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Saturday 30 January 2016

2016 - Peregrines

Unbelievably another new year and peregrine breeding season has arrived, January marks a very busy month for me, I enjoy it though, I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction when a nest box or a tray is used annually and aids in successful breeding.

To date I have cleaned out 5 nest boxes and 2 trays, all are in use and take quite a bit of substrate to fill up, especially nest boxes being far larger than a tray.

Nest boxes and trays are more or less successful wherever you go, both work and in most cases where I have placed either, it has often been they are desperate for a nest site position which the building/structure may not offer.

Tray’s always have 100mm of substrate and I try and do the same for nest boxes, some Falcons’ will just make a shallow scrape but others will sometimes go the whole hog and scrape out nearly to the bottom.

A new box, a bit different from the used one below

I am lucky enough to be watching a pair on CCTV, the mild weather over the last month has got them all a flutter and I have seen them several times in the nest box giving ledge display and ‘beaking’.

Southern Peregrines seem to be laying earlier and earlier, this is certainly the case in London, last year’s earliest date if I recall correctly was March 10th. Will they be early again this year due to the mild weather? It certainly wouldn’t surprise me in London with its overall warmer temperatures.

It could be that in the not too distant future with climate change and warmer winters, that NaturalEngland may well consider bringing the February Schedule 1 licence start forward to January, as pairs become territorial earlier.

One pair that have done exceptionally well over the last 3 years is the pair at Battersea Power Station, a new ringed female came in at the end of 2013 and they have accomplished successful breeding since 2014.

This year will be a challenge for them with works on the actual Power Station about to start in earnest. It is testament to the species resilience so far that they have adapted to the major works on site, even with chimney demolition and reconstruction.

With one new chimney already built, the peregrines are already using it whilst the remaining 3 are being taken down.

The Battersea Tiercel

Hopefully more of this at Battersea in 2016

Black Redstart - another species that breeds at Battersea Power Station

Practice makes perfect

Hopefully another successful year in 2016.

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