1 January 2023
Female high in the spire this afternoon
4 January 2023
Male calling and displaying this afternoon
The birds are getting impatient, so the plan is to install the nest tray and cameras next Monday. Live streaming will follow when there’s enough activity to warrant the expense.
Cameras installed this morning. Unfortunately, the east walkway camera worked briefly, then stopped transmitting. All connections were checked, but to no avail.
The peregrine pair flew around us complaining while we worked, so expect movement on the nest soon. Live-streaming to follow sometime in March.
The pair are roosting on the tower tonight.
An interesting situation this morning. The resident male was calling from the tower and while the female was flying around, she was joined by a second male. Both landed high on the spire.
First visit to the nest by the pair. The exact same date as last year. The male only stayed briefly, but the female stayed for around 30 minutes creating a scrape in the gravel.
After a couple of days without visiting the nest, the female spent a few minutes there at 09.25 this morning
Courtship display on the nest this morning
A pre-dawn visit
First visit by the pair for 3 days, just as I was focusing the camera. Coffee shop users had good views while enjoying their tea & cake!
All the action takes place on the bottom right of the video, where the male waits for the female's arrival to present her with a food offering – a woodcock or possibly snipe
This is what we've been waiting for. The female settled on the nest at 19.55 tonight and remained there until midnight. Can we expect the first egg in a few days.
The first egg appeared tonight, at 21.13. Expect the second in a couple of days. At this stage, she just covers the egg rather than incubating – that usually begins after the penultimate egg appears, that way all should hatch together.
A very personal moment. Second egg at 02.50 this morning.
Third egg at 13.02
4th egg at 04.32 today
Not much to report. The pair are incubating the four eggs, typically swapping duties five times in a 24-hour period, with the female taking the long nightime shift from around 6pm to 5am. Video below is of a changeover on 29 April. First hatching expected 10-12 May
Torrential rain, thunder and lightening late afternoon meant the male, who was incubating, had to sit tight. The female took over around 7pm then had to endure a hailstorm. We fitted a roof above the nest tray for the 2020 season after the disaster of 2019 when all five nestlings perished, due in part to foul weather.
We have three chicks. The first arrived at 20.03 yesterday, the second around 01.30 this morning and they had their first feed at 05.10. The third egg hatched at 08.50 and all three were fed at 10.25am
As the chick hatches, the female eats the shell for a calcium boost (above)
First, rather optimistic feed this morning (below)
The fourth chick finally emerged at 15.02 today, 54 hours behind the third.
A rare glimpse of all four chicks after a feed. The diminutive size of the last-born chick, in the foreground, is noticeable. It will quickly catch up however.
We think the fourth chick is probably a male and the others female, so he's having difficulty competing for food (males are 1/3 smaller than females when fully-grown). The adults are an experienced pair, so will know what they are doing. These runts have been known to make it to fledging even though they appear to get little in the way of feeds.
Below, one of the youngsters tries to work out what its wings are for.
The juveniles were ringed this morning under licence. Unfortunately, the youngest was too small to take a ring. It was well-fed, but just isn't developing, so its future is uncertain. The other three are thought to be females and their East Midlands rings are: VRF, VSF and VTF.
The size difference of the chicks can be compared in this photo.
Back of the queue in the pecking order! First of the juveniles left the nest tray this morning, just before this feed. It soon returned when dinner was served!
The last of the juveniles tumbled out of the nest tray at 09.58 this morning.
With the nest empty, sightings of the juveniles have been sporadic, but they are all being fed, and as this photo shows, they huddle together in this unseasonable wearther, watched over by one of the adults.
The adults raised the alarm this morning when a buzzard flew too close to the church. Both adults set off in pursuit and harried the larger bird who kept clear with a few aerobatics.
First sighting for 10 days of our 'little one'. Still with plenty of white down, but making progress.
The juveniles can now be regularly seen looking out through the crenellations around the walkway..
A compilation of three short videos from tha past couple of days – a juvenile regurgitates a pellet, typically a mix of bone and feathers; the four juveniles seen together, possibly for the last time as one fledged today; and a feed today, with our youngster getting involved.
The first of our juvenile peregrines (VTF) fledged around 7am this morning, but made it back to the walkway this evening.
Juvenile VRF fledged this evening, Currently on the nave roof.
A great photo by Steve Plant this morning confirms that VSF has fledged (right)...
...followed by a couple of bedroom digiscope shots this evening – VRF (left) and VSF (right). VTF, the first to fledge on the 20th, was seen flying strongly this evening, landing high on the spire. Just the youngster to go now.
All four juveniles together on the walkway, with VTF one of the pair feeding (which went on for about 15 minutes). All the juveniles have been active today, either in the air or on the walkway.
Our youngster 'fledged' this afternoon and was found grounded on the low wall facing Westgate. Attempts to encourage it to fly were fruitless, so it was caught by Chloe Drew, who works at the Seal Sanctuary, and together we returned it to the tower walkway, where it sat, scowling at us!
All four juveniles are out and about today, although the unringed youngster restricted its efforts to short flights. In this photo, It's resting on one of the pinnacles in the company of its larger sibling, VTF.
Well, the season is almost at it's end. We know three of the juveniles have fledged and are flying strongly, and our unringed youngster has defied all the odds and has also flown – perhaps not so strongly, but it's doing well. The nest tray will be removed at the end of next week, as will the cameras.
So, some statistics – in 9 years of nesting, our adults (possibly one male and two female) have produced 34 eggs, of which 33 hatched. 28 of these fledged and as far as we know, 25 have found new territories. Thanks to everyone who has supported the project, particularly the Church authorities, who have been so understanding and tolerated the birds' presence.
Final video from the camera, before its removal. Our youngster (lower right) flies confidently from the walkway. A happy end to the season.
A short video below, showing the enormous size of VSF compared to one of the other ringed juveniles.
A rare sighting of both adults early evening, along with three of the juveniles. The only one identified is our unringed youngster, who has grown to full size.
The birds are away for much of the day, but often return for a pre-roost shriek!
The male has been roosting for several nights recently and calling early morning. No sign of the female for a while.
After no sightings for a couple of weeks, the male flew in late afternoon yesterday and called thoughout the evening and into the night. No sign of the female yet.
The pair returned to the church this afternoon. She plucked prey above the bell chamber on the south side, while he watched from a nearby buttress gable.
At dusk, the male was calling from the spire, as the female circled the church.