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  • Writer's pictureChris

Saturday 24th April 2021

With thanks to Nick, Rachel, Graham and Debbie for todays amazing blog

9.00 As the church bells ring out on another bright April morning, the Falcon stands over her scrape in the gravel. There is no sun at the moment and there is a breeze slightly ruffling her feathers. She stands facing left, with her head turned forward. Here eyes are closing intermittently as she dozes.

9.01 She moves forward to stand at the front of her scrape, facing forward, her head moving around as she watches.

9.05 The Tiercel can be heard calling, and she looks up and around, before resuming her dozing.

9.22 Stops dozing to start preening, and cleaning her left-hand claw.

9.23 Something catches her attention, and she moves her around to follow, before resuming her preening.

9.31 The Falcon stretched her right-hand leg and moves slightly forward, before settling to doze again.

9.37 She walks to the front right edge of the box. She cleans her right-hand claw again, before dozing again.

9.53 As the sun comes out on her, she returns to preening her feathers.

10.00 As the clock strikes, the Falcon continues to preen, facing forward on the extreme right edge of the box.

10.04 She finishes preening for now, and stands facing out.

10.06 The Falcon turns and walks across to the left-hand front of the box, where she stands facing out left, head out of view of the cam.

10.13 She is preening her wings in the sun.

10.19 The Tiercel can be heard calling, as he flies into the back left-hand side of the box, and the falcon disappears from view. He stands at the back facing left across the scrape clucking.

10.21 The Falcon is heard calling not far away. The Tiercel still stood at the back facing left, looking at the scrape.

10.22 The Falcon is heard calling again.

10.24 The Falcon re-enters the box on the right, and the birds face each other across the scrape clucking loudly at each other.

10.25 The Tiercel flies out of the box, as the Falcon continues to stand facing right across the scrape, head facing forward.

10.28 She dozes in the same position.

10.32 She scrabbles in the scrape, turning, then stands facing right.

10.35 She preens her feathers again.

10.38 She picks at the gravel on the left, then turns in the scrape, and moves to back right-hand corner of the box, picking at the gravel.

10.42 She turns and moves back to the scrape and stands in it facing right, looking around her.

10.47 She turns to face left, breast down in the scrape, she digs gravel out with her claws. She turns again to face left standing in the scrape, eyes closing as she dozes again. She remains in this position as the clock strikes.

11.00 as I take over the watch on the bell strike Poppy (the female, falcon) is standing seemingly calmy in the scrape casually perusing the area. The external camera is trained on the turret with the calm sea in the background facing in the general direction of Overstrand. It’s very peaceful and no background noise at all. The weather is dry, calm and cloudy.

11.01 Poppy walks to the front of the nest box, I can hear who I assume is Henry (the male, tiercel) calling, he is close by. Poppy is alert and observing.

11.08 the external camera pans briefly to search for Henry but to no avail.

11.09 the nest box cam is zoomed out a little to allow us to see Poppy in all her splendour perched on the edge of the box.

11.20 situation remains unchanged, save to say Poppy is sitting closing her eyes on and off … just in case you thought I’d nodded off

11.30 the half hour bell strikes and there is no change to the situation

11.45 nothing new to report

11.49 Poppy begins to preen herself and clean her talons, the external camera remains unchanged. She’s quite alert again now.

11.50 calling off camera can be heard, presumably Henry close by.

11.51 Poppy having a good stretch, she then walks out of shot to the far left of the nest box, she’s still there we get the occasional glimpse of beak / feather.

11.55 Chris kindly zooms the nest box camera out to allow us to see Poppy perched preening on the extreme front left corner of the nest box, intermittently looking around her domain

12.00 the church bell strikes noon and nothing has changed bar Poppy just sitting perched eyes open perusing the area

12.04 Poppy continues to preen herself. No sign of Henry this shift …. yet.

12.15 there is no change to the views Poppy seems calm and content preening herself between pauses to look around including into the nest box

12.17 the sun is beginning to emerge from the clouds and is gently starting to shine on the nest box and Poppy

12.18 Poppy makes me jump a little by having a good shake of her wings! Then continues to preen her chest / crops feathers.

12.30 the usual half hour bell toll, still no Henry, Poppy continues to sit preening in the same spot.

12.32 a very purposely short walk from the left of the next box to the right by Poppy, something in a seaward direction appears to have caught her eye, she’s alert but calm

12.36 there’s a very brief fly by I think by Henry on the external camera

12.37 Poppy looking skyward and a loud call heard from off camera, followed closely by loud calling by Poppy whilst looking around

12.38 Henry arrives in the nest while they are calling to each other, he stands in the scrape in a bowing pose and calling and chirruping between them is ongoing. I think Poppy is calling loudly and Henry just chirruping in reply – it’s hard to tell as Poppy has her back to camera.

12.40 they both just stand quietly looking at each other across the nest box…a little saddening it’s like they don’t know what to say.

12.41 Poppy turns slightly it’s her calling and him seemingly subserviently chirruping in reply this continues until

12.45 Henry leaves the nest again to Poppy calling still from her position on the front right corner of the box

12.53 all quiet again, Henry away from view still and Poppy just dozing on the front right of the box the dim sunlight coming and going from behind the clouds

12.57 with handover imminent nothing has changed

13.00 the bell strikes one and handed over to Graham for the next watch.

13.00 Taking over from Rachel on this beautiful Saturday afternoon watching these magnificent birds of prey. With Poppy perched on the front right hand corner of the nest box and Henry on one of the fleur de lis

13.09 in a blink of an eye, Henry departs from turret crocket

13.17 Poppy fast asleep still on the corner of the nest box

13.24 At last she moves inside, sits in her scrape and start taking in stones to help with her digestion

13.27 Poppy decides to start to maintain her scrape and then just sits there looking out onto the church roof

13.34 Henry makes himself heard from somewhere in the background, but doesn't make an attendance

13.51 Poppy quickly moves to the left hand side of the nest box looks round the corner very aware of something happening at the rear of the box, when she jumps down onto the church roof and disappears round the back to investigate

13.57 Neither Henry or Poppy are insight but can be heard in the background, suddenly Henry appears and enters the nest box goes to the back to his scrape, then moves to the front and sits there preening

14.15 Henry stops preening and becomes more aware of his surroundings and moves to the back of the box to his scrape, like Poppy was going to arrive, but no appearance of Poppy

14.24 Henry moves once again to the front of the nest box, where he falls asleep in the beautiful afternoon sun

14.31 Henry still on the front of the box, awakes gives out a little cheaping noise, but still no sign of Poppy

14.55 another quiet shift with Henry still fast asleep

15.00 shift now over, handing over to our Debbie

15.00 Henry at front edge of nest box, facing outwards into the sun, preening

15.05 Henry sleeping

15.25 Henry calling from nest box

15.30 He calls again looking overhead

15.33 Henry flies off ( no peregrines to watch)

15.43 Calling off camera and again at 16.14 and 16.18

16.19 Peregrine calling and another separate weird distressed cry (this turned out to be the sounds of peregrine copulation....thank you Chris)

16.42 Calling off camera

17.00 Watch concluded

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