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Sunday 31 May 2020

Battersea Power Station Latest

If you recall the pair laid 4 eggs and all was looking pretty normal fare with the 1st egg hatching on May 1st, after this I eagerly watched the remaining 3 on the CCTV.There usually pretty close thereafter, 1 or 2 days or so but sadly that was it, the remaining 3 were no doubt infertile.

She brooded them for a further 3 weeks but it could be that age may be catching up with her, she arrived in the winter of 2012 as an adult so definitely 9 or 10 or possibly older, getting on a bit in peregrine terms.

The chick is thriving, as of today one month old, now standing up on her legs, notice I said her; she seems to have the characteristics of a female. ‘She’ is more reserved in what she does, its took her ages to build confidence to leave the box, she seems less confident. Males on the other hand always seemingly go at everything, including fledging first, full of attitude usually and in your face, certainly seems so when I pick up “grounders”.

I’m probably wrong, won’t be the first time but interesting to see.

From the start of the year I have been recording prey coming into the box, the Tiercel is doing the Lions share at the moment, he is no doubt the local Ring Necked Parakeet nemesis, to date he has taken 28 of them. Many of the Tiercels hunts take him over Battersea Park; I suspect it is here that he is intercepting the Parakeets. 

This year on the CCTV alone, I have noticed that they are switching more to ‘wild birds’ rather than the normal Feral Pigeon mainstay of prey taken. For 20 years, more or less every hunt at dawn has always been to intercept the Feral Pigeons heading south, from either the chimneys or the Cranes.

There is no doubt this year that Feral Pigeon numbers are reducing, due to construction as the Power Station closes up and they cannot get access to roost and nest.

The highly adaptable Peregrines have adjusted and are just taking more ‘wild’ species, hence the number of Parakeets taken this year, far more than I see annually on the CCTV.

I had my first grounded bird on May 22nd unbelievably, for this juvenile to have fledged this early meant that she must have laid in the 1st week of March working it back, it was very likely the most advanced family in the UK.

Couldn’t get the little chap back up high, so took him to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital where he was fed, cared for and checked over before I released him back on May 27th.

Feisty male but now back with the adults and siblings.

Since then in May, there has been 2 other grounders, seems to get earlier and earlier every year. 

Saturday 16 May 2020


May 9th

I was able to visit on the above date under essential work for the first time since lock down; if memory serves my last visit was March 7th. The visit was to check whether breeding or not and additionally, any potential safety issues that could possibly arise through netting (if any works had taken place).

Arriving at 5.00a.m, the Park was still closed so I walked Abingdon Street, Westminster Bridge and the Abbey looking for signs of them.

Empty Abingdon Street

Located the Tiercel at roost on the base of Middle Tower before he went up hunting, eventually the park opened around 6 and I was able to keep an eye on the nest box.

The Park

Over the next 3 hours I watched it pretty intently, the hoped for nest relief did not materialise but based on the actions of the Tiercel over this period it looks very good. The fact is that over the morning I did not see the Falcon, so she was either covering eggs or likely chicks at this stage or she was not present at all.

However his actions, he took no prey during my visit, but on 2 occasions he did flybys of the box calling and I could see his head turned looking towards it. Tiercels love to incubate as we know; I would presume he was trying to get her to exit so he could take over.

This didn’t work, so on a 3rd flyby he went directly to the box, for around 2 minutes he stared inside before leaving.

Roost Position

The obvious scenario is that she would not lift and switch over, possibly likely knowing he had not taken prey, its more or less prey first and then you can incubate as Falcon’s are very dominant, especially early morning.

This happens a lot at Battersea, with the Tiercel trying it on many times arriving prey less and then being sent on his way.

The other scenario is that he was going to the box to look for cached prey, however signs point towards breeding hopefully, the only other thing to consider is that she was off elsewhere hunting for herself or not present at all.

Tiercel - leg ring doesn't look like the standard BTO issue

I will confirm this week now that I am allowed out.