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Peregrines on the Clock Tower

January 2010

Winter Update

Posted by Ciara Hand on 30 January 2010

The Peregrines have been very visible around the clock tower all winter. In fact apart from a short period in the autumn when they were probably moulting they have been around continuously since their nesting attempt failed last summer.

September 2009

Magpie on the Clock Tower?!

Posted by Sarah Lewis on 4 September 2009

Another succesfful seaon of peregrine watching has drawn to a close.  Our sadness at the failure of the eggs has been some-what made up for by the excellent views of the adults we have been getting.  The birds have been having a lovely relaxed time of it, preening and dozing on the clock tower.  Both birds look very well fed and in good health, which means that they should be in excellent condition for next breeding season-fingers crossed!

It has been very quiet on the clocktower with little action to report.  However, one day in the final week of the project we had a visit from a very cheeky magpie, who investigated the peregrine nest right under the noses (or should that be ceres!) of both peregrines!  Fortunately for Mr Magpie, neither peregerine noticed him, lost in their own vanity they were too busy preening!  What makes it worse was the fact that the RSPB had just finished explaing that peregrines are one of nature's great predators-thanks guys, made us look like right mugs! 

All that remains is for me to thank you for your interest in this project.  We have met so many enthusiastic people and have heard some fantastic wildlife stories.  Please keep watching those birds!  Hope to see you all next year!

Peregrines on the Clock Tower Team

July 2009

Are you one in a million??

Posted by Chris Owen on 7 July 2009

Sorry its been so long but we haven’t really had anything to report! Both Gavin and Stacey can still be seen each day on the Clocktower. Sometimes they are there all day, dividing their time between the east and north sides of the tower, and on other days they disappear on long hunting trips. The recent hot weather has been a bit much for the birds (as well as us on the ground!) and they often perch on the shadier parts of the tower.

The PoCT team will be watching the birds until the end of August, so if you haven’t yet seen the peregrines “in person” then what are you waiting for?! If you are a fan of birds and wildlife, why not join the RSPB? You would be in good company-we have over 1 million members! We can sign you up at the Museum and every member that joins will help wildlife conservation in Wales, as well as ensuring that the Peregrines on the Clock Tower project returns each year.

Happy watching!

June 2009

No Second Clutch

Posted by Sarah Lewis on 13 June 2009

There is no second clutch of eggs despite courtship behaviour from both of the peregrines. They have been avoiding the original nest for some time now and are still using the second nest on the east side of the clock tower as a base.

 The birds have been sitting in the more shady spots because of the hot weather we've been having recently (often, annoyingly, just out of sight of our scopes on City Hall Lawn!) but we've still been getting some great views of them.

 A highlight of this past week was the pair tucking into a pigeon and at one point they both fought over it! 

 The adults will stay around for the whole of the summer and will continue to pose for the camera, which is providing high quality images of the peregrines and is giving us lots of fun with the windscreen wipers!!

May 2009

New Camera!

Posted by Sarah Lewis on 16 May 2009

There is no sign of second clutch, although the birds continue to spend much of their time around the nest on the east clock face.  The birds are still showing some pair bonding behaviour, spending time together and today putting on an aerial display.    Despite showing this behaviour the birds have not been seen mating.  The longer we wait, the less chance of success.

At last we have some good news to bring you!  Our fantastic new camera is up and running!  It even has its very own windscreen wiper-what will they think of next!  We have much improved views of the peregrines and now have a full screen image to show visitors.  Unfortunately, the new camera image is not yet available to internet viewers (but we're working on it!), so why not come down to the museum to check it out for yourself?!  See you there... 

Fresh Hope??

Posted by Sarah Lewis on 5 May 2009

Another day of interesting behaviour!  Today, (Tues 5th May) the birds have spent the majority of their time on or around a new (old raven’s!) nest positioned on the east facing clock face.  They have been sitting very close to each other, often both in the nest together, and also have disappeared on hunting trips together.  Such “lovey dovy” behaviour is not the norm for peregrines, except during the pair bonding period, which usually occurs before laying in Feb and March.  The female then spent the afternoon “scraping” the nest.  This is a natural behaviour to create a bowl shaped “scrape” on the nest ledge, which prevents eggs from rolling off the cliff. 

It is unusual, but not unheard of, for peregrines to lay a second clutch of eggs after sitting for the full incubation period.  When it does happen, it tends to occur only in city nesting peregrines, reflecting the greater availability of food in cities later in the year. 

 

Could Gavin and Stacey be attempting a second clutch??  Watch this space!!

Bad News

Posted by Sarah Lewis on 4 May 2009

It has been a depressing few days for the PoCT team.  After a completely normal day on Sunday (3rd May), at about 3.30pm the birds suddenly became very agitated and active around the Clock Tower.  At first we thought their excitement was due to the eggs hatching, which was supported by the fact that the one of the birds appeared to bring food to the nest.  However, no chicks were sighted and the feed didn’t take place.  The birds then left the nest completely unattended for the next hour or so and could be seen perched at the top of the tower.  As I left the site at the end of the day, one of the adults was seen forlornly circling the tower, occasionally landing at the eyrie (but not sitting) and looking generally lost.

Monday (4th) confirmed our worst fears.  The eggs had failed and the Peregrines had abandoned the nest.  They spent most of the day sitting on the clock tower and ignored the nest that they had been working so hard to incubate.

April 2009

Feeding Frenzy!

Posted by David Thorpe on 26 April 2009

It has been a successful week, with the birds showing well for the museum visitors.  The most spectacular moment came on Friday morning when the adult male peregrine (Gavin to his friends!) returned to the Clock Tower with a tasty seagull to eat!  As you can imagine, this didn't go down too well with the local gulls, who attempted to mob Gavin as he arrived home.  Luckily, he made it to a nice comfortable ledge where he was able to enjoy his meal in peace. 

For the lucky people down below watching through scopes, it really was a WOW moment.  And there will be more to come!  Our eggs are due to hatch very soon (last year the first chick appeared on the 1st of May) which means more action on the nest ledge, more hunting trips for the adults and lots many more gory feeds to watch!

So why not come along and have your own RSPB WOW moment?!  We will be at the Museum Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-4pm.

Egg-static for Cardiff Peregrines

Posted by David Thorpe on 22 April 2009

Peregrines on the Clocktower 2009 is up and running!  The birds are back and were observed mating around City Hall in late March. 

 

It was on the opening day of the project (4th April) that volunteer Peter Elkington noticed that the birds had chosen a nest site for 2009-the same spot as last year!  For those of you new to PoCT, the eyrie (nest) is located in an old raven's nest on the north-facing side of City Hall Clock Tower, just above the clock face. 

 

Since early April, the birds have barely left the nest unattended, which suggests that they are incubating eggs.  Unfortunately, due to the height of the tower, we can't see in to count them.  It will be another 2 weeks before we see the chicks appear and the mystery is revealed! 

 

At the moment, the adult birds are taking turns incubating the eggs.  If you are lucky you may see a change over at the nest site.  Occasionally, one of the birds will return to the tower with prey and give us a gory treat as they devour their hard earned meal.

 

We estimate that hatching will occur in the first week of May (last year the first egg hatched on 1st May) and then the real fun will start!  Rearing hungry chicks is demanding and both mum and dad will have to work really hard to keep the food coming.  Until then, however, it's a waiting game...

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