SOUTH SHROPSHIRE LOCAL GROUP

giving nature
a home

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We have received the following information on the Clee Hill peregrines from John Hipkiss:

 

"The peregrines were seen over the winter in both the working quarry and on the incline. As the season approached, the birds were more evident on the incline and going through the usual pre-mating ritual. They were observed mating on the afternoon of 22nd March. By 31st March the female was sitting in the scrape.  By 21st May the chicks were audible but not visible due to nature of scrape and vegetation. I had the first positive sighting of the chicks on the 27th May. Over the following weeks it became apparent that there were at  least two chicks.

While walking on the afternoon of 30th May we came across a photo shoot with two large powerful cars and lots of noise and loud music. I thought that it would be best to loiter in the area of the scrape and usher the group away if they came too close. I didn’t want the nesting birds disturbed. At 17:00 I could hear activity from the scrape and at 18:00 I saw the chicks moving around at the front of the scrape. By 18:30 the group had left the Hill and all was quiet again. It was then that I realised I had not seen the adult birds at all during what was over one and half hours.  I began a careful visual search of the area, looking along the cliff itself and then along the grass at the base of the cliff. It was then that I spotted what I thought was a corpse. I rushed home to get my telescope to get a better view to confirm my sighting. By 19:00 I had confirmed that it was our dead female. Feeling very sad and very, very angry at what had been done, I put our emergency procedures into action. Not much could be done that night but I knew there were live chicks in the nest and and action must be taken promptly the following morning.

On Wednesday morning other members of the Shropshire Peregrine Group sprang into action to support the rescue. Some were making phone calls and one member got his climbing kit ready to support the climber supplied by the RSPB. We had a long nervous wait that morning waiting for the RSPB team to arrive. We were anxious that the chicks might not survive.

In the end it was a text book rescue. The chicks were even housed in boot of my car for a short while as the team checked the site for any evidence. There is an excellent account what happened to the chicks once they were rescued from the RSPB on their blog.

http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/b/investigations/archive/2017/06/03/dead-peregrine-falcon-chicks-rescued-rspb-springwatch.aspx

All three chicks were successfully fostered, one on Salisbury Cathedral and two in Derbyshire. All three chicks were ringed before they were placed in their new homes. Since then, all three birds have fledged successfully and we now just await positive sightings of the birds in the coming years.

We are also taking steps to improve the security of the site. More information on this will be published later."

 

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