Once again we had a very quiet and cold weekend here at the Peregrine Watch. However our lovely pair decided to reward us on Saturday with some action passing food and mating 3 times! Even though it’s long past the time the falcon lay eggs, there is still some courtship behaviours and mating going on, possibly to reinforce the pair’s bonds.
The very rainy and cold Sunday meant that the birds spent most of the day around. Only the tiercel went away for a few hours in the rain returning empty talloned with a very miserable and bedraggled look.
During the office’s spring clean, Laura, our head ranger, found the Peregrine Watch report from 2000. This was the first year our tiercel was here and the second year the watch was running. The Peregrine Watch set up and activity changed a lot in the last 15 years so it was really interesting to read it. It was also a lot of fun because it turns out that Garry, the peregrine ranger at the time that wrote the report, was not only very passionate but also a true poet!
Here are some of my favourite points:
– Around this time 15 years ago, there were 4 eggs in the eyrie of which 3 originated “little balls of fluff” and the falcon’s brood patches were visible. This provided my “new fact moment” of the week because I didn’t know these existed. If you are like me and don’t know what this is then brood patches are an adaptation that peregrines and some other birds have. They consist of featherless areas on the chest where the skin thickens and blood flood is increased to optimise heat transfer between the parent and embryos inside the eggs. Isn’t it cool?
– The falcon brought in a cock pheasant after 12h of absence! This is still our record of biggest prey item brought in;
– The recommendations were very to the point concerning security, leaflets, etc. Garry, if you ever read this I think you’ll like to know that all your recommendations were followed and we now have a very well equipped site;
– I loved the passion and dedication shown on the ‘Advice for Future Peregrine Rangers’ section! At that time we didn’t have CCTV installed and so the birds’ protection had to be covered 24/7 by the Peregrine Ranger and volunteers. This fact led to one of my favourite passages in the report (I’m sorry it’s long): “When you are at rest you must also remain vigilant. I found sleeping with the caravan window and skylight open allowed me to be easily disturbed by any noise outsider, although this did cause me a lot of discomfort especially on cold nights in early April when I would wake up with stiff neck and joints”. Now this is dedication!
I’m afraid our current reports won’t bring as much joy to future Peregrine Rangers as they are a bit drier but hopefully they won’t be any less useful. Reading this made me realize how lucky I am in working with such amazing conditions and be part of an exceptional group of people that have invested so much in the protection of these birds. I’m very proud to say the peregrines have been safely rearing chicks since 1999 and hopefully will continue for a long time! None of this would be possible without the amazing volunteers (past and current) that dedicate so much of this time to our cause, thank you very much!!
See you soon,
Cat Fonseca – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Peregrine Ranger Intern
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