Friday 23rd of April 2021
Thank you to volunteers Nick and Val, Rachel and Debbie for today's blog.
9.00 A beautiful morning in Cromer – blue sky, blue sea, the waves are rolling in very gently onto the beach. No sign of either Peregrine. 9.34 The Falcon arrives at the nest box. She has a look around and a stretch of her wings then waddles into the scrape, where she stands, facing south.
9.36 The sound of gulls in the distance attracts her attention and she cocks her head. 9.38 She turns around in the scrape and does a bit of excavation with her back feet. She looks like she’s going to snuggle down, but no, she is back on her feet and alert, facing north. 9.43 She is standing in the scrape, but half asleep (literally – one eye closed!), though still looking around from time to time. 9.48 Still standing there, but both eyes now shut – how does she do that? 9.50 The Tiercel is screeching off camera. The Falcon looks more alert, but now back to dozing.
9.57 Calling off camera and the Falcon is very alert – hardly surprising at the Tiercel swoops in.
They call to each other and the Falcon leaves the scrape and heads to the front of the box while the Tiercel moves to the back. He chirps gently.
Part of the Falcon is just visible on the left of my screen. 9.58 She disappears from view, leaving the Tiercel at the back of the box. 9.59 The clock strikes 10 – time for a bit of a preen, He makes his way into the scrape, where he does a bit more work on the excavations. 10.00 He removes a feather from the scrape and then turns to face north where he moves some more gravel with his feet before settling down.
10.01 Then he is up and at the front of the box with a little chirrup, and he flies off.
10.07 Herring gulls calling. 10.11 The female arrives back at the nest with a thud and marches into the scrape.
She stands facing north, looking imperious. 10.14 She does a spot of preening – first her chest then her back. She preens under her wings leaning over her back – quite a contortion act. 10.15 She settles into the scrape, facing south. After a while she dozes off.
10.31 It appears that some of the gravel is in the wrong place , so she moves it around with her beak – it is surprisingly loud. She may be eating it, though I can’t see her swallowing. 10.33 She stands up and has another go at the gravel in the north-west corner of the box. Then she decides to tidy up her chest feathers. 10.35 She preens under her wings and then changes position to face north. 10.36 She has an itch and gives her head a good scratch.
Then she settles back into the scrape, facing north-east. 10.37 She dozes off. 10.54 After a moment’s alertness she falls asleep with her head under her wing. I can see her chest rising and falling very slowly. It's a beautiful peaceful sight to end my shift with.
1100hrs – as I take over from Val it looks like a warm, calm, sunny day in Cromer. Poppy (the female, falcon) is fast asleep with her head tucked under her wing in the scrape and the outside camera is trained half on the turret and half on the sea facing in the general direction of Overstrand. It’s very peaceful and no background noise at all. 1104hrs – Poppy stirs has a quick look out and returns to her head under her wing pose, I’m assuming she enjoying the warmth of the sun as is moves slowly onto the scrape.
1106hrs – Poppy stirs again briefly, earlier described position resumed. 1108hrs – brief call but I think it was gulls not Henry (the male, tiercel) and definitely not Poppy. 1111hrs – a brief call, possibly Henry stirs Poppy she is alert now but still sitting comfortably
1114 – 1116 hrs – Poppy is occasionally idly pecking at the gravel 1117hrs – Poppy lets out a little chirp 1121hrs – Poppy is closing her eyes on and off again, she appears very calm and settled 1123hrs – calling from of camera briefly, quite sure it was a peregrine, presumably Henry 1128hrs – more off camera calling 1129hrs – Poppy appears to jump up as the church bell strikes half past the hour, think this was coincidence, she starts calling and Henry enters the nest box where he proceeds to stand in the back right corner and Poppy is standing on the ledge at the front of the box with her back to him seemingly ignoring him.
1130hrs – Poppy flies off and some chirping is heard 1131hrs – Henry proceeds to enter the scrape do a little minor housekeeping and shuffling of gravel while standing in the scrape 1135hrs – Henry is wandering around the nest box now before coming to shake his feathers and stand at the front of the box in the sun then proceeds to preen this continues for some time, there is no change on the external camera….except the tide gently rolling in. 1149hrs – Henry is now sitting closing his eyes in the sun at that front of the box, he seems unperturbed by huge amount of siren activity from emergency vehicles. 1152hrs – exit front of nest box…Henry flies off 1154hrs – no peregrines in sight on either camera 1200hrs – the bells tolls for midday and all is quite 1210hrs - calling from both birds can be heard, one is clearly closer to the nest than the other, no visual of either at present this continued for just a couple of mins 122hrs – one perigrine can be heard periodically calling 1223hrs – Poppy flies into nest box and after a wander about stands quite tall and proudly in the box 1230hrs – as the bell again marks the passing of another half hour, Poppy is now standing in the scrape looking out / around. The external camera pans to the opposite seaward turret to reveal Henry occupying a crocket. 135hrs – Poppy is still standing, occasionally shuffling about and turning around in the scrape, she’s yet to sit and settle but seems calm. Henry is still on his crocket. 1240hrs – Henry appears to have tucked his head under his wing to sleep. Poppy is still standing calmy in the scrape preening occasionally 1245hrs – Henry has stirred and is looking around his domain, Poppy continues as before but now occasionally pecking at the gravel and has a stretch 1248hrs – Poppy finally sits herself down and settles in the scrape 1250hrs – she has now closed her eyes and appears to be relaxing / sleeping again, Henry is still on his crocket perusing the area 1300hrs – my shift here concludes with Henry still on his crocket and Poppy settled dozing in the scrape, over to Debbie for the next watch. 1.00 Poppy asleep in the sun in the scrape / Henry on the crocket 1.02 Henry flies off, calling as he goes 1.07 Henry calls off camera and again at 1.21, 1.33, 1.36 and 1.43 1.45 Poppy stands and goes to front edge of box. Henry arrives and squeaks then Poppy flies off. Henry squeaks a bit more 1.47 Henry settles in scrape 2.12 Henry comes to front edge of box and preens 2.22 Some clucking off camera i.e. Poppy nearby 2.28 Henry flies off (no peregrines to watch) 2.48 Sustained and close calling off camera 3.00 Watch ends...no egg