Observation date: August 2017
The August Journal Plus was delivered all over the California Central Coast and made us so happy. Charmaine Coimbra wrote an excellent article telling everyone about what Bob Isenberg does to educate people who visit Morro Rock to see the peregrine falcons. It can be found on pages 16 and 17. We think you’ll enjoy reading it. It was Cleve Nash’s photo that became the cover photo. Thank you, Cleve!
August issue – pages 16, 17
Also, we want to let you know that those of you who purchase items on Amazon Smile benefitting the Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch have made a difference in our bank account. Amazon Smile made deposit for $21.93. Those of you who would like to participate please use the link off to the right.
We also had a person who used our donation button! All our thanks. Checks may be mailed us too.
We use any donations to run our 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization to raise money for scholarship money to be given to a Wildlife Biology student at CalPoly in San Luis Obispo. News coming soon…
Another bit of information is that I’ll be participating for the second time in the San Luis Obispo County 2017 Open Studios Tour this October 14-15, 21-22. A portion of my profits will be directed to PCPW! I’m thinking about 25% will go to this effort. Follow me at my website, “A Wandering Illustrator.”
Until the next sketch…peace, Heather
Observation date: 21 June 2017
Most everything has seemed to have ceased regarding chicks on the north side of Morro Rock. I have been ardently watching in hopes of a late clutch of young thinking the rains might have caused a later nesting. In the last month and a half, I and others have seen prey taken into the eyrie and have thought we heard chicks vocalizing up until about two weeks ago. Now nothing other than adults still landing in and guarding the nest site.
At times, no one is around the rock for long periods of time… 4 or 5 hours. Gordon Robb and I saw three kills in less than an hour. A white throated swift, a bushtit and an unidentified shore bird. None of these were taken into the nest site, but eaten by the adults.
It’s now the first of July and I have completely given up on offspring. This is the first time in sixteen years a chick has not been hatched on Morro Rock. That includes the south side too. I’ll keep watching, but not with much hope.
Flying high over Morro Rock Photo by Cleve Nash
Happy trails, Bob
Item: Today, the 3rd of July, when returning to the rock, the tiercel was followed by a juvenile female. The resident female perched on the nest site, was squawking vociferously. The young turned and flew off.
Observation date: 10 May 2017
On April 31st, I wrote a post about the north side falcons in the “cathedral hole,” a previous nest site used in 2001. After seeing the male in this hole for several weeks, I thought they were nesting there until they were evicted by Western gulls. So I didn’t post the story and thought I’d wait a few days to see if I could find where they went.
Surfboard hole with eyrie tucked in behind the flat rock Photo by Bob Isenberg
A couple of days of hard observation around the rock had paid off. The pair had taken a new eyrie, one never used before. There have been four other nest sites that the north side falcons have used over the past 17 years. Prior to that there were no falcons inhabiting the north side of Morro Rock.
Female peregrine at the surfboard hole Photo by Bob Isenberg
I have been watching for the last ten days and have seen prey delivered into this eyrie. This means “chicks.” I expect to see young soon.
Happy trails, Bob
Item: This is the story that I withheld…
Observation date: 1 May 2017
In my last post both male and female north side falcons had been observed daily in the “cathedral hole.” In the last couple of weeks, things have changed drastically. Now it is occupied by Western gulls. Since then, I have only seen the male perched in other various places. I can only speculate what happened. They could have moved around the rock where I cannot observe or we could have lost the female. Time will tell, especially if we see young flying around the rock by June.
The south side pair have not produced a chick in three years mostly due to the age of the female who turned eighteen this spring. In the wild, normal lifespan is 17 to 20 years. All I can do is observe. When I know, you’ll know.
Happy trails, Bob
Observation date: 8 April 2017
In past years, Professor Maureen Smith has brought her students from Saddleback College in Orange County, California to Morro Bay to explore all the wonders. They camp in the Morro Bay State Park and venture out to see every thing of interest. For some it is a non-stop adventure. Everyone has a job and each does it well. I wish our government could run this smoothly.
For Maureen, the falcons are a must.
After I’ve given a presentation and slide show on Friday night, the following morning they came to Morro Rock to see the falcons live! They were not disappointed. Flying exhibitions of high speed cliff racing, gull spanking and the lot. We were able to only watch the north side pair. The south side are not nesting again this year. The north pair are nesting in the Cathedral hole named for its arch shape visible from different angles.
Cathedral eyrie Photo by Bob Isenberg
This was the first eyrie used by the north side falcons in 2001 and has not been reused until this year.
Female in nest site Photo by Bob Isenberg
Happy trails, Bob
Item: The photo we show here is for location purpose and were taken with an iPhone. The other shows the bird in the Cathedral hole and was taken with my Canon 500mm with a 1.4 extender.
During the month of February 2017, drama took over. The winter residents included a Bald Eagle flying over Sweet Springs Nature Preserve, Los Osos, CA. It comes in with the migrating birds and leaves in the springtime. The peregrine is our visiting falcon, “Doris” who we’ve followed for years. She visits each winter too. Cleve had seen her in the old snag by the coffee shop where she usually perches. Suddenly, she took off, flew across the bay and was on a mission!
Attack ! Photo by Cleve Nash
Since the gate has been locked by the CA State Parks due to winter weather, swells, (which have calmed down now), the dredging operation which has set up huge pipes in the large parking lot and who knows what else, Bob has been unable to go out to view the south side peregrines. He has been watching the north side pair and will hopefully write up a story for you.
Until my next exploration, Heather
Just to let you know, we received a $17.36 donation from AmazonSmile because you chose to make your online purchases by using AmazonSmile and contributing to Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch. We are grateful for every little bit.
Observation date: 8 January 2017
Breeding could have happened before today, but I can only report when I see it happen. Last year, the pair were breeding on January 3rd. There is a three week window when this normally takes place. This morning arriving at Morro Rock about 8AM both male and female falcons on the south side where eating willets, a medium size long legged shore bird.
Peregrine with willet Photo by Cleve Nash
This is the first I have seen them bring prey to the rock in a few months. Courtship flights have been taking place around the rock for weeks. Now with the two eating at the rock you know something is going to happen. Within a half hour a Red-tailed Hawk appears around the north side of the rock. Both male and female falcon immediately take flight and make a bee line toward the hawk. Both falcons screaming and diving in tandem at his back and wings. With a successful rousting of the hawk, the female returns first to finish her meal of willet. The tiercel meantime makes a couple of high speed passes over and around her before landing atop her to copulate.
Funny what a little danger and excitement will do.
Happy trails, Bob
Item: 94.6% of breeding has started between December 24th and January 3rd.
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Observation date: 4 December 2016
In the previous five or six years, I have written about “Doris,” a solitary adult female peregrine, that has wintered here in nearby Baywood Park. The last time she was observed was 3 January 2014 by a family from Massachusetts. She stayed through March according to Cleve. I wrote about sending them over to see her. The title was “Massachusetts please reply…”.
Last week, Cleve Nash, our local photographer extraordinaire, stopped by the little coffee shop in Baywood for a cup and who flies in to the old cypress tree, but “Doris.” These two were old friends. I’m sure she recognized Cleve just as he did her. He has hundreds of photos of her! We don’t know where she has wintered the last two seasons, but we welcome her return.
“Doris” Photo by Cleve Nash
As of other news around Morro Rock, bonding continues, but no sign of breeding activities as yet. Once we see courtship flights which we have not seen as of this writing, breeding will soon start.
Happy trails, Bob
Item: Doris’s name was derived from the eucalyptus tree that she perched in at the corner of Doris and Mitchell Streets. This tree was her alternate perch about a mile away from the cypress tree at the coffee shop.