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  • Writer's pictureChris

Tuesday 26th May 2020

9.00 All 3 chicks are upright and alert in the nestbox. 49 (the female chicks) sits at the front and is the most vocal of the chicks, until 48 pushes his way from the right hand back corner of the box to the front and plonks himself down in front of his siblings.

9.17 All 3 chicks are now resting as one fluffy mass in the morning sun.

9.39 The tiercel arrives with freshly prepared prey. 48 takes the whole kill into the far right and back corner of the nestbox. The tiercle retrieves a morsel of the meal and begins to feed 47 and 49.The female chick, 49, is the first in line for food and it is clear that her skull is looking larger than the other two chicks but she also appears to be less developed in her plumage than her brothers.

9.45 The tiercel now spends several minutes chasing 48 around the box and trying to retrieve the main bulk of the kill which he just brought it. However, 48 is reluctant to share with his siblings and gives his dad a right run-around as he refuses to give it up until a tug-of-war with the prey results in the tiercel pulling the prey from the chick and feeding the other two chicks waiting.

9.51 The female chick (49) managed to down a whole leg of what appears to be some wader.

9.53 The tiercel finishes feeding the chicks and moves to the left hand side of the box before flying off. This allows us to clearly see that the female chick (49) has less developed pin feathers and is more downy than her male siblings.

10.03 All 3 chicks are now huddled together for a post meal rest.

10.58 48 picks up the remainder of the prey and takes it into the corner of the box to try and get some more meat from it. I leave the chicks upright and alert, similar to how I found them 2 hours ago.

11.00 48 is in the back right corner, back to camera, with remains of a carcass, pecking at it. 47 is back left, and then moves across behind 48 and around to join 49 at front left.

11.02 47 moves back to the right corner. 48 has finished with the carcass remains and moves across to front right, lying down in front of 49. 47 moves across the back to the left hand corner.

11.03 49 moves back to join 47.

11.07 All three are now sat in a row, left to right, 48, 47 & 49.

11.10 47 lies down in front of the other two.

11.12 49 lies down behind 47.

11.15 49 sits up with 48. They appear to be calling or gaping as no sound. 48 grooms.

11.21 47 sits up. After a while he turns to face back of box and lies beside 49.

11.24 49 lies down. 48 stretches wings and moves to sit behind the other two.

11.27 48 stops grooming and lies down with the other two.

11.34 48 up again and grooming.

11.37 48 defecates out front of box and then lies down with the others again.

11.41 Falcon flies in with part of a bird (no head, small). She has her back to the camera as she starts feeding 48 on left. 49 is sat up watching, 47 on right still lying down.

11.42 She moves round to the right and starts feeding 49. 47 sits up and  joins in.

11.47 She is still feeding all three. 47 takes a large piece and takes it to back of the box with his back to the camera to eat. He returns for more. The same happens with 48, as he takes a large piece to back of box to eat. It looks as if she is feeding them larger pieces which they have to then tear up themselves. As she finishes feeding them, there is nothing much left of the prey.

11.48 Falcon moves to front edge of box. 47 follows her, and then the others, but after a sort while she flies off.

11.51 Having moved around a bit, they form a row front to back, 48, 47 and 49 at back. 48 moves around the box, 47 in front and 49 in middle start to groom.

11.56 48 settles and lies down in centre of box. 49 lies down with him, just behind. 47 moves around to the right still grooming.

11.57 48 up again, stretching his wings and moves to back of box. 47 also moves to back of box.

12.01 49 sits up and again appears to call or gape, before moving to back right and lying down. 48 lies down centre back. 47 sat up back right. All are in the shade.

12.05 47 stretches wings and flaps them, moving about the box, to the front of the box and having a good look all around outside. He then continues to move about stretching and flapping wings.

12.10 47 moves and stands next to the other two who are still lying down.

12.12 47 sits down with the other two.

12.14 49 gets up and sits with 47 back left corner. 48 still lying down.

12.15 47 lies down, then 49 next to him.

12.18 47 gets up and moves and stands in the right hand corner facing back.

12.26 47 moves to stand over the other two, grooming.

12.33 49 on left stretches and grooms.

12.36 49 Sits up, defecates forward, and then lies down behind 48 again.

12.37 47 continues to groom stood up on the right.

12.40 48 sits up in the middle.

12.42 48 moves to back left corner. 49 sits up as well.

12.43 49 moves to right back corner. 48 moves caross to join her.

12.48 all three lie down.

12.58 49 sits up and grooms.

13.00 As I begin my first stint watching the Cromer family all 3 chicks were at the back of the box in the shade. Chick 49 stands up, wing stretches, pants and then precedes to fall over several times. She stumbles over to the other two chicks then back again. She is now standing facing the wall as if she’s been placed in the naughty corner!

13.09 49 stands up again has a preen and turns to face her siblings.

13.10 All 3 chicks now awake and huddled in the shade of the back of the box.

13.22 49 appears to be calling while it’s the chick in the middle’s turn for a preen and pamper. The third chick remains flat out asleep that is until 49 stumbles over and stands on him rudely waking him from his slumber.

13.27 The middle chick now huddled up to 49 popping his head out in to the sunshine while the other two remain in the shade.

13.34 47’s time for a preen

13.38 49 bustles her way back in between her siblings, clearly showing the size difference. She settles for a snooze while the chicks either side if her are now upright and awake.

14.03 The Tiercel arrives with prey (confirmed as a Knot - a wader on route to the breeding grounds of the artic)  Chicks 48 and 49 get fed first by the Male.

14.06 In comes the Falcon who promptly takes the food from the Male and offers it to 49 first and then 47 who has been patiently waiting on the sidelines.

14.09 The Falcon feeds herself briefly before returning her attention to 49

14.17 47 has an attempt at feeding himself before mum moves to the front of the box and finishes off her meal behind taking off with the prey remains.

14.18 48 looks a little bewildered and moves to the front to look where Mum disappeared to.

14.23 48 is still awake and shuffled around before defacating on his sleeping sibling!

14.30 All 3 chicks are settled and still. They remain this way until the end of my shift at 3.

15.00 Chicks asleep at left back of box

15.05 One chick waking and standing

15.13 All settled again

15.25 One chick awake and preening

15.28 Settled back into group

15.34 All 3 chicks now awake and moving round to right hand corner .  One preening nearer front, one centre back.

15.45 All 3 alert at back of box

15.49 Preening and stretching before settling, more spread out.

15.54 One at rear of box exercising wings

15.56 Number 47 still wing flapping 

16.04 Number 47 now trying to catch a feather blowing around the box and still exercising wings

16.11 One chick calling at front of box

16.14 All settled at back again

16.31 All asleep 

16.48 Stretching and settling again, one chick awake

16.56 All settled

17.00 One preening, 2 settled still.

17.05 2 asleep now 1 calling

17.12 1 suddenly gets up , has a really good flap and then walks across to the r.h.c.

17.13 All 3 alert, preening and looking outside.

17.15 projectile poo.

17.19 47  right on the edge of the box calling.

17.23 47 goes to back of box with back turned and other 2 looking out.

17.24 Adult pops ( don’t know which one) in for a few seconds  without any food  and then disappears. The 3 looked shocked!!

17.29 one starts to call looking upwards.

17.33 All 3 start stamping around

17.34 49 having a good wing flap.

17.37 48 having a good chew on a dry looking piece of carcass.

17.41 47 and 48 at the front of the box calling. 49 skulking at the back .

17.47 47 and 48 still at the front either calling or preening.

17.53 Either 47 or 48 standing alone frantically calling

17.55 One last projectile poo then  they all give up and settle for a snooze together.

18.00 Still snoozing.

Thank you to Mike Harmer, Nick Kimber, Sarah Lucy, Stephanie Witham and Sue Wells for todays blog

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