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  • Writer's pictureChris

Thursday 14th May 2020

9.00 It is a bright sunny morning, with a light breeze  The falcon is sitting facing the front of the box, half covering the chicks, which are now much too big to be fully hidden - my, how they have grown in a week!

9.07 She is preening her chest  0.09 A chick's leg pops out from the heap of white fluff 9.10 Mum dozes off briefly but then is suddenly alert.

9.11 One eye open, one eye closed. She has heard something behind her and is looking around

9.12 A bit of stretching by the chick at the front and then it's back to sleep

9.14 One of the chicks at the back stretches its long yellow leg

9.15 The front chick stretches its wings

9.18 The falcon looks alert, stretches and is off the nest in the blink of an eye

Two of the chicks can be seen clearly with their eyes open; one stands up and stretches its wings - a bit of flapping

9.20 The flapping chick preens itself and is upright and very alert - beginning to look more like a proper bird and less like a prehistoric creature. The less visible chick makes its presence felt and defecates

9.21 Two of  them are sitting up alert. The third one is still a bit sleepy and noticeably smaller

9.22 All three are awake and sitting up, though number three is leaning on one of the others. 

9.23 The two larger chicks are preening

9.24 Number three joins in with the preening   9.25 Number three is having a rest but the other two are quite lively

9.26 The falcon arrives wwith some prey. The littlest chick is suddely looking much less pathetic and is cetainly getting its fair share

9.28 One of the chicks is getting a lot and the other two are shoutng for attention

9.29 The small chick has a go at getting some of the prey from the carcass directly and then intercepts a bit that was destined for one of its siblings

9.30 It is now being fed by the falcon

9.35 The carcass is almost stripped now, and the chicks are less desperate for food. She makes sure they all get plenty.

9.36 The falcon is finishing off the carcass herself, giving the chicks the odd titbit

9.37 They decide they are still hungry and demand more food

9.40 That's a big bit, but down it goes

9.41 One of the chicks is sitting with its claws up, facing away from the falcon - it seems to be full

9.44 The falcon eats a large chunk

9.45 She is having a good feed. The last few bits go to the chicks, who actually don't really seem to want it

9.48 One of the chicks decides it could eat a bit more

9.48 Feeding time is over. The falcon moves round to the right and tries to brood the chicks

9.49 She snuggles down and the chicks doze off

9.52 A settled and relaxed family

9.54 She calls 

9.55 She is looking around. Two of the chicks wake up but soon doze off again

9.56 The falcon is getting sleepy, her eyes keep half closingt10.01 She is looking around but then drops off to sleep again

10.04 The youngsters stir  10.06 Two of the chicks are awake

10.07 The falcon is looking around

10.08 She is looking down at the chicks

10.09 -10.11 She is preening her chest and back

10.11 She gently preens one of the chicks

10.12 She preens her back and wings

10.13-10.15 More chest and back preening

10.15 She steps back from the chicks and stretches her legs and wings

10.17 The chicks are very relaxed.

10.20 The falcon has her eyes shut even though she is sitting upright 

10.22 She looks birefly alert, then a bit more shut-eye

10.26 She is very relaxed, breathing slowly with a breeze slightly ruffling her feaathers 

10.27 One of the chicks is getting restless  - it changes position and setttles down

10.29 The falcon looks alert - time for some more preening

10.32-10.40 Her eyes are closed but she is still upriiight and occasionally looks around

10.38 One of the chicks preens itself and shuffles about to get more comfortable - then its's back to sleep

10.39 No, still not comfy, have another preen and wriggle

10.40 Another chick stirs but is soon asleep again

10.41 The falcon stands and sttretches her right leg and wing. The restless chick moves around some more  

10.42 The falcon inspects and preens her right foot

10.43 Preening her wing

10.44 The restless chick is on the move again. The chick at the front is now awake and stands up and preens itself

10.45 The falcon preens the feathers on her right leg.

10.46 All the chicks are awake

10.47 One of the chicks looks at the falcon who looks down at it and they gently touch beaks

10.48 The falcon settles over the chicks, facing south

10.50 All quiet again, everyone sleeping

10.52 The wind is blowing her wing coverts

10.54 One of the chicks stretches

10.56 It stands up and stretches its wings, then has a quick poo

10.58 The falcon has her eye on a fly. One of the chicks is preening itself

11:00 Falcon stood over scrape facing left, half in sun, with the chicks under her, heads tucked under her, backs sticking out in front of her in sun. One chick occasionally stretches out a leg or wings, but otherwise they continue to doze.

11.15 Falcon settles forward and one chick is left head out not covered by wing as she turns slightly to face back left.

11.26 Still facing back she pulls in gravel to scrape and covers the 3rd chick with her wing.

11.28 Chick under wing woken by her movement and is outside of her wing again. It grooms itself as she watches.

11.30 She turns left and straddles scrape to cover chicks. Partly covers the chick left outside, which now tucks it’s head under her wing.

11.33 Falcon grooms herself.

11.35 As she dozes 2nd chick pushes it’s head out, the first continues grooming itself in front of Falcon. 2nd chick sleeps in front of her facing left. The 1st chick pushes its head under her, body left out. 3rd chick not seen.

12.01 2nd chick wakes, stretches and turns to face front. Stands and sits up, grooming and stretching it’s wings for 5 minutes.

12.06 2nd chick looks at mother’s beak. She grooms, then stands up and moves to right-hand side of scrape.

12.08 Falcon settles down again over chicks facing left. The 2nd chick is left out, and it tries to get under her wing.

12.09 She stands over the scrape. Chicks 1 and 2 are awake and grooming. 3rd chick can be seen beneath her asleep. 2nd chick still sat up to front stretching in sun and grooming for sometime.

12.16 2nd chick finally settles down in sun. All doze. 2nd chick fidgets and grooms between dozes.

12.28 Falcon stands as chicks fidget below her, stretching and grooming. All 3 chicks in front of her. 1st chick sat up.

12.31 Falcon stretches and grooms.

12.32 She moves off scrape and stands to left facing forward, before leaving box.

12.34 Chicks in a huddle, but awake. 3rd chick stretches wings. 2nd chick walks to back of box in shade. Falcon returns and drags chick by head forward. She settles over chick forward of scrape., the other chicks in scrape.

12.37 She tries to settle over chicks, and pull them in under her, as she faces left, slightly forward of scrape.

12.41 Chick in scrape can be seen moving about. Wayward chick dozes beneath her wing.

12.45 She faces back of box, watching moving chick.

12.49 Chicks settle as she stands over them facing left.

12.57 Falcon moves forward to front of box, before flying out. 2 chicks huddled at front of scrape. The 3rd chick sat up behind them grooming.

13.00 At the start of my shift the chicks are home alone at the front of the box. 2 of the chicks are splayed out and one is preening. 13.04 Although active they are unsteady on their feet.  All 3 chicks are preening and looking around.

13.07 The chicks are all lying flat out when the female comes in.  She stands beside them and they all look up at her.  One of the chicks takes refuge under her breast but then moves away.

13.11 One of the chicks walks to the back of the box.  The falcon walks to it and “manhandles” it back to the front of the box - keeping all three chicks together. I have never seen this behaviour before.  It looked pretty rough.

13.12 The falcon settles down into the gravel with the chicks close by. She seems to want them to brood under her but they are not interested.

13.15 2 of the chicks are lying flat out and 1 is moving around - looking as possibly calling as opening and closing its mouth OR is it just hot.  It preens while the female stands looking out past camera.

13.19 The female calls and the male arrives with prey.  Look like a starling to me but I am not sure.  The chicks turn towards him and he starts to feed them.  

13.21 The falcon moves forward and takes the prey from the tiercel. She feeds the chicks starting with the head and brains. The chicks wait patiently.  the one nearest the camera gets the lions share.

13.30 She eats some of the prey.

13.32 All gone - legs and all

13.33 She heads to the middle of the box and settles into the gravel. The 3 chicks stay foreground.

13.35 She stays alert and watchful but occasionally closes her eyes

13.38 Finally all the chicks settle and rest.

13.43 1 chick raises it’s head before slowly toppling forward.

13.44 The chick in the f/ground stretches a leg and wing.

13.44 They all snooze

13.44 The falcon does a one leg and wing stretch before leaving Cam R she then flies through frame and out

13.47 The chick at the back stands tall and preens.  The other 2 lie flat.

13.50 The falcon returns and walks to the back of the chicks.

13.53 The peaceful scene continues.

13.58 The falcon preens.

14.04 The chick at the back stands and preens.

14.05 The falcon walks to left of frame.  I can’t see her head.  She stands there a while before leaving frame.

14.07 The female returns - has a good look around and stands at the far side of the 3 chicks.  

14.09 One chick moves to the back of the box.  The female follows and tries to brood it.  the other 2 chicks remain in the sunshine.

14.14 The falcon appears agitated that the 3 chicks are separated within the box.

14.15 All 3 chicks are on the move now.

14.17 the f/ground chick defecates before walking to the right and almost out of frame.

14.20 The camera is repositioned so we get a view of the whole box.

14.20 She broods one chick.

14.25 The chick topples over and rests. the falcon closes her eyes and snoozes.  The chick

beneath her wiggles.

14.31 They all rest.

14.35 A chick stretch a big foot towards camera.

14.38 A chick stands up.  The falcon turns to the chick who moves towards her before laying down near her.

14.44 The falcon turns away from the chicks before heading off, the chicks are left sleeping.

15.00 All three chicks dozing in the sun.  Bums towards us and the camera.  They got restless occasionally but mainly sleeping

15.33 One is awake and preening, wakes a sibling

16.03 One very alert but nothing else happens

16.25 All very active, then settle again

16.53 Tiercel arrives, no prey.

16.56 Tiercel leaves again.

16.57 Falcon arrives, no prey, leaves again.  They haven’t been fed now for over 2 hours, must have been stuffed after lunch!

Thank you to Val and Nick Stubbs, Nick Kimber, Suzanna Bunting and Stephen Green for todays blog

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