Friday, 15 May 2015

Derby Cathedral's Peregrine Falcons

I have mentioned this fascinating project before on my blog and cannot resist calling in on Derby Cathedral to visit these magnificent birds whenever I’m in the vicinity. I have like many been keeping tabs on the progress of this years nest activity via the webcam stream and read that on Friday the 8th May, the third of four eggs laid had hatched. I was visiting the area in the next few days, so arranged to call in.

If you don’t already check out the nest activity from time to time on the live webcams, go the excellent Derby peregrines Blog by clicking their logo image below. 


I did manage to pay a flying visit, but the birds were far too busy with three fledglings to entertain me. I hung around for a while and was eventually rewarded with a brief view of the pair as a nest change over took place. One of the Peregrines disappeared from view as it took up its position with the chicks on the platform, the other perched on the edge of one of the decoratively carved sandstones and enjoyed a short break from parenting duties. I took this opportunity to grab a few pictures.

I wanted to experiment with my old Canon SX40 bridge camera hand held and my Nikon P300 attached to my scope and compare the results. 

It’s a fair way up to the nest platform and perching Peregrine from my vantage point.


The wind was also strong and gusting, so vibration of the equipment was a constant issue. I started with the Canon SX40 Bridge camera handheld.



Hand held in a strong wind, these turned out better than I expected.

I then switched to the digiscoping set-up using the Nikon P300.



Comparing the pictures, there isn’t really much in it. I would say the Digiscoped results are a little sharper, but they were taken with the equipment mounted on a good sturdy tripod. 

My old Bridge camera has surprised me with what it has achieved hand held. Bridge cameras have come on a lot since this one ruled the roost. I think this has convinced me there is still a place in my birding for a bridge camera to record my sightings. It’s time for an upgrade. 

I will be visiting the Derby Cathedral Peregrines again soon probably when the young are nearing fledging around June time and I hope to have a new Bridge camera with me to capture the action. Until then, I will be keeping up with day to day developments at the nest via the BLOG and the webcams. 

If you are interested in seeing the Peregrines for yourself and getting some good views, Watchpoint events are held on Saturday mornings beginning sometime in May. Details can be found here - Watchpoint. There are usually spotting scopes you can look through to get good views of the birds and the nesting platform. Why not make a day of it and if you can, make a donation to this great project.

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