Well, I don’t know what to say. When I left the site on Monday night, a little past my bedtime, the falcon was “sitting” roosting, as she had been for the last 3 nights on the favored eyrie. Sitting on what all her behavior suggested to be an egg or maybe even two. After taking a couple of days away from the site I have returned to see neither the falcon or the tiercel pay any interest in the favored ledge and their “eggs” and have started nest scraping and sitting on an alternative ledge, lasted used in 2008. The rest of the ranger team have observed exactly the same behave in my absence.
So what does this all mean? The likely hood is that there are no eggs on the favored ledge as I would not expect both birds to completely neglect any eggs for such a period of time. It is true that the falcon has a bit of a reputation for acting oddly. Previous years blog readers Im sure will know what I mean, however this is exceptionally unusual even for her. I mentioned before that the favored eyrie has a large rock which almost completely obscures our view of any potential eggs, therefore I could not be 100% certain of counting eggs at all. We have to rely on interpretation of the birds behavior to working this out. Although would we could try to find a unique angle or vantage point to try view beyond the rock, all likely scenarios could potential disturb the birds and is simply not worth the risk.
One theory is that shes many have laid a malformed or “dud” egg and has simply realised that this was not going to succesful and has simply abandoned or even eaten the egg. To Re-ingesting the nutrients she will have used in producing the egg. She has been know to laid the occasional dud egg in the past, however these tend to be the last of her clutch and after she has exhausted the best of her energy and calcium on the initial healthy eggs.
In a more positive bit of behavior, after mating this morning, the tiercel came and perched for a short while on the watch point side of the gorge about 10 meters from our telescopes. No cameras at the ready, naturally. I have never seem him this close before and was quite the privilege that he felt comfortable enough to come so close although for no apparent reason other that he felt like it.
A another interesting week awaits at the the Falls of Clyde Peregrine Watch site.
Hope to bring you some answers soon.
Adam Murphy – Peregrine Ranger