A lot has changed in the space of the last week, and the chicks are almost ready to take to the air.
There was a terrific turn-out for the talk on Monday evening, and it was really great to see how much the Peregrines have captured the public imagination. A true success story!
Concerns about the chicks being left unattended were addressed in an episode I had the fortune to see earlier in the week when one of the adult saw off a Lesser Black-backed Gull that was drifting over.
A good chasing was not enough and the gull was dragged through the air for a good few metres before being released.
It flew off apparently none the worse for the experience, but perhaps a little more cautious about approaching St George’s!
The chicks have almost completed their transformation from tiny white balls of fluff to fully feathered fledgers. The image below is from 4th June, since when they’ve lost more of the down, which they pick at as they preen.
There are reports that one of them took a first flight this afternoon. They’ve certainly been giving their wings plenty of exercise, and can be seen flapping away in the box from across the road now. The female brought in some food yesterday evening, onto the ledge (out of sight of the webcam), but didn’t take it onto the platform. It seemed she might be trying to encourage the chicks to come out of the box, but none of them rose to the bait, crowding to that front corner in anticipation but apparently not yet ready to leave.
This weekend should see plenty of activity and a good chance of the chicks leaving the platform, either to the ledge or perhaps a flight. Certainly worth a visit if you’re in the area, with great views guaranteed if you can hang around a while!