I have been tested several times today during my shift with regard to identification of Falcon / Tiercel. It is helpful to see them both at the same time to check their difference in size however, today they have left the nest empty and then swapped or just returned. I do hope I have not made any errors.
9.00 Lovely morning with sunny intervals, 11 degrees feels like 9 with a fresh breeze ENE.
Falcon is incubating and sleeping while facing to the left
9.13 She gets up and goes leaving eggs unattended.
9.14 Tiercel flies in, bobs and settles facing left. There is a tiny feather stuck to his beak, he tries in vain to remove it.
9.22 He bobs, shuffles and ends up facing the camera but slightly left. The feather is still stuck.
9.33 He shuffles, bobs and settles as before
9.38 As above
9.40 As above
9.53 As above
10.00 Intruder Alert! Juvenile Falcon (second calendar year) was flying around the tower.
(photo John Hayward)
10.06 He is alert and looking about
10.07 He is moving his beak probably to remove the feather, but it remains stuck
10.09 He looks up, gets off the eggs goes to the edge of the box and flies off leaving the eggs unattended he chased off the intruder E.
10.11 Falcon arrives and settles to incubate facing left. She has a mark on her beak of dried blood
10.17 She pecks at stones
10.18 She gets up, goes to the edge of the box and flies off leaving the eggs unattended
10.19 She returns and settles, facing left again
10.23 She is moving he beak a lot, this is probably calling out
10.25 She is highly alert and twitchy. She keeps looking about
10.30 She is very agitated and (probably) calling
10.32 She settles
10.42 She shuffles and settles facing to the right
11.06 She pecks at stones
11.08 She turns the eggs so gently and can move her feet in a very tender manner. She settles facing left, mostly in full sun
11.28 Tiercel arrives into the nest box. She doesn't move and he flies off
11.33 She sleeps
11.38 She pecks at stones
11.40 She turns facing away from the camera
11.42 She shuffles again and ends up facing right. She looks all about and is highly alert
11.43 She settles
11.54 She preens and stone pecks
11.55 She stands to peck at the stones, she turns the eggs and resettles facing left
12.06 Tiercel lands back into the nest box. He waits for his turn but she is not giving it up. He waits and waits from his position.
12.07 He gets closer to her and they look at each other and seem to communicate
12.09 He gave up and flew off
12.32 She preens and settles facing the camera
12.33 She shuffles again and settles facing right
12.48 She shuffles again and settles back into the same place
UPDATE on yesterday’s blog - at 12.30 I reported that the tiercel, who was incubating, was alert and looking upwards. I am now informed by a colleague from the Watchpoint that there was a Red Kite over the church tower.
Well back to today
13.00. The falcon is alerted by something and calls, however she is soon relaxed and dozing with her right eye closed.
13.08. She reaches over her left shoulder and preens.
13.09. She stands to rearrange the eggs. She shuffles over them facing NW corner, picks at the gravel. It looks like some are being swallowed.
13.12. She pulls herself forward revealing her eggs, does some pecking at the gravel in the corner. She turns and returns to her eggs. After shuffling to get comfortable she relaxes facing S looking out of the box.
13.35. The tiercel flies in. They appear to have a chat then she leaves. He takes his time to move the eggs closer together and then bobs over them to get comfortable. He leaves one egg exposed so has to wriggle around more.
13.38. He is still trying to gather the 3 eggs in order to cover them. How would he get on with 4?
13.40. Still shuffling around not happy with their position. He is pushing gravel with his feet perhaps trying to fill the larger scrape left by the falcon.
13.42. Eventually he settles facing W. He is chirping, talking to the eggs? Off again, bobbing and turning. Now facing N with his back to the camera.
13.44. Not there yet, still another shuffle and turn, now looking W again. That seems better, he relaxes.
13.46 The Watchpoint reports that the falcon has just been chasing pigeons, lots of aerial action.
14.03. The tiercel starts bobbing around adjusting his position over the eggs, still facing N.
14.13. He reaches over his left shoulder and preens down between his wing and back.
14.16. Something has caught his attention. He looks behind towards the SW. Not too worried he starts to relax.
14.26. Another adjustment then relaxes again with his head down.
14.36. The falcon enters the box from the NE side of the roof. They appear to be having a conversation but he isn’t moving. After all he has only just got settled.
Not too persistent she turns and looks out of the box. She leaves hopping onto the roof towards the NW corner.
15:00 The final blog session of the day begins with the Tiercel resolutely in place, having reassured the Falcon that he is OK to carry on for now! The sunshine is still glorious, but the breeze is ruffling the feathers on his back from time to time.
15:19 The Tiercel is looking over his shoulder, and it looks like he may be calling quietly, but after a few moments he stops and settles down again.
15:34 The Falcon arrives, and they have another conversation, as a result of which the Tiercel gets up and leaves the platform. He seems to take off due South, but it’s not clear if he just went to the parapet. The Falcon settles facing approximately West (ie facing left on our screen).
15:46 She is relaxed enough to close at least one eye for short periods of time. Then she gets up, has a slight shuffle round, and settles down facing more North-West into the back left corner.
15:56 The sun has moved round enough that the Falcon’s head is easier to see, now that the camera is dealing with a lesser contrast between light and dark. Currently she has her head fairly low and one eye keeps closing, but the watchful routine continues with occasional looks over her shoulder.
16:09 The Falcon jerks her head forward a couple of times. Possible regurgitation reflex?
16:15 The sun has cleared the South-West pinnacle, so the Falcon is temporarily in a band of sunshine.
16:27 The Falcon starts a session of stone picking, quite busily, then stands, shuffles on the eggs, and starts to settle back down, but it takes two goes to get in the position she wants. She continues to pick at stones, seeming to hold one before discarding it in favour of another. She stands in the sun for a moment, quickly preens some feathers on her back, then tries to settle again, finally (for now) facing South-East. Her front half is now in the sunshine.
16:40 She is suddenly, briefly, alert, but after a look around, she relaxes and closes her eyes. As she wavers on the edge of sleep, her head starts to sink a little.
16:44 Heads up again! The Falcon lifts her head high to look at something, and continues to watch for several seconds, before relaxing again.
17:00 As the blog session ends, the Falcon is sitting relaxed in the late afternoon sun. She is facing South-East, looking out to the right of the camera.
Thank you to todays bloggers- Julia, Peter and Debbie