MARCH 2020

Our apologies for the interruption of the live streaming between 21 February and 16 March. This was due to a fault with one of the transmitters that had to be replaced and software updated. This meant that we had to reconfigure and reload all the cameras. Not easy as I was out of the country at the time but we got there thanks to the help of Darren Hopkins.

31 March – the male flies in at 6:00 and the female moves to the ledge. he takes over incubation and she leaves after a few minutes. The female eventually returns at 9:15 and takes over when the male flies out. She runs to the ledge calling at 10:55 and flies off with the male soon arriving to take over. She is back again at 12:40 for a changeover and there is another swap at 14:25. He remains on the eggs until 18:40 – 4 hours and 15 minutes – another exceptional stint for the male who is certainly doing his share of the incubation this year; he flies off.

30 March – the male flies in at 6:00 and the female leaves the eggs to sit on the ledge whilst he takes over incubation. She spends an hour preening before flying off. She is back at 8:25 and there is a changeover. At 10:25, the male flies in with a fully plucked unidentifiable item of prey which the female grabs and eats on the platform; the male flies off. She leaves with it 10 minutes later and the male flies in to take over incubation duties. They swap at 11:20 and again at 13:45. She returns at 14:55 and sits on the ledge for 15 minutes before the male flies out and she resumes incubation. There is a further change at 16:35 and the female flies in at 18:10 and settles down for the evening.

29 March 2020 – Video: the male brings in prey for the female who snatches it from him and leaves. He takes over incubation.
29 March 2020 – Video: the pair swap over incubation duties during the day. Listen to the second half where the male brings in a meal for the female.

29 March – [the clocks go forward] it is cold and blustery tonight and the female sits tight on the eggs. The male arrives at 6:15 and there is a swap over and for the first time the female reveals she now has 4 eggs – as suspected from the previous evening. The male immediately incubates them and the female flies out. She returns at 7:20 and initially the male leaves the eggs expecting to be replaced by the female but she stands on the platform calling to him for a few moments and her returns to incubate. After a few minutes he flies out and she takes over. The female leaves the eggs at 8:50 and goes to the platform looking out, she flies off after a few minutes leaving the eggs exposed and the male flies in and takes up incubation. The female does not return until 12:25, meaning an incubation stint of over three and a half hours for the male – this is quite a long period for him. He is back at 14:45 with a large prey item – a pigeon. The female leaves the eggs, snatches the meal from him and flies out. He takes over incubation. She is back at 16:20 with a very full crop. The male flies out and she takes over duties. There is a further change over at 18:45 and the female returns an hour later to take over and settle down for the night.

28 March – the male arrives at 4:45 and replaces the female on the eggs as she flies out. She is back at 5:30 and resumes incubation duties. He returns at 6:25 and there is another change over. After 10 minutes, the male flies out and there is a mating attempt; the female resumes incubation immediately in the cold winds. They do appear to be trying for a fourth egg. The male is back at 7:10 with a Starling meal which the female accepts and eats whilst he covers the eggs. She has finished eating at 7:35 and although there is a cold wind, sits on the ledge in the sun with a full crop. The male flies out at 7:55 and the female appear to brace for a mating attempt but the male lands short, possibly put off by the strong winds. She resumes incubation and is keeping them well covered today. The male returns at 10:00 and she flies out whilst he incubates. The female is back at 11:15 and calls to the male, again expecting a mating attempt that never happens. She takes over incubation. The male flies in at 12:35 and the female flies out whilst he covers the eggs. She returns at 14:15 and takes over from the male who flies out. He is back briefly at 15:40, then takes over duties at 17:10 when the female flies off. She is back at 17:45 and waits on the ledge for the male to fly out and there is a mating attempt. She then takes over incubation remaining tight on the eggs. The actions of the female at around 20:20 suggests that a fourth egg has been laid. Unfortunately, she is sitting so tight that visual confirmation cannot be made. We will have to wait until the morning.

27 March – the male flies in at 5:10 and relieves the female of incubation duties. She sits on the ledge, then picks at scraps on the platform. At 6:40, the female starts to call and the male flies out and there is a mating attempt. She then takes over incubation. The male flies in with a plucked Starling which the female accepts. She eats it and returns to incubation. The male is back at 8:45 and the female flies off and he incubates the eggs. The female returns an hour later and they swap over, the male flying off. She is back on the ledge at 10:45 calling, before moving back to the scrape 10 minutes later. They swap again at 12:00 and she flies off. It is cold and blustery today and the pair are keeping the eggs well covered. She is back at 13:10 and the male flies out. The female is bracing herself for a mating attempt but the male does not oblige and so she covers the eggs. He is back with another Starling at 14:10 but the female flies out, followed by the male. He returns 10 minutes later and incubates the eggs. The female returns at 15:20 and the male flies out with the female incubating. However, she goes to the ledge at 15:30 and looks out over the city calling loudly. She then flies off and the male comes in to incubate at 15:40. She is back at 16:20, the male flies out and she continues the incubation. The female is sitting tight tonight with the cold, strong winds billowing her feathers.

26 March – the male arrives at 4:30 and takes over incubation duties whilst the female dozes on the ledge. She is awake again at 4:45 and notices the stashed Starling from the previous evening and starts to pluck and eat it. She stashes what’s left by a column at 5:20. The male flies out 5 minutes later and the female resumes incubation. The male flies in at 6:25 and picks up the stashed Starling. He eats it on the platform as the female moves to the ledge sporting a full crop. The male flies off when he has finished and the female resumes incubation at 6:55. The male takes over at 7:35 and she moves to the ledge. He flies out after 5 minutes and there is a mating attempt. She is back incubating at 8:15 and falls asleep. The male is back at 9:20 and after a few minutes incubation, there is the second mating attempt of the day. She is back incubating 10 minutes later and at 9:40 lays her third egg. The male flies in with more food – a Little Grebe at 10:15. He starts to pluck it, but the female takes it from him and he flies off. She stashes it by a column at 10:25 and returns to incubation. The male is back at 11:40 and spies the Little Grebe which he picks up. The female takes it from him and starts to eat whilst he goes to do some incubating. I believe this is a deliberate action by the male to antagonise the female to encourage her to eat and have noticed this habit during the last two breeding seasons. He flies off after 5 minutes and she is still eating. She stashes a substantial-sized remains by a column at 12:30 and returns to the eggs. The male flies in at 14:05 and sees the Grebe prey and feeds on it. When the female walks over to see what’s going on, he flies off. She flies out and he flies in to incubate the eggs. The female is back at 15:10 and 5 minutes later he flies out and there is another mating attempt. The female then continues incubation until 16:00 when she walks to the ledge and calls loudly. She flies off a few minutes later and the male returns to continue incubation until replaced by the female at 16:50. She remains on the eggs until midnight at least.

25 March 2020 – Video: one of the six mating attempts by the pair today. They obviously want that third egg.

25 March – the female continues incubation until 2:40 when she moves to the ledge. She returns to the eggs 20 minutes later. The male arrives on the ledge at 5:10 and takes over incubation. The female sits on the ledge for a few minutes before flying off. She is back at 5:45 and the male flies out and there is a mating attempt. She then goes onto the eggs until 6:35 when she sits on the ledge. The male brings in Golden Plover prey at 6:55 but rather than leave it with the female flies off with it. She follows a few moments later and returns with it after a few minutes. she plucks and eats it on the platform and stashes the remains by a column, then flies out. The male returns and goes to incubate the eggs. The female is back at 7:25 and the male picks up the Plover and gives it to the female. He flies out and she feeds on the prey. The female leaves with the prey at 7:40 and the male flies in 5 minutes later and incubates the eggs. There is a change over at 9:05 and she moves to the ledge at 10:25 showing a full crop from her meal earlier. She is back on the eggs 25 minutes later until 11:20. The male takes over briefly at 11:45 but the female calls to him and there is another mating attempt. She remains on the ledge and at 13:15, there is the third mating attempt of the day. She flies off at 14:10 and the male flies in and incubates the eggs. He moves to the ledge 15 minutes later and returns to the eggs after 10 minutes. the female returns at 14:55 and calls to the male who flies out returning for another mating attempt after which she incubates the eggs. The male is back at 15:45 and the pair swap for a few minutes before the male leaves, returning for another mating attempt. She flies off at 16:00 returning 25 minutes later but leaves again at 16:50 to be replaced by the male. He incubates the eggs until moving to the ledge at 17:10 and flying out 30 minutes later. The female is back quickly and resumes incubation. The male is back at 18:25 and after a brief spell incubating, he flies out for yet another mating attempt, the sixth of the day. The female remains on the ledge until 19:00 when she resumes incubation. The male arrives at 22:40 with another prey item – Starling. Which he gives to the female then flies off. She stashes the meal by a column before returning to incubation duties.

24 March – the female remains on the 2 eggs until the male arrives at 4:15 and they swap duties. The female falls asleep on the ledge until they swap again at 5:20. The male flies off a few minutes later. He returns at 5:45 with Starling prey which he gives to the female and he continues the incubation. She flies off with her meal, returning with a full crop at 6:10. The male flies out and there is a mating attempt after which the female covers the eggs. The male returns at 6:35. They swap duties at 7:10 but he flies out after 5 minutes and there is another mating attempt. The female returns to the eggs at 8:00 but just a few minutes later, runs to the platform and looks out calling loudly. The male flies in at 8:40 and covers the eggs for a few moments before flying out and there is a mating attempt. The female then returns to the eggs. The male is back at 9:05 with another Starling prey. The female goes to him but he flies off with the prey and she sits on the ledge. He returns 30 minutes later with the prey now plucked and the female takes it from him and he flies off. After her meal, she sits on the ledge in the sun until returning to incubation at 11:20. The male flies in at 11:55 and goes into the box whilst the female sits on the ledge. A few moments later, he flies out and there is a further mating attempt. She remains on the ledge and the male arrives at 14:30 and goes into the box and after a few minutes incubation he is called out by the female and there is another mating attempt. The female returns to incubation at 14:55. The male is back at 15:30 and the female moves to the ledge whilst he spends a few minutes incubating before flying and there is then another mating attempt. He is back at 16:05 with another prey item – a Jackdaw and the female flies off with it and the male incubates the eggs. The female is back with her meal 15 minutes later and starts to pluck it on the platform but leaves after a few minutes. The male runs to the platform to watch her go and he follows but is soon back. He returns to the eggs when the female flies in at 16:45 but after a few minutes, flies out and there is another mating attempt. The female resumes incubation at 17:10 until 21:50 when the male brings in a late-night snack – too dark to identify. She flies of with her meal whilst the male settles on the eggs. She is back 20 minutes later and resumes incubation as the male flies off. She remains until midnight at least.

23 March – the male flies in with a Staling at 00:15 and gives it to the female. He then flies off and she does likewise with her meal. She is back at 00:30 and resumes incubation until 2:00 when the male flies in and drops off another Starling then leaves again. She walks to the platform and looks out over the city for 15 minutes before picking up the Starling and stashing it by a column. She is back incubating at 2:20. The male flies in at 5:05 and takes over incubation whilst the female sleeps on the ledge. He flies off at 5:50 and she sits on the ledge for 5 minutes before moving into the box. The male is back at 6:10 and they swap places. After 5 minutes, he flies out and there is a mating attempt. She flies off at 6:40 and follows the male back who is carrying another Starling. He partially plucks it but when she does not take it from him, he flies off with it, bear in mind there is one already stashed by the column. The male flies in with the Starling fully plucked at 7:15 and this time the female takes it from him and eats her meal on the platform. She resumes incubation at 7:30. She is back on the ledge at 8:20, flying off 5 minutes later to be replaced by the male. He finds the stashed Starling and stands on the platform with it waiting for the female to come back. He takes a quick flight at 8:35 and returns with the female in tow. He then flies off with the prey and she soon follows. He is back at 8:45 to cover the egg. The female is back at 10:00 and the male flies out as she covers the egg. She is back on the ledge 15 minutes later and is back on the egg after an hour. She is on the ledge at 11:45 and the male arrives for 5 minutes before flying out for a mating attempt. She flies off at 12:00 and the male takes over incubation duties. He walks to the platform and hour later and runs into the box as the female returns. A few minutes later, he flies out and there is a mating attempt. At 14:10, without his usual visit to the box, there is a mating attempt. She flies off at 14:25 and the male flies in to take up the incubation but flies off after just 5 minutes. He returns at 14:50 with another Starling and the female following quickly behind. He flies off with it and she watches him go returning to the egg 20 minutes later. She goes to the ledge at 17:25 and flies out. The male lands 20 minutes later and goes to cover the egg. The female is back at 18:15 to take over incubation and the male flies out. She remains incubating the egg and at 21:30 quietly lays a second egg. She continues incubation until midnight at least.

22 March – the male flies in at 1:30 and the female goes to the ledge. Before settling down on the egg, he walks around the box looking for stashed food – just checking the larder for later. However, he leaves after just 5 minutes and the female returns to incubation duties. The male flies in at 5:35 with Redwing prey and the female takes it from him and flies off. He goes and covers the egg. Ten minutes later, he walks onto the platform and looks out over the city, returning to the egg at 6:05. The female is back with a full crop 5 minutes later and the male flies out and there is a mating attempt, but the female is facing the wrong way! She goes into the scrape until 7:10 when she moves to the ledge. The male flies in 10 minutes later and after a few moments in the scrape, flies out but the anticipated mating attempt does not materialise. She returns to incubate at 8:50 but is back on the ledge 20 minutes later, preening in the sunshine. The male returns at 9:30 and after a few minutes covering the egg, flies out for a mating attempt. he is back again 2 hours later and repeats the exercise. She leaves at 12:20 and the male flies in to cover the egg. She returns 15 minutes later and the male flies out for a mating attempt, after which she incubates the egg. She is back on the ledge at 13:20 and the male arrives on the egg at 14:00. He leaves a few minutes later but there is no mating attempt and the female flies off at 14:15. The male flies in after 20 minutes and sits in the scrape until 15:00 when he moves to the ledge. he returns to the egg 20 minutes later when the female flies in but is forced out when she walks into the box. She is back on the ledge at 16:00, flying off after 5 minutes. the male returns to cover the egg at 16:55 then looks out from the platform 10 minutes later and flies off. He is back at 17:50 but back on the platform 10 minutes later. The female arrives, he flies off and she goes and incubates the egg. The male arrives at 18:20 with half a piece of unidentifiable prey the female takes it from him and he flies off. She takes a brief flight at 18:30 before continuing incubation and settling down for the evening.

21 March 2020 – Video: the male takes over incubation for the first time this season.
21 March 2020 – Video: the first egg is laid at 5:30 with the male present.

21 March – the female remains sleeping on the ledge until 1:50 when she goes into the scrape. The male arrives at 2:45, collects the stashed meal by the column and eats it. He then sits on the ledge and falls asleep whilst the female is in the scrape. She is calling loudly and continuously before falling asleep. The male leaves at 5:35, returning half an hour later and walks into the box, The female is calling and the male walks up to her and she appears to have laid the first egg. After a few minutes calling, he flies out returning at 6:05 but the female sits tight. She remains in the scrape until he returns at 6:35 and they swap places – his first incubation of the season although short. After a few minutes, he flies out and there is a mating attempt. The female returns to the scrape. He is back again at 7:30 and they swap. He flies out but he failed to land on the mating attempt. The female preens then goes into the scrape. He is back at 7:55 with another meal for the female – a Fieldfare. She takes it from him, and he flies off. She does not want to eat it so stashes it between two columns, then flies off at 8:40. The male flies in a few minutes later and goes into the scrape then sees the stashed meal and takes it to the platform. He looks out for a few minutes then flies off with it. The pair are back at 9:20 and once the female goes into the scrape, the male flies off. After an hour she goes to the ledge, returning to the scrape at 11:15, then flies out at 12:40. Immediately, the male flies in and takes over incubation, moving to the ledge 10 minutes later. He is back on the egg at 13:10 but loosely incubating and flies out 20 minutes later. He is back at 13:45 and resumes incubation but takes a short flight 5 minutes later. He sits on the ledge until 14:10 and moves into the scrape when the female returns. He then flies out and there is a mating attempt, after which she incubates the egg. She flies off at 15:10 and the male replaces her on the egg until 15:25 when he moves to the ledge, flying off 10 minutes later. He is back at 16:00 but only incubates for 5 minutes, moving to the platform and then the ledge. the female is back at 16:25, he goes to the egg but is pushed out by the female and flies off. She incubates for an hour the moves to the ledge and falls asleep! She is back on the egg at 18:20 and settles down for the night. However, the male arrives with more prey – a Snipe at 20:20 and the female relieves him of it. He flies out and she eats her meal on the platform, flying off with the remains at 20:40. She is back to incubate 10 minutes later and falls asleep until midnight at least.

20 March – the female remains on the ledge with a full crop until 4:10 when she picks at some scraps on the platform. The male arrives at 5:40 and goes into the box. He flies out 10 minutes later and there is a mating attempt. She then picks at more scraps on the platform and remains stashed by a column. She flies off at 6:20 and the male returns a few moments later and picks at the scraps before flying off after 15 minutes. The pair fly into the box together at 7:10 and there is calling and posturing. He flies out soon after and she goes to the ledge at 7:20. The male is back at 8:25 and the female joins him in the box 10 minutes later. He then flies out and she returns to the ledge after a further 10 minutes. The male flies in at 9:45 with a Chaffinch prey which the female accepts. Despite the fact that she is already well fed, she plucks and eats it on the platform as the male leaves. she sits on the ledge until 10:45 when the male flies in and there is a mating attempt. He is back 20 minutes later and goes into the box whilst the female sits on the ledge, then flies out at 11:15 for another mating attempt. she flies off after 10 minutes. the male lands briefly at 12:55 and returns a few moments later with the female. They go into the box and there is calling and posturing before the male leaves. She walks to the platform and watches him go and then follows at 13:05. He is back in the box at 13:30 before moving to the platform 5 minutes later looking out. He returns to the box when the female flies in at 13:55. She joins him in the box and there is more calling and posturing before he flies out. She tends the scrape and surrounding area remaining until 15:10 when she goes to the platform and then flying off at 15:55. The male flies in 20 minutes with Redwing prey which he plucks on the platform. He flies off with it and returns a few moments later with the female in tow and gives her the meal. He leaves her with it and flies off. Being full already, she stashes it by a column and settles on the ledge before going into the box at 17:05. The male is back at 17:55 and retrieves the stashed Redwing. He brings it into the box and gives it to the female who takes it and starts to eat it on the platform whilst the male tends to the scrape. She only picks at it and re-stashes it by a column. The male moves to the ledge and the female walks across and forces him to fly off. She remains on the ledge and falls asleep.

19 March – the female remains on the ledge and the male flies in at 3:10 and goes into the box. He flies out at 5:15. The female leaves 40 minutes later and the male returns briefly soon after. The male flies in with a Feral Pigeon prey quickly followed by the female who relieves him of the meal. With his full crop, he has already eaten and flies off. The female plucks and eat on the platform. The male is back at 7:25 and rushes into the box; the female flies of with the rest of her meal and he walks to the ledge and follows. He returns 10 minutes later and cleans up some scraps before flying off at 7:45. The female flies in at 8:00 with a full crop followed quickly by the male who goes into the box. He is joined by the female and there is calling and posturing. The male leaves at 8:05 and the female moves to the ledge. As the male flies into the box at 10:10, the female leaves and he then follows, returning a few minutes later. He flies out again at 10:25 and is back at 11:30. He goes into the box when the female arrives at 11:55. She joins him and there is calling and posturing after which he flies out and she tends the scrape. She moves to the ledge at 12:20 and the male flies into the box at 13:45. After 5 minutes he leaves and the female positions herself for a mating attempt that did not arrive, so she goes into the box. She moves back to the ledge at 14:35and flies off 20 minutes later. The male lands briefly at 15:50 and the pair fly into the box at 16:25 where there is calling and posturing. The male leaves 5 minutes later but the female remains until 17:10 when she goes to the ledge. the male brings in prey at 17:25 and the female takes it from him as he leaves. She makes a valiant attempt to eat it, but stashes a large section by a column. She falls asleep on the ledge and remains until midnight at least.

18 March – the male moves from the box to the ledge at 00:40 and spends some time preening. The female moves into the box at 1:35 and they revert back at 4:40. The male flies out at 5:50. The female flies off at 6:20 and is replaced on the ledge by the male. He leaves 20 minutes later and the pair fly in together 5 minutes later. The male goes into the box but flies out at 6:50 and there is a mating attempt after which the male flies into the box. He is soon ousted by the female and he sits on the platform for a few minutes before leaving. She moves back to the ledge at 6:05. She flies out at 8:55 and the male lands briefly before following her. He returns at 11:05 and initially goes into the scrape then settles on the ledge for 25 minutes before flying off. He is back at 12:00 but only stays for 5 minutes. The pair flies in at 12:45 and there is brief calling and posturing in the box. The male flies off a few minutes later and the female tends the scrape. She moves to the ledge at 12:55 and falls asleep. The male is back in the box at 14:40 and flies out 5 minutes later. The female braces herself for a mating attempt but the male fails to arrive. She flies off 10 minutes later. The male is back at 15:15 and goes into the scrape, moves to the ledge after a few minutes, then flies off. He lands briefly an hour later, then flies into the box with the female following quickly behind. They swap places and he flies off; the female returns to the ledge and falls asleep. She is back in the box at 17:00 and falls asleep. She is back on the ledge at 18:30 remaining until midnight at least.

17 March – the male remains in the box until 2:35 with the female still sleeping on the ledge. He is back at 3:45 and falls asleep in the box. He then flies out at 5:30, returning at 6:00 with a Fieldfare prey. The female takes it from him and he flies off as she feeds on her meal. She doesn’t eat much and stashes it by a column 5 minutes later. The male returns at 6:25 and picks up the stash. He flies out with it but immediately returns and looks at the female. He takes it towards her and when he gets close, she takes the meal from him and flies off with it. He remains on the ledge until 6:40 when he moves to the scrape for 5 minutes. he is back in the scrape when the female returns at 8:00 and there is calling and posturing in the box. He flies off a few minutes later whilst the female tends the scrape and surrounding area until 8:35 when she moves to the ledge. The male is back in the box at 9:25 when the female feeds on scraps on the platform. He then moves top the ledge before flying off. She leaves at 9:55 and the male returns with Blackbird prey but leaves soon after as the female is not there. He is back again at 11:05 without the meal. He goes into the box on the arrival of the female at 11:50, there is calling and posturing as she joins him. He is back on the ledge after a few minutes whilst she remains in the scrape. He flies out at 12:50 when the female moves to the ledge but returns at 13:20 flying into the box. He flies out 10 minutes later and there is a mating attempt. He then returns to the opposite ledge and there is calling between the pair. He flies off at 13:50 and is back 10 minutes later with Jackdaw prey which he gives to the female who flies off with it. The male takes her place on the platform then takes a brief flight at 15:00. The female is back a few minutes later and goes into the scrape with the male on the ledge. She replaces him on the ledge when he flies off a few minutes later. He returns at 16:25 and there is a mating attempt. He then settles on the ledge. the female flies out at 16:50 and the male soon after, although he quickly returns. He takes a brief flight at 17:25 and moves into the scrape at 17:50 when the female arrives. He flies out a few minutes later and there is a breeding attempt. The female remains on the ledge and is joined by the male at 18:45 who goes into the box. They both fall asleep, remaining until midnight at least.

16 March – the cameras resume at 13:35 with the female sitting on the ledge. the male flies in at 14:20 and goes into the box. The female soon follows and there is calling and posturing he makes his escape after a few minutes and she sits in the scrape. He picks up a piece of stashed prey that looks like a Blackcap. The female tends the scrape and surrounding area. The male flies off at 14:35 and the female moves to the ledge at 14:50. The male flies in 5 minutes later with prey – a Starling, but he flies off after the female calls at him. He returns with his prey 30 minutes later and the female goes into the box. The female moves to the platform 5 minutes later and the male offers the prey but again flies off as she calls to him – she follows. The male is back at 16:30 and goes into the box, moving to the ledge a few minutes later. He is back in the box when the female returns soon after. He flies out at 16:45and there is a mating attempt. He is back at 17:15 with another fresh Starling prey. The female goes into the box but moves back to the ledge when he starts to pluck the meal, but he then flies off. She remains on the ledge and the male flies into the box at 18:50. They both fall asleep until the male flies out at 21:40. He returns at 23:00 and both remain until midnight at least.

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