What's happening at St. James now – live streaming (click the arrow on the left of the image to access the time-lapse videos)
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One of the many changeovers. Yesterday, the pair swapped on 13 occasions and the chicks had 6 feeds.
Our 4th chick appeared around 22.00 on the 8th. A compilation video of the chicks being fed is on YouTube. Nature in the raw, I'm afraid. Click the image to view the video.
Our first chick appeared at 05.25. The second chick hatched at 10.50 and the third at 16.15. The female ate the shell to extract the calcium. She left for a 'comfort break' a few minutes later.
The male, 3 hours into his shift incubating the eggs, is alerted to the female's alarm call. Together, they chased off a visiting peregrine. Our female returned to the nest 5 minutes later.
Bottoms up! The smart money is first egg to hatch on 6-7 May.
With the eggs keeping warm in the afternoon sun aound 15.30, the pair spent several minutes together airborne, chasing each other, coming together, tumbling and diving. A great spectacle of bonding.
One of a number of changeovers today, this one at 17.42 with the male replacing his partner. Notice how the smaller size of the male makes it difficult for him to cover the eggs. That's why the male is called the Tiercel (from the Latin tertius, meaning a third). She'll be back later for the chilly night-shift!
The female replaces the male. The size difference is clear to see. The changeover was at 17.39 and she sat without a break, until 05.21 this morning.
It's a good job that we have a roof for the nest tray. Today's snowfall today would have left the birds very exposed!
It's likely to be quiet for a few weeks now. Four eggs have been laid and incubation is well underway, with the pair changing over 3-4 times in a 24-hour period. If things go to schedule, we should be looking for the first chick around 6 May.
4th egg at 23.35. Incubation usually begins on arrival of the penultimate egg and this started 2-3 days ago, so it looks as if 4 eggs will be the limit.
The male is spending more time on the eggs, but the female who is far larger, moves him off, as she can cover the eggs more easily. Looks like incubation has started, so possibly a fourth egg to come on Saturday.
Third egg at 10.49.
Second egg at 01.22. The visiting peregrine was around the church again in the afternoon.
The egg was left unattended for 4 hours this afternoon, with both birds returning at 18.40. I'm told this is normal behaviour. An egg remains viable for days provided it doesn't get warm from incubation, as it hasn't started to form. The female won't usually incubate until the penultimate egg has appeared, ensuring the eggs hatch within a day or two of each other. Until then, when she's on the nest, she isn't incubating as her 'brood patch' isn't in contact with the egg. She's just sitting over it for protection.
First egg this afternoon, at 16.15. She incubated until 19.03, then left. Expect the second in a couple of days. Keep watching and buy our book, or donate to the Lincs Bird Club who paid for the views you are now seeing!
The female spent much of the time on the nest. The pair mated on the gargoyle in the afternoon and the male brought prey for the female.
The female slept for a couple of hours on the nest last night, and this morning the pair went through an extended courtship sequence, with over an hour on the nest from around 07.40. She then returned and spent 1 hour 20 mins on the nest.
More courtship display. See the 8-minute video on YouTube HERE
Another visit by the pair mid-afternoon. After female left, the male sat on the same spot for almost 2 hours.
Another visit. There are now 3-4 visits each day, starting before dawn.
A short clip showing the pair copulating at 06.50. Watch the opening on the right of the picture. The female has been sitting on a gargoyle for some minutes when the male flies in and there is a brief union. Copulation often continues even after the first egg is laid.
Four visit by the female today – one with the male
Female visited the nest tray mid-morning, then the pair copulated on the spire crockets. Further brief visits this afternoon.
Another (or perhaps the same) visiting peregrine was chased away from the spire by the female this morning.
An early morning visit by the female. Interesting to see the point where the camera switches from infrared to daylight mode.
News of one of our 2017 brood. The female P7C was seen briefly in the nest tray at St Wulframs, Grantham. It seems as though their resident pair have moved house!
After a couple of quiet days, the pair were back on the nest tray this afternoon
A visiting peregrine that landed on the spire this afternoon was chased off by our residents.
Courting again! The female visits regularly each day now.
Further visits today. The pair are often seen to 'eat' gravel. It's thought this helps to clear fatty bits that may stick in the gizzard and also, for the female, provides her with calcium for her eggs.
Several visits from 06.35, including courtship.
3 visit by the female today.
First visit to the nest by our birds. They spent 13 minutes there, creating a depression in the gravel. Watch the full video HERE