Leaving? Better wait…

Observation date: 12 September 2014

It feels like fall is near at Morro Rock. Temperatures are beginning to decline  along the coast. However, twelve miles inland, it’s still near triple digits. I have begun seeing birds that are usually plentiful in spring. Bushtits are back at the rock flocked up.

Today, a group of birders on the “Birders of Land and Sea at Morro Rock” tour saw 29 species of birds. The group is led by Morro Bay Museum Natural History Manager, Rouvaishyana. As they rounded the rock, 150 yards from my position, I am about to panic with three spotting scopes set up and not a falcon in sight.

I was introduced to the group and began spouting everything that I knew about the famous pair of falcons that live on the south side of Morro Rock. It held their attention for about two minutes.

I knew what was next…”So where are the birds, Falcon Bob?”

“Well, there is a flock of bushtits in the willows.”

They started looking around, found a Bewick’s Wren and not much else. The group thanked me for showing them the old nest site in the scopes, then turned and went to walk back.

Then came the sweet sound of the adult peregrines cacking their arrival to the rock. The group only got fifteen yards before turning back. I had two scopes zeroed in on each bird before they got to me. They all left about fifteen minutes later, chattering all the way back.

Twenty minutes after they left, the real excitement began. A large juvenile female approached the rock from the north flying along the face of the rock to the west. I  could see her for the 200 yards before she came into view of the resident falcons. When she did, all hell broke loose! Both adults screaming with after-burners at full. The young female was stopped in her tracks and looked like she might fall out of the sky. She was so surprised! She regained her flight, diving straight down to gain speed then pumping hard into level flight, all the time with the two adults in hot pursuit still screaming. After the chase was over, the female returning to the rock made a high speed pass at an Acorn Woodpecker atop a willow on the hillside. We had been watching this woodpecker earlier and I couldn’t remember if I had ever seen one on the rock. The biggest willow might have a 4” trunk diameter. An hour later, the same thing, a juvie female gets a lickin.’ If it was the same one, she’s a little slow on the uptake.

A while later, an osprey cruising the shoreline of the beach behind me is in for the same “hash and bash” routine from the falcons, however he is not impressed and because he is not ducking and diving, the falcons break off.

Morro Rock, CA, osprey

Osprey in flight                              Photo by Cleve Nash

Enough for one day!

Happy trails, Bob

Item: Of the many times I have seen an osprey at the rock, the falcons rarely chase them. I don’t know why. Not so for all other raptors.

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Last chance to nominate us…

 

September 9th is the last day to do this. So please do it today. We’ll let you know what happens. Tell your friends to do it too! 

All our thanks !

Again we are asking for your help on this. All you need to do is to nominate us,

“Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch.”

Please follow the instructions below. Ask your friends and anyone you know to do this. We need lots of votes!  We’ll let you know if we make the list.

Thank you for your efforts. Bob and Heather

P.S. If you want to know about where our money goes, check out our “About donating” page. Remember that we are a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit educational organization.

Help Pacific Eye Give $10,000 to Local Non-Profits!

Nominate your favorite non-profit for a chance to receive up to $5,000 this holiday season.

Pacific Eye is seeking the community’s help in selecting worthy 501(c)(3) organizations to participate in our Pacific Eye Gives Back Challenge this fall.

 

Designed to highlight the outstanding organizations that make positive change visible on the Central Coast, community members and local non-profit representatives can nominate their charity of choice one of two ways before the submission deadline on September 9:

▪First, nominations are being accepted through Pacific Eye’s Facebook page. Simply click on the nomination tab to nominate your favorite Central Coast non-profit organization. Be sure to like our page while you’re at it!

▪Or, download a nomination form and email it to nominations@paceyemd.com by September 9th.

Be sure to check our page for more details, but if you’re not on Facebook, don’t worry, you can also submit a nomination at any of the Pacific Eye offices at your next appointment—just ask for a nomination form from the front desk!

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Notice of eviction…

Observation date: 24 August 2014

This years single offspring who we have referred to as “Homie,” in previous postings, has been given early notice to vacate the premises. The adult female arrived at Morro Rock, early in the afternoon, landing on the “diving board” of the old eyrie. She soon walked into the back to retire after a day of whatever they do. A half hour later, the tiercel returns with “Homie” in tow. The juvenile bird thinking there might be an easy meal around, is following him screaming.

Gordon and I think this is great because we had not seen the young one for a week. Not so for the mother falcon.

“Son, it is time you got out on your own.”

The adult female exploded out of the “diving board” eyrie. She overtook the young one in seconds, delivering a punch in the butt. After two or three of these, “Homie” is squealing like a stuck hog!  He turned out over the bay, both parents diving and striking at him. Between the two adults, they struck him no less than twenty times. We knew then this was for real. They weren’t going to wait for late September to run him off.

peregrine juvenile, Morro Bay, CA

Time to go solo!                                         Photo by Cleve Nash

As we watched him clear the sand spit in the distance, you could still hear his cries. It is tough love, but it’s the way it has to be. If he comes back in a day or a week, he will get the same. Some folks were upset at seeing this, but it has to happen.

Happy trails, Bob

Item: “Homie’s” leg has healed completely and his broken feathers will be replaced.

 

Please REMEMBER to do this…

Help Pacific Eye Give $10,000 to Local Non-Profits!

Nominate your favorite non-profit for a chance to receive up to $5,000 this holiday season.

We are asking for your help on this. All you need to do is to nominate us,
“Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch”

Please follow the instructions below. Ask your friends and anyone you know to do this. We need lots of votes!  We’ll let you know if we make the list.

Pacific Eye is seeking the community’s help in selecting worthy 501(c)(3) organizations to participate in our Pacific Eye Gives Back Challenge this fall.

Designed to highlight the outstanding organizations that make positive change visible on the Central Coast, community members and local non-profit representatives can nominate their charity of choice one of two ways before the submission deadline on September 9:

▪First, nominations are being accepted through Pacific Eye’s Facebook page. Simply click on the nomination tab to nominate your favorite Central Coast non-profit organization. Be sure to like our page while you’re at it!

▪Or, download a nomination form and email it to nominations@paceyemd.com by September 9th.

Be sure to check our page for more details, but if you’re not on Facebook, don’t worry, you can also submit a nomination at any of the Pacific Eye offices at your next appointment—just ask for a nomination form from the front desk!

Thank you for all your support.
Bob and Heather

P.S. If you want to know about where our money goes, check out our “About donating” page. Remember that we are a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit educational organization.

Posted in falcon, juvenile, Morro Rock, peregrine | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A big opportunity…

We are asking for your help on this. All you need to do is to nominate us, “Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch.”

Please follow the instructions below. Ask your friends and anyone you know to do this. We need lots of votes!  We’ll let you know if we make the list.

Thank you for your efforts. Bob and Heather

P.S. If you want to know about where our money goes, check out our “About donating” page. Remember that we are a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit educational organization.

Help Pacific Eye Give $10,000 to Local Non-Profits!

Nominate your favorite non-profit for a chance to recieve up to $5,000 this holiday season.
Pacific Eye is seeking the community’s help in selecting worthy 501(c)(3) organizations to participate in our Pacific Eye Gives Back Challenge this fall.
Designed to highlight the outstanding organizations that make positive change visible on the Central Coast, community members and local non-profit representatives can nominate their charity of choice one of two ways before the submission deadline on September 9:
  • First, nominations are being accepted through Pacific Eye’s Facebook page. Simplyclick on the nomination tab to nominate your favorite Central Coast non-profit organization. Be sure to like our page while you’re at it!

Be sure to check our page for more details, but if you’re not on Facebook, don’t worry, you can also submit a nomination at any of the Pacific Eye offices at your next appointment—just ask for a nomination form from the front desk!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

New guy in town…

Observation date: 17 August 2014

You may remember in previous articles around the solstice a young married couple, both licensed falconers, that had brought a live Great Horned Owl to the Native American festivities on both winter and summer solstices. On Sunday, showed up with a new bird which caught the attention of most everyone including the resident male and female falcons on the south side of Morro Rock.

hybrid peregrine gyrfalcon, Morro Rock, Morro Bay, CA

Carl and Bebot with their 8 year old hybrid peregrine gyrfalcon                               Photo by Heather O’Connor

The bird that you see here is an eight year old hybrid falcon, a cross between a peregrine and a gyrfalcon.

hybrid peregrine gyrfalcon, Morro Rock, Morro Bay, CA

Carl with his hybrid peregrine gyrfalcon                                               Photo by Heather O’Connor

hybrid peregrine gyrfalcon, Morro Rock, Morro Bay, CA

Hybrid peregrine gyrfalcon                                           Photo by Heather O’Connor

From 200 yards the resident female took notice as the falcon’s hood came off. Nothing happened for the first six or seven minutes until the tethered bird bated* from Carl’s fist.

hybrid peregrine gyrfalcon, Morro Rock, Morro Bay, CA

About to bate…                        Photo by Heather O’Connor

Then the resident female vocalized and launched off her perch circling over us and screaming. Descending lower, she landed on a rock 70 yards off and 30 feet above the parking lot.  Now everyone was making noise. The resident tiercel, all this time, is racing across the face of Morro Rock landing here and there for a few seconds.

hybrid peregrine gyrfalcon, Morro Rock, Morro Bay, CA

The south side female perched territorially defensive                                         Photo by Bob Isenberg

Twitterpated would be a good description of him. There were no close calls with the resident birds. However, if the trained falcon were weathered* and a few feet away from human activity, one or both birds could be severely injured.

Happy trails, Bob

Item: We hope to have Carl and Bebot Lea at the winter Bird Festival in January maybe with some feathered livestock.

*bated – beat the wings in an attempt to escape from the perch or gauntlet: The hawks bated when the breeze got in their feathers.

*weathered – To put a bird out into the open air and sometimes sunshine. This is generally done in a weathering yard where she is protected from any other raptors, dogs, or cats, has the opportunity to bathe or drink, and can spread her wings and soak up the sun or pull up her foot in the shade. Her weathering yard is typically watched by the falconer whenever she is there.

A falconry glossary will soon be posted.

 

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Where has he been… ?

Observation date: 9 August 2014

Our hopes were renewed last night at an Eel Grass Restoration Seminar put on by the Morro Bay National Estuary Program for volunteers which takes place this week in the Morro Bay Estuary. Heather will be part of it. She signed up to wrap bundles of eel grass, but ended up being a boat tender while the SCUBA divers planted  the bundles of eel grass. It gave her time to sketch Morro Rock from a different vantage point after handing off the eel grass.

At this meeting, we met Steve Schubert, biologist/counselor for Camp Keep, who had been leading young young people on sand spit excursions and had seen a falcon several times atop a bush on a high dune. The bird had broken feathers. This was, I believe, the first sighting of  “Homie,” who we haven’t seen in two weeks.

That day riding home on my trike, I see Heather in the midst of pulling weeds is pointing up over our house yelling, “It’s “Dangle Foot!” …aka “Homie” with still the left leg which won’t retract and broken primaries screaming like hell. We were both so thrilled we didn’t get out an iPhone or camera so Heather made a sketch which will suffice.

injured peregrine falcon

Injured peregrine falcon, “Homie”                                            Artwork by Heather O’Connor

I ran into the house and had to write this. Now I’m going back outside to see if he returns.

Happy, trails, Bob

Item:
For all you followers who have asked about “Homie.”
“He lives!”

injured peregrine in diving board hole

“Homie” in the “diving board” hole        Photo by Gordon Robb taken with a smartphone and spotting scope

Extra:
At post time the following day, I called Heather to say, “Homie” was on Morro Rock, the left leg now retracting about two thirds of the way and he was flying well.

 

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Aquatic bonanza…

Observation date: 1, 2, 3 August 2014

Here in Morro Bay the falcons are playing second fiddle to the aquatic bonanza that has been gathering everyone’s attention for the last few days. Humpback whales, orcas, dolphins, sea lions, harbor seals, like a frothing cauldron, half a mile long, about a mile or more off shore. With the naked eye the humpbacks may be seen blowing and breaching. Killer whales, in a pack, chasing whatever. For a great view, 20 power binoculars or a scope was the ticket.

Humpback breached and splashed back down

Humpback breached and splashed back down                                 Photo by Mike Baird

As for the falcons, we haven’t seen the young south side chick for five days. The two north side young that spent so much time on the south side have not been seen around the rock for two weeks. However, we have had reports from birders of juvenile sightings around the bay and sand spit.

Pacific Ocean, Morro Bay, CA,

Looking out over the Pacific from our ocean room                                  Photo by Bob Isenberg

Heather and I had a juvie chasing pigeons out our bay window. Both the adult birds are around the rock most of the day, not always in view, but there. Within a few weeks they will be completely gone. Who knows, maybe one will show up in your neck of the woods.

Happy trails, Bob

Item:
Because of the hours that Bob spends at the rock, the juveniles may return when he is not there, maybe early morn or late evening.

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