As predicted, the fourth egg was laid yesterday. There is a chance a fifth will be laid, but the clutch has now reached the average size for this species. The serious business of incubation will get under way now, with all being well the young hatching in late April/early May.
The latest update is the Peregrines had a busy Easter weekend, with three eggs now in the nest, the latest on Easter Monday (1st April). With the average clutch size four eggs, it is likely another will be laid very shortly. The birds are very active around St George’s, and it’s well worth a visit to the area to see these birds “in the flesh”.
Many of you will have noticed the University’s webcam has had some issues – this is due to the birds being even more popular than anticipated and the feed getting too many visitors! While this is being sorted the University have set up an alternative, non-HD alternative that can be found on the main Peregrine webcam page, meaning there’ll be a constant stream when people can’t get on to the main feed.
We’ve had a few questions about technical aspects of viewing the webcam – please note the SBSG are not involved with the technical side of things, and queries are best directed at the University’s peregrine Twitter feed @peregrines2013 (although we’ll try and answer them if we can!).
Finally, if you do visit the area to see the Peregrines, it’s worth taking a detour to Crookes Valley Park, where a pair of Great Crested Grebes have taken residence for around a fortnight. This is the first record of this gorgeous bird in the park, and lucky observers have been reporting the birds engaging in their remarkable courtship dance.
A more detailed post will follow, but after increased activity around the nest site in recent days, including the female sleeping on the platform over the last couple of nights, the first Peregrine egg has been laid. It is perhaps fortunate that she has waited until the worst of the snow coverage is over, although temperatures are still unseasonably cold and some snow is still forecast.
A Peregrine’s clutch size is 3-4 eggs, so keep your eyes on the webcam for any further activity, and Tweet us at @shefbirdstudy if you observe any interesting behaviour.
It’s possible some of you have been checking the webcam every now and then, and seeing nothing but an empty, damp nestbox. But have patience, because you could get views like this, which were recorded from the webcam a few days ago, as the peregrines hopefully prepare for another successful breeding year.
To try and spot the peregrines live, see the webcam feed here. Good luck!
The peregrine webcam has made the news today, with a piece in Martin Wainwright’s blog on the Guardian. See here.
For those who have been watching the webcam and just been thwarted by an empty nestbox have patience – the birds are usually around St George’s, and give excellent webcam views if you’re lucky to be online when they enter the box. Often they’re just out of shot on the perch – look out for the edge of their tail or wings on the left hand side of the screen! If you’re passing the church don’t forget to check each side of the tower if you can’t see them around the nestbox.
If you see the birds, either on the webcam or while out and about, let us know on Twitter, at http://www.twitter.com/shefbirdstudy.
The University Estates department have been hard at work over the winter, and installed a webcam at St George’s on the peregrine nest platform. The birds seem to not mind the intrusion, and will hopefully repeat last year’s breeding success – this time with stunning views possible across the web!
The webcam can be found here. (Note the image above is just a still!)
Sheffield’s Peregrines are making the news, and causing much interest in the City. They have featured on BBC’s Look North, and their progress is being reported in the Sheffield Star, with a story on the female chick’s maiden flight here.
Meanwhile, the University of Sheffield, who own St George’s Church where the Peregrines are making their home, have put the Peregrines as the current University homepage, as seen below.
Welcome to the Sheffield Peregrines blog, which will give updates on the comings and goings of Sheffield’s urban Peregrines, updated by members of Sheffield Bird Study Group (SBSG).
The Peregrines have successfully bred for the first time in the city, on a specially-erected nest platform on The University of Sheffield‘s St George’s Church lecture theatre. The young have hatched and can now be seen on the platform. Keep your eyes on the blog for further updates and photographs.
The SBSG will be organising watches of the Peregrines in the coming weeks – see the website linked above for updates.