South West Peregrine

Cornwall & Devon Peregrine Falcon Study Group since 2007


Field Work

Ringing Project data updates

Other than the groups general survey work, the ongoing ringing project continues to deliver good data. This season, whilst lockdown may have prevented much of the work SWP would hope to have carried out in any normal year, there are still interesting observations that get uncovered.

One of our regular monitored sites, in Devon has had the same breeding Falcon since 2014, she was herself ringed at Cann Quarry (Plymouth) back in 2011 (Darvic BX Black on Yellow), she has bred successfully in all but one season , when the site was particularly prone to an amount of disturbance. This year, four eyassess were raised to fledging. In one of the first post lockdown visits, it was great to reconfirm the same breeding female; but there had been a change in the male, as he too was carrying a Darvic ring. This has since been captured, thanks to a local Raptor conservationist John Deakins, who has given permission to use the image that clearly shows the Male with Darvic JN (Black on Yellow)

Darvic JN (tiercel) and two of the four young – image courtesy J.Deakins

Moorland and Coastal sites are not always as easy to confirm ring ID’s as some of the Urban sites that have cameras monitoring the birds every movement. So it’s always good to get this information back, to feed into the growing data held and shared with the governing authorities.

This years breeding male (JN), is confirmed as a 2014 offspring coming from from the same site as the female (BX – 2011) both originate from the same breeding adult female at Cann Quarry . Both birds were ringed under licence at this popular site by Dale Jackson.

BX, with her previous mate back in 2015 – image courtesy G.Curno
BX in 2020 with her brood of 4 – image courtesy G.Curno
The mother of both BX and JN, a prolific breeder herself at Cann Quarry. Image courtesy Rich Edmondson

Difficult climb is worth the efforts

Wednesday the 1st of June 2016, saw the ringing team back on the clifftops of North Cornwall at a particular tricky coastal site. A first attempt to climb was aborted,due to some technical issues. After a very difficult climb, the second assault proved a major success. Three very healthy eyasses bagged up in spite of only one adult being present for the past two weeks. The young birds were now at 25 days of age, slightly older than the desired ringing age by a day or so, but due to the their location on a very large ledge it was not a problem for the experienced team. They were a  bit of challenge to handle and ring, however the team prevailed. All three healthy young Peregrines, were then returned safely to their ledge some 100  feet below the cliff top. The adult male was soon back to inspect the goings on and in due course feed the ravenous young.

SWP would like to thank Chris Adams for photographing the team and allowing us to use his images on this post.

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.

Passage Osprey and Red Kite on Local Patch

SWP Field worker Bob Bosisto managed to record two additions along with active Peregrine Eyries on his local patch in North Cornwall. Bob had spent the day on the coastline checking out traditional eyrie haunts and whilst recording data  for the BTO still found time to point the Camera skyward and capture two record shots of Osprey and Red kite. Red Kite are occasionally seen whilst out and about as numbers steadily increase, but the Osprey is great to see making it’s way northwards no doubt heading back to a breeding territory.

Red Kite Cornwall 15

We always laugh at what people are missing out on as they take in the stunning Cornish Views, always take time out of what you are doing and look skywards, you never know what you might spot.

Passage Osprey

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