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South West Peregrine

Cornwall & Devon Peregrine Falcon Study Group since 2007

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Peregine

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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‘Junior’ and the new chicks

So the chicks at Cann Quarry (Plym-Peregrines) are now one week old; they will  of course be reliant upon their parents to provide food, shelter and protection for the next month whilst they are in the old Raven stick nest, a home they must occupy until they are ready to take that first leap of faith and find their wings.

They will remain dependant and will be continued to be fed over those next few weeks; then as they gain confidence they will be encouraged to try a food pass high above the quarry; once mastered they will accompany a parent or both parents on hunting forays up or down the valley until finally they will take live prey, having watched and learnt the skills needed for that next big step, independence.

Yet these three young eyasses will also have one other challenge to contend with; and for once that threat is not man. It is older sibling brother by a year, ‘Junior‘ (HA, darvic ring Id) as he has been ‘tagged’ by the watchers. On the morning of Sunday the 25th May we watched the adult tiercel fly up the valley from Plymbridge, he carried with him a morning meal, a male blackbird from the looks through our binoculars. He headed to a favourite branch high in the oaks to the west of the viaduct, the opposite side to the stick nest containing the three chicks and the Falcon. just above the adult tiercel at two o’clock sat Junior.

The next ten minutes passed and then a call across the valley to let her know a meal was about to be delivered. As soon as he took flight he was hotly pursued by the young tiercel and by the time they were both overhead he had managed to grab this meal for himself and head to the south oaks of the quarry were it was devoured. The adult tiercel sat above him. The Falcon on seeing this left the nest immediately and after checking 3 caches on the quarry face, returned to feed the three hungry chicks, all now clearly visible in their fluffy down, as they were each fed in turn meticulously by their mother. The meal lasted 20 minutes and was uninterrupted as Junior was still occupied and looking magnificent. We asked the question, ‘Are these new tactics being employed by the parents to ensure meal time passes without fuss?’

Just a little later in the morning as she sat and brooded the young, a small flock of pigeons flew up the valley hugging the high tree-line; they were spotted immediately by the Falcon who left the stick nest and flew hard up the valley on the river side in pursuit. Her flight path was low,following the river, ensuring she remained undetected by the cover of the trees as she left our sight.

We speculated she was after them and how she may try and intercept the unsuspecting prey further up the valley at the next viaduct. We cannot be sure, but this was the probable conclusion to the fate of one unlucky pigeon as within 2 minutes she had returned to a favoured pluming ledge, where after only a few minutes her only issue was that once again Junior felt a little hungry. Sit back and enjoy the morning watch of 3 hours condensed into 4 minutes of YouTube time. Watch and witness for yourselves just some of the amazing scenes we are being treated to on an almost daily basis now.

 

 

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