CPP blog- Thursday 25/05/2023
Updated: May 26
00.00 after an exciting day, VXN and VZN asleep, this time in the left hand corner of the box. A little bit of fidgeting, the occasional stretch of a wing.
00.30 one decides to preen, other quite happy to sleep on.
01.14 VXN preening, you can just make out the leg ring, but even without that, after watching them for a while the faces and plumage are still quite different at the moment.
02.15 both awake and shuffling around.
04.28 getting lighter and both chicks have a shuffle, one squirts and then they settle again.
04.42 mum (still with chick poop on her tail) brings in well plucked and unrecognisable breakfast. Both chicks feeding well. You can clearly see the leg rings as they stand, the silver BTO ring shining beautifully. VXN tries to help herself but mum soon sends some her way.
04.56 all gone so mum departs, flying from the front of the box and launching over Cromer. The chicks move back into the left corner, standing for a while then plopped down for a snooze.
05.36 dad comes in with juvenile blackbird? Looks around to check falcon isn’t behind him then starts to feed the chicks.
05.38 he spots falcon, turns quickly to leave with the food, thinks better of it, drops the food at her feet and makes a speedy exit. Female continues to feed for a couple of minutes but the chicks aren’t really interested. She exits at 5.39.
08.39 dad brings small dark coloured bird in, quickly followed by female. He spins round, keeps hold of the food and leaves very hastily leaving the female looking gobsmacked and the chicks quite bemused. After a bit of calling the chicks go back initially the corner, still calling but then decide the front of the box with mum looks more appealing.
08.43 as mum leaves the box, dad comes in, presumably with same bird he brought in previously. He departs very quickly as mum comes back. The chicks can both be seen pecking away at it, but still happy to let mum feed them. Somehow, the chicks look much bigger today. Whether it’s just that we saw the ringing photos yesterday that showed them compared to hands, or whether it’s just that they are now standing more and getting braver near the front of the box and look bigger as closer to the camera.
08.52 feed just about complete, not a lot left, mum finishes off the last leg and foot. She then leaves for a bit of peace and quite and probably to have a proper feed herself.
08.56 chicks now resting in the left corner, beaks in and snuggled close to each other.
10.56 feed 4 another starling brought in by dad. Again, when mum arrived he tried to get out the box carrying the prey but dropped it and ran.
0948hrs one of the adults is very near the top of the SE pinnacle. It’s cool, breezy & a little overcast here in Cromer this morning.
0952 hrs the adult has gone. Just waiting on the museum to open so I can get the watchpoint set up. Not many folk about yet.
0953 hrs and the adult is back, this time facing the watchpoint area.
0955 hrs the chicks are asleep in the NW corner of the nestbox, no adult with them at this time
1006 hrs the watchpoint is open. The adult. It’s has left the pinnacle.
1007 hrs the male is now the SE pinnacle
1010 hrs male on 2nd crocket down on SE pinnacle
1023 hrs the male flew NE, still no sign of the female yet
1024 hrs the male reappeared and make a half hearted attempt to catch a pigeon and he returned to the SE pinnacle
1028 hrs the male has flown
1045 hrs we have an intruder - a female sparrow-hawk
1046 hrs male returns to SW gargoyle “plucking station” with a male starling
Shortly after he flew out of sight and …
1057 hrs male is now on West side Fleur De Lis he no longer has the prey.
1058 hrs the female has appeared and is feeding the chicks, presumably the prey the male had? No-one saw her appear, first sighting of her today.
1100 hrs the male is back on the SE pinnacle
1106 hrs the feed is ongoing
1108 hrs the female appears, takes a short flight around the tower before landing on the NE pinnacle
1111 hrs the female relocates to the bottom of the SE pinnacle. Both birds now on same pinnacle in view of WP
1140 hrs female flew
1226 hrs the male is still on his perch on the SE pinnacle
1314 hrs hrs still there!
Yesterday, I had the great privilege to be a witness to the ringing of the chicks, which was led by Phil Littler, the official ringer, assisted by Zoe in the handling of the chicks. Photography was handled by Chris with assistance from Rachel, and Julia, John and I were on hand as witnesses to the procedure. We wound our way up the steps of the tower, emerging into bright sunshine to the sound of the Falcon circling overhead, giving almost continuous alarm calls. I think that Chris had taken a quick picture of the chicks in the platform, before Phil approached with bags to collect them. The first chick was relatively quiet as it was weighed, but then gave some angry calls as Phil gently extracted first one leg to attach the BTO metal ring, then the other leg for the orange Darvic identifier ring. This was followed by a wing measurement and a mouth swab for DNA purposes. Having suffered all that indignity, the chick now known as VXN was given the opportunity to have photos taken It wasn’t terribly amused, I have to say, and it was shedding down in a cloud that floated around like dandelion seed! Then the process was repeated with the second, larger and seemingly angrier chick. It’s calls seemed to make the Falcon more agitated, and she swooped low over the pinnacles, looking at one point as if she might land at the top to continue to harangue us intruders. Eventually, after its own photo opportunity, the chick now known as VZN was put back in its bag to calm it down, and Phil gently returned them to the platform, where they immediately went into a huddle in the corner. The fun was over for us, so it was just a case of negotiating the steps back down, to leave the peregrines to recover from our intrusion.
And so to today:-
12:56 The two chicks are currently huddled together in the back left corner of the platform, a spot which they went to after the ringing yesterday. There is some sun, although it is also quite breezy on the roof. One of the two is complaining in a squeaky voice, while the other is preening vigorously
13:00 The chick nearest the corner has been preening for a few minutes, then stands and stretches its wings in the confined space. Almost immediately the other chick stands and gives us a view of both rings. This chick heads out for a walk across the platform, joined by its sibling, who also indulges in some energetic wing flapping.
13:04 Both chicks stand looking skyward for a moment, before one sits back on the gravel for some preening. Unfortunately, in that position, the orange leg ring is covered by fluff, so cannot be read at this point. The other chick remains standing, and continues with preening activity.
13:08 The chick to the rear has almost run across the platform, and begins some stone work, before moving back into the corner with more wing flapping, which has real energy about it today.
13:09 Both chicks stare up and to their left, which suggests that one of the parents is perched up that way. One begins some more serious calling for a few seconds, but then falls quiet.
13:14 The standing chick must be giving itself neckache, standing and staring up to its left! It is temporarily distracted by its sibling slumping against its side in a huddle, but that only lasts a few seconds before that chick is up again.
13:16 Both chicks have apparently found a scrap to pick at on the gravel, although one seems to be picking at one of its talons too!
13:24 Both chicks are suddenly on their feet and calling loudly, staring off to their left again. 1324 hrs the female suddenly reappears does a couple of laps of the tower before settling on the South side Fleur De Lis
They both start to move forward, then stand and look, with one of them giving squeaks again.
13:28 One of the chicks, stands and stretches, then leans forward with wings raised, which leads to a comedy stumble almost onto its face. It then turns to the rear and sits beside the other chick. It finds a scraggy remnant and wrestles with it for a few seconds, flapping its wings and disturbing the other chick.
Sadly a bit difficult to get a clear view behind the other chick.
13:45 There was what sounded like a single call from one of the adults, maybe nearby. It didn’t disturb the chicks, who were laying (or should that be lying?) side by side and nose to tail at that point.
13:55 One of the chicks begins a series of more adult sounding calls, so maybe the previous call was from this chick.
13:56 They sit like a pair of sentinels.
14:00 One chick has come to lie in the sun while the other preens partly in the shade. They both look up suddenly, but no calls ensue.
14:07 The smaller chick has a gape for a second, while the other preens, but then they both start to watch intently. One of the adults flies by quite close, and now there is some squeaking and calling mixed from the larger one, who is also looking steeply upward from its prone position.
14:10 A shadow falls on the platform as VZN stands calling loudly. Whichever parent is sitting up there is casting its shadow directly onto VZN, but makes no other move.
14:13 Both chicks continue their squeaking calls, but to no avail. The sun goes behind a cloud and the parent has gone.
14:15 Some calls from VZN, which seems the more active of the two at the moment, and these are echoed by a parent out of view. VZN stands facing South West at the moment, head obscured by the inset screen.
14:19 VZN continues to call, then the Falcon arrives on platform, but without food. Both chicks are in chorus, and after a few moments VZN goes into the back right corner, still calling. There are some calls from the Tiercel off screen somewhere, but no delivery yet.
14:22 The Falcon moves forward as the smaller chick (VXN) starts to take an interest in mother’s tail feathers! The two chicks sit on their haunches, focussed on something in the air. The Falcon moves off to the front, South West corner of the platform.
14:26 The Falcon took off from the edge of the platform and straight off the roof to the South, leaving the chicks sat in the sun. There are more calls from an adult off screen, and the chicks stare out, sometimes up towards the top of a pinnacle maybe?
14:29 One of the chicks, which does seem to stand properly upright more often than the younger one, moves rapidly across to our left of screen and stands for a moment before …
14:31 The Falcon lands on the roof ridge, and walks up to the platform. She stands for some seconds looking around at the chicks, before moving off to right of our view, and back up onto a rail, judging by the direction of the chicks’ view.
14:34 The chicks have collapsed in a heap together, with VXN’s ring clearly on view.
14:44 VXN sits up and begins to call quite loudly for some seconds, then slumps back to the gravel with its tail more or less toward the camera.
15:00 This session ends with the two chicks prone together in the middle of the platform, tails in the sun.
15.00 Two sleeping Peregrine chicks very calming,
15.22 chicks are now waking up and preening, adult feathers are coming through
15.26 adult calling, not visible
15.38 some wing stretching by the slightly larger chick, lots of preening
15.44 Adult calling again, but not coming onto scrape, one of the chicks is alert, hoping for a feed no doubt
15.50 very loud calling by an adult, but no sign of it inside
15.55 lots of wing exercise by the larger chick
15.59 Wing exercise smaller chick
16.00 Juvs alone. One standing up looking as the other standing up and flapping wings. Now both screeching loudly and looking out of box. Smaller one behind other
16.04. Front one looking up . Still screeching .Tag visible on front one.
16.07 Not much let up on the screeching . Front one still alert and fully standing and looking out.
16.09 one at front decides to sit. Giving its legs a rest?. 16.11 Screeching quietened down for a bit
16.12 starts again. Front one a little bit of preening then walks to the edge of the box.
16.14 Smaller one joins it. Still screeching.
6.15 bigger one walks around a bit then faces the corner of the box then turns round and walks back and has a preen while standing up
16.18 both preening and looking out.
16.21 As above. Seem to be enjoying the sun streaming in.
16.22 very loud screeching for a few seconds. Continue to be in the same spot at the front of the box.
16.23 smaller one now rather fidgety. Bigger one facing into back of box and now comes nearer front of box. 16.26
16. 27 Sitting looking out now. Both sitting and looking out with some preening still going on.
16.29 bigger one having a rest.
16.34 Bigger one standing up and walking about. Adult squawking outside. Bigger one answers.
16.37. Both alert and calling.
16.40. Settled down. 41 calling again sounding quite desperate !!
16.42 adult calling
16.43 juveniles seem as though are taking it in turn to call.
16.44Both standing upright now looking out hopefully?
16.46 still looking hopeful.
16.49 bigger one did a poo and settled down again. Then up and looks out from near the edge of the box. It is getting very impatient !!
16.51 Nearly sits on top of smaller one and settles. Then calls again then settles.
16.57 Still quiet!!
16.58 smaller one wakes up
17.00 All quiet on the Western front.!!! No sign of the adults for the whole of this hour. Signing off now.
Thank you to today's volunteers- Bev, Rachel Julian, Peter, Barbara and Jonathan