Thursday 7th May 2020
8.11 Falcon facing N, pecking at gravel - she looks quite annoyed with the gravel - are there mites?
8.14 She turns to face W
8.15 She turns to face S
9.02 She looks round to face the camera - very photogenic
9.05 She looks down
9.06 She turns to look at an invading fly
9.07 She yawns
9.09 She is very alert this morning - turning her head at every movement of the feathers in the nest, flies etc
9.12 A fly is buzzing around, attracting her attention
9.14 She ruffles her feathers and checks the chicks before settling back down. One fluffy chick is now visible sticking out in front of her like a cotton wool ball
9.16 A second chick is now visible
9.17 She has settled back over the chicks
9.19 A little head pops out. The chicks are definitely quite active.
9.20 A sibling is also nosy, so now two little faces. The Falcon has turned to the east so we can see the chicks more easily - they seem to be enjoying having the sun on them.
9.21 A fly is buzzing round the Falcon's head and she is turning around to watch it - she may get dizzy
9.22 She is getting sleepy
9.24 She is getting really drowzy but the chicks are getting livelier
9.25 That pesky fly is back
9.26 The female pushes the youngsters back under her, but they are having none of it and wriggle back out
9.27 Oh that fly!
9.28 One chick seems desperate to get out but is stuck behind its siblings
9.30 The most active chick is calling
9.31 That fly is back - it is driving her mad
9.34 She is giving the fly a very serious look. She has a quick preen. Two chidks are fully visible and asleep
9.35 She preens her belly - we get a great view of her beautiful feathers
9.36 All three chicks now clearly visible
9.37 She preens her back and gives one of the chicks a bit of TLC
9.38 She is sitting quite upright and looking up - is it changeover time?
9.39 No - she has snuggled back down covering the chicks
9.40 The chicks are wriggling about - one does a poo!
9.42 She is sitting upright again, looking down at the chicks which are all visible
9.43 Some more preening
9.44 Sitting upright but eyes closed
9.47 Much more alert
9.48 She is looking up, alert - is something attracting her attention?
9.49 Still looking about
9.50 Looking up
9.51 Alert and looking about
9.52 Little one flapping its wings
9.55 She is on the edge of the platform and flies off
9.56 Three chicks all alone
9.57 Two chicks look like they are giving each other a hug, and then sit up (the third one is hidden behind)
9.58 Three-way hug
10.00 Youngsters stlil alone
10.01 The chicks settle down
10.04 One of the chicks preens itself
10.06 Falcon returns with prey, and starts feeding the chicks - she is standing in front of them so we can't see them very well
10.09 One of the chicks is standing up being fed. It is so cute with its little mouth gaping
10.10 I hope they're all getting their fair share - the visible one is certainly getting plenty
10.13 What a greedy little chick - still gobbling
10.15 We can now see two of the chicks being fed
10.17 Feeding time is over - she moves the carcass and starts to eat it herself
10.18 She flies off with the carcass
10.19 The replete chicks settle down for a sleep
10.21 The falcon returns to the nest and settles on the chicks
10.21-10.28 She is alert and looking round
10.30-10.32 Something has attracted her attentiion and she is looking up, but no sign of the Tiercel
10.36 She is getting sleepy, one eye closed
10.37 One of the chicks sticks its head out and Falcon is awake again
10.40 She looks down at the chicks - were they wriggling?
10.41 She is suddenly very alert, turning her head repeatedly
10.42 She is still looking around
10.43 Getting sleepy zzz
10.44 Falcon looks up again
10.47 She stands up, giving us a good view of the chicks. She decides it is time for a good preen, starting with her right wing
10.48 She preens her chest - we can see her smoothing out each feather
10.49 She reaches her back and tail
10.50 She is upright and looking around. A bit more chest preening
10.52 She preens her shoulder/mantle and right wing
10.53 She preens her left wing and back
10.54 The Falcon is erect and alert, looking round
10.55 A big yawn. She looks down at the chicks. We can see her chest moving as she breathes.
10.57 She looks up
10.58 She is looking up repeatedly and begins to call
10.59 Still calling, The chicks begin to move around, two can be seen clearly
11.00 Still calling
11.00 Falcon stood up over chicks calling.
11.01 Chick defecates.
11.02 She is still stood up over chicks, pulling gravel in. Chicks restless beneath her.
11.05 She calls again. Tiercel brings in a small plucked headless bird passes it to her and leaves. She stands to the right of chicks and feeds herself. 2 chicks are not that interested one is still asleep.
11.08 She leaves with carcass and chicks settle over each other.
11.11 Falcon returns and settles down over chicks facing right. Chicks visible under her breast.
11.12 Chick defecates. She settles down over them again. One of chicks fidgets as other two sleep.
11.28 She turns to face left, tucking the chicks under her wing which are no longer visible.
11.34 She dozes.
11.38 She turns slightly facing back and left.
11.40 She raises herself over chicks still facing left. Chick visible under wing, then second head appears sleeping in sun.
11.46 She moves facing slightly back again. 2 chicks still visible under sun.
11.53 Turns to face forward, then to face right. Chicks visible under her breast fidgeting.
11.59 She settles forward facing left, pulling in some gravel. Turns facing forward. Chicks under her breast in sun.
12.08 She turns to face right again.
12.31 She sits up and grooms her breast and wings. She settles down facing right.
12.33 Chick defecates. She stays awake, watching.
12.54 She calls and settles down again.
12.57 She stands up and calls. She leaves and returns with a carcass, back to camera and begins to feed chicks, continuing to end of my stint.
13.00 As I take over the Falcon has her back to camera. It’s feeding time. Sadly I do not know what the plucked prey is. I cannot see any of the chicks. She moves round slightly which allows me to get a view of her chicks.
13.10 I watch her eat some of the prey and appears to get a bone stuck. Eventually she manages to swallow it.
13.11 She turns to face the camera and tucks into the remainder of prey before flying off with the carcass leaving the chicks home alone.
13.12 The tiercel takes advantage of the falcon’s absence and flies in to brood. The chicks have grown but eventually they all squash under him - just!
13.14 The falcon returns, the tiercel leaves. She does a bit of cleaning before starting to brood. I get a good idea of how much bigger she is than the tiercel.
13.16 All is quiet as she broods her chicks in the sunshine.
13.18 She stands and shuffles as the chicks wriggle beneath her.
13.19 I watch her dozing. She swallows occasionally.
13.21 I notice that one chick is trying to back out from under her. It must be hard work and it eventually gives up trying and all is quiet again. She watches a fly before snoozing again.
13.24 She looks up and around, cocks her head as if to listen.
13.25 There is more wriggling from the chicks.
13.26 She turns her head as if to scrutinise something the distance. It’s a stare.
This is followed by another fly moment - she appears to be irritated by them.
13.28 Again she looks around, surveying the world and appearing to listen.
13.31 It’s a peaceful scene again, no wriggling currently.
13.33 They all rest.
13.35 She turns her head and has a good look around. Another annoying fly buzzes past.
13.37 A chicks leg stretches from underneath her.
13.38 She looks down at the chicks beneath her.
13.43 It’s a peaceful scene as she continues to brood.
13.44 She closes her eyes and only opens them when the chicks wriggle.
13.46 There’s another leg stretch from a brooding chick.
13.51 More chick wriggling - it looks to me as if it is trying to turn round. but then defecates before appearing from under the falcon’s left wing. Her wings are spread very wide.
13.54 They all move. The falcon is standing facing the camera. She looks down at her brood as if waiting for them to settle down.
13.57 She tries to brood them again but its not going so well so she stands up, shuffles and repositions herself again.
13.58 She then reaches forward and picks at a stone. The chicks wriggle and she shuffles.
14.00 all is quiet as the clock ticks into the next hour.
14.02 The chick furthest to the right of camera tries to liberate itself from under the falcon. It’s exhausting work but eventually it manages the manoeuvre.
14.03 There’s another shuffle round and the falcon stands up. She preens the chicks momentarily.
14.06 The chick at the front moves back under the falcon. She looks down at them but doesn’t completely cover them.
14.10 Time passes and all is now peaceful as the family (minus the tiercel) nap in the sun.
14.12 The falcon then leans forward and picks at stones and then walks right off the chicks.
She is vigorously moving and pecking at stones. I can’t see if she swallows any. She then stands up and continues grabbing for stones.
The chicks are revealed.
14.15 The falcon turns back to brooding the chicks looking R-L but the stone picking and moving continues.
14.16 She stands and tries to corral the chicks under her. Gently moving them with her beak.
14.19 They all settle.
14.22 The chicks wriggle and the falcon covers them again.
14.27 The peaceful scene continues.
14.33 She looks up and turns her head to look past the camera. She is very alert for a while but then releases her gaze.
14.34 Her eyes close momentarily.
14.40 Again she turns her head to look out past camera before returning to snoozing. She then broods with her eyes opening and closing from time to time.
14.47 A chicks leg stretches out from under the falcon. She gently lifts her wing to allow it to stretch more easily.
14.51 They all move and settle down again. One chick defecates.
14.52 And again they move. They are not very settled at present. Again she uses her beak to try to encourage them to brood under her.
14.54 There is more wriggling form the chicks and the falcon moves.
14.55 More shuffling and wriggling ensues.
14.58 The falcon moves again - but she’s right up against the back of the box and is unable to brood in that position. Eventually she turns to settle facing L-R
and it’s time to hand over to the next volunteer.
15.00 Falcon sitting. Chicks very restless and keep making bids for freedom and Mother keeps pushing them back under.
15.06 Settled and the inner eyelid coming up on one eye.
15.14 Very alert but nothing happens
15.37 Pecking gravel like it’s going out of fashion. I’m not sure if she eats any.
15.41 She is bothered by a feather, has a good stretch, then settles again
15.49 She has her back to the camera but is looking around through 180°
15.55 Leaves but then comes straight back in with food. Has her back to us so I can’t see what prey.
16.02 Finished feeding and settles down and broods the chicks.
16.36 Starts vocalising and looking around. The Tiercel must be somewhere?
16.40 She leaves, then Tiercel arrives a minute later. No prey. He stands above the chicks, 2 defecate then they all settle but Tiercel still standing above them, no attempt to tuck them under.
16.47 Falcon arrives and Tiercel stays for a quick chat then leaves. Difficult to see if there was any feeding, there was no obvious prey brought in. Falcon settles down and broods.
Thanks to todays bloggers, Valerie Stubbs, Nick Kimber, Suzanna Bunting and Stephen and Clare Green