Yesterday I took a short sunny walk from the peregrine watch site towards Bonnington Linn and was rewarded with a great view of a common sandpiper bobbing away on the rocks and a sparrowhawk circling over head.
As for the peregrines they were still sitting on their egg(s). Although things are looking late this year, a quick look through the records showed that she last laid an egg as late as the 4th April (same as this year) back in 2009, and that one didn’t hatch until the 17th May! Another 2 days to go..?
Mathematically, yes it was entirely possible. Biologically, I wasn’t holding much hope. Sadly, at 12:15pm the falcon left the eyrie. As a general rule a egg with a developing embryo can hold its own heat for approximately 20 minutes, weather depending. There was no sign of the tiercel. Regardless of temperature, an unguarded egg is vulnerable to predation from a buzzard or anyone of the corvid family.
12:30pm still no sign of either bird, I was overdue for my break and sensing the what seemed like the inevitable I wasn’t doing a very good job of filling volunteers with much hope as we reached the 20 minute mark. I decided not to stick around, with lots of encouragement from the volunteers I went for my walk to Bonnington.
When I returned, so had the falcon. Now sitting on the eyrie, she been gone for 50 minutes. Things were not looking good. I had seen this behaviour before, she done exactly the same before she abandoned the egg last year. Although she continued to sporadically incubate through yesterday, she continue to leave the egg for extended spells and often in the absence of the tiercel (he had continue incubating during spells between hunting).
When I opened the watch site this at 10am this morning it was the tiercel on the eyrie. It is now nearly 7pm and we have not seen the female all day. The male has continued to do his regular 2-3 hours incubation spells all day. Often leaving the egg, when hes gone hunting or sit on his favorite perch in the oak tree calling for his mate to return…
Adam Murphy – Peregrine Ranger