The day before yesterday, both birds took their turn incubating, only leaving the egg for up to half an hour at a time to feed, or occasionally to carry out some housekeeping. Both were wandering along the eyrie nibbling away at grit and bugs as they went. It is believed that the adults, particularly the falcon, will increase her grit intake the closer it gets to hatching day. This is because she will eat the egg shell to replace the nutrients and calcium she lost when producing the egg and the grit helps her to digest it. For all intents and purposes they appeared to be behaving themselves for a change and repeatedly turning and attending to the egg. The day before yesterday there was still hope…
I’m not going to sugar coat it: yesterday was almost entirely hopeless. We had no incubation behaviour at all and for the most part no peregrines, at least not to see in telescopes anyway. The only action at the eyrie was a rather poignant movement this afternoon when the tiercel made his only visit to the eyrie, looking down in the nest scrape and staring for a few moments into the apparently empty void at his feet. Unfortunately, we do not have the correct vantage point to angle our telescopes or webcam down into the nest scrape, so I can’t tell you what he saw. I can only imagine it was a cold dead egg or worse a lifeless and too weak to live, chick. Meanwhile, the falcon could be heard constantly calling from the nearside of the gorge giving one of her seemingly all the more dreadful screeches.
I said yesterday was almost entirely hopeless, but there were some rays of metaphorical sunshine, along with plenty of the real stuff. When about an hour later the falcon returned, she flew onto the old nest ledge last used in 2008 and began chupping and calling to the male, now perched only a foot or two away from her on his favourite “staircase” perch. It was hard to see what she was doing as it is a notoriously difficult ledge to see into and I was having to take a backseat to allow the hordes of excited visitors to get a glimpse of both birds in the telescopes. From what little I could see with my binoculars she appeared to be nest scraping, but she soon left the ledge and flew out of sight. Almost immediately the tiercel replaced her on the 2008 ledge, the visitors soon lost interest as his smaller size made it a lot harder for them to view him on. He most certainly started scraping and then appeared to lay down for a good 15 minutes before disappearing again. Other interesting behaviour has seen the tiercel circling overhead calling: behaviour that you would associate with late February to early March when he displays to impress the female and to demonstrate that this is his territory and warn off any would be challengers.
As for today, its been a whole new level of excitement but that’s a story for another blog…
Hope to see you soon.
Adam Murphy – Peregrine Ranger
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The day before yesterday, both birds took their turn incubating, only leaving the egg for up to half an hour at a time to feed, or occasionally to carry out …