Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Accidental fledge

Yesterday, 9:25:13 the third juvenile was sitting and preening on the wall in front of the nestbox:

Day 40, juvenile is sitting on ledge

Day 40, juvenile is preening on ledge

9:25:26 - Mum arrives with a pigeon:

Day 40, Mum arrives

9:25:27 - this spooks the juvenile who flies off:

Day 40, Mum arrives with a pigeon, the juvenile is spooked and flies off

9:25:28 - the juvenile has fledged, thanks Mum!

Day 40, the juvenile has fledged, accidentally, thanks Mum!

Mum then just looked on then dropped below with the pigeon before getting back on the wall and start eating. I unfortunately narrowly missed it live, it's only after not seeing the juvenile for a while that I checked the recording. Seeing how unconcerned Mum was gave me an indication that the juvenile was fine and I managed to find it pretty quickly and it looked indeed fine. It also was at a level not that much lower than the ledge, way higher than its brother, due to the fact that it was a lot more ready.

I saw it briefly today at 4:30 and then didn't locate it until just before the thunderstorm, almost all the way to the top, which was great to see. I wasn't sure though until after the thunderstorm when I managed to see the whole family at the same time.

the chicks and water

This is the start of the post I was writing last week when the drama started, I thought I should at least publish that part, with a small addendum.

They've been growing so fast I have found it quite hard to follow on this blog, my apologies. I hope most of you kept up to date with the photos I posted daily to the flickr alhum and the twitter updates, and now with the facebook page. In retrospect, I probably should have started the facebook page from the word go... I can hardly believe that one or more might have taken its first flight in 7 days time...

My last proper blog post related to Day 23, we are now on Day 36. What I thought was exceptional then has been repeated time and time again by 2 of the chicks (though I can't be sure it is always the same 2, but there always seems to be one a bit more wary of the water). Prior to this, we had been talking of ways of preventing standing water on the nest ledge for future nesting seasons, but I am now not so sure that it is desirable to get rid of it totally...

Day 29, having a bath

On Day 29
Day 31, 2 chicks in the water

On Day 31
Day 32, exercising in water

On Day 32
Day 35, having fun in the water again

On Day 35

You get the picture...

When it got so hot on Sunday, the remaining juvenile took to sit in the water for short periods, I presume to cool down:
Day 39, cooling down in the pool

Monday, 27 June 2011

Day 38, the second juvenile rescue

The second juvenile has been found and brought up to the roof where it has joined its sibling.

First, I also took a few photos with Dave's camera of the first one which he has kindly sent over and I thought I should share them with you first:

Day 36, grounded juvenile

The young female after Dave removed the box which had been put over her (to contain her but also to minimise stress) wasn't going to get caught without a fight, but Dave has the technique and he had her in hand in no time

Day 36, grounded juvenile is being 'hypnotised'

Day 36, thorough check-up

Once on the roof and out of the box, she wasn't to wait for no camera, she was out of there like a Jack-in-the-box!

Day 36, out of here, waiting for no camera

Now, to the second one. The immediate ground area had been checked on Thursday evening and Security had promised they'd keep an eye on their rounds, so on Friday I went up and down the building looking for vantage points to check all nearby lower roofs, the only result being that we knew where it wasn't but still not more enlightened as to its whereabouts.

On Saturday morning, as previous one, I saw the parents feed the one on the roof, the one on the ledge, then have a rest, so they were not feeding the other one locally. However, one of them could be gone for long periods so it was still possible that they were feeding it some distance away. I had called the local vets and no bird of that description had been reported or brought in. There was hope.

I had enlisted the help of Louis and he was updating me on what he had seen when the female suddenly started flying in circles in front of the building, a fairly typical behaviour when trying to entice a youngster to fly away. Louis rushed on his bicycle to see if he could spot the juv but had no luck. I similarly had no luck for the following hours.

I was updating Dave when we received a call from Security, the juvenile had just been reported. I immediately went to check it. It unfortunately was under windows and by now more people were massing to have a look at it and it was getting stressed, trying to fly into the wall rather than the outside. I also enquired if anyone had seen him being fed and no one had done, which fitted with my observations. We then decided with Dave that the course of action was to catch him and release him in the same place as his sister.

While waiting for Dave to arrive, I kept an eye on the juvenile though it was really hard to see even knowing where it was. I also phoned TOH to let him know I wouldn't be home to cook dinner and to order a pizza. After Dave arrived, we were escorted where the bird was, Security had been efficient and had already brought the box. Dave caught the juv, confirmed it looked in good shape and we started the trek up to the roof again. As I passed the box up to Dave on the ladder, I could feel the juvenile 'fight' inside the box and was glad I had chosen a pretty solid box.

Once out of the box, the little one didn't want to let go of the glove.

Day 38, the little one won't let go of the glove

Dave had to work his magic:

Day 38, trying to get the little one to let go of the glove

Day 38, trying to get the little one to let go of the glove

Day 38, the little one won't let go of the glove

Unlike his sister, he didn't move once freed, just staring at us:

Day 38, rescued juvenile has finally let go of the glove

As it happens, his sister was in the far corner, looking at us:
Day 38, his sister is looking at us from the corner

By the time we were out of the building, said our goodbyes, he had joined his sister in the corner :) I watched them for a few minutes and went home to eat that pizza, it was most welcome :)

You can also read Dave's account of the rescues, as well as that of another one elsewhere on his blog or his Parliament Peregrines blog.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Day 36, juvenile rescue

I was in the middle of writing a post about the chicks' development this afternoon when I received a phone call: "one of the chicks is in our courtyard". We were in the middle of preparing for fledging which I thought would not come until next week so this was taking us a little bit by surprise.

Reviewing the recording, at 14:09, the chick went to the right hand side of the ledge and leapt over the parapet. The courtyard where it was found was on the other side of the ledge so it must have managed some flying. The workers who found it managed to put a box over it and we waited for Dave to come over to check it and release it to the roof.

By the time Dave arrived, we had realised that a second chick had left, in exactly the same way, at 15:31. It has been looked for but not found yet.

Day 36, juvenile in a box

Dave got the box off the chick and gave it a good inspection. Verdict: a female, in good condition, but looking like 2/3 days from fledging. Very feisty and very strong, she didn't want to let go of the gloves when Dave put her in the box...

Day 36, Dave gives the juvenile the once over

Day 36, Dave gives the juvenile the once over

Day 36, Dave gives the juvenile the once over

Day 36, Dave gives the juvenile the once over

Day 36, Dave gives the juvenile the once over

As you can see, feathers fully developed, but still a bit of down at the base of the tail.
We brought her up all the way to the roof, above the nest ledge and quickly left.

Day 36, the juvenile is on the roof, out of the box

She quickly jumped onto that wall on her left and must have followed it around the building as I found her (at least I think it's her) above her parents a while later.

As I am typing this, the third chick is asleep in the nestbox, it must be feeling lonely...

Thursday, 16 June 2011

4 weeks old!

I can't believe the chicks are 4 weeks old and they have grown up so much since the 3rd week!
I couldn't find a shot with a chick in quite the right place, but I think the shot I chose in the end illustrate how much the wing feathers have come in just 7 days:

Comparison shot: the chicks at hatching and at 1,2,3 and 4 weeks old

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Day 23: aquatic adventures

Towards the end of the morning, Dad came to feed the chicks, though he looks a bit daunted by the prospect in this shot:

Day 23, Dad looks a bit daunted by its chicks

Day 23, Dad is feeding the young while Mum watches

Then, one chick started wandering:

Day 23, 1 youngster goes exploring

Then another:

Day 23, exploring fun

What they didn't realise was that it was going to rain, and quite hard, and they took refuge in a corner to shelter from the rain:

Day 23, it's wet out there, we're staying in the corner

Photo by Dave Morrison

One of the chicks braved the rain and came back to the nestbox about half an hour later, looking a bit bedraggled:
Day 23, a young explorer looking a bit wet...

2pm, and the second chick was still in the corner, but enjoying a spell of sunshine:

Day 23, young flat on ground in sunshine

It took food to finally drag it back to the box:

Day 23, food? shall I come back?

However, as soon as this one was back, another one decided to go and have fun in the puddle:

Day 23, having fun in the water

Day 23, having fun in the water

Day 23, having fun in the water

Day 23, having fun in the water

Day 23, having fun in the water

Day 23, having fun in the water

After 10 minutes, it decided to come and join Mum and the others back in the box, and made a rather undignified re-entry:

Day 23, undignified return

Anyone else seen this kind of behaviour before?

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Day 22: 3 weeks old

Hot on the heels of the 2 weeks comparison montage, I give you the 3 weeks one:

Comparison shot: the chicks at hatching and at 1,2 and 3 weeks old

The increase in size since the previous week is not that obvious in this shot, but the change in posture is, and there is some feathering around the face.

The trio, when not asleep, are a lot more mobile and adventurous. For the first time, at the beginning of this afternoon, they all went out exploring outside the nest box. Only one had done it sofar, for about 2 minutes yesterday evening.

Day 22: all 3 chicks are out of the nest box for the 1st time

Day 22: all 3 chicks are out of the nest box for the 1st time

Day 21, young explorer returns

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

2 weeks old

Apologies for the silence, we had developed a fault and couldn't connect to the cctv cameras for a while. The system was still recording images and I have spent some time looking at past footage once we were back and running, so I could update the weekly comparison montage.
I found a chick in almost the same spot as where they hatched. The light was unfortunately not at its best, but the growth is obvious.

Comparison shot: the chicks at hatching and 1 week later

What is also obvious is how messy the nest has become...