Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Peregrines in Norwich
Watching from Germany
I have been enjoying my daily visits to the Norwich peregrines via the Hawk and Owl Trust’s webcam that provides such a great view of the nesting platform and the city below the Cathedral‘s spire –
I have switched on at about 6.30 each morning since 14th May when the first egg hatched and even at this early hour I usually caught the birds enjoying breakfast. I have tuned in again on most evenings when I have returned home from work to enjoy the banter and questions and answers on the Peregrine Forum, even contributing now and then myself.
On a couple of occasions I have even tuned in at work to show both the adults and children who attend my groups the Peregrine action at Norwich Cathedral.
I, my family, my clients, and also many friends who I have talked to about the return after two-hundred years of peregrines to Norwich, are captivated by these amazing creature. Our enthusiasm has sparked off many conversations these last few weeks.
I am thoroughly enjoying communicating about the birds with my sister, each of us keeping up to date on the webcam and reading the website information. We discussed the progress of the chicks as if we were experts and keenly followed events surrounding them such as their recent ringing.
Although it can all still be seen on the Hawk and Owl Trust’s website but I was so excited when I realised that I would be able to see these fastest creatures in the world performing live.
Watching for real
I am on a flying visit to Norwich and this afternoon, after a morning weeding the parsnips, armed with binoculars and camera, I jumped on my old bike to cycle the ten minutes to the Cathedral Close.
As I walked up The Close from Pull’s Ferry I immediately spotted the platform and both the male and female birds perched high, one on each side of the nesting platform keeping an eye out for danger, or for the next dinner! The falcon was on the right, perched on a crocket just above the nesting and the tiercel almost at the tip of the spire on the third crocket from the top, one looking westwards and the other eastwards over the city.
On the green in the Cathedral Close there is a manned information desk and in a small enclosed area there are half a dozen telescopes for public use, positioned to view the tower.
Help is on hand to spot the birds and to provide answers to questions.
Now that the parent birds are no longer sitting on the chicks to keep them warm, they can be seen sitting preening themselves and on guard. They leave the chicks for longer and longer periods of time, attending from afar, and with the temperature now soaring well into the high twenties it is more likely that the chicks need to be shaded by the wings of their parents to keep cool rather than for their warmth.
Occasionally the head of a chick can now be seen from below, peering over the edge of the platform. This causes much concern to some of the followers on the website forum, but we are assured that the chicks will not come over the side until their feathers are able to support them in flight. As the experts said to me when I visited the Cathedral these are after all cliff and mountain-side dwellers and they should know what they are doing!
I am not here in Norwich for long and unfortunately by the 8th June, the expected date that the chicks will fly from the nest, I will be long gone. I am going to make the most of the live action and jump on my bike as often as I can before I leave.
I would just love to see the adult birds in flight so I will try to visit early in the morning or late evening, the time when they are most active, hunting for food and arriving at the nest to feed the young. But if I do not see the parent birds flying it does not matter too much because all I wanted was to see the actual platform and chat to the wardens and just feel a little bit closer to the peregrine action, and say thank you for the great enjoyment that I have had from this project.