Saturday, 21 November 2020

Two birds sighted!

 It's been difficult recently to get any photos of the peregrines from the video camera in the tower, however this morning I was lucky enough to be passing with my camera.

There are TWO peregrines in this photo - can you spot them?


In case you can't see them, here they are circled.

The female Bella is above on the lead drainage channel, and the male CR is at the bottom left on the stone ledge.


Sunday, 30 August 2020

A pair of peregrines

 Opportunities to see what the video camera has captured over the lockdown period have been very few and far between, but I did manage to recover the recorder this morning.

On reviewing the videos, it was nice to see that both Bella and CR were still very much in evidence and as you can see from this video clip, they are getting on just fine!

 Unfortunately, the sound isn't working, and the camera is too far back at the moment, cropping the top and bottom of the video. I need to get it properly set up again sometime...

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Not this year....

The adult birds are still incubating, but it's now too late for the single egg to hatch.

It's now around 40 days, and it should have hatched after 32 days or so.

Sadly it must be infertile, as were eggs in 2018 and 2019. 

So I'm afraid that there won't be any peregrine chicks this year.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Not long now

By my calculations, the egg should be hatching within a day or so.

Whilst on our cycle ride today, we were lucky to see a changeover of incubation duties with Bella leaving and CR starting his stint.

The above image is a screenshot on my phone from the live Wi-Fi video link.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

An update

Having obtained special permission to go up the tower last week, the Wi-Fi link from the live camera was reinstated.

Here is a screenshot of the video taken tonight on my phone.

If you want to watch the video yourself, the instructions are the same as last year.

Click HERE for details.

Having studied the video footage, there is just one egg being incubated and it is due to hatch sometime around 8th-10th May, ie shortly!

Tuesday, 21 April 2020


While CR was bathing in the evening sunshine...

... his mate Bella was on the cold side of the Abbey tower....


Friday, 27 March 2020

Lock-down up-dates

We may be on lock-down, but the peregrines are carrying on with their lives regardless!

Updates from the video camera in the tower will be very few and far between from now on, so the only pictures will be from the churchyard below.

Here is a lovely photo taken by Jay Banbrooke of CR in flight on the left and Bella standing on the top of the tower.

I will try to keep this page as up to date as possible, but in the circumstances this will be difficult.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

In case you were wondering....

How are our peregrines getting on so far in 2020?

Just fine!

I put some more gravel in the tray the other day, but they've already lost some of it overboard.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

An Evening with Iolo Williams

The GRMG have been fantastic in their support of the peregrines at Tewkesbury Abbey.

They are organising this event on February 19th at Cheltenham Town Hall.
Please support them too!

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Happy Christmas!

I've put a bit of gravel on the tray to make the peregrines feel at home for Christmas!

It will need topping up with some more gravel once the birds have stopped throwing it over the edge!

It's a bit early for a proper courtship display, but this shows that they are getting on well together.

Everything is looking good for the 2020 breeding season.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Where's all the gravel gone?

Peregrines don't make a nest like many birds. They simply make a scrape in whatever material there is.

To this end, I put some gravel (actually smooth sided shingle from a local garden centre) in the tray. 

Last year's spent gravel was removed some months ago, but I haven't replenished it as we were hoping to replace this old wooden tray. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control, the new tray will have to wait for another year.

Here is the male Christopher Robin (CR) wondering where the gravel has gone!

Don't worry, it will all be back in a few days!

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Midwinter courtship

This is usually a very quiet time of the year for the peregrines, so it was really great to see both birds on the nesting tray displaying to each other.

Plans to replace this old tray in time for the 2020 breeding season have had to be postponed. This means that the tray will now need servicing and new gravel added. Hopefully this will be done over the next few weeks.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

A busy few days!

After a few very quiet weeks, the last few days have suddenly seen a good variety of birds visiting the nesting tray.

Here is a Great Tit...

...and a Pied Wagtail.

And here is a special visitor...
A Black Redstart.

This is quite a rare bird, with only about 400 birds in the country, according to the RSPB web site. It's not the first time one has been seen at the Abbey at this time of the year, but it is a privilege to see such a lovely little bird feeding on insects on the tray.

And the Abbey's peregrines are still in evidence too. Here is Bellatrix, the female.

Let's hope she doesn't get to see the Black Redstart....!

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Still around

Both peregrines are around, which at this time of year is a really good sign for next year's breeding season.

Here is a clip of the female Bellatrix landing on the nesting tray, calling to the male CR who is out of sight to the camera.

The reason there isn't any gravel in the tray is that we are (hopefully) going to replace it before the breeding season gets under way. If it doesn't happen this year, then it will definitely happen next!

This is going to cost around £500 in total. Details of how to contribute will be published shortly. Watch this space!

Sunday, 18 August 2019

A brief visit

Bella made a brief visit to the nesting tray, but another peregrine was nearby as you can hear in the background of this video clip. Whether this was CR or Matilda, it's not possible to tell.

Apart from this, there has not been any peregrines seen by the camera for weeks.

The nesting tray itself was originally put up (temporarily) in 2012 in order to manage the single bird (CR) who was regularly seen on the Abbey tower. The idea was that if he ever attracted a mate, then this was the place they might choose to lay eggs. If they had chosen the tower roof, then this would mean that it would be legally out of bounds for 3 months or so. We now know that the tray was successful and that two chicks have successfully fledged.

However, the tray is now showing signs of deterioration, and needs replacing this winter. Plans are being put together to make a new tray which will be better constructed and slightly larger. As our birds get more experienced at breeding, they are likely to produce more eggs, maybe up to four. If four eggs do hatch and they are all females then the old tray is going to be far too small!

This new tray is going to cost a few hundred pounds, and although some funds have already been promised, we will shortly have to pass the (virtual) cap around.

So please watch this space for ways to contribute to the continuation of the story of Tewkesbury Abbey's Peregrines. It's amazing what crowd funding can achieve!

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Hello Matilda!

Matilda is back, briefly!

She made a brief  (10 minute) visit to her birthplace on Saturday 6th July.

It's really great to know that she's doing really well.

You will notice that the tray has been cleaned out of all the debris which had accumulated over the last few months.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Off you go Matilda!

Matilda has now fledged the nest!

The moment of departure on Tuesday 25th was missed by the main camera which is at the wrong angle, however the other camera did manage to capture it.

This was no accidental departure, indeed it was a purposeful and strong flight and from what I can tell, she was more successful than Paddington was last year who needed rescuing!

By the squawking I heard last night, I think she is somewhere on the Abbey where her parents will bring her food while they teach her how to hunt on her own.

From now on, I suspect that she will be rarely seen by the camera, and I have now turned the WiFi link off as a result.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

A photo of Matilda

Matilda is now 5 weeks old.

She has been feeding herself with food brought by her parents, although she prefers to be fed as it's much easier!

She has also been flapping her wings vigorously and will probably fledge (or fall out) of the nest in the next week or so.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Sad news

Sad news I'm afraid.

The male chick Max died sometime on Friday night for some unknown reason.

The female Matilda still appears to be doing well and ought to fledge sometime in the next couple of weeks or so all being well.

Peregrines do suffer from a fairly high mortality rate, and unfortunately one out of three is about what is expected.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Getting really active

As they grow, the chicks are becoming quite a handful, especially Matilda!

Here is Bellatrix arriving with some prey, which is immediately stolen by Matilda while Max complains to his mum that his sister wasn't sharing it.

Actually, Matilda is displaying typical "mantling" behaviour, shielding it for herself. 

After this, Bellatrix took another minute or more, running from one side of the tray to the other, in order to be able to dish it out to them both!

You can see the longer version of this video HERE.

Sunday, 9 June 2019


The Young Friends of Tewkesbury Abbey were asked to come up with a list of male and female names for the two chicks. From the lists, we have chosen Max for the male and Matilda for the female.

 Here they are sunning themselves and watching the world go by...

As for the new female, we will call her Bellatrix, as we were tricked into thinking she was still Bella! (This will probably be shortened to Bella anyway.)

Monday, 3 June 2019

Ringing time!

Today was the day for ringing the two chicks. The ringing was done by the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group, and peregrine expert Ed Drewitt.

When Ed first arrived, he looked at the female peregrine sitting comfortably on the tower and observed that this bird still had some of its juvenile plumage, meaning that it was only into its second year of age. This means that this can not be the same female as we had last year, in other words this is NOT Bella!

Bella mk2..?

When the abseilers reached the tower roof, however, she flew off complaining loudly as she circled the tower.

 When Tim had lowered himself to the level of the nesting tray, he put the two chicks (and the unhatched egg) in his bag...

 ... which he lowered to the roof.

 With the chicks safely down, they were taken inside the tower where Ed had set up his table ready to process them.

 The two chicks were laid out side by side on the table, and it was clear to see that the one on the left was indeed larger than the one one the right.

 Firstly, some measurements were taken, including leg diameter and length, as well as that from the back of the head to the tip of the beak. After studying the vital statistics, Ed said that this indicated that the larger chick was a female, and the smaller one was male.

 Then, each chick was given a ring on its leg, the female being "PAR" and the male "PBR"

After this, they were returned to the nesting tray, where Tim took their photo.

Within 15 minutes of them being left alone once more, the (new) female returned to the tower and sat on the tray, no longer showing any concern for her offspring.

The Tewkesbury Abbey Young Friends have been asked to choose the names of the chicks, so watch this space for their (official) names. We will also need a name for the new female!

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Doing very well

The two chicks are really growing, and one in particular does now seem larger than the other. Chances are that we have one male and one female, the females being larger than the males.

In this video, the larger one is nearer the camera.

Between feeds, they usually lounge about or sleep, and now that they are larger, the parents are no longer able to brood them both, so often perch on the side of the tray keeping an eye on them.

Ringing is due to take place in the next few days, during which measurements will be taken to try to work out whether they are male or female.

Monday, 27 May 2019


The two chicks are growing well, and one of them does now seem to be a little larger than the other. This could mean that it is a female.

While Bella broods the smaller chick, the larger one is starting to explore its surroundings.

Here it is enjoying a bit of early morning sunshine and having a bit of a preen.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

One week old already!

The two chicks are already one week old and they have certainly grown very fast!

It looks like the chick nearer to the camera is getting most of the food in this clip, but the other one gets plenty to eat afterwards.

The parents have also stopped incubating the infertile third egg.