Observation date: 1 October 2014
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.
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
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