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  • Writer's pictureChris

Monday 11th May 2020

6.58 Tiercel comes in with prey, probably Blackbird.  Hangs around while Falcon feeds the chicks

7.03 Tiercel leaves.  Falcon feeding all 3 chicks but one gets quite a lot more.

7.07 She finishes feeding and tries to brood the chicks.  As far as I can see the remains of the prey stays in the box, in fact she must be sitting on it, and it must still be there for the next 2 hours.

7.12 She eventually settles.  Back to the wind, and the camera

7.22 Looks around but nothing happens

7.45 Turns round, chicks very restless.

7.50 Seems to be vocalising but nothing happens

8.20 Desultory peck at gravel

8.31 Serious gravel pecking  

8.50 Alert

8.53 Very alert,  Vocalising, chicks restless, one defecates then snuggles back in.  Falcon very alert , I think the Tiercel must be near, but nothing happens.

8.55 The Falcon is looking around, very alert, but no calling.

8.58 The Falcon shuffles round, facing almost directly toward the camera. The white of the fluffy chicks and her feathers is very bright in the sunshine at the moment.

9.00 The Falcon is looking around and occasionally raising her head up for a better(?) look at something. Of course it could just be a fly!

9.02 She cranes her round to look up above her. She seems very alert at the moment.

9.04 Time for a little preening.

9.05 The chicks were beginning to emerge into the sunshine, but were soon herded back to cover. 9.11 Having been more settled for a few minutes, the Falcon was again on the alert and looking round, but whatever was distracting her was not significant.

9.13 Having a one-eyed snooze in the sun (as much as one can with 3 chicks moving about underneath!).

9.14 One chick has again made a move into the sunshine, and is now laying in front of everyone else. Mother doesn’t seem so concerned this time.

9.18 It is very blustery on the platform, with gusts of air puffing up the Falcons feathers from inside the box.

9:20 After a big stretch of her wings, the Falcon settles back over the chicks. She continues to preen as she stands over them.

9.23 Another stretch of wing and leg together.

9.28 The Falcon rises up and gently herds the chicks closer to her again, then settles back to brooding. Gusts of wind are just strong enough to cause the camera to wobble a little.

9.28 A head appears from the mass of white showing that there is one chick laying across in front of the Falcon. Now it becomes clear that it is not tucked under Mum, but out in the sun!

9.40 The Falcon gets up from the chicks and, after giving them a visual check, moves off the platform to the right. Almost immediately, the Tiercel comes in with a small bird, which he then starts to feed to the chicks.

9.44 Then in an act of one-upmanship, The Falcon returns with a bigger prey item, and now the chicks don’t know which way to turn!

9.45 The Tiercel continues to offer food, and has at least one taker, while the Falcon wolfs down big bits of her food, offering smaller morsels to the chicks.

9.48 A fine joint effort in feeding everyone, parents and chicks too!

9.48 It now looks like the Tiercel wants to take up brooding the chicks, but the Falcon is still feeding them.

9.50 A terrific tug-of-war between two of the chicks over a bit of food!

9.51 The Falcon struggles with what appears to be a bone. She turns it round and round in her beak. The Tiercel has shuffled in close behind the chicks.

9.52 Feed over, the Falcon takes the remnants away (apart from one leg!), and the Tiercel settles over the chicks as best he can, given how big they have become.

9.56 The Falcon returns, and after a moment or two, the Tiercel rises up from his brooding, and leaves the platform. The Falcon prowls around behind the chicks, picking up dropped morsels of food, which she then offers to the chicks.

9.58 The Falcon is continuing to be distracted by the leg laying near the chicks. She keeps nibbling and tugging at it to get meat off it, but now she is behind the chicks, so it is not clear how much success she may be having. She does still get some small pieces which she can feed to the chicks, who are still keen.

10.01 The Falcon decides that the rest of the leg is for her! Then, having finished that off, she settles back over the chicks to continue brooding.

10.13 Temporarily all quiet, everybody now snoozing after the feast!

10.22 It’s difficult to tell if the chick which just poked its head out was objecting to being squashed, or if it was trying to back into the warm! It is still very blustery up there.

10.35 Just occasionally, a little wing tip moves about as a chick wriggles under its Mum.

10.39 The Falcon is alert and looks around, but is not troubled, so returns to her snooze. It doesn’t last long as the chicks are a becoming restless, moving about more after digesting the previous meal. 10:42 The Falcon looks as though she is preening, but perhaps she was trying to get a little sleep with her beak tucked behind her wing.

10.44 One chick’s leg extends in a stretch, before pulling back to the warmth.

10.53 Another leg stretch! It’s all action here!

10.56 And again, another leg stretch.

10.58 The Falcon has another preen behind her wing.

10.59 She is awake now though, and checking around before resuming the preen/sleep position. 11.00 The situation remains settled with the Falcon brooding the slumbering chicks.

11.08 Chicks shifting about under Falcon. Falcon has beak under wing.

11.38 Falcon alert and calling.

11.42 Falcon stands up, stretching and preening, picking st gravel.

12.18 Falcon relaxed and on chicks.

12.22 Chicks active, shifting about.

12.54 Falcon up and alert, preening.

13.02 Male arrives without food.

13.03 Female arrives with large prey and the Male leaves. She places a talon onto the prey to hold it while she tears pieces off and feeds the young.

13.15 Female leaves taking the remains with her.

13.16 Female returns, does a little housework picking up bits of dropped food and then settles behind the chicks facing right.

13.17 Shuffles around to face forward gathering the last chick under her.

13.20 Quite windy, more shuffling pushing the chicks underneath her, settling down.

13.38 Wind seems to be gusting. Female anchors down as her feathers are lifted.

13.56 Still brooding, looks around and closes eyes.

14.11 The wind seems to have got up again, she shuffles around and gathers in the two escapees.

14.23 Female alert and chicks start wriggling.

14.27 Male arrives with more prey, Female takes it from him. Male stays and watches.

14.29 Male turns and leaves.

14.36 Female continues to feed chicks until the prey is stripped to the bones. A piece is dropped and a chick inspects it but leaves it. Feeding over the Female settles down to brooding again.

14.55 Facing to the left the Female remains covering the chicks, looking around occasionally, still being buffered by the wind.

15.00 Falcon sitting tight has some chick faeces on the left wing primaries and tail

She has her back into the wind as you can see by ruffled feathers of Wing coverts and back.

15.04 Chick coming out and defecating close to the nest.

15.11 Falcon showing sudden alertness but quickly settles back dozing .

15.12 She is now very alert turning head back and forth looking round.

15.13 Standing up of chicks.

15.14 One chick projectile defecated to back corner.

15.15 Falcon now looking around much more alert and chicks moving underneath her.

15.17 She turned round and facing the back and settle down which chicks underneath.

15.24 Falcon stands up as Tiercel comes in with large prey in talons.

15.25 Tiercel leaves, Falcon takes prey and feeds it to the chicks and herself.

15.35 Female flies off with remains of catch leaving the chicks alone and after a short while, Tiecel arrives to guard the chicks. The chicks appear very large when standing near to the smaller male bird.

15.37 Falcon returns Tiercel leaves and she settles back down sideways on the chicks with wings and tail feathers spread out.

15.38 pm Falcon turned around to face in all the way as she settles in she picks some meat off a bone laid next to her.

15.40 She really spreads out her feathers and appears to be sunbathing covering the chicks entirely.

15.47 until 16.10 She remains in this position moving only slightly when disturbed by chicks and occasional fly or things catching her attention outside.

16.11 One chick came out and defecated into the far corner.

16.18 until 16.25 Still sunbathing.

16.26 Chick pops out from under her right wing.

16.33 Wind getting stronger as can be seen by feathers blowing on her back.

16.34 She tentatively picks up the bones in front of her.

16.38 She turns further round to keep her back in the Sun.

16.45 Two chicks defecate almost at the same time.

16.46 Chicks are getting restless.

16.47 She stands up but drop her wing to cover the chicks.

16.48 Picks a little more at the bones in front of her.

16.52 Right wing completely unfurled and covering the chicks.

16.53 Preening her right wing

16.54 One chick defecates.

16.58 Chicks restless she is now facing right and stay settled until 17hours

Thanks to Stephen Green, Peter Ducker, Julia Ivison and James Ramshaw for todays blog

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