Having suggested that the end of the week might see the first flight of the chicks, the recent gale-like conditions seem to have brought things forward. After posting last night’s blog post a quick check of the webcam showed the female on the perch pole, being battered by the heavy rain and very strong winds. Shortly afterwards, she moved into the nestbox in search of some shelter, and stayed there for some time with the two juvs out of sight.
By Tuesday morning (June 2nd) the rain had cleared, but the wind was still verging on gale force. At some point around 10 a.m. one of the juvs left the nestbox, though whether this was intentional or not remains in doubt! My suspicion is that it was caught by a gust and blown off the edge of the box as they seemed a couple of days away from leaving the nestbox on the basis of recent years’ experience.
Somehow or other it ended up on the ledge above the clock face, halfway down the tower and on the same face of the church. It spent the day there, mostly settled but also running to and fro and occasionally flapping vigorously, though without any apparent desire to take off – much more like the exercising on the edge of the nestbox seen in recent days. A visit in the evening coincided with parallel feeding as the female brought a Feral Pigeon in to the chick on the ledge, which hadn’t fed all day.
After a good feed, at the end of which the chick’s crop was visibly full, the female left, as above. Within a few minutes of this, the male took food to the chick in the nestbox, so both ended the day well fed. Keeping tabs on what’s going on hasn’t always been straightforward as the adults have been using the camera box as a perch, occasionally blocking the view with their tail.
This morning (Weds 3rd June) saw the same scenario, with one chick in the nestbox and the other on the ledge while both parents remained nearby. One image taken as the female came into land caught me by surprise when I looked at it on the back of the camera, as the female Peregrine’s feet seemed tiny.
It soon dawned on me that these were the feet of a pigeon being carried by the female! She plucked the catch on the ledge and appeared to be looking to coax the remaining chick out of the nestbox, but though it was clearly keen for a feed it stayed on top on the camera housing.
Eventually she flew round and landed alongside it, though there wasn’t enough room for the two Peregrines and the remains of the pigeon, and the chick ended up being fed while perched on the metal strut that supports the camera before hopping back into the box.
So we have some anxious days ahead still as the second chick will no doubt leave the nest soon, and has taken to moving to and fro from the camera housing and also onto the roof of the nestbox, where it can be hard to see. Perhaps next year we’ll be able to change the panoramic camera angle to capture this, but it’s far harder to do than you might think! The remaining chick is following the pattern of the last couple of years in terms of building up to its first flight, which is likely to be tomorrow or Friday. Perhaps June 5th will be the day again after all!