Not quite a Monkeycheese!

Yesterday morning I dropped mrs bob off at church for 9:30 mass and decided to spend an hour at another Cheltenham church, watching the Cheltenham Peregrines - as yet none of the 4 juveniles had fledged. I started off by taking picturesof the juveniles as they fed on one of the outside ledges. Here are two of them.

Then a passerby who saw me with my camera called me over and said there looks to be a peregrine in the church porch and rushing over I discovered this.

I have subsequently found out it is a female so will refer to her as she from now on. On the face of it she looked OK, but was clearly sheltering within the doorway and didn't fly away. This church was preparing for its own service at 10:30 so the caretaker was already there so I suggested that he contact the local birder who manages the Peregrine installation etc. They called him and he said he was on his way. The vicar wanted to get the bird out of his porch as he needed access for his service and went through the church, came up behind the bird which then ran out of the porch. She didn't fly off but did limp a little when running and looked a bit shaky. However from the vicar's presence she ran towards the roadside and I managed to divert her from it.

I let  her settle for  a little and then when she faced the right direction I gently ushered her into a small garden of Remembrance , which was based in a an area bounded by 2 walls of the church and might provide a useful place to corner the bird if necessary.

I kept an eye on her and she eventually settled until he arrived. He looked her over and decided that she looked reasonably healthy enough but that she clarly was in no state to beleft to try and fly back to the top of the tower, especially as none of the juveniles had yet been recorded flying. He decided to corner her and carry her to the top of the tower - given that evryone else there was either dressed for a  Church service or was too old, the caretaker was in his eighties, I volunteered to help in whichever way I could and my offer was accepted. We cornered the bird and during that small chase he decided that although she looked a little shaken, she was probably OK enough to go straight back upstairs. He carried her while I led the way unlocking and opening doors, putting lights on etc Two hundred and twelve steps later, we reached the door that opens onto the top of the bell tower. wher my job was to open the door just enough to squeeze the her through as the last thing we wanted was to scre the other 3 off the roof. As it turns out, the adults were there too and the din was quite horrendous as everything screeched and squawked as the door opened slightly and their sibling/daughter emerged. Given the noise and the disturbance, as well as the fact that it was now almost time for the service to begin, we beat a hasty retreat back down the tower. Unfortubately we only just started down when the pre service bell started sounding - thank heavens it wasn't a full peel - but it was loud enough. By the time we got back to the bottom it was time for me to go and retrieve mrs bob, though I grabbed a few shots of the adults who were circling the tower. We had no idea whether she attempted to fly or whether she accidemntally fell off the outside ledges during a feeding scramble.

o off I went to pick up mrs bob and take her off to Cirencester to watch our first ever Polo match(-:). That evening as we returned home I suggested calling by the Peregrines just to check whether we might catch a feed.

I was rather surprised to find one of the juveniles sitting on the church nave - surely not another, or even the same faller!

Fortunately I could make out that this was a different ring number. However the bird did just sit there for a while. Then it moved along the centre of the nave roof, running, a few wing flaps etc until it reached the tower, when you could see it looking longingly upwards.

As it was already getting a bit late, I was wondering how I could possibly get hold of the chap I had met in the morning, especially if this bird attmepted to fly  and landed on the ground.

As it was, shortlky afterwards I was treated to this:

Then the bird flew round the tower and I could not tell whether it gained height and was able to get back up top or not.

Perhaps it had seen something I hadn't because no sooner was it round the tower than the adults returned - with supper.

Supper was prepared

with one of the juveniles waiting expectantly on an outside ledge.

Once supper was sufficiently prepared came a few minutes teasing,

but none of thejuveniles ventured that high and eventually teh adult dropped down with the meal, then retreated to one of the pinnacles to keep a watchful eye out.

Unfortunately, thougfh not surprisingly, I never saw all four juveniles at the same time, the most I saw appearing on a ledge were two. So I had no idea whether the one that flew had made it to the top of the tower and whether the one who had been rescued earlier was still OK.

Once we got home I did a quick search and contacted a few local birders I knew and managed to track down an email address fo rthe chap that rescued the peregrine earlier. I dropped him an email letting him know what had happened in case he wanted to check whether he still had four first thing in the morning - they have a webcam whic h the office staff could have a quick check on.

Then I started to review my photos and because of teh ring numbers I was able to determine that the flyer had returned to the tower safely and that the previously rescued bird was actually mobile on the tower top, having been pictured on two different ledges, so I dashed off another email.

First thing this morning I received a response from him, thanking me for the info and the couple of photos I had sent him. He also told me that this morning was one of his regular days for checking out the peregrines with a visible examination through the peepholes at the top of the tower and would I like to join him(-:). It would have been extremely churlish to refuse(-:).

Rather than post anymore images here I have linked to a Flickr  album, which contains all the images at full resolution. The reason for that is that there is only room for one person at the peeholes at a time and we shared the time - this way he can access photos which I took while he was standing back, and be able to zoom in, check ring numbers, look at condition etc . Ianyone wants to browse the hindred or so images of Peregrine juveniles on the rooftop thelink is here.

If you don't want to see them, at least rest assured that all 4 juveniles are looking fine, though none had flown again before we left at about 1:00pm. The one that defintely flew was a male juvenile and perhaps because of his slightly superior abilities, he was first to the kill that the adults brought n while we were watching.



Birding Blog here.

Flickr photos here.

  • WOW B_r_n, what an amazing adventure & all your great pics to share with us!!  So now you are on a par with MC ... a pair of 'Peregrine whisperers' now at large in the Community! Lol

    Will check out your Flicker pics tomorrow as problems with WiFi at present!


     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • In reply to WendyBartter:

    Yes - as Wendy said - what an amazing story to tell and what fab pictures of the peregrine.  Got your exercise too climbing all those steps!  Really glad you were able to 'save' the peregrine and got your reward by being able to go up with the warden for some close up viewing!  Now to look at your Flickr page!

    See my Flickr photos here


  • In reply to ChristineB:

    Great story Bob with fantastic shots to help it along and like all good story's, I was delighted to to find it had a happy ending. I'll check out the flikr photos later as I'm on the phone at the moment and it's just not the same. Good thing that all your getting about has kept you fit for the stair climbing...... twice.!!


    My bird photos HERE

  • In reply to Paul A:

    Superb! No other word for it. They really are so serene when you photograph them on the ground aren't they? So regal. Hopefully you will be treated to more flypasts over the coming days. They do have a very comical way of walking/running, but there again, they weren't built for that were they? Amazing what the arrival of supper can do, isn't it? Welcome to the Peregrine Rescue Club!

    Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos

    (One bush does not shelter two Robins)

    Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)


  • In reply to monkeycheese:

    What an eventful day you had Bob and very well done helping this Peregrine and volunteering to climb all those steps.  Your photos are stunning, thanks for sharing this wonderful story.


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to bob's_retired_now:

    Wow, what a saga. I'll bet you were pleased to have helped. It must be wonderful to have such close-up views of these beautiful birds. Great photos too.

    PS Something weird happens when I click that link you gave for the photos. It opens up Batch Organise on MY Flickr page. I don't know how that can possibly happen. Can you check the link. Has anyone else encountered a problem?



    My Flickr Photostream 

  • In reply to TeeJay:

    I got that too TJ, just forgot to report it!!  They are all on B_r_n's photostream!


     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • In reply to bob's_retired_now:

    Wow, that's a story and a half! Right person, right place, right time. Nice one b_r_n!


    Blog Flickr and I have a youtube channel but not updated much.

  • Just found this Bob, what a story, brilliant pictures, that second shot is amazing.   Happy ending too, now who could ask for more.  Will keep this bookmarked to check out Flicker pics later.

    Lot to learn