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

Names!

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

Exploring

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.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Thriving

The two chicks are nearly a week old, and seem to be thriving. Their parents are kept busy bringing food for them.


They are still a bit unsteady, as you can see from the synchronised dive near the end of this video!
(The third egg didn't hatch.)

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Growing fast!

The two chicks are growing very fast, indicating that they are feeding well.


The third egg is almost certainly not going to hatch now, but it is interesting to note that only a couple of days ago, both the chicks came out eggs that size!

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Two chicks

So far, two chicks have arrived and both appear to be doing fine. They are both taking food and are growing fast.


It looks like the third egg may not hatch, just like last year.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

An Announcement

Family Notice

Christopher Robin and Bella
are delighted to announce the arrival
of two peregrine falcon chicks

at Tewkesbury Abbey on 15th and 16th May.
 (The third egg may hatch in the next day or two.)


This is the moment that the second chick emerged exhausted from its egg, watched by its dad.

Both seem to be doing just fine, and the older chick is already begging for food, and eating what is offered.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Fame!

The Tewkesbury Abbey Peregrines have just been mentioned LIVE on Radio 3.

To hear it for yourself, go to :-
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00051dy

The interesting bit is 46 minutes into the program.

It will be available to listen for 30 days.

Thanks to Mike Smart and presenter Petrock Trewlany for this!

As of 5pm yesterday (May 14th), there were still 3 eggs and no chicks.

Watch this space for news.....

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Nearly there!

It's only a day or two now until the first egg is due to hatch!

The weather over the last day or two has been somewhat wet. Here is a soggy CR keeping the eggs warm and dry.


Sunday, 5 May 2019

Housework

Bella spent a few minutes tidying up the nesting tray before returning to her incubation duties!


(Sorry, there's no sound on this video for some reason.)

Friday, 3 May 2019

Just a few days to go!


The excitement is building as there are just a few days to go before the eggs are due to hatch.

Here is a clip of  CR handing over incubation duties to Bella.




Thursday, 18 April 2019

Incubation

Bella does the majority of the incubation, but she does have to leave the nest to feed, in which case CR takes over.


Here she is returning, and CR leaves the immediately so that she can take over again. 

On another occasion, he ignored her for 50 minutes before he gave in!

Sunday, 14 April 2019

And now it's three!

The third egg arrived sometime on Thursday night/Friday morning.


Here is CR bringing some breakfast to Bella.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Live video feed

Just like last year, I've set up a live video feed so that anybody in the churchyard to the east of the Abbey can watch the activity on the peregrine nesting tray. While the birds are sitting on the tray they are usually out of sight, so this is the only good way to see them.

(Note that the video is not available on the internet as there is no connection up the tower.)

Here are the setup instructions which have been tested on an Android phone and an iPad. Hopefully they will work for you too!

With an internet connection (eg at home), go to the Google Play store (Android) or the App Store (iPad). Search for and install the application called KViewPro.

Now standing in the churchyard between the Abbey and the Gander Lane car park where you can see the nesting tray, search for and connect to the WiFi network called “Falcons”. The password is “peregrine”.

Now run the KViewPro application, choose "config" (or "device") and create a new device and set it up as follows :-

Device Name = tower
Login Type = IP/DOMAIN
IP Address = 192.168.2.2
Media Port = 9000
User Name = guest
Password = peregrine

Then select channel 1 and maximise the screen to get the best picture.

A word of caution.
These are wild birds who catch and kill other birds for food. Therefore there may be scenes which some may find upsetting. There is also a fairly high mortality rate (60%) of peregrine chicks, and it is not certain that all the chicks which hatch will fledge.