The big moment is finally here! Well in actual fact, it's already passed as I type this but when I was with the peregrines on Monday, the juveniles hadn't officially fledged yet. We were on "Fledge Watch" all day and those birds certainly kept us on the edge all day. All three of the juvys spent the majority of the day perched on the turret crenelations, flapping their wings repeatedly and a few times looked like they might just make the leap. I got a crick in my neck from looking up all day.
The adults stayed tucked inside alcoves on the spire during the morning as we had some torrential rain and peregrines really don't enjoy flying in the wet. As much as I would have liked the young to fledge while I was there, I knew the weather would have a big effect on whether they went or not and I wasn't holding out much hope. Still, it was lovely to see them on such great display all day and it meant we had something to show the visitors most of the time. Of course, the most frustrating part for me was knowing that once I went home, I wouldn't be able to carry on following their progress on the webcam. At least during "Hatch Watch", there was always something to be monitored on the camera but with the chicks outside of the frame, I would have to miss the moment they branched out.
I was pleased to be able to get decent views of them before they left though. They are brown and cream versions of their parents with beaks that look almost blue but they certainly have the peregrine call down to a fine art!
The first two juveniles fledged yesterday and the third went today. I'm hoping someone might have been around to capture some photographic evidence as I feel like I've missed out on one of their biggest moments! Sadly, I don't think the cathedral staff would take too kindly to me camping out on their lawn. I have two shifts at the project next week which is actually the final week of monitoring. I don't want it to end!