Mixed signals

We’re finally deep in to the construction of the new peregrine roost v2.0 and should have it ready by the end of this week, with installation early next week. It’ll be twice as large in floor space and will provide superior camera angles with less chance of intervention required to ingress to clean lenses etc. We will also have better internal access come the time for tagging any juniors this season; the primary access requirement was to enable side access to avoid the nightmare of having a chirpy chick hopping away from us and out over the ledge. Side access will at least provide a safer backdrop. We also decided to improve access for replacing dirty gravel, which incidentally is also being replaced with a proper coloured, cleaned and graded “pea gravel” that will provide much better drainage and still provide eggs with a smoother resting surface with fewer pressure points that could crack them. Top-ups will be needed if mum’s appetite for gravel continues!

We’re still negotiating replacement cameras but have settled on the technology combination to be used (namely IP over CCTV). Obtaining information, costings and availability from most suppliers has proven to be our biggest hurdle with few replies received over the last few months, even with promises of a certain sale. Software and storage requirements will hopefully allow us to retain archived 24/7 footage but also give high-speed editing of the more relevant clips, as well as the capabilty to provide at least two streamed, day/night & colour feeds on to web pages that will shortly be supplied by CSU itself, with possibly a couple of future new camera angles attached too.

Last Friday we received a call from an observant Orange local claiming that there was a badly injured raptor in her yard, with either a broken leg, or missing leg entirely. She took a couple of photos and the ravenous bird was happy to receive a chicken meal from her. We were ready to make a flying (no pun intended!) visit to help identify the bird as we were very worried it may be one of our local peregrine family. Just as we were ready to visit another call came in saying that the bird had managed to fly away clumsily.

We received a couple of photos of the aforesaid raptor and it seems more now that it’s a injured goshawk, based on the markings, approximate size and appearance. Still not good to see but a relief from our own perspective. We have obtained contact details for a local raptor-licenced handler, just in case.

…. and then, very early on Saturday morning, 2 days ago, a University staff member was passing and spotted our two adult peregrines mating right up on top of the 50m high water tower. It was fantastic news for us as it further confirms that the injured bird wasn’t one of our breeding pair, but also that this breeding season may well commence a month or two earlier than last year’s successful exercise. Hence the mad rush to install the Roost v2.0

These next 2 weeks will be hectic, with practice runs to complete the roost & install it, and will include many arduous climbs up the tower, complete with backpacks full of gravel and odd shapes of timber. Any local staff keen for some exercise are welcome to get in touch! The new viewing season has begun, and not before time as our nest camera has been a real headache in providing a viewing signal for longer than maybe 2 days at a time.