Saturday, 30 July 2011


A quick post to share a succession of photos I took this morning of #1.

Even at this age, they have perfected the Falcon Stare.
The Falcon Stare

Nothing beats a good stretch...

#1 stretches

#1 stretches

#1 stretches

#1 stretches

#1 stretches

#1 stretches

#1 stretches

Of the things that tell me it was #1 is the feather(s) at the centre of the tail, which look like a dark line when it flies, and also the lighter line above its eye.

Monday, 25 July 2011

On a sunny Sunday afternoon

The weather lately had not been great and had prevented me from doing longish sessions watching the family, so I settled on Sunday afternoon in the hope of some action.
I initially only found juveniles #2 and #3 perched and not doing much apart from some preening.  Then I noticed a peregrine coming round the building with prey in its talons and could see when I got my binoculars on it that it was one of the adults. It turned out to be the adult female, Charlie, with a Moorhen. Moorhens are not quite as much a favourite as the Parakeets are (apart from pigeons obviously) but do figure quite a bit on the menu of this pair.

Mum arrives with a Moorhen

Not really any doubt, is there?

I heard screaming and noticed #3 had left her perch:

#3 arrives screaming

and proceeded to steal Mum's prey from her:

Mum, I want this!

Mum, I will have this!


(a poor attempt at digiscoping, but still, pretty clear as to the prey ID).

She then started to eat it:
Err... what do I do with this now?

but, after about 5 minutes, managed to drop it... She immediately dived after it, caught it around the 5th floor and took it to the roof of a smaller building nearby. Then the Crows and Magpies noticed her and started congregating in a tree which was just overlooking that building and for a few minutes I feared the worst. But, no, after a few minutes, the Crows and Magpies got bored and left one by one, preferring chasing each other instead. Phew... I couldn't see her eat the prey while on that roof, but from the plume of feathers and down coming over I have no doubt she was busy on it.
A little while later, #1 completed the trio, and started food-begging, relentlessly, totally ignored by Dad above.

Lastly, I have been meaning to mention this on the last few posts but realised every time afterwards that I had missed it.  On the day after we had rescued the second juvenile, I was at the Wetland Centre to record their second podcast. As I had not expected fledging to happen until after the podcast, I had actually wondered if it was really worth it... More fool me!  On the podcast, as well as the peregrines drama, you can also hear about the wildlife at the Centre, in particular the sand martins, as well as a nature film maker on how he started filming wildlife
You can listen to it on the Wetland Centre's website or iTunes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Happy birthday!

Just a quick post to say it was only 2 months ago today that 2 of the juveniles hatched and looked like this:

11:48 first feed

Now, at least one of them is as big as Mum: #3. I do see a lot of Charlie in her, it's a feeling quite difficult to explain, especially as juvenile plumage is quite different to the adult one, but I just do...

The juveniles have now been properly flying for about 2 weeks but there are still the occasional mishaps. For example this evening, #1 dived after a pigeon almost to the ground and found it really hard to gain height again, probably because there was little wind. She did 2 of the things I thought juveniles might do at this site in this situation and managed to get back up in 3 stages, first landing about a third of the way up, then having a breather two thirds up. The last third was made easier by Mum bringing some food ;) which her sister promptly appropriated for herself.

Once again, I didn't see #2 this evening. I am considering calling him Wally as I am playing this "where's Wally?" game a lot as far as he is concerned. I didn't find him for 2 days last week whereas his 2 sisters were not that hard to find most of the time.

Tomorrow evening will be the third one's birthday, hopefully I'll get to see the 3 of them at some point...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Fledge report

My apologies for the lack of report here since 28th June as I was spending a great deal of my time out there monitoring the family. I was however doing regular updates on twitter and facebook.
I am very happy to report that we have had no more major drama, only one juvenile who ended up in a spot where it shouldn't have and had to be given a helping hand to get out of.
At the time of last posting, the 3rd juvenile had almost made it to the top and the other 2 were still on the level where they had been released. That evening, I found these 2 at a slightly lower level and the next morning, one of them, I think the young male, had joined it and they stayed there together for the next day or so while the other one was already seen flying and landing usually pretty well. Some of those landings were not perfect though, in particular all the attempts I saw when it was trying to join its siblings were unsuccessful.
At last, on 30th June, for the first time after 7 days, all 3 were reunited on the same level, the one where the first 2 had been released.

Mum feeds the juveniles as the sun is rising

The next day, people were coming to see the family and at first the juveniles were pretty elusive. When they go into the 'pancake' position to sleep, they can be pretty hard to spot... But, finally, we managed to find all 3 together, and just as they were about to leave, 2 of them took to the air, immediately accompanied by the parents. Landings were still cautious, but good, it was very nice to see.

Over the following week, all 3 juveniles have been gaining in confidence, both in their flying ability and in their landings.  I have seen them play tag with each other, then take food parcels from their parents. This morning I even witnessed 1 of them go and snatch part of a prey which the male had thought he could keep to himself by bringing it to his perch, which up to now had been pretty much out of reach for the youngsters.  After all, it had worked the day before when he brought a starling.  But not with this one, it was a bit of a fight but the youngster got it in the end and went to eat it on the nest ledge. The prey was another parakeet btw...

This was the same juvenile I saw a few days before dive bomb from the nest ledge to a fairly low level where I lost it behind roofs to find it behind me on a discovery tour of the neighbourhood.  This one is fairly easy to recognise because the top of its head is much lighter than its siblings (one of the others' head is very dark in comparison) with lighter lines above the eyes and I do think it is the first one rescued, the feisty female. It certainly fits with the character it is exhibiting now.

The weather was pretty dry for a while and the puddle on the nest ledge had dried out.  Almost immediately after we'd had some rain and the puddle had reformed, 2 of the juveniles took turn to go and have a bath :) Since them, I have seen at least one of them do the same every day, they pop back up on the side of the nest ledge with their feathers slightly wet and preen for a while. Luxury accommodation indeed, with private en suite bathroom ;)