Peregrine falcons in the National Trust’s Plymbridge Woods can now be seen live on the web. Peregrines nesting in Cann Quarry have been protected by a volunteer watch and the National Trust for the last eleven years following deliberate poisoning in the year 2000. Up to 20 thousand visitors every year peer through telescopes on a viewing platform set up by the Trust to get views of these magnificent birds and now many more will be able to view the peregrines from the comfort of their own homes.
There are several excellent webcams set up on the nests of urban living peregrines but few show views of birds nesting on a natural nest site as the National Trust’s does. A natural and rural environment comes with many challenges. As well as the complication of getting power and an internet connection to a camera far from mains electricity, there is also the issue of positioning a camera in just the right spot. The Plym peregrines have used several different ledges in the disused quarry over the years. Fortunately, this year the pair chose a nest ledge underneath the camera, allowing the best possible view. The peregrines also seemed to hold off beginning to lay their three eggs until the day after the camera went live on the web. This has resulted in their breeding cycle being slightly behind that of other peregrines in the country.
“The camera is a great addition to our on going efforts to protect the peregrines”, says ranger Beth Hamblin. “And we can’t wait to catch the first close up views of the chicks when the eggs hatch in late May.” She goes on to praise the work of the team behind the camera, in particular Dave Manford from Access Technology and volunteer Kevin Roberts and who have worked tirelessly to overcome the technical issues. Thanks is also due to the Wrigley Company Ltd for kindly agreeing to host a radio receiver and broadband line at their factory in Estover; thereby playing a pivotal role in getting the peregrine cam pictures out of the quarry and on to the web.
The live images from the National Trust’s camera can be viewed on www.plym-peregrines.co.uk