The youngsters have been flying backwards and forwards between the tower and roost trees and doing every widening circles over the campus and beyond. I expect they will start making their own kills soon and start to become more independent.
Meanwhile they have been using the box a fair bit, even spending the night in the box. Otherwise they can usually be found in the dead near in the paddock to the south of the campus. The light was very poor when I took the photos as rain was approaching ( and we even got some, about 8 mm last night, better than nothing).
We have also been seeing a mysterious light coming on in the trees, usually about 930 pm, 1 am and 4 am, but also at other times. it seems to be on or near the entrance road behind the Girinyalanha Park, but it just comes on and goes off after half a minute. No car comes or goes. Much investigation and speculation has ensued and I even visited at night trying to see something (without success). It’s not very clear on these images… Will keep you posted.
One of the juveniles, Gaama (the female) I think, based on the size compared to the adults, who were doing a lovely dancing courtship just before she arrived. Here are the links
Video, parents courting and juvenile arriving (ledge cam) https://youtu.be/KwVOhxUB4Pg
Video: parents courting and juvenile (nest cam) https://youtu.be/aAgIBzcbGYc
Video: juvenile leaving https://youtu.be/XNKGsuOSZyA
And some screenshots
And a couple from Friday night, while I was watching flight training
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Let’s hope we get a few more visits!
I’ve been watching the chicks flying between the roost tree and the top of the tower every afternoon. They are both flying really well and there is no reason why they shouldn’t visit the box. But sometimes they don’t come back. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why or why not. Usually they come in looking for leftovers, but they might be so well fed, there is no need.
These photos were from yesterday afternoon and evening. Have a lovely weekend everyone. Cilla
The family spent a few days on the water tower – with no juveniles accessing the scrape – before moving holus bolus to the a small copse of trees in paddock just out of sight of the ledge cam – just up and to the left a bit. They have used these trees for roosting and flight training in previous years, but usually they spend a few days or up to a week in the trees opposite the tower. This year stage has almost been by-passed!
The photos show Budhin, Gaama, Gaama, Gaama in her tree, all three (left to right: Xavier, Budhin and Diamond) in the dead roost tree, Xavier, and three of Diamond (two in flight, not the greatest pictures, I’m afraid).
I think they will now spend a week or so between these trees and the tower, while building their flight skills. The parents will hunt and then drop the prey to give the youngsters practice at catching prey in the air before starting to hunt themselves. They don’t seem that interested in hunting yet. I watched potential prey birds come and go at will from their roost tree yesterday (when these photos were taken).
This is quite a dangerous time for juveniles. Collisions with power lines and trees are not unknown. We had one youngster hit a tree while chasing prey and hurt her leg. This apparently healed itself according to a witness, although I still have my doubts about that…. They will also get more aggressive to humans (particularly me!). They will also start to move further afield as their skills increase, but I think we will have the pleasure of their company for a while yet. And they could still visit the nest box (they usually do), often chasing a parent with prey. Our box is not a particularly easy target for landing, however (compared to the top of the tower, or a tree, for instance).
Here is a video of a changover of adults in the box very early this morning (Xavier arrives and leaves, Diamond arrives), followed by juveniles apparently chasing Xavier (you’ll have to look hard, as they are very small!).
I’ll be out and about most afternoons on foot with my camera to try and get some photos. Diamond is not at all happy with this approach, so my visits have to be short for this reason.
I’ll update this site every couple of days or so, unless there is something dramatic. The live youtube stream is still busy with chat and I’m updating the google hangout as well.
For the first time that I can remember, I have the whole family on the roof. This was just half an hour ago. Not much of a photo of the four of them, but does provide some evidence that we can say that the fledge was successful. It takes quite a strong juvenile to fly all the way up to the top of the tower.
And shots from earlier. The first is (I think) Budhin after a rather crash land on the slope of the roof. The second photo shows Gamma (I think) preparing for take off.
This morning one of the two fledglings mysteriously appeared at the window to the CSU Orange campus Learning Commons. Wary of people walking past but also quite tolerant, and no-one disturbed the personal space. It’s not often peregrines venture this close to humans! It’s a rainy day so it was a great spot under the eaves to stay dry, but has now flown off. An unidentified adult was watching from up on the soaking wet tower overhead but there was no cause for alarm. The lightning storm above Orange last night didn’t affect campus power, nor the peregrines.
No, I’m not referring to the Melbourne Cup (which is tomorrow, the race for which Australia stops work!), but our fledgelings, this morning. Gamma first, hotly followed by Budhin.
Here are the links with Gamma first https://youtu.be/PHu1nqP-Qh4
And Budhin https://youtu.be/UCMRXDcoIBk
And I’d barely had time to get to work and start having a look around and send out an alert to the staff on campus to watch out for the youngsters, when my phone rang. One of them was on the ground in a small garden between two buildings. It was an areas that would have been difficult to get out of and/or for the parents to find him, so I collected him (and collected a bite for my pains, despite gloves), took him to my office to get some measurements and then released him into a tree in the wood opposite the tower. Tail was 130 mm and wing 240 mm.
Here are a few shots:
i”LL GO OUT NOW AND HAVE A LOOK FOR gAAMA.
This is the video I tried to upload yesterday, but it was too big, so with some technical help from the Youtube Chat group (thanks, guys), I uploaded it to my (previously unused) Youtube channel and copied the link here. Let’s see if it works! It shows five week old chicks cavorting about on the with much flapping and pecking….a little reckless, perhaps, but that’s the way it is.
I also have some outside shots – see below.
Here are our two youngsters on the ledge, looking quite relaxed and at home (and probably hungry, as it’s been awhile since any prey came in). Gamma (left) gave me a death stare worthy of Diamond! Enjoy you weekend.
Both chicks have finally stepped up onto the ledge, so they can properly survey their domain. The size difference is now quite noticeable (although less than last year).
Here is a nice shot of Budhin with Diamond on the ledge.
And here the chicks are playing around either on or very close (too close??) to the ledge, while waiting for their supper.
Prey has included some interesting and unusual items recently, including a masked woodswallow and a shining bronze-cuckoo. Several wattlebirds have also met their match.
Over the weekend, the chicks started to grab the prey and self-feed. The adult male, Xavier, is now just dropping off the prey and leaving the chicks to deal with it. It took a while for this to sink in, but finally one of them (female, I think) took advantage of this and started plucking. There was no aggression between the chicks, apart from the odd tug-of-war and prey has been coming in fairly regularly – rather a lot of eastern rosellas this week.
Although, I’m still not 100% convinced, we think we have a female and a male chick. There is a small size difference now. It’s hard to tell earlier than four weeks because, although eventually smaller, the male grows and matures more quickly, so compensates for his smaller size. After three or four weeks, the female grows more, but is still a bit fluffier, so when they are both sitting on the ledge, one can clearly see the difference. They are not quite at that stage yet, but this video does provide an indication (and also a rather dramatic fly-by).
So, on the assumption we have one of each, the female is called Gaama (=storm) and the male is called Budhin (=sunbeam).