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Burlington Nest Site Reports:
Friday July 20, 2007
Mark Nash reports: Today we received a photo update of the Burlington nest site that was sent into us that included several very good photos of Dundas where he and his mate have been active this summer. Some excellent photos are included of Dundas.
Sunday June 24, 2007
Rob Williams reports: I was down at the lift bridge again from roughly 7-9pm this evening. I located the female again on the same metal bar on the west (harbour) side of the Skyway bridge shortly after I arrived, and she was still there when I left. She stayed on the bar the entire time, grooming periodically. It looks to me like she had a full crop (she was pretty far off though, so I didn't get a really good look). I saw no sign of Dundas. In any case, if there were any vague remaining hope of a reclutch this year, I would say this indicates that isn't happening. We can hope for next year, and I'll still probably go and watch for them periodically anyways.
Saturday June 16, 2007
Rob Williams reports: I went down to check out the Burlington lift bridge last evening from about 7-7:30pm until about 9:15pm. I didn't see any sign of any peregrines until a little after 9pm, when preparing to leave and walking back along the canal from the harbor, one of the peregrines flew west along the canal from somewhere near the lift bridge, under the skyway and up to sit on a small metal bar protruding from the west side of the skyway over the canal. It then sat preening, and was still there when I left. It was quite dark then, so I can't be sure which bird it was, although I THINK from its behavior it was likely the female. I can't say for sure where (s)he was up until that time. I don't think (s)he was on the ledge or scrape, but can't be sure of it, so while I suspect this means there is no attempt to reclutch, I can't be completely positive.
Saturday June 9, 2007
Rob Williams reports: I got a short chance this evening to visit the bridge again, from a little after 7pm until nearly 9pm. I didn't see either peregrine until about 8:30pm, when I finally located the female on a bit of metal protruding from the west side of the Skyway bridge. Just before 9pm, she flew to the wires in the middle of the lift bridge, where she remained when I left. I didn't see any sign of Dundas.
I talked to the same folks we met previously. They said that both adults had been around, and were various places close to the bridge yesterday. I gather from what they said that they are spending a lot of time away from the scrape. Additionally, they mentioned that they had seen the egg (and smelled it..... and sure it's rotten). They also mentioned that they had seen Dundas trying to entice the female back up to the ledge/box.
I will try to visit the bridge when I get the chance, but it certainly seems that they are losing/have lost interest in the scrape. It also seems that they may not reclutch, but I'll try to keep an eye anyways.
Saturday June 2, 2007
Mark Nash reports: It is with great sadness that given the current late date, and the adults recent behavior, that it would appear that the Burlington Bridge nest site has failed this year. Now more than a week after the expected hatch date, and upwards of 40 days of incubation, it would appear that a hatch is not going to happen this season, (at least with this 1st clutch of eggs).
While there is always hope that we are way off in the starting of the “full time” incubation time frame of the female, we don’t believe so.
A many number of things could have gone wrong, not to exclude Dundas’s inability to properly mount the female for successful copulation / fertilization??? We had discussed this very same subject in great detail several months ago when Dundas arrived on territory and displaced the existing territorial male from this nest site.
While it is very possible for the female to produce a second clutch of eggs, Dundas must successfully copulate with the female and fertilization must take place for the any of the eggs to hatch.
Also, the female is unlikely to produce a second clutch of eggs (at least at this very same spot) until the first clutch of eggs have been consumed. Who knows, maybe they might try the nest box next??? In any case, the adults have been observed copulating again, and it appears that the female is at least receptive to his Dundas’s advances!
Maybe having only one leg will really be his nemesis!!!
Stay tuned, as we will continue to watch closely for any new developments...
Rob Williams reports: I finally got some time this afternoon to go and check the bridge again, from about 3:30pm until 5:30pm.
When I arrived, what I believe was the female was sitting up on the edge of the scrape, with no sign of Dundas. After perhaps an hour, she flew to the wires in the middle of the bridge, and then off to the Skyway bridge where she settled, then moved farther north under it, then disappeared. About 15 min later, she came back south along the skyway carrying what I think was a pigeon, and settled under the bridge, over the canal to feed. I thought at first it might have been Dundas, given how awkward the bird appeared with the pigeon, but with closer inspection, it seemed to have two feet, with the awkwardness arising from the struggles of the pigeon, which was not yet dead apparently. This was around 5pm.
By about 5:15pm, she had finished and moved slightly further south under the bridge, then what I think was Dundas appeared, moving south along the Skyway. He settled somewhere further south under the bridge and disappeared. She moved back to the edge of the scrape, then after about 5-10 minutes dropped down onto it, with only her head visible. She remained there when I left, and I did not see Dundas again.
In short, I would guess this bodes ill for a hatch at the bridge. She clearly still has an affinity for the ledge, but left it untended for a considerable period, and went off to hunt for herself. Furthermore, she did did not appear to carry the meal to the ledge to feed any potential chicks: she ate it herself BEFORE going to the scrape. I can't be sure Dundas didn't catch the meal and pass it to her, but given it was still struggling, and she had flown off on her own, I would guess she did hunt for herself.
I would assume that if she had recent chicks, she would not leave them untended, and if they had hatched days ago, would probably require feeding at every opportunity, so while there may still be eggs on the scrape, I doubt that there any chicks
Tuesday May 29, 2007
Rob Williams reports: I was down at the lift bridge again this evening from about 6:30pm-9:15pm. There isn't too much to report, again I saw no food transfer and so can't really speculate on a hatch.
I did meet the folks that we talked to on Sunday. He mentioned that just after we had left on Sunday, they did see a food transfer, and thought that perhaps they were both on the scrape with the meal for about 1.5 minutes, but wasn't really sure of that. If we'd stayed another 10-15 minutes in the rain, we might have seen it, but that's wildlife, living for themselves, and not our convenience......how inconsiderate of them :)
As for tonight, when I arrived one of the adults was on the scrape, and the other out and about. There was a shift change, and then both birds spent 1/2-3/4 hour away from the scrape about 8pm, although the female spent most of the time on the wires above the bridge, or the usual hydro tower. While she was sitting on the tower, Dundas came over and copulated with her. Otherwise they spent time on the usual corner perches of the south tower, and the skyway bridge, and Dundas in particular certainly seemed to be hunting (attacked at least one pigeon, several stoops at unseen targets), although not intensively. After this relatively long break, the female returned to the scrape for a while.
As it was getting significantly darker, approaching 9pm, the female again came off the scrape and sat on the wires over the bridge, after being relieved by Dundas on the scrape. She attacked a comorant that flew beneath her, catching it as it got about as far as the skyway, chasing from behind and nearly knocking it into the canal. At that point Dundas came and joined her, but they did not pursue the cormorant further. She returned to the wire, and Dundas flew around the towers, eventually settling under the skyway. By the time I left around 9:15pm, it was quite dark, the female was still on the wire looking around intently, and I THINK Dundas was still under the skyway (it was too dark to be sure he hadn't moved). My suspicion is that she was hungry and looking for a meal. I would estimate that no adult was on the scrape for about half of the time I was down tonight, which is much longer than I've seen since incubation started. I'm not sure what, if anything, that might mean (or if that's particular to the times I personally have observed them). In any case, by that time it was getting too dark for me to see much more of use, so I'm not sure if she had her meal, or if either adult returned to the scrape soon after.
Thursday May 17, 2007
Rob Williams reports: I went down to the Burlington Lift Bridge this evening (May 17) to check on Dundas and mate after the storms, from about 6:30pm until about 9pm. There isn't much to report. I saw Dundas preening on the south tower, and sitting under the Skyway (I believe he was there around 9pm when I left, perhaps he settled there for the night). He once passed within inches of a pigeon near the lift bridge, and the pigeon did not react to him, nor did he attack it, so I suspect he had little interest in hunting this evening. He flew around the tower and skyway briefly several times, but without any definate seeming purpose (did not land on scrape or make any attacks).
About 8-8:30pm, while the bridge was lifted, the female sat on top of the raised bridge for 5minutes or so. She seemed to be preening, and disappeared back onto the scrape afterwards. I did not see any food eaten or transfered.
I would guess that they are probably still incubating, and they do not think the nest is destroyed by storm damage. Given that I did not see any food transfered, I could not speculate on the possibility of a hatch as yet. I hope that the storms did not damage the nest, and remain optimistic for success.
Monday May 7, 2007
Lyle Camier reports: At approx. 7.00 pm on Monday May 7 I witnessed Dundas fly up past the scrape and circle around in the direction of the Skyway Bridge. The female tthen came off the scrapeand flew under Dundas to retreave a small amount of food. She then flew to the Hydro Tower aand proceeded to eat. Dundas flew to the south bridge tower while she ate. When she finished, she flew to the west side of the south bridge tower and Dundas came over to copulate. After which she flew to the scrape and Dundas flew to the Skyway bridge. Sorry but I couldn't stay any longer.
Friday May 4, 2007
Mark Nash reports: 3 eggs confirmed!
We are delighted to report that news has arrived from the bridge staff that confirm that 3 eggs have been in the nest bowl. While all of the observations over the past 10 days have indicated that the pair have been active in incubation duties, its nice to know how many eggs have been laid. Sadly, it would appear that the birds have chosen the ledge again year as opposed to the new nest box, we are delighted that the peregrines have decided to stay at the site again this year. The mystery still continues as to the identity of the adult female, but given her return to the I-beam again this year to lay her eggs, it is likely that this female is the same one as last year. During the courtship, Dundas tried on several occasions to attract her to the new nest box, but alas, (as we know), it is the females final decision as to where she will lay “her “eggs. Sound familiar? ;)
Thursday May 3, 2007
Rob Williams reports: Not much to report. After being away for a while, I finally got back down to check things out this evening, from 6:30-7pm until a little after 8:30pm. I saw no sign of any peregrines until nearly 7:30pm, when I observed Dundas flying around the underside of the Skyway bridge. He did this for perhaps up to 1/2 hour, when he flew to the power line tower just south of the lift bridge. Shortly later he flew south down the beach, returning within about 10 minutes. Before leaving he made a halfhearted attack and chase of what I think was a pigeon.
When he returned, he flew up to the scrape, quickly dropped away and circled back to land. There was a fair amount of noise from the scrape as he dropped down out of sight, and the female flew to the overhead wires in the middle of the bridge. Dundas did not appear to be carrying anything. She simply stayed on the wire, preened a bit and may have voided before returning to the scrape within about 5 minutes. Shortly later I observed what I believe was Dundas again near the Skyway, although I did not see him leave the scrape. By about 8:30pm he returned to the southeast corner of the south tower, where he remained when I left. I did not see either peregrine catch or eat anything.
Most of the other days I have been down, Dundas has seemed to have a full crop (even when hunting or returning with a meal). I could not tell tonight if this were the case, so I'm not sure when they last may have eaten (although the female voiding suggests recently).
This was the first time I have seen Dundas chase a target for any period (even if unenthusiastically, and relatively briefly). I have observed a male kestrel leisurely pursue a target for a prolonged period of time during this past winter, maintaining a relatively constant distance, but Dundas seems to attack only targets fairly far away (never targets starting close to him), in one quick pass, with a followup. If he misses that, he usually gives up (although occasionally quickly attacks another nearby target). The kestrel generally stayed above his target, but Dundas seems to like to get speed, and attack from behind and below, rising quickly as he attacks. The previous evening I was there, he did this spectacularly, attacking from the lift bridge south tower, going low along the ground, and climbing vertically the entire height of the skyway to attack, then reverse and attack again before returning to the lift bridge. He did this at high speed, all the more remarkable considering the g-forces he must have experienced throughout the maneouver, and that a slight misjudgement would have meant a fatal collision with the Skyway bridge.
In any case, he did not seem to be desperately hunting tonight, and I am quite certain the female was down, out of sight on the scrape (and only left it when relieved briefly by Dundas). This makes me quite sure that she is in full time incubation. I hope for a successful nest this year, and I'll try to keep an eye on its development.
Wednesday April 25, 2007
Rob Williams reports: I was down at the bridge observing this evening, from a little after 5:30pm until about 8:30pm. Not long after I arrived, I saw one of the peregrines fly in to the bridge from towards the skyway, carrying something that seemed small. I THINK, but can't be sure that this was Dundas. Until that point, there were NO visible peregrines (not even a head or tail on the scrape). Soon after this I saw what I think was the female fly with the meal to her favourite power line tower, were she sat to eat. Around the time she was finishing eating, Dundas flew over from one of his favourite spots on top of the bridge tower to quickly copulate, or attempt copulation with her, then fly off again. The female remained another 15 minutes or so on the tower, before returning to the scrape and completely disappearing. He had not been sitting on the scrape while she ate, but was on top of the north tower.
Dundas spent much of the rest of the evening sitting on the southwest corner of the south tower, occasionally flying out to make unsuccessful attacks, usually southwest near the skyway, and returning. Occasionally he flew south down the beach, and would return 5-10 minutes later. He once flew to the edge of the scrape, but quickly left again (less than one minute). He also appeared to have a head down posture (although with his one leg, and the distance and poor light I can't be certain), either looking at something down on the scrape, or submissive perhaps. I mention this in particular since he often sits quite upright, swivelling his head all around while elsewhere, but does not appear to do this when joining her on the scrape that I have ever seen.
At one point, he flew off out over the lake, where I saw what seemed to be a second peregrine join him, flying far out east over the lake. I was watching him at the time through binoculars, and he was quite far out, so I can't be sure if it was the female that joined him, but it seemed so. I watched the scrape, and out over the lake, beach and skyway for probably close to 1/2 hour before I again saw a peregrine (seemed to be Dundas, can't be certain though) back, north over the bridge, returning to the top of the south tower. I have no idea what route this peregrine took to return, or if both birds had indeed departed and returned. I did not see another bird on the scrape tonight (but when I know the female was there, she was out of sight anyways).
As dusk was well underway, about 8:15pm, Dundas finally made a successful attack somewhere near the centre for inland waters on what I think was a pigeon. He carried it around the north tower, then eventually moved to the north side of it and disappeared. I did not see him afterwards, and no bird appeared from the scrape. I would guess he settled somewhere on that tower to feed. I suspect he fed the female just after I arrived, then was hunting for himself until near dark.
I did get some pictures, but given the light conditions, and the distances, I would be VERY surprised if they show much useful. I also met one of the bridge workers with a camera (he mentioned helping you put up the nest box, and being attacked while blocking the window). He told me that he had seen peregrines hunting near dark, and eating in the south parking lot area, right on the ground and on one of the lamp posts (I have not yet observed them to do this, the female seems to always go to the power line tower, while Dundas usually seems to prefer one of the bridge towers).
I was a bit surprised at how late the peregrines were active and hunting. It was my HOPE I would see the end of day activities, but feared that 5:30 would already be too late, however Dundas was still hunting (and successfully) well into dusk, after 8pm. Interestingly, it was for himself..he seems to hunt for his mate first.....
Saturday April 21, 2007
Rob Williams reports: I was down at the lift bridge again this morning briefly, from perhaps 8:30-10am roughly. I'm beyond stupidly tired, so I hope I remain coherent and convey the relevant observations before I completely forget or garble them.
There was little breeze, so Dundas was not kiting over the bridge as he did the previous day. He did hunt in short flights, or wait sitting on the south tower. About 1/2-3/4 hour before I left he flew off north along the lake towards Burlington, then returned 15-30 min later with a meal I think is a songbird (thrush/thrasher?) or maybe a flicker (I've seen at least one fly over every day I've gone down, always in the same rough path he had just taken). He flew around the tower with it several times, then settled on the top of the north tower with it for 5+ minutes. As I recall, he landed on the scrape, and I believe he flew away towards the skyway with the meal, returning later without it. I can't be certain, but don't think any food was consumed on the beam.
The female spent most of the time I was there out of sight on the beam, occasionally sitting on the edge, or pokeing a tail/wing or head above the beam. She did not appear to hunt for herself, nor I think did she eat the meal Dundas brought in. It is possible she had eaten prior to my arrival however.
Of note: the female made a flight out to her favourite power line tower, and landed near the top. She came out of the scrape while the lift bridge was up, and while she was on the tower, Dundas came and copulated with her for a fairly long period. The other two matings I witnessed were very short, perhaps 1-2 seconds. This was 5+ seconds. Dundas flew off immediately, and she remained on the tower for 15 minutes or so I would guess before returning to the scrape.
I saw no other sign of the third, immature peregrine I observed the previous day.
Given that the female continued to appear to adjust things on the scrape, did not seem to hunt for herself, and seemed not to leave the scrape for extended periods, I would still hypothesize eggs are present on the scrape. However, having witnessed further copulation I wonder if full incubation is actually underway. She still spent more than 50% of the admittedly short time I was there out of sight on the beam, but why would they continue mating if she had completed a clutch?
I have included some pictures. My usual picture info blather applies (camera and lens, shooting info, and pse editing). The shot of the female sitting on the power line tower giving me an evil eye was on a previous day, just for another pose to id her really. The shot of her flying was today, and should show clearly the difference in her from the immature I saw the previous day. Dundas is also generally obvious with one foot. Of course, their adult plumage and bands should also be definative to differentiate them from the other bird. I've included a couple of todays copulation (the last especially does show Dundas is the male), and meal return victory lap as well as some showing how Dundas manages landing on his favourite tower corner spots.
As always, I'll try to go and observe when I can. I hope this is reasonably coherant and the pictures are functional if not beautiful, as I'm nearly unconscious.....
Thursday April 19, 2007
Rob Williams reports: First, I discovered something that surprised me. I had thought around midmorning that a peregrine I saw kiting above the south tower looked different, but dismissed it as a lighting change. Well, as two of the included pics show, it wasn't. There is (was) a THIRD peregrine present today at the lift bridge. I don't know here it had been lurking, or where it went to (south tower somewhere? Skyway????), but it WAS there. It is streaked brownish below, and appears unbanded. Both Dundas and the female are banded, and horizontally barred on their breasts, oppositely to this third bird. I witnessed no conflict between this bird, and Dundas or the female. This doesn't mean there was none, as it COULD have occured out of my sight, but I don't think this likely. Dundas was seen often after this point, while I don't believe I ever saw this third bird again on Thursday.
I have included a few pictures from today. I shot RAW+jpg (low quality), f8, 1/1000s auto ISO on these shots. ISOs are again over 400 unfortunately, although not too many today were in the 1000-1600 range at least. Most were around 800ish. All of these shots are cropped severely again, since the peregrines (essentially) did not come below the tops of the towers. Some USM, and levels adjustments, as well as the cropping and resizing were done in PSE2, but no noise reduction or other adjustments. These are straight from the camera low-quality jpgs, not the NEFs (raw work should improve them, but take me a lot longer).
I changed my D80 clock daylight savings time, so the EXIF time should be correct..this shows the time I saw that third bird (10 something I think). With the early change, I forgot reset the clock, so earlier pictures may have incorrect times in the EXIFs.
In any case, as I said in the previous report, I presume incubation has started, and Dundas is the male of that nest, with the banded female sitting on the scrape. I will definately keep trying to go back and observe, and see if that third bird reappears, and if any interaction with Dundas and the female occurs.
As I arrived, the female (two talons...I'm perilously close to giving her a stupid nickname like two-talon Sue or similarly idiotic...I'll keep resisting I hope) was sitting upright on the edge of the beam (the usual scrape area). No sign of Dundas was evident at that time. After a while, she turned, and started fiddling on the scrape, then disappeared behind it. Periodically a head or tail/wings would become visible. Once or twice during the morning she moved up briefly to the edge of the beam, and only once did she leave it, and then very shortly.
After perhaps 1/2 hour or longer Dundas appeared, and began hunting above the bridge, riding the wind off the lake as a kestrel does, floating back and forth along the length of the bridge, occasionally orbitting either tower, or making runs over to the Skyway bridge. Occasionally he would settle on the north tower window ledge, or around the north tower. He made perhaps 1/2 dozen or more attacks, none I witnessed were successful. Most seemed to be on songbirds, occasionally a pigeon. Several times he moved over the pier, beach and lake, once making an attack on what may have been a cormorant over the lake (it was low, behind bushes, so I can't be sure..there were a number of cormorants around, and a fair number of long-tailed ducks as well). Not surprisingly, after a brief scuffle with the cormorant? he abandoned the attempt (he did not stoop far on the bird, starting only slightly above it, coming in at fair speed from behind..I'd guess he has little chance of a kill on so large a bird with that tactic), and the cormorant continued flying, not seeming terribly upset.
At one point, he was over the south tower, and rolled right up into a ball, diving like a bullet over towards the western parking lots (behind the tower from me unfortunately). He disappeared from my sight for a long period here, and apparently this excited the female, since she flew over to join him. Very soon after, they both returned to the scrape, and remained there behind the beam for 15 minutes or more I would estimate. Neither appeared to be carrying any food however. Both seemed to be interested in something on the beam, but as far as I could tell, were separated by perhaps 6 feet most of the time both birds were on the scrape.
After this, eventually Dundas reappeared, and began hunting again over the bridge. After a short while, he settled near the very top of the power line tower where he remained for 1/2 hour or so. The female seemed to remain basically out of sight on the scrape. Dundas again resumed hunting over the bridge, then moved off towards the Skyway. At that point, the bridge was lifted to allow a coast guard vessel to pass, and Dundas returned carrying what I guess to be a pigeon (maybe a Mourning dove, I hope my pics will tell exactly what it was). He seemed to be trying to return to the scrape, but with the bridge up, did not that I could see. He flew around the area of the north tower, and after the bridge began dropping and he eventually reappeared, he was no longer carrying anything. Did he manage to pass it off, or drop it somewhere? I worry perhaps he lost the meal, since I did not see any sign of the female after that point, and he immediately resumed hunting, moving out of sight towards the Skyway bridge. I did not witness a transfer of food, or any feeding. A very unfortunate coincidence I think that the bridge was up exactly as he finally returned with a decent meal.....This occured only a short time before I left (11:30-12ish).
At one point around midmorning, while Dundas was hunting over the south tower, what appeared to be a female merlin passed over the north tower (not much higher than Dundas' hunting altitude), but neither peregrine responded. The smaller falcon did not linger in the area at all however.
As an aside that probably doesn't need to be passed on, he seemed to be eating well enough, since he defecated over the south tower while hunting several times (maybe he was making his opinions of me known since he nearly hit me....).
In any case, given the fact that the female spent essentially the entire time well down on the scrape, and did no hunting, while Dundas hunted nearly the entire time, I would hypothesize that incubation has started. Given the little bit I sent yesterday that my father observed, I would also guess that incubation was underway yesterday as well. How soon before that it may have begun, I can't say.
Saturday April 14, 2007
Rob Williams reports: I was down at the lift bridge today from about 9:30am until 1-1:30pm.
Soon after I arrived, I saw one of the peregrines on the steel beam, with the head peaking up and down. Shortly later, another bird flew in to the beam carrying a meal (may have been a starling, grackle or redwing blackbird). This peregrine seemed to have two legs/ feet. Both peregrines seemed to disappear on the beam, then one of them reemerged with the meal, and carried it to the overhead wires in the middle of the bridge to feed. This peregrine also had two talons and was banded (fairly sure the same female I have seen there before).
Perhaps 15 minutes later, this bird flew off, moving to the ledge on the north side of the south tower, and the favoured power line tower, while the other bird moved up to the top of the north tower. They stayed there for a long period of time, although the bird on the north tower eventually moved back out of sight. The bird on the power line tower had two feet, appearing to be the female.
At points one of the peregrines moved briefly to rest under the Skyway bridge, but otherwise the birds flew only sporadically, spending most of their later time back on the south tower ledge and north tower top. They did mate again briefly while the lift bridge was up, so I did not see much of this or photograph it.
The birds did spend some more time on the north tower steel beam, and always seemed to be adjusting something out of sight on it, but for the majority of the time I observed them, there was no adult on the beam.
The light was weak/poor and fading as I left, so while I'm fairly sure the usual female was one of the birds, I can't be certain the other was Dundas (although I suspect so).
While they still have interest in the beam, and seemed to adjust something on it, they did copulate again, and combined with the fact that no adult was on the beam most of the morning, I would speculate that there is still either no clutch, or not a complete clutch yet. Here's hoping they start a successful incubation soon.
Roughly in the noon to 1pm time, what I suspect was a sharp-shinned hawk flew north over the bridge very high up, then a little later a suspected red-tailed hawk flew south over the bridge (also very high). Neither seemed to occasion any response from the peregrines. One of them was on the high ledge, north side, south tower at that time, and I think the other was somewhere on top of the north tower out of sight. Given how high the sharpie and red-tail were, and that they moved directly over, perhaps no response would be expected.
I will try to return and observe them when possible, hoping they will start an incubation, and to confirm again that Dundas is still present (fairly sure, but not 100% positive), and perhaps get enough to identify the female.
Wednesday April 11, 2007
Lyle Camier reports: Dundas sighted between 10.00 A.M. and 11.00 A.M. today.
It had to be Dundas as he was quite clumsy landing at the scrape.
Tuesday April 10, 2007
Rob Williams reports: I managed to get down to the bridge and observe from about 3:30 pm until 5:30 or 6pm today. As I arrived I was fairly certain I could see one briefly near the south tower in flight, but saw little else of any other peregrines for some time after that.
AT approx. 4:30-5pm I noticed a bird in flight and finally located the female She was at times on the steel beam (I did get to the west side walkway on the bridge underneath her, and grab a few shots, but I think the beam is too high up to read the bands...I'll check my pictures to be sure though). One bird (I assume her) flew several times off under the Skyway bridge, rested on a lamp on the north side beside the canal underneath it and then flew off over the centre for inland waters. It later returned and made what I THINK was an unsuccessful low level pass at a parking lot full of very upset pigeons (south side of the canal....). As she flew in, everything scattered at high speed, and I lost track of her until I found her sitting lower near the road on the same power line tower she was in the earlier day (but much lower this time). This was probably close to 5:30pm. She stayed there for a short while, sitting tight on her feet, so although I have some pictures, I think feathers are obscuring the bands. She eventually flew back to the beam, where apparently another bird met her, which I assume was Dundas. If so, that was the first I saw of him today, and I can't be sure he wasn't hiding on the beam, although I suspect he had been elsewhere (but where?). Unfortunately, the bridge was blocking my view, so I missed the details that may have determined if he was on the bridge, or whereabouts he had been.
Both birds then spent a few minutes bobbing up and down out of sight on the beam. It APPEARED as though at least one of them was adjusting something on the beam. One of the birds (can't say which one) then flew off towards the Skyway bridge again, while the other remained on the beam, with only a head periodically observable. I could not remain much longer at that point unfortunately.
My guess given your information is that they are not currently incubating eggs; either there are none, or they are not all laid yet, as I suspect that there was no adult on the beam for most of the time I was there. However, given the behaviour on the beam (what I could see of it from the ground), there was something of interest to them there, either adjustments to the gravel, or existing eggs. I can only guess at this though.
I will go through my pictures on the computer (have not been able to yet), and see what I may see (probably not enough), and definately try to take what opportunities I can to continue to observe them.
Thursday April 5, 2007
Rob Williams reports: I haven't been through all of the pictures from today, nor prepared any to send yet, but I can confirm at least 2 peregrines at the lift bridge, including a male missing a foot (ie. Dundas) with banded other leg from what I could observe, and a female who seemed to be not notably larger than Dundas, with possible brownish tinge in the grey back and green bands on her legs. Dundas and this female mated once while I observed (I have pictures of this). So, Dundas is around, back in the area with a mate which is good news.
The birds had fed just as I got there, and so didn't fly much at all, and stayed pretty high most of the morning, so the included pics are pretty heavily cropped unfortunately. I also realized just how fast they can move, as you'll see, 1/1000s wasn't fast enough for perpendicular shots, even at long range..next time I'll shoot a lot faster on those. I definately want more flight shots, so I'll have to keep going back and hoping they come nearer. All shots taken with a Nikon D80 and Sigma 400 f5.6 APO macro
As you can see, Dundas was the male (missing right foot). I didn't include any of the shots of the bird grooming on the power line tower, or the birds on the nest area, etc, just a couple of the birds flying to id them, and the mating scene.
Friday March 23, 2007
Mark Nash reports: We are very excited indeed to report that the new Burlington Bridge peregrine nest box has finally been installed. While slightly delayed due to the February bitter cold & freezing temps that delayed manufacturing and staining process, we are pleased to report that the new nest box has been installed for the Burlington Lift Bridge peregrines. During the actual install, both adult peregrines were on hand to supervise, and showed a great interest in the box from the get go. We are very pleased to learn that the very next day, that the adult female was observed inside the box for several hours, and Scott was able to snap a few colour photo’s of her inspecting the new box interior and landing platform. She is pictured roosting on the outside landing platform of the new nest box. A second photo has been included to show the great view that the nest box offers the peregrines.
With many thanks to the dedicated Burlington bridge staff for all of their on site support, and the support of the PWGSC Public Works and Government Services with this project. I would also like to thank both Bruce Massey of the CPF, and Scott Howley for their assistance in helping us with the physical install of the nest box, as clearly this was a huge undertaking given the nature of the job site. A huge thank you also goes out to Tracy Simpson and Marion Nash for their efforts that they spent in the bitter cold while assisting me with the manufacturing and staining of the nest box.
The nest box was designed, prefabricated, and stained at the CPF Raptor centre in Woodbridge Ontario, and was disassembled for transported to the Burlington Bridge on March 9th/2007 were it was reassembled and installed on the North Tower. The final personal touches were completed by March 23rd and we are delighted to here that both of the adult peregrines have inspecting the new nest box during this period.
While it now up to the birds as to where they will actually nest, it is all of our hope that they will choose the new nesting box for this years clutch of eggs.
We would also like to thank Anne Yagi of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for her assistance with this project, as her dedication and support has been instrumental with this project.
Monday June 12, 2006
Mark Nash reports: With thanks to Scott and John for sending in some photo’s of the Burlington pair during their nesting period. While the nest site has failed this year, the Burlington nest site is not alone. This has been a bad year for our urban nests, as this nest failure is only one of six urban nests to fail this year. Some very good photos.
Friday May 26, 2006
Mark Nash reports: Confirmed - failed nest
It is with sadness that I must report that the Burlington nest site has in fact failed this year. Over the past ten days, a number of reports have been received indicating that the adults have been spending much of the time off the nest ledge, showing very little interest in any incubation activities. Based on the full time incubation observations, we expected a hatch no later than May 19th, but of course it has not happened.
With many thanks to Bruce, Sam, Don, Stuart, and Bill for their dedication and the time they have spent closely watching and reporting the bird’s activities and behaviors, allowing us to piece together the puzzle. While I know that everyone was hoping for a successful hatch and fledge, the Burlington nest failure is not alone this year, as we are equally saddened to report that we have had at least three other nest failures this season at our southern Ontario urban nest sites.
We are in conversation with the powers to be in an effort to see what might be able to done to address the nesting situation.
Stay tuned for additional news.
Wednesday May 24, 2006
Stuart Laughton reports: I was at the bridge for 90 minutes this morning beginning at 7, my first proper visit in ages. The female was perched at the nest site but never actually on the nest, despite what seemed to me some pretty cool weather (14C). An employee at the bridge mentioned that four eggs have been seen and that the female is extremely aggressive to interlopers, on one occasion coming within five feet of one of his colleagues (who had gone up the bridge elevator) and screaming her head off. He thought this bird may be a different female from last year's ("this one is even bigger") and said he was looking forward to seeing the little white heads of the chicks sticking up once the eggs have hatched. I did not see the male today, but I was told that he's around.
Tuesday May 9, 2006
Mark Nash reports: It has been very quiet down at the Burlington nest site indeed. Several dedicated watchers have reported that peregrine activity has not been observed over the past two weeks, and we are hopeful that things are still well at the site. Based on earlier reports, we hope that the adult female is doing what she should be doing if eggs were in fact produced?? If this is the case, the adult female is in full time incubation mode, and given the nest location, it will be very difficult to see from the ground level. Our interpretations of the reported observations and activity of the adult peregrines sent in some four weeks ago, it would have indicated that the adult female went down into full time incubation mode, and given the current time frame, we would have been expecting a hatch sometime over the next few days.
Any observations or updates from those watching would be most appreciated indeed!
We have just received and update on the Burlington Bride nest site, in that it has been confirmed that the female is still very active in her incubation duties. While very difficult to see from the ground level, we can confirm that the pair is still very active on territory.
Sunday April 31, 2006
Stuart Laughton reports: I've spent little time at the bridge, as there's little to see. While on the nest, she can't be seen, although every 45 minutes or so she turns the eggs. When this happens her wing tips tip and the tip of her tail are briefly visible. If you blink you miss it. The male is off somewhere more interesting.
Thursday April 20, 2006
Stuart Laughton reports: I believe this bird is now incubating. Several recent very brief visits showed no signs of her, but was she on the nest with her head and neck scrunched up? Previously, when on the nest, she had always kept her head up, staying visible with binoculars from up to a kilometer away. Today I briefly saw her wing tips and tail as she adjusted herself on the nest, then she disappeared again. This is good news!
Monday April 17, 2006
Stuart Laughton reports: At 7 AM the female was on the bridge but not on the nest. Forty minutes later she flew down and entered one of the many holes (beloved of pigeons) in the plates of the vertical beams of the bridge. This would have been only eight feet above the bridge sidewalk. There was no kill and she left almost immediately. Ten minutes later she flew directly to the underside of the nearer skyway bridge and landed right up in the beams and trusses, with thundering highway traffic just four feet above her. After a minute she switched to a similar position 20 feet further on, then switched again. At this point I lost sight of her, but in a moment she was flying back towards the lift bridge (and me) with a fresh-killed pigeon. This "conceal and surprise" hunting method is one that I would associate with a Sharp-shinned hawk but clearly it is a favourite method with her. After half eating the bird she returned to the nest with the rest of the carcass and began fussing around. I lost sight of her, perhaps because she was lying down with head and neck tucked in. An hour and a quarter had passed with her off the nest entirely.
Friday April 14, 2006
Don Weaver reports: When I first arrived both birds were present. Again the male was pestering his partner.... a guy thing I think. He eventually got the message and vanished. The female remained at her favorite ledge on the North Tower. Not a heck of allot of activity today.... maybe because of the rain.
Monday April 10, 2006
Stuart Laughton reports: In 30 seconds of viewing today the female was lying down at the nest site.
Saturday April 8, 2006
Don Weaver reports: There was only one bird sited today.... assuming it was the female. She was perched on the north tower of the lift bridge planning which of these 100000 pigeons will be the first snack of the day when all a sudden the lift bridge horn sounded. She calmly watched as the bridge rose up towards her until she was out of sight. Didn't seemed too worried by any of it.
Tuesday April 4, 2006
Stuart Laughton reports: Today the female was at the nest site when I arrived at the bridge. Only her head and shoulders were visible. After 5 minutes she sat up (I think she had been lying down) and began preening. Forty minutes later I was back at the bridge. She was in the same position, feathers now fluffed up against a bitter wind, her large yellow feet in view. No sign of the male.
Sunday April 2, 2006
Don Weaver reports: Finally seen the pair at the Burlington Lift Bridge. Both appear very young (assumption) and playful almost like playing tag with each other and not the least interested in hunting. The female appeared to be quite aggressive towards the male chasing him away everytime he came close. Markings appear a bit different from etobicoke's female.... all white underneith no speckles. Had fun doing this planning on visiting quite often.
Saturday March 25, 2006
Stuart Laughton reports: Both birds were at the bridge again today.
One bird appeared with prey, took it to the nest site, then to one hydro tower before settling on another to begin lunch. After 15 minutes the bird took off with the remainder of the prey and flew straight off towards the steel mills across the bay. This seemed curious to me, especially as the second bird probably went too, though out of my binocular's field of view.
Thursday March 23, 2006
Stuart Laughton reports: Finally, today I saw both birds. In 10 minutes I saw a very brief mating, or an attempt at any rate. Both birds then took off towards the steel mills across the bay, keeping a steady, direct flight until out of sight.
Tuesday March 21, 2006
Mark Nash reports: Based on the most recent observation reports, it would appear that the adult female may have started her egg laying process While we are waiting for an official confirmation from the good folks at the bridge, the adult female has been spending some casual time laying down on the nest over the past days. While she has not been spending all day laying down on the ledge, her recent activities would suggest that she has started her egg laying. Remember that they lay their eggs approx. every other day over the course of several days, - (dependant on the actual eggs laid), until the egg production is completed. During this time, the adult female may spend only part of the day and evening hours physically laying down on the eggs while she attempts to keep the first eggs from freezing. Once the egg laying process is close to being completed, full time incubating starts. This behavior increases the odds that all of the eggs will hatch at approx. the same time.
Monday March 20, 2006
Stuart Laughton reports: I've done a lot of viewing since my last post, but unfortunately have not since seen both birds together. I'm pretty sure it's the male that I see perched on the cables of the bridge and I think it's the female that prefers perching on the bridge structure. Today (March 20) it was definitely the female, looking very domestic as she fussed around the nest site and tried out different positions. In an hour's viewing the male never appeared. It mystifies me that the pigeons seem so cavalier about the falcon's presence, a bit like antelope on the veldt grazing in full sight of resting lions. Perhaps they know when the predators are hungry!
Monday March 6, 2006
Stuart Laughton reports: An hour and a half of observation of the lift bridge over March 5 and 6 shows only the adult male, in constant view. There is no sign of the adult female seen last week on the nest-site ledge, but this may be related to the ongoing work (to be completed this week) on the elevator at the north end of the bridge.
Friday March 3, 2006
Stuart Laughton reports: A nice pair were on the lift bridge at 4:00pm today (Friday, March 3). The female went right to the former nest site and seemed to like the lay of the land very much. I didn't think to look for leg bands, although I got good looks at both birds. The bridge is on my regular roller-blade exercise route, so I'll keep these reports coming if you like. I saw a pigeon wing on the bridge a month ago and decided I should be looking around for big, beautiful falcons. I've only just discovered your web-sight. I'm a lifelong peregrine admirer and now an "un-lapsed" birder (meaning that I'm watching again).
I've just read Brandon's Jan. 30 report of a first winter peregrine at the bridge, and his speculation that it may be the new dominant male. Both birds I saw today were in full adult plumage.
Monday January 30, 2006
Brandon Holden reports: After a period of time with little change (and little interesting news) from the Hamilton area, I saw a first winter Peregrine at the Burlington Lift Bridge yesterday (Jan. 29th). I had not seen the male, Surge, for some time but figured I just happened to miss him during my few visits to the area. Yesterday however, he was still nowhere to be seen and this new bird makes me think he is no longer in the area. The young bird was banded with Black Over Green on one left, and the purple aluminum band on the other. The codes looked to be in good shape, and I doubt it will be long before we have read them.
Tuesday June 7, 2005
Bruce Massey reports:
This past Sunday, June 5, 2005, I decided to Check out Lime Ridge Mall to see if I could find Dundas. On my way there and back I stopped at the Burlington Bridge. In the morning, around 0615 Hrs I caught several Hunting Stoops from one of the Taller Hydro Pylons. None were successful, as far as I saw, but it wasn't for the lack of trying.
I was back at the Bridge around 1200-1300 Hrs. This time I set up my Scope in the Parking Lot near the Washrooms. With the exception of a fair bit of Heat Distortation, and being blocked off by the Cables, I had a fairly good view of the Ledge. As there were several Bridge Openings (Usually when I decided to head back to T.O.), the bird is totally aware of what that siren means, but all the movement doesn't seem to Faze her. There wasn't much action, as it was the time of day for High heat.
Saturday January 28, 2005
Brandon Holden reports: After spending a great weekend down at the Burlington bridge nest site, we were able to observe Surge and his new un-banded mate mate in action during one of their hunting forays. It appears that the two are still very much on territory, and the food is most certainly in abundance.
The two photos included are of the afternoon's meal (a Bufflehead duck). The female is pictured flying in with the kill, and the second photo includes Surge inspecting the tasty meal.
Wednesday September 8, 2004
Susan McCreadie reports: Just thought I would send you and update to let you know that both adults are still about. While driving over the lift bridge last week, I spotted an adult sitting on the nest ledge. We made a U turn and headed back to have a look. Both adults were on the ledge. One was down in the ledge and one was on the edge. After a while, one took off and landed in the shade under the Skyway bridge spending a little time preening. We had a great view through the scope. Then all of a sudden the chase was on and both adults took off after a flock of pigeons. Didn't see any kill, both birds returned to the bridge. One to the nest ledge and one to the south tower. The bridge went up and we lost sight of both birds.
Sunday May 30, 2004
From the Hamilton Beach Community Message Board: We visited the lift bridge yesterday. One of the adults was sitting on the nest ledge. The second adult was not spotted. I guess that is good news in that they haven't left the area. Here's hoping that next year will be better for them.
Saturday May 22, 2004
Chris D'Aguilar reports: The nest at Burlington no longer has any eggs and the birds are not attending it; according to reports I have received. I am hoping that someone will confirm if the birds are still acting territorial to the site.
Wednesday April 21, 2004
Mark Nash reports: Some great photos taken by Uncle Johnnie the second week of April clearly showing the presence of at least three eggs with the adult female in attendance. Reports from the staff at the bridge say that the pair are apparently not bothered by the lifting bridge, and the vessel traffic below, and it appears that Surge and his mate are going to do their best to incubate the eggs. Although it appears that they have chosen a great ledge (for the containment of the eggs, and a very safe place to be), in addition to being surrounded by some ideal habitat for local food sources, the bottom the nest ledge is a little shy of
some gravel that might allow water to drain away. In any case, far less suitable nest ledges are chosen by peregrines in the
wild in non urban nest sites.
Monday April 19, 2004
Chris D'Aguilar reports: This pair seems to be first time nesters. The ledge is untried and there is very little material in it to hold the eggs. The beam could get very cold and there is potential of the ledge filling with water. All of these factors could cause the eggs to fail this year.
Although instinct has taken over and it would appear that they are doing a great job of incubating. If they manage to keep the eggs close to them and keep them warm and dry, they just may have a hatch . Your observations are most welcome and necessary to help better understand the site, so we can help the birds . A sighting of food being taken to the ledge will be a good indication of the presence of chicks.
Peregrines in the Northern Hemisphere all nest around the end of March and early April. These birds were no exception. They will incubate for some 33 to 35 days. Check around the 13 the of May for any evidence of chicks.
Any help would be most appreciated.
Thursday April 15, 2004
The Holdens report: As a result of some intense watching over the past weeks, the waiting has paid off. Here are some photos of the Burlington nest site and a close up of the adult female on the nest ledge.
Thursday April 15, 2004
Susan reports: My husband and I both spent a fair bit of time at the Burlington Lift Bridge over last weekend. On Monday afternoon we finally observed an exchange of duties between the male and female. We also saw the bridge go up for a laker and it appeared to have absolutely no affect on the birds whatsoever. After speaking with one of the lift bridge workers the last confirmed egg count was at 3 eggs and that was on April 7th.
Saturday April 10, 2004
Chris D'Aguilar reports: I met Eric and Brandon Holden at the Burlington Lift bridge this morning at 9:30 a.m. After about 1/2 an hour the male appeared and chased some pigeons and then sat on one of the bridge ledges.
Shortly thereafter the tail an wing tips of the female appeared over the ledge, making the ledge about 6 to 10" in depth. She appeared to moving something around inside the ledge. About forty minutes later she tilted up again and did the same thing. This is about the best indication that there are eggs that we are going to get. She was in the scrape for the entire two hours we were there and definitely appeared to be turning eggs twice.
We watched the bridge get raised for a Laker and the male sat on the ledge the whole time and the female did not leave the scrape. Many pigeons were sitting on the bridge when it went up and the male came out and began chasing them. It appears as if the bridge does not affect them but the pigeons agitate them.
I have attached a picture through a scope showing the male sitting to the right of the scrape.
Tuesday April 6, 2004
Brandon Holden reports: I spent some time at the lift bridge the other day, and was happy to see two Peregrines in the area. After observing them for over an hour I came with one conclusion. If there isn't already an egg(s) laid on the ledge of the Northerly tower, there will be sometime very soon.
The male was the only visible bird for the first while I was there, but after a period of time, the female appeared on the ledge (apparently from below). After a few Pigeons were chased, I observed the pair mating on the wires between the bridge. After this, the male proceeded to the (apparent) Nest ledge and disappeared until I left.
It was a lot of fun watching them. The male still appears to be Surge (just from Plumage). He has a pale stripe down his belly with less streaking, which I haven't seen on any other Peregrine before. Here are some photos of both the Male and the Female, plus a shot of the mating.
Tuesday April 06, 2004
Mark Nash reports: Burlington Lift Bridge - new peregrine nest in the making!
Many thanks to the Holdens for these great photos that were taken on site and many long days of observations of a newly established nest site that's in the making as we speak. With the band number of the male clearly having been identified by one of the photos, it appears that at least one of the mystery birds has been identified, as having been produced in 2002 at the Etobicoke nest site located at Islington and Bloor. This male was named Surge by the Etobicoke watchers.
His parents are Marco and Angel, still believed to be the same birds currently nesting again this year. The origin of the female with Surge is still unknown. It appears that the pair have in fact set up house,. and currently spending a lot of their time under the bridge on a ledge.
March 15, 2004
Brandon Holden reports: On Monday I made another visit to the Hamilton lift bridge and saw the new presumed female in the area. I saw that she had a Black over green band on one leg, and a purple aluminium band on the other although I did not get any codes. She was sitting on the ledge that my dad and I believe would be a good place for them to nest. (we've seen them there many times before).
I took some pictures of the area. There are 4 pillars holding up the skyway, although they are shaded most of the day and do not look the best for nesting. The area on the lift bridge (from photos) that looks good for a nesting attempt is the area where the Peregrine is sitting in the photos. There is a ledge here, and once we saw a Peregrine jump down from the ledge and disappear completely. One possible problem, is that this is where the bridge itself comes to a stop here, completely shielding the area while boats are passing. When we first saw Lionheart here in June, he stayed still on this ledge as the bridge stopped in front of him. After a few minutes, when the bridge went down, he still stayed in the same place apparently not bothered by this.
Tuesday October 21, 2003
David Thomson reports: Hello: I don't if you are aware of a pair of peregrine falcons that have been feeding on the pigeons at the Burlington Lift Bridge. I have spoken to a couple of fellows that were from Mississauga that were taking pictures and they have assured me that they are peregrine falcons. I have witnessed myself on two occasions the female striking and catching two pigeons ( absolutely amazing ) and the staff is finding quite a few pigeon carcasses on the site. They seem to have been here since last year and like to sit on the towers between the cables, I don't know if they are nesting nearby but would be awesome if they were.
Anyway I thought I would let you know . Thank You
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