We have a second egg - CPP blog – Thursday 30th March 2023
Updated: Mar 31
A dry and blustery start to the blog this morning, as I start my watch neither bird is present and the single rust coloured egg sits uncovered at the rear of the nest box.
0858 hrs the falcon (female) arrives to begin egg minding duties and promptly positions herself over the egg facing the camera. She remains alert and tilts her head listening to the sounds of Cromer town.
0907 hrs she closes her eyes briefly
0910 hrs the falcon lifts off the egg and walks to the front of the box chatting and chirruping away as she does so, she perches on the corner of the box with her head lowered still chirruping
0917 hrs it’s all quiet again and she takes herself back to the egg and repositions herself, this time facing the back wall of the box
0920 hrs a quick shuffle with a kick or two of gravel and she repositions again to once again face forwards, her head now in the sunshine
0959 hrs after an on/off half hour of dozing, she lifts up and starts to change position again, this time she uses her beak to roll the egg slightly further under her.
1001 hrs a brief peck at the gravel beneath her.
1006 hrs A Peregrine can be heard calling close by, the female remains undisturbed.
1010 the female is fidgety, she’s up and repositioning herself again while the other peregrine (presumably the male) is once again heard calling from close by.
1014 hrs the wind has gotten up now and her feathers are blowing up and down as she lifts up again. She is standing over the egg now and her breathing is noticeably more rapid.
1018 hrs more loud calls from both the male (tierce) Peregrine and the local Gulls. The Falcon remains upright with the egg between her feet.
1020 hrs the falcon raises her tail and if my eyes are not playing tricks on me, I believe we have our second egg!!! You can watch the special moment right here: https://youtu.be/CeJNke5Mr8k
1021 hrs she remains standing with raised tail. So tricky to see but I’m sure there is something other than gravel beneath her.
1024 hrs the Falcon steps back and for the first time the second egg can be seen clearly. Around 122.5 hours after the first!! Interestingly it appears much paler than the first which could indicate that the shell is not as strong as it should be.
1029 hrs we are afforded a good view of both eggs and the variation between them
1030 hrs both eggs remain visible as the Falcon stands guard watching something overhead
1031 hrs the falcon begins chatting/chirruping
1034 hrs she briefly settles down on her eggs before lifting off again as if she realises something feels different.
1037 hrs the falcon appears to retch but no pellet
1040 hrs she settles again
1041 hrs she’s back up again, she uses her beak once again to move both eggs under her body. A two-minute period of shuffling and adjusting herself before she finally looks comfortable
11.00 hrs my watch comes to an end as the Falcon remains settled on her eggs. What a privilege to be able to have witnessed such a special moment
1100 hrs my shift starts with the Falcon on both(!) eggs, having a snooze
1114 hrs she pecks at gravel then repositions herself on the eggs. The second egg looks very pale compared with the first one
1118 hrs she is snoozing, despite strong winds blowing into the box
1127 hrs the female looks alert
1133 hrs she snoozes
1138 hrs she looks alert
1146 hrs she starts pecking at gravel and then stands to reach the gravel in the North West corner. Both eggs clearly visible.
1149 hrs she settles back down on the eggs, facing the camera
1150 hrs the male can be heard calling
1151 hrs the male enters the box. Both chirrup away as the female goes to edge of nest box. Male bobs on eggs then settles down. Female leaves.
1153 hrs the male repositions both eggs - he briefly seems to have trouble getting both of them comfortably underneath him, being the smaller of the pair.
1156 hrs the male appears settled and relaxed
1220 hrs the male is alert
1222 hrs the male pecks at gravel then stands and bobs over the eggs
1224 hrs the male settles down again
1238 hrs he is alert and looking around
1246 hrs the male alternates between snoozing and looking around
1255 hrs the male pecks at gravel, has a look around and then shuffles round on eggs
1300 hrs my shift ends with male settled down and alert
1300 hrs the tiercel (male) has taken up duty recently, and has just settled, with difficulty, onto the two eggs. This is a situation which demonstrates the size difference between the two birds, and will be exacerbated for him if we see a third egg.
1316 hrs in a repeat of Tuesday at this time, the Tiercel has settled off to sleep, although one eye is opening partially from time to time.
1327 hrs the tiercel starts to pick at the gravel, then after a few moments rises up a little and shuffles himself, and the eggs , a little before settling down again. He continues to pick at the stones as the church clock strikes the half hour.
1333 hrs the Tiercel begins calling as the Falcon has landed on the roof, then hops up to the ridge.
1335 hrs the Falcon comes onto the platform, and after a few moments of “conversation”, the Tiercel moves off and leaves. The Falcon settles onto the eggs, and gives a few chirps as if to say “bye for now” as he goes.
1338 hrs the Falcon goes into stone pick mode for a few seconds
1341 hrs the Falcon seems to close her eyes, as she is now sitting in bright sunlight, although from the roaring of the microphone it is evidently quite gusty up there.
1358 hrs the Falcon seems quite alert at the moment, but has time for some more stone picking, plus a spot of preening too.
1400 hrs the Falcon stands up, shuffles around, then settles facing the left back corner of the platform. She continues to pick at the stones.
1404 hrs the Falcon stands up, and begins picking over a wider area. In the background, the Tiercel calls a couple of times.
1406 hrs the Falcon moves away from the eggs completely so that the second egg can be seen to be half and half coloured pale and dark. She then settles back down, again facing into the back left corner of the platform.
1407 hrs our cameraman grabbed this close up of the eggs for us
1414 hrs the Tiercel can be heard again, close by giving several calls. The Falcon is looking around too.
1416 hrs the Falcon stands up, facing out, directly over the eggs, while the Tiercel gives further calls. Perhaps an intruder? No, WhatsApp reports that the Tiercel is on the South East turret with food.
1421 hrs the Falcon moves to the front of the platform, while the Tiercel continues to call. She then she hops down onto the roof ridge and walks along the ridge, with much twittering going on.
1417 hrs WhatsApp reports the male has prey
1423 hrs WhatsApp reports that the Falcon takes the food and caches it on the West side of the South East pinnacle. Then she takes flight and lands on the South West pinnacle.
1423 hrs the Tiercel walks across to the platform, and settles on the eggs, facing the right back corner this time.
1440 hrs sudden loud noises of a gull nearby, causing the Tiercel to look up, but do nothing more. He resumes his dozing with one eye, at least, opening from time to time.
1452 hrs after a few minutes of dozing, the Tiercel begins some more stone picking, then shuffles round to face into the back of the platform. Further shuffling round and egg adjusting before settling facing more or less West (left side of the box as we see it!).
1446 hrs another Whatapp report and screen shot to accompany both birds in view as the female performs a fly past.
1500 hrs my session ends with the Falcon reported as still on the South West pinnacle, while the Tiercel dozes on the eggs.
1500 hrs as I take over my shift the male is sitting quietly on the eggs
1525 hrs he has turned round occasionally
1600 hrs no exciting events to report this time
1600 hrs the male (affectionately nicknamed Henry) sitting on the egg. It’s very windy. He was sitting facing the back of the box. (I think he realised I was watching and turned round to face out of the box !. Then the female (affectionately named Poppy) flew in and they did a change round. All this happened within the first 3 minutes of the session.
Poppy continued to sit facing the side of the box for the rest of the hour. She was very alert looking around and out of the box all the time.
1618 hrs she had a bit of a preen. Henry was nearby as at times he was quite vocal.
1619 hrs Poppy stood up, checked the eggs and then sat down again for the rest of the hour. Continuing to be very alert most of the time.
Blog ends for the day.
Thanks today to our blog volunteers Chris, Sarah, Andrew, Peter, Barb & Sue.
Just as a postscript, here is a fine comparison of the size of the two birds.
The tiercel (meaning a third smaller in Latin) is the male, he is a third smaller than the falcon (female) this is sometimes referred to as ‘reverse sexual size dimorphism’.