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South West Peregrine

Cornwall & Devon Peregrine Falcon Study Group since 2007

Month

August 2015

The Ledge

A short film put together from numerous Trail Cam clips on a pluming ledge and cache used by an adult breeding pair of Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus). It was the groups first time using this kind of technology to aid our fieldwork and studies, therefore we are pleased with the results and the capabilities of the device. It is no doubt a useful tool.

In this short ‘Winter’ study we have managed not only to capture both adult birds utilising the cache, but it shows the Tiercel (male) was at times reluctant to share the spoils with his mate. The powerful neck muscles in the Falcon (female) are clearly visible in the clip and some interesting vocalisations are also picked up.

Clear evidence of nocturnal activities with the birds visiting the cache not only in dusk and dawn but also during the small hours as well were recorded. We did not pick up prey being delivered at this time, but it is an indication that birds are still active in these remote and unlit areas; on the lookout for nocturnal migrants such as Woodcock aided only by moonlight. These are regular prey species as recorded in the study by Nick Dixon and Ed Drewitt at Exeter (St.Michaels), the longest running Urban collection of prey samples.

The camera itself was hidden inside of a fake rock, so it was less obtrusive to the birds. In the first couple of frames it does appear that the birds are aware of the device, but they quickly became use to its presence and in some night shots it would appear they were even sat on top of the rock.

Field studies like this will hopefully lead us to a better understanding of prey taken at different sites, as well as the interaction between the adult pairs. It may throw up other interesting factors, such as intruding birds, the ability to pick up tagged birds or as in our case small mammals also feeding on the prey remains (below – image only).

Screenshot 2015-08-29 at 15.51.36

This was shot using the Bushnell HD Trail Cam, supplied by HandyKam of Redruth, Cornwall.

Birdfair 2015

The Annual Birdfair at Egleton, Rutland Water Nature Reserve has come and gone once more. The largest Nature event on the planet often described as the Birdwatchers Glastonbury is a very special place to be amongst like minded people from all over the globe.

HANDYKAM

This is the second year South West Peregrine have been able to showcase and share some of the field study and research work that the group has been up to. Sharing this work with other similar groups and the general public is core to the group’s philosophy and this year was no exception.

Much interest was generated last year, with the South Devon birds that reared and fledged 3 Herring gull chicks, this year we had our work cut out to find anything on that scale. However, we did bring the events from a ledge showing interacting behaviours between adult birds as the pair bonding grows stronger in the months leading up to the breeding season. This also included some wonderful close up shots of both birds; along with night time shots where the birds have visited the ledge in near pitch darkness in search of a meal.

NIGHTSHOTWe were able to display the events of ringing young eyasses on the ledge at numerous Cornish Eyries,thanks to Dale Jackson’s head Cam footage from earlier in the year. Some people said watching this was indeed quite different to Urban peregrines and just watching the climbs made them feel a little queasy.

Dale

We had an exclusive update on the Co-operative attacks on Buteo buteo by the #Urban Peregrines of Exeter thanks to Co-authors Nick Dixon and Andrew Gibbs and with the kind permission of Devon Birds, with the publication only being released the week prior to Birdfair. Many Peregrine people stopped by to read the latest events of this aggressive falcon.

Exeter May 15_078

The group had produced two short videos for the Hawk and Owl Trust, one in support of the Adopt a Box scheme, where we had sited a Kestrel box in the Cornish Countryside and look forward to the results and opportunities to learn more about this smaller falcon species over the coming years. The second was a Short video shot by Luke Curno on the Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) both of which were well received by the large number of visitors to the stand.

YOUNG BUZZARD

Thanks must firstly be given to the Hawk and Owl Trust for their continued support to ‘South West Peregrine’ and once again giving us the opportunity to share our work with the general public.

We would like to thank Mike Nash and the team at Handykam for their help on a number of small projects this year, without whom we would be unable to keep up to date with some of the latest technologies available.

Thanks to Dave Scott who has supported our work over the past few years and of which one of his fabulous limited edition signed prints was the raffle prize this year, which helps to raise funds to keep us out in the field.

If you have not yet experienced Birdfair it must go on your list. A social gathering of Naturalist and Birdwatchers, with something for every age group. A year to go to Birdfair 28 – we look forward to being there once again.Pair

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