Wednesday, 16 May 2018

The final egg and a 'heads up' on the Watch Points

It's clear than, after such a long gap between the third egg hatching and the failure of the fourth to do so, that it won't now hatch.
Whether the egg was infertile or a fully formed chick inside failed to break the eggshell open we don't know and clearly cannot get down to the nest to retrieve it to find out.
By the time we ring the chicks (when they are about 19-20 days old) it is likely the egg will have 'disappeared' - ie been accidentally broken and the shell fragments removed.
It is possible some eagle eyed observer might see what the egg contains at some stage. If you do please comment on the blog.
Failure of an egg to hatch has happened before: in 2007 two eggs failed to hatch and one failed in both 2015 and 2017.
Three chicks have died before they fledged but overall, this female of ours has been remarkably successful compared to sites elsewhere. Of 47 eggs laid up to and including 2017, she has raised 40 to the fledging stage.
This video showing the female preening while watching over her brood was made on 15th May by Wendy Bartter to whom, many thanks:

Watch Point events
As usual Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is organising a series of Watch Points on Cathedral Green once the chicks are big enough to be visible from the ground at the back of the cathedral where we assemble our telescopes.

This year, Matt Robinson has organised the volunteer rota and sought the necessary permissions to have a stand on the green which belongs to the city council.
More on Watch Points later but just to say that the first one is on Saturday May 26th May and then on every Saturday and Wednesday up to Saturday 7th July.
As usual we have a lovely band of volunteers to help everyone who comes along to see the birds and learn about their fascinating lives.

The Project Team

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

First chick

(Update 10th May: As of this morning we have three new peregrine chicks, with one egg still unhatched)

Whilst many other pairs of  peregrines around the country have already hatched their eggs, Derby's always seem later than most. At 11am today there was an obvious hole (pip) in the shell of  one egg, and we could hear faint squealing coming from the young bird inside.

An hour  later we had our first glimpse of this new life as our female left the nest and the tiercel (male) took over. Once again, we thank Wendy Bartter for capturing these super videos from our webcams.

Because peregrines don't incubate their eggs in earnest until the whole clutch is laid, this means they all develop at about the same speed. So, with luck, we should see further chick hatching very soon. Our male (who was new last year) is clearly doing his job well.  Within 90 minutes he was bringing food to the platform, although the falcon was not showing much interest in feeding them at such an early stage.

One commenter asked whether the noises made by the male today are normal, and they certainly are - almost a 'here I am' sort of chirrup, rather than the stronger contact/courtship calls we heard in previous weeks. Once again, it's great that local schoolchildren have been encouraged to watch our webcameras. The primary school children from Green Class were clearly excited today to  see the wet chick revealed, and how quickly it soon dried out and fluffed up, and we thank them for leaving a comment on our blog.

Hatching - Any moment now

A changeover this morning  at 08:45am  revealed a clear pip in one of the four eggs,  and over the microphone on Webcam Page 1 a faint squealing sound of one of the unhatched chicked can clearly be heard.
Changeover at 08:45am 

So,  today looks highly likely to see our eggs hatching. Keep on watching...!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Still incubating.....

(Sat 5th May: For some reason our main webcam on Page 1 is not displaying for users. However, it is functioning fine with both audio and video on iPhones. Please leave a comment and a note about your system detail if you are able to view Page 1 OK. Unfortunately we will not be able to resolve this until after the Bank Holiday. Meanwhile, please use one of our other cameras to watch our birds.)

A month seems a long long time to have to watch the peregrines incubate their eggs.
But imagine how it must be for the birds themselves - especially our female who does 90% of the egg sitting!
Anyway, we're now approaching chick hatching time which is always exciting.
While we wait, here's a screengrab captured by Beth Bearder yesterday (30th April) showing a change over and giving us a clear view of the four eggs.
Beth works close to the Cathedral and this is the second year she has watched the web cams - so thank you Beth and a belated welcome to the peregrine community!
We hope to see you at one of our watch Points which are due to start in late May (full details nearer the time)......

Changeover 30th April
Screengrab captured by Beth Bearder