Cause unknown…

Observation date: 21 October 2014

Sad news from Shell Beach. Cleve Nash making one of his trips to the eyrie on the cliffs at Shell Beach was informed of the loss of a female adult falcon. She was below the cliffs on the beach with a large number of dead cormorants. Cause is not yet known on the death of either.

Surf at the north jetty Photo by Bob Isenberg

Surf at the north jetty                    Photo by Bob Isenberg

At Morro Rock we have had high surf advisories which means no vehicle access to the south side parking lot for a while.

High surf   Photo by Bob Isenberg

Stat Park high surf restrictions denied us access to the parking lot…peregrines and beauty remain             Photo by Bob Isenberg

I have been relegated to the north side amid the dust and high winds across the huge dirt parking lot. Needless to say, you can’t set up any optics, just hunker down behind the truck and observe with binoculars.

We still have more migrants every day, mostly waterbirds. We have been looking for “Doris.”*  You might remember her from previous writings that she is an adult female falcon that has wintered in the south part of the Morro Bay Estuary six years in a row. Three different times she has arrived on the 25th of October and within a day or so the other three years.

The high surf advisory should subside and I’ll be back on my perch on the south side.

Happy trails, Bob

Item: A new female falcon has been seen by Cleve Nash flying with the Shell Beach widower. We are awaiting close up photos.

Monterey Cypress

Photo By Heather O’Connor

 

 

* Doris – Go to the tag for “Doris” to find other stories about her. Cleve Nash checks regularly for her in the Monterey Cypress.

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Amazon Smile…

Intense gaze   Photo by Cleve Nash

Intense gaze         Photo by Cleve Nash

It is the time of year when we begin to think of holidays  and of letting our friends and family know that we appreciate them. It may be a time to tell them that we love them or want to spend time with them or even give them a gift to show our appreciation.

If that gift giving is your style, we have a suggestion… When it is a material gift that you wish to purchase, we request that you use the Amazon Smile button when you place your order. When you do that and choose Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch as your chosen nonprofit organization, a portion will be donated to Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch. There is no extra charge to you.

Sharp vision  Photo by Cleve Nash

Sharp vision          Photo by Cleve Nash

So, please, press the Amazon Smile button to the right and follow the instructions.

We will be most grateful when you do that.

 

Happy trails, Bob and Heather

 

peregrine

Here’s looking at you         Photo by Cleve Nash

P.S.  I have already set up my Amazon Smile account to benefit Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch. ~Heather

P.P.S  Remember that we are raising money for Scholarships to benefit CalPoly students in Wildlife Biology and Ornithology.

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Migrating , bonding and spanking…

Observation date: 1 October 2014

Osprey

Osprey                                           Photo by Cleve Nash

Here on the Central Coast, migrations have begun to trickle into the county. Some of the raptors that have come by Morro Rock in the last few days are 6 Osprey, 3 Northern Harriers, male and female, 1 Merlin, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk… Of the other birds and water fowl, the San Luis Obispo hotline lists Northern Pintails, Blue-winged, Green-winged and Cinnamon Teal, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Gadwall, White-fronted geese. Of the song birds …Redstart, warblers, Black-necked Stilts, Phainopepla, just to name a few.

Yesterday, I saw the first day of bonding between the south side pair of falcons. The tiercel perched by himself on the throne chupping loudly. He was soon joined by the female, not six inches away did she land. They vocalized for twenty seconds or so, then sat quietly for the next hour.

peregrine, bonding

On the throne, bonding                                                Photo by Cleve Nash

Suddenly the tiercel sliced,* then shot off the rock and across the bay to the beach near the south jetty.  The female following close in, he stooped at the last second and flushed a small flock of shore birds. I lost both of them in the mêlée of birds. If they made a kill, they didn’t bring it back to the rock. When they did return to the rock ninety minutes later, they were greeted by two juvenile females which they abruptly gave chase, having no mercy on the young. Diving and spanking both of them, successfully running them off.

It was strange to see the bonding start so early.  It usual starts in November followed by breeding in mid-December.

Happy trails, Bob

Item:
Of the thirteen seasons I have watched this female, the earliest I have seen her breed was November 30th. The latest was January 4th.

*slice- falconers term: to defecate

peregrine,  Falcon terminology: To slice

Falcon terminology: To slice                               Photo by Cleve Nash

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After hurdles, a perfect union…

Comment date: 25 September 2014

Over the past year, several people have urged us to join the California State Parks, and what they are called locally, the Central Coast State Parks Association, CCSPA. More people with various perspectives urged and spoke with us. The Morro Bay Museum Manager, docents from the CA State Parks along with docents from the Friends of the Elephant Seal, freelance wildlife photographers and just plain friends. There were a few who were not enamored with the idea, so there were some obstacles and hurdles to overcome.

Early on, we could not come to an agreement of distribution of our funds. You see, we did all the work creating and filing for our nonprofit organization, Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch. It took time.  A very kind and astute attorney, who already had a relationship with the State Parks joined in.  A generous CPA committed time and educated us about the steps. One of our Board of Director members, who was a long time docent at Montaña de Oro was encouraging and inspirational.

Central Coast State Parks Association

Central Coast State Parks Association

By July 2014, we still had requested and required a level of individuality for our PCPW. We wanted the earnings that come from donations and sales to go to CalPoly Scholarships for Ornithology and Wildlife Biology students and not for State Park trails, bathrooms and displays.

After several months, a new approach was found. We would have a separate bank account for the PCPW Scholarships. We have offered our skills and experience along with the nonprofit organization to make this work. Negotiations between the Parks  and PCPW went well and eventually, both of us found value in the connection we had made.

Bob Isenberg, Morro Rock, Morro Bay, CA

Bob Isenberg ready for visitors Photo by Heather O’Connor

Bob Isenberg is a self-taught naturalist, an avian behaviorist and keen observer. Born in Pasadena, California, as a teenager he was fascinated with birds and especially wanted to see a peregrine falcon. After a tour in the Navy and time spent in Northern California, in 1969 at 28 years old,  he arrived in San Luis Obispo. With experience as a Heavy Equipment Operator, he took a job with the City of San Luis Obispo. Being out of doors constantly, he was always aware of the birds that peaked his curiosity. That first year working for the City of San Luis Obispo, he saw his first peregrine falcon on the cliffs at Shell Beach. He’s been hooked ever since! Additional study, observations and friendships with peregrine experts gave him his background expertise. Bob is the Guide that you’ll find at Morro Rock, a teacher, a slide show presenter and an enthusiastic writer that you all know from our PCPW Website.

Heather O’Connor, born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,  is a traveler, has BFA in Illustration, a BS in Animal Biology and has been on several Earthwatch Expeditions in Peru, Brazil, Belize, Chile, Australia, Costa Rica,  US Virgin Islands, Madagascar, South Carolina and Colorado, assisting with data collections of katydids, peccaries, squirrel fish, rodents, platypuses, dinoflagellates, lemurs, diamondback terrapins, wildflowers and pitta-like ground rollers. All this mixed in with family life, curiosity, science, art and travel have taken her many places. She is the person who assisted Bob in creating the nonprofit PCPW. She’s an Elephant Seal Docent and person who posts Bob’s stories and photos, mostly from Cleve Nash,  and dreams up with Bob what to do next to make the Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch the best it can be.  Someone said they found each other “under a rock.” One of them is still at that “rock” every day!

To pass this passion, enthusiasm and education along to others is the reason that we are here. Enjoy.

Happy trails, Bob and Heather

Bob Isenberg, Morro Rock, Morro Bay, CA

Bob with his new CA State Park logo.                     Come visit us !                     Photo by Heather O’Connor

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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.

 

Posted in falcon, Morro Rock, other birds, peregrine | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

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.

 

Posted in falcon, juvenile, Morro Rock, peregrine | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments