I only have flies for you…

Kelp flies Photo by Heather O'Connor

Kelp flies                                                            Photo by Heather O’Connor

For anyone looking to observe falcons along the Central Coast of California at this time of year, it is a real crap shoot. If it’s not the wind, it’s the fog. For the last few weeks, it has been the kelp flies. Hoards of them along the beach area. A few warm days saw a bumper crop hatching from the kelp on the beaches. People would stop and park to get out and take a walk. After ten steps turn around and get back into their car. They don’t bite, they just land on you and crawl around by the hundreds. Very irritating.

Together, the tiercel on the right    Photo by Cleve Nash

Together, the tiercel on the right                                                    Photo by Cleve Nash

With the falcons now I have noticed some unusual behavior for this time of year. They appear to be moving closer to each other which normally I haven’t seen happen until around late October/November just before breeding time. The tiercel when landing on one of his favorite perches “the throne” does not sit on the highest part, but over to one side saving the best spot for her about a foot away. The same goes for perching in their favorite holes from two to ten feet apart. Normally it would be from ten to thirty yards apart. Also, a lot more vocalization between the two. Who knows, it may have something to do with not having any young this year.

Happy trails, Bob

Enclosed is a copy of a letter I wrote to our local newspaper about a project some one wants to build. I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I haven’t seen or heard any reply in the past few days.

Promontory showing the frequently used eyrie of the Avila Beach peregrines  Photo by Heather O'Connor

Promontory showing the frequently used eyrie of the Avila Beach peregrines    Photo by Heather O’Connor

“Reading this morning newspaper is a ritual in our house like many of us who are boomers or better. The San Luis Obispo Tribune ran a front page article on trying to develop an old Chevron oil tank farm into a resort, i.e. hotel, spa, shops, cottages, restaurant, etc.

Old tank farm site   Photo by Bob Isenberg

Old tank farm site                                               Photo by Bob Isenberg

I’m not against building, I’ve been in construction most of my life and still hold an engineering contractor’s “A” license, but this just hit me where I am most vulnerable. Right in the old falcon nest. The proposed building area is at the extreme south end of Avila Beach high on a saddle sloping down to a sheer cliff face at water’s edge. At the southern most tip is a rocky point jutting into the Pacific which forms coves on either side. The northern side of this point forms the cove which encompasses Avila Beach upon which a pair of peregrine falcons have nested on the sheer face for the past 20 years that I personally know of. People all over the world have spent time, effort and millions of dollars to bring these birds back from near extinction. We don’t need to make them homeless. With a little bit of forethought and planning some of this might be accomplished.

People that live here or have moved here did so mostly because there are still unspoiled vistas and breaks in the asphalt and sprawl. Can you imagine the possibilities of homes and condos from Port San Luis to Montaña de Oro? What do you think?”
Bob Isenberg


About Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch

The Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch is here to inform birders, students and all people who are eager to know about these handsome peregrines. We want you to enjoy and be able to use our on-site powerful spotting scopes. We are available to answer your questions about the pair of falcons that have been observed for many years.

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4 Responses to I only have flies for you…

  1. Sue says:

    Yeah to you for speaking up!

    • Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch says:

      People have to be made aware of the breeding peregrines when developing any area, especially at Avila Beach. ~Heather

  2. Rich Busch says:

    Hi Bob, Sorry we missed you last Friday and Saturday. We did find all the flies and tried to bring as many as we could home stuck to the car. Nice talking to you on the phone. See you soon.
    Rich and Lin Busch

    • Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch says:

      Sorry to have missed you, too. Flies taken home with you meant fewer kelp flies here! Call next time when you’ll be up this way.
      ~ Heather

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