The many hours I spent at Morro Rock watching, needless to say, I meet a whole lot of people, some very interesting, some memorable, a very few not so. Most smile or nod, those that are curious will ask a question or two, if they do give a second look they soon gravitate towards the spotting scopes. Upon seeing the donation jar with money in it, some thinking it might cost money to look at the birds through the scope will be deterred. Most never read the large print on the poster board which reads, “Viewing of falcons is free.”
Then you get the person or persons who are really excited about seeing the falcons and what I have to tell them. Such is the case of two young CalPoly students who are “bird nuts” to the nth degree. They have an ornithology class that takes many field trips up and down the Central Coast. However, the teacher thinks raptors are boring, but to these two, it is their passion. They are into all types of wildlife and one of them is a licensed falconer. We hit it off from the get-go. I gave them some tips on where to see young red-tails that were about to fledge. They came back with photos of the hawks plus two oriole nests in the palm tree which I was previously standing under and didn’t see.
A few days later, we met at the Shell Beach eyrie to view two young falcons about to fledge. They had noticed a bird hanging by fishing line down the cliff face. All of the regulars, who go to photograph the falcons, have seen this hanging bird for some time and decided it was a crow. The two students, I didn’t mention they were girls, were going to climb down the face because they thought it was a falcon. I tried to deter them, it being very dangerous. A few days later they sent me this photo. They had gotten down closer to it to photograph it. As you can see, the plumage of a juvenile falcon with horizontal barring on chest and the tell-tale yellow band at the terminus of the tail is present. I forgot how brave and adventuresome youth can be.
Thank you Lindsey and Kat. Because of you, we, the Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch, will petition the City of Pismo Beach to have “No Fishing “ signs displayed on the cliffside at Shell Beach.
UPDATE: There are now new green “NO FISHING” signs present at the cliffside. Now the next thing to do is to have the California Department of Fish and Wildlife remove the monofilament from the cliffside. Contacts are being made as we write this. Bob & Heather
Happy trails, Bob
The news from the north side of Morro Rock…Cleve Nash saw at least two young falcons at 7AM yesterday morning. Story to follow soon.