of the first platform going up (in April 2006), the male had flown down to it and enticed his new mate to follow. That first year three chicks were eventually reared, several weeks later than in any subsequent year due partly to the very late arrival of their new nest and partly perhaps because this was te female's first clutch.
Our city peregrines are a good deal safer than those living out in the countryside so whatever has happened to him, he's certainly enjoyed a far longer life than most other males in the county.
Unless he was already dead when the newcomer turned up there will certainly have been some sort of fight since males don't relinquish their hold over a female or a nest site without one.
It is unlikely his body will ever be found....but it isn't impossible if, perhaps it is on a Derby roof somewhere.
Most other urban peregrine pairs we are aware of have changed mates for whatever reason much more frequently than Derby.
At another urban nest site in Derbyshire, the male has changed at least three times in only some seven or eight years since breeding first started there
One male probably flew into the building it was nesting on in a bad storm, another was found dead, presumed to have been killed by an intruder and a third was found dead and on xray had shot in his body.

So the change at Derby is quite a shock to us having had the same pair all these years.
Together they have reared 37 chicks to the fledging stage a very high productivity rate.
So as a new era starts, there's a lot we owe to our 'old' male.
The Project Team

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

A new male at Derby

Yesterday it became apparent that a new adult bird with a small ring on its left leg was on the platform and was behaving as if it was the male of the pair. It was first spotted yesterday by Helen who is a teacher and was showing the web cam to her class. Some of her children's young eyes could see the ring clearly. We're really impressed by this bit or original observation.

We've checked back our recent camera footage, and the two clips from 27th March below clearly show this new, ringed, male bringing in food as part of the courtship ritual. A second video clip later that morning shows the ring even better.






This video by Wendy also shows the ring very clearly as do these screen grabs by Kate, watching from Devon. This demonstrates just how effective all you webcam watchers are in keeping us informed of what's going on on a daily basis.We have checked back through Wendy's YouTube channel on which she puts all the video clips she makes. So far, we've not been able to see evidence of a ringed bird earlier than this.Would you like to give it a try?  If so, here channel is here

Ring on left leg showing clearly
                                                     
Note the ring here also


So it begins to look as if the male who had been at the cathedral since at least 2004 has died or at least been ousted by this new male.

So it begins to look as if the male that had been at the cathedral since 2004 has either died or has been ousted, or even killed, by this new male.
What we don't yet know is when this changeover took place - so we've had a look back through some of the video clips that Wendy Bartter made from our webcams earlier this season. What we can see is that nest scraping and food exchange is still happening. But we've only managed to spot a ring as far back as 16th March. If you fancy trying to help by looking through these clips yourself, check out the myriad of videos Wendy has posted on YouTube, and let us know what you spot.

Footnote: Wendy subsequently found this video clip below from 12th March, the latter half of which (2min:30sec in) clearly shows a quite agitated male bird repeatedly flying back up to the nest ledge, whilst calling loudly. (at 2:56 one can imagine a ring - at other times one can't see one) This also appears to coincide with other reports that our adult male hadn't been seen on the nest ledge much around this period.



What effect this swap has on the female, we don't know. She certainly looks well pairing up at the moment. Of course, this could mean a delay in egg laying.... but if not, stand by for any day now . . .

The Project Team


Thursday, 23 March 2017

While we wait for an egg......and a possible change of male?

Update 27th March: Helen and others seem to have seen a ring on the left leg of the bird that is assuming the male role. If that's correct either our old male has died or been ousted and the new male is busy courting our female. If anyone gets good screenshots of the ring do please put them on our flickr site and let us all know via a comment or send them to peregrines@derbyshirewt.co.uk . Many thanks.

While we wait for our birds to lay (see the previous blog post for likely dates), here are the links to some of the other peregrine projects in the UK with thanks to the Leicester Peregrine Project for compiling it.
Peregrine projects have really taken off in the last few years as you can see. If you know of any more do send us a 'comment' with the link.

Aylesbury Peregrines
Malham Cove Peregrines (nb. non-urban)
Shropshire Peregrine Group (nb. non-urban)
York Peregrines

The Project Team

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Derby is always late......

As the first eggs start to be reported elsewhere in the UK (for example Nottingham's was on 17th with a second egg already!) it's tempting to think that our Derby birds should be laying any day now.
However, despite having the same birds since 2005/6. the Cathedral's peregrines can be as much as a fortnight later than the early egg layers like those in Nottingham.
The very earliest date for a first egg at Derby was 23rd March in 2008.
2015's clutch of four.

The latest was 4th April in 2013 though in the first year (2006), the first egg would have been much later - we had no cameras up then of course but the first chick to fledge did so on 7th July whereas in the last eight years, first fledging has always been in the middle of June.
The mean date for a first egg starting in 2007 is 29th March, a day on which first eggs have been laid in three of the ten years to date.
So we have maybe some ten days to wait yet......
Do please keep on adding comments with news of what our birds are doing if you will (of course it would be impossible to stop you!!).
And finally a big welcome back to everyone who is now returning to look at our web cams and blog as things start to hot up!
Who will be the first to spot an egg?

The Project Team

Monday, 20 February 2017

Roof matters (part 3) and an Update

UPDATE 23rd February: the nave roof is now completely shrouded in its white plastic cover. So the workmen below the nest, who'll be there for the next five months replacing the old lead roof, will now be invisible to our peregrines on their nest platform above.
For anyone not looking at the comments to this blog we advise you to do so, since the excellent Wendy Bartter is making lots of video clips of our birds when they appear on the nest and posting them on You Tube. The links to each video is in her comments.
Three of her clips are embedded below,  but many more really interesting ones can be found in her comments. Just click on the  'comments' button at the foot of each blog post.

Work is proceeding apace to cover over Derby Cathedral's nave roof. The specialist scaffolders, (Tamworth Scaffolding) appear to be well ahead of schedule, which is great news.

We've been keeping an eye on progress and hoping their activities below the peregrines' nest platform would not put them off from breeding again this year. As the video below shows only too well, this is clearly not an issue. Watch this speeded up video from Feb 17th, showing strips of the weatherproof covering starting to be hauled into position like some giant roller-blind. At 1 min 20 sec our falcon flies in and looks down on the workers below. She stays for over 50 minutes whilst a number of people are walking about below, and is clearly quite relaxed about their presence.The same thing happens again later that afternoon.





Another sequence, also brilliantly captured by webcam watcher Wendy Bartter, shows clearly that courtship on the nest is still going well. At 2am on Feb 18th,  Wendy captured this sequence of 'ee-chupping'. The smaller tiercel (male) flies in first, and moves over to the nest scrape. At 2 min 30 sec the larger falcon (female) flies in from where they ee-chupp away to one another. At 3 min 30 sec into the clip he then flies off, leaving her alone on the platform.






We've finally managed to repair our damaged internet aerial cable and have managed to recrimp a couple of brand new specialised RP-TNC plugs onto our thick, LMR400 high frequency cable.
So, it's now ready for it being relocated on the outer edge of all the scaffolding, although we've just learnt that we will probably have to permanently relocate it within the tower itself. Whether we can beam our signals out through the fine leaded glass windows in the Clock Room where our control equipment is now located remains to be seen. But it's inevitable that our camera feeds will go down for a brief period whilst the builders try to rig up a suitable alternative location. So once again, do bear with is. Normal service will, as always, be resumed as soon as possible!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Roof matters (part 2)

Image by Tamworth Scaffolding
As expected, the scaffolders are now active on the nave roof of Derby Cathedral. This week they will continue fitting the long metal beams across it to form a central apex over which a strong, weatherproof plastic 'shroud' will then be stretched. Once it is, our peregrines will then not be able to see any movement of the builders working on the roof below them. Apparently, the work is ahead of schedule, which is good news.

Let's hope the birds are not phased by this activity and still visit their nest after 4pm (when work generally stops) and at weekends. If you see a bird on the platform at any time during the weekday, do please let us know by leaving a comment here on our blog, or sending a tweet to @derbyperegrines


For those of you who are aware of the law which states that disturbing a peregrine falcon on its nest is a serious offence, we can assure you that we have worked closely with the Natural England's wildlife advisors. Their advice has always been to ensure that roof work started well before the breeding season so that, if they did end up being disturbed by the activity below them, then they would simply give nesting a break for that year, and no offence would be caused because there would be no nesting activity to disturb. The Cathedral staff and builders have worked hard to schedule this work at the optimum time, and so it's been very pleasing so far to see our birds still happy to return to the nest ledge over the weekend of 4th/5th February. See here.







The end of our directional Yagi aerial can just be seen in the
bottom of the picture as a grey cylinder.
  Will it be able to stay in contact with The Silk Mill as work continues?
The one technical  problem we will soon be facing is the fact that our internet connection relies on a highly directional aerial to send our signals wirelessly to the Silk Mill opposite. (From there, a laser beam sends our signals onwards to Derby Council House and then out to the big, wide interwebby world.)  We expect the forthcoming metal beams to be blocking these signals, so are now looking to temporarily extend our aerial cable by 15metres (50ft) and place it at the edge of the scaffolding. And this has also been posing us a small challenge. Read more on this here

The Project Team





Here's another video captured by Wendy Bartter on Saturday morning showing that, clearly, our falcon has not been put off nest-scraping as a prelude to breeding this season.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Ee-chupp 2017 and an update

It's wonderful to see and hear our two adult peregrine falcons in their annual courtship routine in advance of this coming nesting season.  They will both fly to the nest site, face one another, with the much larger female calling loudly in an "ee-chupp, ee-chupp" manner. This may go on for a minute or more, and eventually the smaller male will eventually fly off, to human eyes seeming rather intimidated by her over-bearing presence. There she may remain at the nest site, for quite some time afterwards, giving us confidence that the building work below them has not put off this year's attempt to breed.

Once again Wendy Bartter has captured this lovely footage from our live webcam whilst watching from home at 5pm yesterday in fading daylight. You see them both arrive and then, 3mins 30secs into the video the tiercel (i.e. the male peregrine) flies off, leaving her alone and silent on the platform except for the ringing of the 5 o'clock cathedral bells.



This clip gives us a chance not only to compare the sizes of the two birds, but also to show how the very wide angle of our camera lens can itself lead to confusion. Close to the lens, she looks enormous; farther away she seems so much smaller - and this often causes us difficulties in determining whether it's the male or female when we just see the one bird in view.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Recent Activity

Whilst progress is still being made behind the scenes to bring you three new camera  feeds from Derby Cathedral, it's brilliant that webcam watcher, Wendy Barter, has been capturing moments from our one working web camera and posting them on YouTube.

The camera was refitted to our brand new platform, installed just before Christmas, as described here.
Screenshot by Kate showing the new gravel/slate and
the pale woodwork at the top of the scaffolding
which will soon hold the shroud which will cover the roof


We have additional new cameras which we will be putting online very shortly.

The clip below was captured early this morning, and looks like our adult male chilling out on the new nest site. Ignore the speeding traffic below - Wendy has speeded this up from real time.
Note also how the bird coughs up a pellet during the video.....we think this is the first time we've seen this on a video.





Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A lovely donation in memory of John Sims

Notice: The first of our webcams finally came back into operation today! See this link to view.


John Sims
We recently received a lovely donation which has paid for the entire cost of constructing and installing our new peregrine nest platform on the east face of Derby Cathedral's tower.

Ashley Sims has made a substantial donation in memory of his father, John Sims, who passed away in 2014.
We had asked Ashley to wait before donating as he had expressed a wish to support a specific, key element of our project. When the need for a new platform reared its head, he agreed that covering its costs would be a fitting tribute to his father.

Ashley and John have been staunch supporters of our project since the early days of the project.
Indeed, any eagle-eyed reader who owns a copy of the 2008 DVD, "The Peregrines of Derby Cathedral", may just recognise John. He briefly appears  in it,  looking up alongside fellow watchers at the peregrines on the tower above them.
Indeed, it was his son, Ashley Sims, who first approached us with a proposal to make the DVD and who then so generously gave the copyright to our project once his initial outlay had been recouped. We've sold hundreds of copies since 2008 and the profit has really helped us cover our costs alongside all the excellent individual donations we have received over the years.

Ashley said he wanted to ensure that some of the money he inherited from his father would be put to good use and in a way from which others might benefit. He wrote to us saying:  
"As you know both my father and I have been keen advocates of your fantastic Peregrine Project for some years now, visiting it very often in the early years and keeping in touch since via your website.
He got a great deal of enjoyment out of your vision and work so it only seemed fitting to help in any way
."

So a really big thanks to Ashley from the Project Team at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. It was a great relief to finally complete the platform installation just before Christmas, albeit a year later than we had initially intended. We are sure John would have approved of what we've achieved.

View of the peregrine platform from one of our newly
installed cameras. The cost of constructing this replacement
was met from a donation made in memory of John Sims. 

And here's the first recording from our cleaned up and newly replaced platform, made by webcam watcher, Wendy Barter.
















Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Roof matters

Help Sought:  We seek assistance from any specialist RF cable company in the Derby/Matlock area, willing to replace and recrimp a faulty male RP-TNC plug onto a length of low loss aerial cabling  (Cisco AIR-CAB050LL-R) working at 2.5Ghz. 
We believe this requires a crimping tool with a hexagonal die of 0.429" (10.9mm). We already have the replacement RP-TNC plug.

Alternatively we would seek to borrow or - if we have to - buy an additional 50ft (15m) of low loss RP-TNC-terminated cabling to enable us to temporarily relocate the  aerial from our Cisco Aironet 1200 wireless bridge aerial whilst scaffolding is in place from now until August 2017.
If you can help us in either matter, please contact us on 
peregrines@derbyshirewt.co.uk, or ring Derbyshire Wildlife Trust: 01773 881188.

-----

We've known for some time now that the cathedral's nave roof has been leaking. Temporary repairs were tried a year ago but only with partial success. Eventually it became clear to the cathedral authorities that a completely new roof would be the only way to solve the leaking problems for good.
So the Cathedral submitted a funding bid to the WW1 Cathedrals Repair Fund for £750,000 to carry out this work, and was delighted last summer to receive the go-ahead.

This has given us plenty of time to work with the Cathedral staff, and liaise with Natural England officers, to ensure the best outcomes for the building as well as its breeding peregrine falcons. The law says it's illegal to disturb peregrine falcons once they have started nesting, so it was important that Natural England was happy with the timing of the 9-month work that was being planned.

Nick Moyes and Nick Evans fix the new
platform in place, 20 Dec 2016.
Blog readers will know that we recently replaced our wooden nest platform and its cameras on the tower in advance of this work starting (Scroll down tow posts to read all about how it was done). The entire nave is now about to be scaffolded over and will then be covered in opaque sheeting to create a sealed environment  under which the roofing work can progress. This scaffolding work began last week, and should be finished by early March (a few weeks before egg-laying is expected).

Roof lead removal and replacement will then take place entirely under the sheeting from March through to July. As well as keeping the exposed roof dry, the sheeting will prevent the peregrines above seeing anyone working below.


Scaffold in place along the south side of the nave, 9th January 2017.
Natural England is aware of these plans and is happy, given that the work on the roof simply has to be done asap, that the timing is as good as it possibly could be. The sheeting won't be removed until late July at the earliest, so any chicks that might be reared this year will have fledged and probably moved to the roof of Jurys Inn well before the sheeting is taken away.

That's the theory anyway. A long spell of snow might delay the initial scaffold and sheeting works but hopefully by only a week or so.  If the worst came to pass, the birds might simply decide not to breed this year (maybe they could do with a year off?), but the work will have been done with full regard to the law, and scheduled with the best of intentions to reduce any potential impact.

Both male and female peregrines have been at the cathedral since 2005 and probably even before then, So they are getting on in peregrine years now. At some point we would expect one or other parent either to die from natural causes or perhaps become infertile with old age. So having a year with no eggs to lay might just extend the female (the falcon's) life span....and may just happen naturally at some time.

Hopefully their desire to produce even more young (they've reared 37 so far since 2006!) will ensure that they ignore the works below them and nest again. We know that noise doesn't bother them - it's the sight of people that does  -whether it's a gamekeeper with a gun or a builder with a wrench. By keeping the two visually separated, we think they will still be minded to nest here again.  Egg-laying takes place normally at the end of March or the first week of April. Fingers crossed that they do nest successfully again.

We've had meetings with the contractors yesterday who are aware of the birds presence and needs and will be doing everything they can to minimise disturbance throughout.  Already, scaffolding has been erected along the south side of the nave. The north side will follow and then scaffold on the edges of the roof will eventually support the opaque, heavy duty plastic sheeting which will entirely envelope the whole of the nave, allowing the lengthy works below to continue unaffected by the weather.

Brand new Cisco cable, RP-TNC terminated,
but (see right) lacking any screw thread milled
on the interior of the male plug!
Meanwhile Nick Moyes and Connect Derby are progressing well with getting connectivity for the web cams, though another challenge we were not expecting is the need to reposition the aerial we use to get ourselves to the internet. We knew we needed to replace one existing cable, but also have to extend it by a further 15metres. All that metalwork seems likely to interrupt our wireless connection. And, as noted above, we found that the brand new cabling we purchased was incorrectly manufactured by Cisco/Times Microwave Systems. Unbelievable quality control issue for such a  respected company. But, being legacy equipment, bought by our supplier at reduced price, it can't go back to the manufacturer. However, we were most impressed by Ed Sinton from www.netgun.co.uk who immediately sent us a replacement cable the next day once we'd forwarded  him the picture above - but that still leaves us needing an additional  further 15metres to extend our aerial out beyond the scaffolding. So its either repair or replace - and these thick RF cables really don't come cheap!

Watch this space for further updates...

The Project Team
PS: We've invited Alex Rock from the cathedral staff to update us on the work as it progresses, and will post his updates here.

PPS: ON Tuesday 10th, we spent a day in the cathedral tower with Tim from Connect Derby, configuring our cameras equipment on a completely new network equipment. So, we're now one step further forward to getting back live webcam pictures, with a bit more work still to do to allocate IP addresses and allow Network Webcams to pull video from our equipment again. Sadly, we're also one step backwards with a fault developing in the aerial cable from our 2.5GHz Cisco 1200 series wireless access point - hence the appeal for help at the top of this post.


Saturday, 7 January 2017

New peregrine booklet from Exeter

Those of you with (very) long memories may recall that in the very early days of our Derby project (2005/6) there were only one or two web cams operating on urban peregrine nests.
One was at St. Michael's Church in Exeter and Nick Dixon was the guy who provided us with both encouragement and advise in the months before we put up our first nest platform (in April 2006) and then installed the first two cameras (in spring 2007). Nick's support and help was vital in giving us the confidence to go ahead with the Derby project and he's been a great source of information and advice ever since.
The Derby Project owes him 'bigtime' as they say......
Nick monitors all the peregrines nesting on artificial structures across the UK. These include nests on pylons, bridges, various tall urban buildings and of course cathedrals and churches. He's always kept a very close eye on the birds at St Michael's and you may recall seeing him (albeit briefly) on BBC TV's The One Show a year or so ago with footage of the Exeter peregrines attacking and killing local buzzards.
New Booklet
Nick has recently published a very informative booklet (cost - £6) on the history of the peregrines nesting at St. Michael's, how the birds initially took over a raven's stick nest on the church, how that was replaced by a more stable artificial nest and latterly the fascinating story of the buzzard killing exploits of these birds.


Nick writes:

St. Michael and All Angels in Exeter was the first church in the UK to have breeding peregrines, following the species recovery from the population crash in the 1960's. The Exeter peregrines have bred every year since 1997, with 55 young fledging over the past twenty years. 
During this period, they have been closely watched and monitored, resulting in a fascinating study of Devon's only pair of urban nesting peregrines. 
Changes of adult birds, annual breeding, egg laying and hatching, juvenile fledging success and development, prey selection, behaviour and hunting, plus interaction with other species in the vicinity have all been recorded by observers, and via the internet. 
This 24 page A5 booklet (7,500 words and 17 colour photographs) reveals the story of the Exeter peregrines, from first occupation in 1988, and through twenty years of breeding from 1997 to date.

All the proceeds from the sale of this booklet (cost £6) will go directly towards the upgrading of the nest camera from analogue to HD resolution, prior to the 2017 breeding season, and to support the costs of live internet streaming.


To purchase The Exeter Peregrines booklet with Paypal, please click the link below. 
If you would like to purchase using alternative means, please contact me via my website.


Do please consider buying a copy and supporting Nick and his work in Exeter.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Happy New Year - and a question for you

Happy New Year!
2017 will see a refreshed Peregrine Project. We now have a new platform; we have a new IT partner in Connect Derby, and we now have new cameras, too.

The plan below shows where our five camera will be positioned. We aim to have most of these connected up in the next few weeks. And there will probably be at least three live pages for you to watch.

But we have a question for those of you who have watched the still images which refresh every six seconds or so . . .   basically, do you still need them? 

We know most of you watch our live streams with audio, but we want to hear from anyone who has had problems with these, and have found our static pages more useful.
It may be that we should now convert all our streams to fully live audio/video, but don't want to inconvenience those of you who do find this helpful. Just leave a comment on this page, or email us at peregrines@derbyshirewt.co.uk.


And, as a taster of what's to come, here are three views from CAM 4 which we have just fitted. As you can see, we'll soon be be able to turn it to give a skyline view of Derby, or zoom right into the closest part of the nest.





Last year we received over 395,000 visits to our webcams and blog, and have just reset our annual counters.
So,  watch this space . . .