Summer’s first swallows arrive at Brackenhurst

A swallow feeding its young (Image: Mike Vickers)

A swallow feeding its young (Image: Mike Vickers)

The arrival of the peregrine chicks, or ‘eyasses’, certainly created a stir once again amongst the staff and students here at Nottingham Trent University’s Brackenhurst Campus in Southwell. As the highs and lows were  streamed live into the reception area of our Bramley building,  the footage over the past several days has been a reminder to us all that the power and effect of mother nature can never be taken for granted, underestimated or forgotten.

The recent events also coincided with the arrival of the summer’s first swallows on the estate here at Brackenhurst. This ends their long migratory journey from Africa. Sightings include feeding flights over fields and ponds, along with the search for potential nesting sites in and around the buildings at Brackenhurst’s very own home farm.

Following on from the recent blog regarding the viewing of raptors, Brackenhurst’s rural location allows it to be used for just that.  Buzzards (Buteo buteo),  kestrels, (Falco tinnunculus), sparrowhawks  (Accipter nisus) and the occasional red kite (Milvus milvus) have been viewed throughout the year.

Their success here is probably due to the high number of species rich hedgerows,  diverse field margins and woodland. These will naturally provide a quality habitat to a variety of species lower down the food chain, such as invertebrates, which in turn will provide a food source for a variety of bird species, right up to the apex predators such as the raptors.

Preparations are being made for the much anticipated annual use of our own bird boxes, which are dotted about the campus on various trees and buildings for the use of smaller, hole nesting bird species, such as the great tit (Parus major), blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and tree sparrow (Passer montanus). Due to the high uptake of birds using the boxes, we have recently installed around 50 new boxes, and replaced many of the old and damaged ones.

All the boxes will be constantly monitored throughout the nesting season. Some will be wired with a live video link to various locations around the campus for viewing by students in communal areas. The live streaming may also create the opportunity for postgraduate study into species behaviour in the future.

Simon Taylor & Gemma Clark
Field & Environment Technicians
Nottingham Trent University

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51 Responses to Summer’s first swallows arrive at Brackenhurst

  1. Malcolm says:

    Well done all following with interest. Thanks also for the informative updates and new projects.

    Like

  2. SW says:

    Swifts in Headingley, Leeds this morning.

    Like

  3. ann says:

    Thank you for the latest blog-I saw our first swallows last Friday-Heanor Derbyshire. I have just watched our little Invincible having his latest meal. Will the chcks’s development be slower because they are no siblings to learn with ?

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  4. ann says:

    Sorry “there”

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  5. Julie says:

    I saw what I thought were swifts over the weekend in Birmingham but I assumed I was confusing them with other species. Sounds like I wasn’t seeing things!

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  6. Maurice says:

    I’m not sure if I can post this here, but I did come across this interesting link to a nest cam of some Great Blue Herons that have been causing a stir on the other side of the pond.
    http://www.livestream.com/cornellherons

    Like

  7. Ginny says:

    Question: What happened to the dead eyasses and would it be possible to put a roof over that nest
    higher up. That might at least keep some of the rain off the nest but not spook the falcons from
    nesting here again. Thank you. This has been quite an experience.

    Like

    • GeoffT says:

      Ginny. The dead eyasses got eaten by chick number four and their carcasses disposed by mum. The issue of a roof has been covered majorly in a previous blog, I think on April 30.

      Like

  8. Christine says:

    Gloria/Unity, etc,etc has been stuffing it’s face again 8.55pm and doing a poo !! things must be working !! I’ve heard it is going to be very cold again this weekend

    Like

  9. Dors says:

    Just getting stressed as chick is home alone when, I think it’s Mrs P, flies in to keep it warm. Drier weather forecast for the next few days, thats good.

    Like

    • betty_boo says:

      This is so rewarding, beats any computer game enjoying every minute of it. Keep spying Dor
      we are all enjoying this blog ,

      Like

  10. Christine says:

    7.25am – friday – There it was in the corner again but she got him by the scruff and moved him away !

    Like

  11. juli says:

    Just had my daily fix to ensure things still going well on the roof, interested to hear about the swallows, must get back to doing some work now!

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  12. Mo Cole says:

    Friday 12.30pm…. Baby ”Travis” (what a good name) fed watered and pooped…lol xxx

    Like

  13. Nicola says:

    Friday 1.15pm:
    chick fed well & beded down again. Great to see 🙂

    Like

  14. Steve says:

    14:35 ….. Little Jack Horner’s back in the corner (a different one) 🙂 🙂

    Like

  15. Ian Fretwell says:

    And making a hell of a noise too! ; -0) weres Mum ?

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  16. Ian Fretwell says:

    Hes 7.5 cms tall now. Hes just measuring himself next to the board!

    Like

  17. Frank Heaven says:

    Chick’s been alone for about half and an hour now – is that normal?

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  18. Lissie says:

    Mama’s home, love the way she just drags it over for a snuggle!

    Like

  19. Christine says:

    There he was heading off back to the corner when Mum came back to ‘head him off at the pass”, the chick looks very well !

    Like

  20. ann says:

    Just checked in-mum and chick fast asleep

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  21. Christine says:

    One chick at Derby this morning

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  22. SueAtt says:

    Some sunshine at last, but it’s very windy up there at the nest site. Mrs P seems to be having trouble keeping one very noisy, fidgety chick contained! Can’t decide if chick is trying to escape or wanting to get further inside the ‘shelter’.

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  23. Anne says:

    Loving watching the chick & devoted parents, it’s a joy after the trauma of the last week. Lets hope it’s now strong enough to withstand whatever the weather throws at us! Are funds needed to help with their care & all the work you do etc, if so would you be able to arrange a sponsorship page as with the BTO cuckoos. I’m sure many of us would be happy to contribute

    Like

  24. SueAtt says:

    Poor Mr P – his turn to try and shelter a very noisy fidgety chick! His method – pin down chick with chest, hold down head with wing and then fall asleep! Fortunately, Mum arrived back to the nest with more food, so our almost ‘Flat Stanley’ was saved! Mr P didn’t half jump when she arrived!

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  25. SueAtt says:

    Just seen the sweetest thing. Mr P turned turned up with food but Mrs P and chick not interested – recently eaten. He kept trying to pursuade Mrs P and moved the food closer, but still no interest, so he ate some and then flew off. Came back again about 5 or so minutes later and tried again, but to no avail, so he moved closer and when Mrs P lifted up her head (she had her back to the camera), Mr P tried pushing food into her beak. Bless him – he was determined he was going to feed someone as well as himself! There was much chatting going on between the two of them, and I have noticed that both parents ‘talk’ to the little one when he/she is being fed.

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    • Anne says:

      I saw that incident as well, just lovely. Also Mr P’s struggles when on baby sitting duties, I suppose his excuse is that he is smaller than Mrs P! Would rather watch this little family than most of the rubbish on television

      Like

  26. Shirley Stirland says:

    chick looks great today 8.52am,very strong and preening himself in the sunshine.:-)

    Like

  27. Freida says:

    What a difference a week makes lovely sunshine and a contented peregrine family. One query – where do the parents dispose of the carcases? I can imagine there must be a large pile of them somewhere!

    Like

    • Mandy says:

      I think they just drop them, Freida. One plummeted to the ground in front of me in the Lace Market before Xmas ; and another landed in the garden pond with its back and head missing last year

      Like

  28. Penny says:

    Dad (I think), just came back with a bird almost as big as he is – head was gone so couldn’t identify it, but it had a large wing span which could be seen as he dragged it into the nest. After stuffing as much as he could into the chick he flew away with it again. Did anyone else see this and has anyone any idea what the prey was?

    Like

  29. SueAtt says:

    Bit of a commotion out on the ledge earlier between Mr & Mrs – saw Mrs P’s legs as she ran along the ledge – much shouting going on. Mrs P obviously won the arguement as she returned to the nest with food for baby. Little P now decided to sleep out in the open – hope mum realises soon because it’s pretty cold out there!

    Like

  30. PamUK says:

    Just took a couple of sweet pictures of the chick under the female’s wing. Showers forecast for today I believe but chick knows where to go for shelter:

    Aawww !!!

    Like

  31. SueAtt says:

    Great pictures Pam – thanks.

    Like

  32. ann111@sky.com says:

    12.35 just checking in-it’s pouring with rain-but they are okay

    Like

  33. Steve says:

    Logged in just this morning just in time to see Little Jack Horner is his favorite place being avidly fed by Mr P. Baby P clearly like pigeon – but he can’t eat a whole one! I hope he doesn’t get too fat come fledging day. 🙂

    Like

    • SueAtt says:

      After a bit of a wash and brush up little P now snoozing in the favourite corner! Do you think he/she might get into the record books for being the biggest Peregrine chick ever?

      Like

  34. betty_boo says:

    im not sure who is who mum or dad came woth food it was taken by the other parent from the ledge and the other parent just sat ther for 40 mins or more . did anyone else see that and who was just sat on the ledge waiting while baby was alone .

    Like

  35. betty_boo says:

    That made no sense at all lol but I know what I saw.. Enjoying every hours I sit at my pc watching baby jack feed,

    Like

    • SueAtt says:

      Pretty sure it was Mr P on the ledge. He brought back food which Mrs P took off him to feed to little P – then Mrs P flew off and left Mr P on sentry duty! It’s difficult identifying male & female unless they’re side by side – which isn’t very often – but I’ve made a few observations which I hope are right – will look quite stupid if I’m wrong! Any way – here goes. I think it’s Mrs P who, when she’s sitting facing the camera, has a small speck of white on what I would call her ‘shoulder’ on her right (our left). She also has a small bit of damage to the end of one of her wing feathers on her left (our right), which can sometimes be seen when she has her back to the camera. Happy viewing – and hope I am right.

      Like

      • Anne says:

        Thanks for the info Sue. Have looked carefully, through the rain, & I think you are right. If not then there are 2 of us looking stupid!! Just had to have a quick look before going to bed & Mrs P is still there, fingers crossed that this wretched rain eases off soon.

        Like

  36. andy says:

    Has been anymore consideration as to naming the last remaining chick, i think this year in particular would be a great time to name him/her after all the trials and tribulations of late……thanks.

    Like

    • Steve says:

      There’s lots of suggestions, some of them (Gail, Gloria, Jack) gender specific. If it’s not an indelicate question, how long before it’s possible to determine the sex of P Junior ? Perhaps someone already knows?

      Like

      • Mo Cole says:

        Hi Steve….. I think we can call him/her ”TRAVIS” no problem with gender….. ”why does it always rain on me”….. x

        Like

  37. STEVE says:

    UNITY

    Like

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