Observation date: 5 May 2014
As it has in the past, the Shell Beach peregrines are the first to have their young appear. I can’t remember a year when one of the other near eyries was first to hatch young. Pairs of falcons have occupied this 300 yard stretch of cliff face for 44 years that I personally know of and probably thousands of years before that. It is truly an historic nesting site for falcons. For the last ten years, the eyries have changed from different holes and scrapes from the long used traditional ledge-scrape they used for many years, but always in that same stretch of cliff, so crumbly and sparse.
They have many nesting neighbors along this cliffside including pigeon guillemot, cormorants, swallows, gulls, rock doves, finches and Canada geese.
Photos by Cleve Nash
You can literally stand in one spot along the cliff and see all of them coming and going, some feeding young, others making incubation exchanges and the late ones still bringing in nesting material. This years young falcons of Shell Beach made their appearance last week coming to the edge of the eyrie to defecate. It’s a small opening with a sandy slope of loose soil from excavation spoils.
All photos by Cleve Nash
Cleve Nash whose photos are used exclusively by the Peregrine Watch has been at the nest site nearly every day for the past month and a half. He cannot put an exact number on the chicks, but he believes he has seen at least three. One much further along in feathering out than the others. This is normally the male that develops faster. The surf crashing on the rocks below the cliffs with the falcons screaming brings back a time when I was a young man and seeing my very first falcon in the wild here at Shell Beach some 44 years ago.
Been a long trail, Bob
STOP THE PRESSES !
Five minutes before posting this Shell Beach story, Cleve sent an email with… “You guessed it !” South side chicks on Morro Rock. I spent three hours there this afternoon and saw nothing but adults. These photos were taken today between 9:00 and 9:15 AM while I was in Shell Beach. Damn !