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Monday, 19 May 2014

Nest Boxes Directions

These last few weeks have been very busy, I have had little time to post, rather foolishly I thought that when I retired from Construction and Steel fixing a year or 2 ago, I would have all the time in the world to do more things that are in my head, wrong!
I am in fact busier but I have to say it is a good busy – I am bird surveying regularly and am involved in Battersea Power Station and all its wildlife, it is a story that will be told shortly in what I have to say is such a unique site.

Over the years now, at my latest count, I have placed or made for a specific site around 14 Nest Boxes or Trays, in further correspondence and my continued monitoring, all but one have been accepted and used.
It’s nice to know you have made the difference but much of it comes from the fact that, although holding territory on an ideal building, many offer no nest site opportunity; in short they are desperate for a nest box or tray.

One thing that I have been asked a few times is direction of box, which way to face it, North, South, East or West. In some cases you have no option in direction as sometimes flight path and available areas dictate its position, it’s not always ideal but you have to go with it.

I mainly follow, as do others I expect, if its permissible face it East or East through to North if possible, having said that Peregrines being Peregrines don’t usually follow the script.

One such case happened in 2010, a nest box was placed and in this case there were options on all points of the compass, I decided on East, early morning sunshine for the incubating Falcon, position was good and offered access to an area for the all important wing flapping for juveniles, perfect.

Ideal, great early morning sunshine - even made a scrape in it, how could she refuse it?

What happened, she bloody well ignored it and laid in accumulated mud/guano opposite and facing in a westerly direction. She did fail, eggs rolled but I was surprised that she chose the west side with the constant wind but more importantly the wind chill factor for eggs/ chicks.

These days as you know, 90% of predominate winds are Westerly/South Westerly, as a rule I never face any in this direction unless the structure/situation dictates.
At the time I remember thinking she must be a young female, so I left the box where it was for the 2011 breeding season and monitored them regularly thinking it’s a one off.

By January 2011 she had made a scrape in the nest box and both adults, especially the Tiercel were in and out of it.

You know what I am going to say don’t you, come the end of March they went straight round to the western side and laid eggs in a deeper mud/guano scrape about a metre from the 2010 scrape. However this time the eggs didn’t roll, they hatched and 3 juveniles fledged.
Consequently in October of that year I moved the nest box round to the west facing side, about a metre from the successful scrape, they had the choice of either box or scrape.

It was never in doubt for 2012, straight into the nest box with all its westerly’s and south westerly’s in her face, they have now been in it every year and I will be checking in the morning to see how many we have.
2012 produced 2 juveniles and last year they fledged 4 so hopefully the same again.

The same box with scrape, now more weather beaten facing directly west.

It shows that although the form book goes with East through to North it doesn’t always work, the flight approaches on this building are clear all round, there is nothing to get in the way of their approach.
Sometimes there is no reason for them to ignore a nest box, I know of 4 that have been placed in London many years ago by Companies/Organizations, they have all been ignored although direction and position seem ideal.
However in this case, I think the main reason is that they are of the older design with the vertical lip and ledge, without doubt they prefer the walk in boxes where everything is on the same level.

I have made the older design in the past and they have been successful but I fazed them out a good few years ago now.

The older design - this particular one was successful but they much prefer walk in Boxes

Here’s to another good year.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

New Cam - 4 Hatched !

Below is a selection of photos from New Cam, first hatch was on April 28th.I will post more info on these and other sites shortly, the last few weeks have been a bit manic.

April 28th - first view

April 29th - 2

Chick looking out

Feeding chicks

May 2nd - 4 !

May 2nd Feeding

May 6th - already growing fast

May 6th

May 6th - box accumulating feathers already

May 6th

May 8th Falcon brooding