Fledging 2018

The two juveniles were ringed under license in the nest at about 20 days old on the 24th of May. Both were confirmed as females and along with the metal BTO ring, they also had a colour ring put on. We use a blue ring with black letters for identifying them out in the wild. This years rings were VF and VG.

VF fledged on the 20th June at 47 days after hatching and VG fledged on the 22nd (48 days). Both juveniles required rescuing after leaving the nest. On her first flight, VF ended up in a back garden in Haldon road, was caught and put on a roof in Dinham road. After sitting on the ridge for a few hours, she then flew straight back up to the church. VG disappeared shortly after leaving the nest, and I heard her calling the following day from a hidden sloping roof gulley above the chancel where she was trapped. With some help and a long ladder, we rescued her and took her to St. Davids vets as it was a hot day, she was dehydrated and hungry and unable to fly properly. The RSPCA took her to West Hatch at Taunton, and after 10 days of good food and care, she was returned to the church. She flew well on release and made it up to the lower edge of the roof, before then disappearing around the tower and off towards St. Davids hill.

It took 48 hours before I heard that both juveniles were seen together, and they are now spending quite a bit of time on Exeter Cathedral as well as the church.

Egg laying and hatching dates, 2018

The peregrines laid their first egg at 18.53 on the 25th of March, one day later than in 2016 and 2017. A second egg was laid at approximately 05.55 on the 28th with a third at 17.32 on the 30th. Only three eggs were laid this year compared to the four that are the normal clutch size.

Hatching occurred approximately 35 days after the third egg was laid with one chick first seen at 20.51 on the 4th of May. A second chick hatched the following day in the morning between 07.45 and 10.42. Only two of the three eggs hatched and we expect fledging to occur between the 16th and the 20th of June.

The Exeter Peregrines booklet, revised

I have recently re-written the 2016 section to bring the booklet up to date and include the 2017 breeding season, and update the number of buzzard attacks. The price remains the same at £6 (including postage) via my website, or £5 at my talks, Exeter Tourist and Ticket Office in Southernhay or Drewsteignton Post Office.

The 4th International Peregrine Conference, Budapest

On Tuesday 26th September, I flew from Bristol airport to Hungary to attend the 4th International Peregrine Conference. It was held at the Herman Otto Conference Centre in Budapest, and ran from the 27th until the 1st October with a daily programme of lectures from peregrine researchers and workers from across the globe. There were some truly fascinating talks on a wide variety of subjects including population monitoring, productivity, migratory movements, urban increases, tree nesting, diet and prey selection, predation and persecution, genetics and radio tracking. Presentations were 25 minutes long with some time for questions and there were eight per day. I gave an illustrated talk entitled ‘Extreme territorial aggression by urban peregrine falcons towards Common Buzzards in South-west England’, which was the only presentation on behaviour. This was a new talk and features the unique territorial aggression of the Exeter peregrines towards Buzzards flying over the city. It appeared to be well received, especially the live footage of an attack.

There were about 70 attendees in all, with about eight from the UK, and it was a joy to catch up with old friends and make new ones. The venue was superb, as was the food during the conference. In the evenings, there were various events in the city centre, which involved seeing the cultural sights, and sampling Hungarian food and drink. We even got to see an adult female peregrine which was over-wintering on the Cathedral in the centre of Budapest.

Fledging 2017

Only two of the four eggs hatched (on the 2nd and 3rd of May) just as in 2016, and two female chicks were ringed in the nest by Jason Fathers on the 23rd of May. Both had B.T.O. metal rings and colour rings ( black PP and PM on a blue ring) put on their legs. Fledging occurred on the 14th June when PM left the nest (43 days from hatching) and PP flew on the 20th June (48 days after hatching). Both have been honing their flying skills over Exeter through July and August, and are now returning to the church far less frequently as they gain their independence.

Egg Laying Dates in 2017

The first egg laid at St, Michaels Church, Mount Dinham in Exeter was at 02.14 on the 24th of March. The second was laid 59 hours later at 14.47 on the 26th, with the third arriving 57 hours later at 23.55 on the 28th. The fourth arrived 58 hours later at 10.16 on the 31st of March. The arrival of this years eggs are almost identical to last years clutch of four eggs. Incubation began after the third egg was laid and both adult peregrines can be seen sharing this. Hatching is expected around the 2nd of May.