Thursday, 6 June 2013

Fulham and Barnes Fledge-watch......part three

Who needs to watch the soap operas when you can watch the Fulham and Barnes peregrines !?!?!?! What a day !! Most of the action was in the morning, with Buster making a bad landing, George making a good one, Amy finally leaving the nest ledge, Charlie playing with one of her sons, then Tom taking both sons out for a fly then chasing one into a window. That was just in three hours. There was then a lull for about four hours with 'try to spot the fledgling' being a favourite game, until Amy finally made her first complete maiden flight....and crash landed.
Today I tried a different method when taking my photos. Every time I took photos, I also wrote down the exact time and name of who's photo I had taken, with a brief description (eg Charlie fly with juv etc). This has worked so well for me, that I can give you a long commentary, with exact times, of the days events.
So lets begin at the beginning. At 9.09am this morning, Buster took a solo flight and attempted to land. In the pics below he appears to be heading for one of the brackets that connects the uprights to the wall.
But misses and lands on a windowsill instead.
Nothing dented, except his pride, and he soon flew off to the roof.
At 9.17am, George then took off for a solo flight. No wobbles when he came in to land on the bars above the 15th floor.
Between George landing and me looking for Buster, the cheeky female juvenile, Amy, decided to leave the nest ledge for the first time. I completely missed it, but whilst looking for Buster, found that he had spotted Amy long before I did. She had semi hopped-flown off from the top of the nest box onto the roof above. Nathalie had only just left the fledge-watch site, so I fired off a quick text to her then grabbed a quick photo of Buster 'greeting' Amy on the corner, where she had ran to across the top of the wall. Once Nathalie was home, she was able to access the time frames on the webcams and confirmed Amy had fledge-jumped at precisely 9.19am.
Buster (above) greets Amy (below) on the corner

George (at the top on the satellite dish), then flies over too.
Buster and Amy are at the bottom of the photo.
At 9.34am Buster took off for another solo flight, but super-mum, Charlie, saw him, and joined him. For ten lovely minutes, they flew together above the cemetery. Charlie was coaxing and calling him, and he was following her every move.
Buster and Charlie
At 10.28 George took off, but this time it was Tom that spotted him, and joined him in the air. Tom was behind George the whole time.
At 12.05pm, both George and Buster took off. Within seconds Tom appeared out of nowhere and started following them.
Dad Tom pictured top right.
George separated from the group and landed safely, but Buster was more unsure about the whole situation. He started heading as if to go round the corner, Tom hot on his heels, then hit a window pane. Luckily he wasn't going fast and sort of bounced back and grabbed the top of the window frame. Tom also hit the window pane, and again, appeared to bounce off it and flew off leaving poor Buster hanging on to the mesh covered wall.
Buster, again, just had his pride dented, and soon went off to the hospital roof.
After all the excitement, there was then a lull. Charlie went around to the front of the hospital and had a snooze on the 12th floor bars. Tom made a couple of appearances. Amy stayed way up on the highest roof top. Buster 'pancaked' on the nest ledge wall and George occasionally hopped around.
At 4.22pm the drama began again. Charlie came swooping in with prey, calling all the time, and landing out of sight of the juveniles on the far side of the hospital.
Charlie with prey......
and leaving it on the 12th floor.
Despite her initial calling, not one of the juveniles flew to join her. She left the prey on the footwell of the balcony, and flew up to the nest ledge. Amy, on hearing Charlie, started flapping her wings a lot. She had got up to the highest point of the hospital building by now. She flapped, and she flapped, and she flapped some more, and then a bit more, and finally at 4.54pm she flew off.......
she went forward......
she turned perfectly and flew back........
she appeared to be heading for the nest ledge where Charlie was watching her........
but then carried on........
she went round the corner..................
and eventually swooped up and tried to go through a closed window.......
she stumbled back, grabbed the mesh wall.....................
then eventually, after flapping and getting behind the upright post, she got her balance on the window sill.................
and made her way back to the roof of the hospital.
Amazingly from when she left the top of the hospital at 4.54pm to when she safely landed on the top far corner, it took just six minutes. I don't think any of us Fledge-watchers spoke or breathed during that time, but we all gave  her a big cheer when she eventually settled.
So that was today !! Fledge-watchers on site today were Nathalie, Maggie, Laurence, Tony B, Fred and myself. Tony B was taking clips on his cam-corder so hopefully he filmed the moment Amy finally left the top of the hospital for her maiden flight.
It was another great day for me. I'm shattered yet again, and seriously wondering just how does Nathalie do it !!! She's up in the early hours checking the web cams, she's on site before most of us, and she's the last to leave the site. She also fits in the time to go thru the web cam screen shots, to provide us with the best views of any of the birds on the ledge, and yet still works and looks after a home, allotment and diabetic cat.
An incredible woman, and who without her dedication to these peregrines,
none of this would be possible.
So a BIG shout out to Nathalie Mahieu. A true legend.


  1. This is an amazing account of today's events....I salute you Wendy, I salute Nathalie both are amazing women....

  2. Yes - well done to all the fledge watch volunteers but especially to Nathalie!
    She has, once again, inspired many games of 'Peregrines' in the playground and a whole new generation of bird lovers - many thanks!
    Great blog Wendy - very detailed and full of drama!!!