A brief history and state of play update:
The resident pair at Norwich Cathedral remain unchanged from last season. The Male (Tiercel) we believe is still the original who was first spotted here in Juvenile plumage in 2009, so although he is without a leg ring which can provide certain data we believe him to be 10 years old now. The Female here is a younger bird, she was ringed as a chick (eyass) at our sister site, St. John’s Church in Bath in 2013. The Tiercel has been an established resident at the Cathedral since 2009 and breeding with various degrees of success and different falcons since 2011 (2012 saw the first egg hatch). GA, the Falcon, was first identified by her leg ring atop the spire in Juvenile plumage briefly in 2015, before establishing herself as the eventual resident Female with tumultuos effect midway through the 2016 breeding season which resulted in no fledglings surviving that year. 2017 saw this latest pairing produce eggs for the first time in what was quite possibly GA’s first breeding season (a late start), four eggs were laid, of which three survived her brooding learning curb and hatched. From this point only one chick made it past the first few days, however this chick went on to thrive, and eventually after 44 days, our longest period between hatching and fledging, did go on to successfully vacate the box. The fledgling stuck around the Cathedral vicinity regularly until late September before it vacated to establish itself somewhere else.
We begin day 1 with the Norwich pair having laid their second egg mid morning yesterday (26th March) after the first was laid in the early hours of last Saturday morning.
9:25 The Tiercel brings ready prepared food close to the nest box where GA is residing, this entices her to take flight and our watch point gets off to a flying start as the pair bond through means of a food pass. After a few glided laps of the spire GA carries her parcel to the golden finials where she proceeds to devour her ready prepped meal, meanwhile the male makes a beeline for the nest box where he shelters the two eggs.
10:15 After having her feed and taking some time to begin to digest it GA laps the spire a few more times before settling on a more sheltered perch, a crocket on the North face out of sight from the watch point, but also out of the strong and bitterly cold prevailing wind today.
10:17 She takes off but settles again in the same location.
11:00 The Male departs the nest box, completes some laps of his own and proceeds to land on the north face as well. This of course leaves the pair of eggs unattended, but it is important to remember that this is no cause for concern as the Peregrines don’t begin incubation until the clutch is completed so the chicks all hatch at a similar time to avoid size differences.
11:25 The Tiercel continues to take refuge from the elements on the north face of the spire, but GA now departs in favour of sheltering the eggs.
12:00 The Male takes flight and heads out on a south western course.
12:08 The Tiercel makes a return to the spire, he chooses to settle near the top window on the northern side.
12:50 The Male leaves the spire and heads almost immediately into a stoop to the north east, he quickly comes back into view notably empty taloned and goes to the larder on the north east face of the spire.
12:52 The Male takes food from the cache to GA who is sat on the eggs still, she remains unmoved by this action so the male chooses to take the food for himself to the finials.
13:00 Again the male delivers food to the nest, this time GA accepts and leaves with it, she takes this food to where it was just delivered from, the golden finials, and the male now takes over nest box duties.
15:00 The precipitation hardens, the chill is setting in deeper but our committed team of volunteers are keen to keep the watch point open despite the adverse conditions making it less than ideal to be stood peering through telescopes. There has been no Peregrine activity to report on for the last two hours.
16:00 With nothing more to report our first day comes to an end after an uneventful afternoon.