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Sunday, 30 March 2014

All sitting tight

As of today it looks as if all have completed their clutches and are incubating nonstop, no more eggs to come by the looks of it, New Cam and Flooded site are also sitting tight so now the wait for hatching.

New Cam - 4 eggs as per last year, Tiercel now 10 years old - these were taken on March 29th

Falcon settled down for the night

Christ it comes round so quick, next thing I know we will be ringing them again, ‘ DP ‘ turning up at Norwich was a successful story with the ringing program and very satisfying, I know many don’t make it.

DP being rung in 2012, she was the biggest of the brood

There is a site in London and the pair involved has given me no end of pleasure, one day I will be able to write about it but suffice to say all the mitigation involved for the pair, and there was a lot, it was radical and it worked.

It is a story I hope to be able to tell soon, some of it is quite amusing.

Female on the charge dispersing Crows on Saturday

Trying to stay with her was another matter

Crows are smart, they always head for low level

What of the Parliament pair, well they are on their nest site and looking where the Tiercel was sitting this morning (Saturday) points towards them going back to the Tray, this will please a lot of people as last year they laid in a position not ideal.
Their nest site building later in the year is due for demolition so a new building will have to be found, there Brunel nest box on Parliament has been ignored, as stated before available areas on Victoria Palace dictated position.
I have a meeting there next week to try and find another location for the box, if I could get it up higher I think it would have chances of being accepted, and perhaps a more conventional nest box.

In late 2013 I approached Westminster Abbey, the Abbey as we know is used by the pair nonstop, it’s always been in my head as an alternative nest site, from the top, the 3 Tier wide circumnavigating ledges make it one of the most perfect sites I have seen for adult and juvenile peregrines.

Unfortunately although the Abbey was very keen to accommodate the pair, the daily flag raising and lowering was always going to clash with the Schedule 1, it’s a shame as I would have been very confident of that being accepted. Well done to the Abbey for letting me up there and for their efforts in trying to get it off the ground.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

New Cam - 4th egg laid

I must admit when first seeing the 4 eggs, I thought great she has equalled last year but then looked again at the clutch.
Looking at the most left hand egg appears to show a cracked egg at first glance, however, I kept watching and when the Tiercel arrived the wind buffeting showed it up for what it was, a feather stuck to the egg!
I suspect the 4th egg was laid on Thursday, probably just before mid day, so taking it now that the clutch is complete, I have only ever seen one brood of 5, I expect hatching to start around April 24th.

March 27th 12.51pm

13.01pm - left hand egg appears cracked



I watched the pair on Monday morning from the exterior and in common with most Tiercel's, he tried to incubate twice, both times arriving with no prey. This was never going to work as the Falcon refused to budge, not to be outdone he then flew to a stash site, retrieved prey and flew back to the nest site.

Tiercel with prey

This was all she needed, prey was taken and he waddled past her to incubate, she then headed for the roof to feed. There are similarities with my wife Christine here, if I bring home a takeaway, I can go   out bird watching, I know how the Tiercel thinks.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

New Cam Site

To date we now have 3 eggs, if there is to be a 4th, and there was last year, I expect it on Thursday, been trying on and off at various times on Tuesday trying to catch one of them off the eggs.

I eventually nailed her off them late afternoon, as we are going forward incubation is increasing so getting a glimpse of the eggs has proved pot luck.

I now know how to do screen snaps so will be posting these below pretty regular, as mentioned in the previous post video will be appearing shortly so at long last have mastered some of this technical stuff.

Video –Screenshots, whatever next.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Two more up and running

Not just any two either, these are both web - cam sites, the Flooded Site and New Cam.

I have been watching both intently and although on Flooded site I can just about see the edge of the tray and consequently her tail and primaries sticking out, I can confirm on body language and behaviour she is incubating.

I would say she laid on March 20th very likely around mid day, from then on she stayed on the tray occasionally moving, and being fed by the Tiercel, but more often than not part of her was viewable.
This one is particularly satisfying given the drain blockage and subsequent flooding that resulted in the tray disappearing under 8 inches of water. From earlier posts you will know that I was getting doubtful due to lack of appearances by either bird, I even found them on another structure and thought that was it.

The call of the breeding site however proved too strong and back they came, a big well done and thank you to all those involved for responding so quickly.

A Tiercel peregrine on the attack on Saturday, 3 Crows ventured too close to the nest site

I also got sent a photo from the alternative camera on the site, they have located the pairs stash site on the structure, the photo showed Woodcock and female Teal, the former no doubt taken nocturnally.

In London, of the sites that I monitor, Woodcock has been found in all prey stashes so it’s not just one or 2 pairs hunting nocturnally, I think its regular with many or even all on clear nights. Much has been said about artificial urban lighting assisting hunting at night but do they need it with their eyesight?

It could just be reaction hunting – hear a bird(s) calling and then fly up in pursuit or more intentional – clear night I’m hunting.
I suspect that even without artificial light they would hunt nocturnally anyway, urban or rural, it’s just that the artificial London lighting likely pulls in more migrants and it comes to notice more.

Who’s to say that other A to B pursuit hunters like Merlin doesn’t hunt nocturnal migrants?

New Cam Site

I nearly saw this one, she laid on March 20th just after 5.00pm, I knew she was near it from the fact that she would not leave the nest box.
As I write this it is hammering down hard so thankful that the box is giving her an easier time of it, putting my hand out of the window and you realise how hard it is, they are tough birds but even so I must admit our ever changing conditions likely cause some failures.

As you probably know I am not up on all the technical computer stuff but I do intend to start posting video’s soon, I have about 30 peregrine related ones so will shortly venture into the unknown, YouTube.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Norwich Peregrines - Ringing Recovery

You may have recently seen on Twitter that Norwich Peregrines had an intruder, these days not unusual I am glad to say, especially in London, it means that peregrines are doing better than in years gone by.

What made this sighting significant is that I was present at the ringing of this bird in London, the bird, a female was kindly rung by John Black on May 23rd 2012.The Norwich Peregrines website and cam is well worth a visit and the photos below of ‘DP’ were kindly taken and forwarded by Chris Skipper. See for further info. 

You always wonder where they end up, did they survive there first winter, are they still in London, how far did they go before they found an area of their own, the list goes on.
Unfortunately some recoveries are dead ones so to get the news of this female, I remember her well, she was enormous, is fantastic news.

From various e-mails there was some confusion over the colour of the ring, despite showing ‘DP’, on other photos it appeared white, this was put down to the light.
Additionally when Chris sent me the photos, she appeared to still be in immature plumage, I must admit this threw me as she appeared to show brown tones, she should be in adult plumage, again a trick of the light.

As you can see great photos below showing the orange ring from which she was identified.

Down South early layers

Following on from early last year when I made a nest box for a coastal site which was accepted by the pair successfully, I can confirm that they are again using it.

Even better they laid an egg this morning around 6.30am on March 19th, this is 10 days earlier than last year so it is possible that the mild winter may have encouraged early laying.

Photos below, thanks go to Rod for forwarding them.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Early Birds


Well 2 pairs have again laid early as I write this, this year Charring X were first over the weekend followed by last year’s early layers confirmed today.
With the mild winter I am expecting other pairs to follow suit and it would not surprise me if one or two other pairs have laid by the weekend.

A couple from the Archives - juvenile peregrine practicing

As you may know from previous posts I am now watching 2 sites on CCTV, one is for added security being a bit of a delicate site, this is the flooded site and will be known as that hereafter, makes things easier.
The 2nd site, both unfortunately can’t be named, (in an ideal world) will be known as New Cam Site, the title is obviously the giveaway and has only been up and running for not that long.

Flooded Site
Flooded site camera covers the whole of the ledge where they breed but unfortunately I cannot see the nest tray, although it is great for seeing arriving adults or as per last year, 3 juveniles. As you can imagine I am 2nd guessing them most of the time but at the moment I am sure they have not laid. At one point I did not think they were going to come back, I was checking that camera a lot and only got occasional snatches of the Tiercel coming or going, I thought they had another site. I even found them on their 2nd site but for the last week or so they have been back on territory I am glad to say.

New Cam Site
This is an internal nest cam placed on the roof of the box and gives the images which the other cam does not, very similar to Charring X ,in short I have the best of both worlds. This pair, possibly due to their location seemingly hunt more at night, a private site, I have watched them in the dark slipping away. Recently having 2 cameras to play with I have been checking both in the nocturnal hours and can confirm that they are slipping away.

Its early days yet, only just got online, all being well I expect it to happen more as the juveniles grow but you can get a rough idea from below by the times they are slipping away.

Flooded Site
March 8th – Tiercel at roost on ledge 8.40pm – checked occasionally through to 12.05am still present – checked again at 1.30am – gone. Sky clear, wind very light - little reason to move / hunting?

March 9th – Tiercel present at 5.20am onwards – crop full.

New Cam Site
March 8th – As above Tiercel roosting inside the nest box and present at 8.40pm – checked again at 1.35am – Tiercel gone – weather as above and both sites within 6 miles of each other – coincidence that both Tiercel's gone at the same time?

March 9th – Tiercel present – crop not that full at 6.14am

March 9th/10th – Tiercel roosting in box, checked at 22.16pm and 23.46pm still present. Checked again at 1.09am – gone, still gone at 2.21am but back at 7.18am the following morning, crop half full.

As I said it is early days but both Tiercel's leaving around the same time is perhaps too much of a coincidence especially as it was a clear night.
It is easy to jump to conclusions and there could well be other factors coming into play but must admit it is very interesting finding out, as long as I can keep getting up to check in the early hours, the wife says I am nuts, she has a point.

Injured Tiercel

Below are some photos of an adult Tiercel, unfortunately it has been injured and sustained a damaged right wing, the good thing is that it is not broken.
Hopefully it will make a full recovery although the wound looks quite nasty.
Sue is looking after it at

If you remember she did a marvellous job last year of caring for the 3 juvenile peregrines which I later released, one of which was the fostered bird. The Hospital does a brilliant job of looking after, caring, nursing back to health injured wildlife, it is a charity so if you ever want to help, feel free to donate as it is a great cause.
The Hospital is also under threat from a new crossing and has a petition up and running, they need your signature so please click on the link above if you would like to help, thanks.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

New Book

I was recently contacted by Martin Bradley, he has recently written and illustrated an A4 poem based children’s book titled “Top Gun of the Sky”, it is based on the life seen through the eyes of a Peregrine Falcon.
Getting children involved with Raptors is surely the way forward along with education; Martin is also using the book to raise funds for the Hawk Conservancy Trust at Weyhill, Andover. Well worth a visit and a good day out, the Trust helps conservation worldwide and has also rehabilitated 2 juvenile peregrines where Martin works at Fawley Power Station.

Martins illustration

Launching the book

With a foreword by Chris Packham  the book is a must and every sale helps conservation, lord knows they need our help in these modern and changing times.

If you would like a copy of the book contact or online at