Friday, 22 March 2019

Lots of activity!

If you were lucky enough to be visiting Tewkesbury Abbey today you will have heard and seen lots of peregrine activity!

What is really exciting is that there were THREE birds flying around, but my photographic skills didn't manage to get a picture with all three of them. Here is a photo of a male (CR? aka Christopher Robin, upper) and female (Bella?, lower).  They were putting on a great courtship display, sometimes holding talons in mid flight, spiralling towards the ground.

The third bird, who I only caught a brief glimpse of as he left a tree in the churchyard, had juvenile plumage with a lighter coloured front. It (I couldn't be sure if it was male or female) was being noisily chased off by the other two birds between their displays.

It is highly probably that this is Paddington, as I understand that a juvenile may come back to the place where it hatched at the beginning of the following season.

Afterwards, Bella sat on the tower while CR flew around and around defending his territory, keeping en eye out for intruders.

I have also heard on the grapevine that CR and Bella have been seen mating on the tower, so all is looking very promising indeed for the 2019 breeding season.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Bella visits the nesting tray

Bella has at last made a brief visit to the nesting tray.

She came back an hour later as well.

This time she flies away just as CR dives by. You can just see him in the top right part of the screen about 2 seconds after she flies off.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Keeping us guessing

Just as in previous years, Bella and CR are keeping us guessing! Will they or won't they breed?

The usual sequence of events is that in March, they are rarely seen, but that in mid April they start to appear on the nesting tray calling noisily to each other.

CR usually sits on the right hand edge of the tray, so this year, a new camera has been positioned to get a bird's eye view of where he lands.

In the absence of a peregrine, a pigeon kindly acted as a stand-in to test the motion detection function of the camera!

Monday, 25 February 2019

Bella in the sun

Bella was sitting on the west end of the Abbey today.

She was keeping watch for CR, who didn't seem to be around today...

Sunday, 17 February 2019

More sightings

There have been several more sightings recently.

Bella is on the tower and CR flies around (sometimes quite fast) trying to impress her! This is usually accompanied by lots of noisy screeching.

 Here she is sitting on the NW corner of the tower.

and here inside the NE pinnacle. I've never seen her sitting here before.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Welcome to the 2019 breeding season (hopefully!)

Things are starting to look promising!

Peregrines are not the quietest of birds, and several people have commented to me that they have heard lots of squawking coming from the direction of the Abbey.

I popped in tonight to see if I could hear or see anything. Only one (quiet) bird was visible right on top of the SE pinnacle, and from its size, I think that this is Bella.

The other feedback I have had has been about the talk which took place on the 19th of January. There have been lots of positive comments which has been very nice to hear. The evening raised some £300 for Tewkesbury Abbey, and also nearly £100 for the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group. Very many thanks to all who supported this event. Chances are that it will be repeated in a couple of years time.
The Tewkesbury Civic Society have already booked me for their meeting on January 9th 2020 to talk about the Abbey's Peregrines. Hopefully there will be something about the 2019 season to talk about!

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Peregrine Talk

On Saturday January 19th at 7.30pm there will be an illustrated talk in the Abbey's visitor centre. This will be a chance to learn all about peregrine falcons from the experts of the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group. 

You can also hear the story of Christopher Robin, Alice, Bella and Paddington at Tewkesbury. 

Tickets will be £5 and are on sale in the Abbey shop or at the door. 

An evening not to be missed!

Friday, 12 October 2018

Preparing for 2019

2018 was certainly an exciting year for Tewkesbury Abbey's peregrines.

Paddington hasn't been seen for quite a while, but there no reason to doubt that he's fully fledged and is looking for somewhere to over winter.

Meanwhile, Bella has been seen on the nesting tray which is a promising sign for 2019.

At some stage, the gravel will be replaced so that they have a nice clean nest for next year's breeding season.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Noisy Paddington

I'm not exactly sure what's going on here, and the views from the other cameras don't make things much clearer.

It looks like Paddington chases hid dad CR away, landing awkwardly on the tray. Then a few seconds later, mum Bella turns up and he flies off.

There's lots of noise as well - a type of call I can't remember hearing before.

Either way, it's really good to see that Paddington is alive and well and driving his parents up the wall!

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Paddington - an update

Since he fledged, getting any update on Paddington's progress has been difficult. I have often wondered if he's OK?

 Here is a somewhat rare visit to his birthplace as captured by the video camera.

Firstly, Bella is seen on the tray, and then Paddington appears, but only for a short time as Bella then returns. Paddington then flies off making lots of noise!

I think it's safe to say that he is doing just fine.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Glimpses of PDN

Although Paddington has left his nest, he has returned once or twice.

This visit was so brief, that the video has been slowed down 8 times!

Rather longer, and better controlled, was this visit which lasted some 4 minutes in all.

He seems to be doing well, but unless he visits the tray it is difficult to find out exactly what he's up to.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Visiting the nesting tray

The video camera is back and working again. I had to remove the recorder to trawl through hours of video to try to see when Paddington's first flight was.

Now that it's working, a few days ago it captured a visit from CR.

Here he is having a scrape in the gravel. A few minutes later, he brought in some food, but there was nobody there to feed it to, so he had it himself.

Next to visit was Bella....

And then, Paddington himself, taking some prey from CR!

However, since August 5th, neither bird has been seen by the camera.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Video analysis

Having viewed a week's worth of videos, I can confirm that Paddington's first attempt at flying was indeed the moment he left the tray on the morning of Saturday 28th July at 10:39am

The same day, both his parents have visited the tray with food for him.

There was also a brief visit from a pigeon, a live one that is, for the first time in months.

Because there was so much footage to view, I have had to remove the video recorder to download the video files. It takes about an hour to download each day's video from each camera. Anyway, I will put it back in the next day or so to see if there is anything else going on.

If anybody does see Paddington around the tower, please leave a comment below. Thanks.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Flying off

This is the moment Paddington flew off, only to have to be rescued!

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Paddington on tour

Paddington's had a very exciting day!

At 10:39 (this time has been confirmed from the video footage) this morning (Saturday 28th July), he flew off the tray. This was no accidental flight of fancy, but a deliberate and well planned flight. It didn't look like the first faltering flight, so maybe he has been off the tray before. I will go back over hours of video footage to check.

Anyway, this flight didn't end too well, leaving him stranded on the ground nearby. Some very kind person (I don't yet know who) managed to catch him and took him to the Vale Wildlife Centre at Beckford. This is where the ringing system really works well, as within a few minutes, the Gloucester Raptor Monitoring Group received a call to say he had been rescued. The GRMG arranged to collect him and bring him back to his home at Tewkesbury Abbey.

Having decided (the hard way - after climbing all the way up) that it was far too windy to let him out of his cardboard box in the top of the tower, we descended to a lower, safer, roof on the east side of the Abbey, just under his tray.

Here, the box was opened and we retreated.

By the time we got down the tower, Paddington was sitting on the parapet none the worse for his day out.

Many thanks to the person(s) who found him, and for doing the right thing. Also thanks to those at Vale Wildlife (click here) and the GRMG

Friday, 27 July 2018

Still here!

Well, Paddington hasn't left the tray yet....

... but if he carries on like this, it won't be long before he falls off!

He's lost 99% of his fluff and is looking just like a juvenile peregrine should do, having a tawny coloured underside with vertical blotchy streaks. He will have this plumage until he is about 10 months old when he will start to get his full adult feathers.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Not long before fledging?

Paddington is now growing so fast that it is difficult for camera 1 to do justice to him as it is so close!

Here is a clip from camera 2 - not the best viewing angle though.

Paddington's flapping is now rather vigorous and it probably won't be long before he either flies off the tray, or more likely falls off!

So, if you want to see him easily, then the next few days will probably be the last opportunity to have a good look at him on the tray. After he leaves the tray, then he should be visible around the Abbey while he is fed and taught to hunt by his parents. This means that the cameras will no longer be recording his day to day activities but I will try to keep the blog up to date with any sightings.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018


Paddington is rapidly losing his fluff and gaining lots of feathers!

He has also been practicing flapping his wings.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Hot hot hot

It's been rather hot again, and Bella has been trying to keep Paddington cool.

The problem is that he is now nearly as big as his mum, and there isn't much shade to sit in!

Friday, 13 July 2018

It's Paddington!

In the same way that his dad CR has a name taken from children's literature, Christopher Robin, PDN's name had to come from another famous character with the same letters.


The cryptic clue in the last post relates to the three letter code which Brunel's Great Western Railway used for its locomotive depot at Old Oak Common near to its London Paddington terminus.

By the way, the leg ring with these letters was chosen from a bag that the Gloucester Raptor Monitoring Group brought with them when he was ringed. It's just a coincidence that the three letters allowed for this name!

Anyway, Paddington is now 32 days old and as you can see is very active. His white fluffy down is receding, and as his feathers grow, he is starting to look more and more like a peregrine.

On a more serious note, it has been reported that a drone was seen flying near the Abbey tower last Friday, July 6th. Peregrine Falcons are a highly protected species, and it is an offence to fly a drone anywhere near an eyrie between 1st February and 1st September each year. Also, drones must never be flown within 50 metres of a person, vehicle or building not under the pilot's control.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Ringing PDN

It's been a week since PDN was ringed.

Here is Tim lowering himself down the tower.
(Thanks to Ann Ross for this video)

Here is some footage from the video camera of Tim picking up PDN....

and then PDN returning, none the worse for his encounter.

The unhatched egg was also removed.

Watch this space for the announcement about PDN's (unofficial) name!

Here is a cryptic clue....

(and it's not Edward.)

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

It's a boy!!

It's official - PDN is a male!

His name has yet to be chosen, but there are a couple of front runners. If you have any appropriate suggestions (and reasons if possible) please use the comment box below.

Monday, 2 July 2018

17 days old - time to be ringed

Today was a very important day!

The chick has been ringed, and now has an identity of its own.

This is the only way that its progress can be followed once it leaves the nest, and allows the peregrine population as a whole to be monitored.

The process was carried out by members of the Gloucester Raptor Monitor Group.

The first stage was for Tim to abseil down the outside of the tower. (Rather him than me!)

When he reached the nesting tray, Tim gently picked up the chick, and with it safely stowed inside a tightly bound rucksack, it was lowered to the roof below.

 Rob (the licensed ringer) was at hand to get it out of the bag.

 Next, he fitted a metal ring on its right leg...

 and a plastic one on the left leg.

This ring has larger and more visible writing allowing it to be read from a distance. After this, some measurements were taken and it was weighed.

Meet "PDN"!

We don't yet know whether PDN is male or female. This can be determined from the measurements and weight data and Rob will let us know in due course.

Once we do know, then PDN will of course need a real name. I do have a couple of ideas however, please feel free to make your suggestions in the comments link below!

Friday, 29 June 2018

Two weeks old

The chick is now two weeks old and as you can see has grown very quickly indeed. It is clearly getting plenty of food from its parents.

It is also much more mobile and can waddle around the tray quite happily. Here is is looking for some shade behind Bella.

Bella still does the majority of the brooding, and here is seen getting the chick to move closer, although the chick doesn't seem to think it needed to! This is the view from camera 3 - there is no sound.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Nine days old

At 9 days old, the chick is becoming more and more demanding!

As soon as food arrives, it begs to be fed. It has even tried pecking at the food itself.

The weather has been rather hot and Bella has (at times) been a really good parent and shields the chick from the sun.

At other times, she leaves it completely alone, and it just lies there in the full sun and pants to try to keep cool.