Observation date: 6 February 2015
Visitors to Morro Rock today were treated with a spectacular aerial performance from the south side tiercel. Oooohs and ahhhhhs followed all his high speed acrobatics. When you think he’s about out of gas, he swerves in at great speed hitting the airbrakes to land on top of the female for seven seconds of copulation then returning to the air again. With all systems charged, he returns to speed with stiff winds blowing. In one forty three minute exercise, he copulated four times and sortied at least sixty times in front of the female, stopping twelve times for no more than thirty seconds each, just to catch his breath. I have no idea how old this male is, but on days like this he looks to be in his prime. In previous postings, I have written about his short comings, made fun of him and called him Caspar Milquetoast, which were true, but today in gale force winds he was Caspar Studmuffin.
Happy trails, Bob
The only way for me to capture this awesome display is with words. Video and photography are extremely difficult due to the high speed of the falcon and the distance, 75 to 100 yards, and with the rock in the background. It is hard for the camera to know what to focus on. Most of the spectators see him stoop* in the blue sky and lose sight as he passes in front of the rock at tremendous speed. They then pick him up again as he clears the face to swoop up into the blue sky to make another run. These displays of speed and high “G force” turns will continue until egg laying sometime within the first two weeks of March. If you are lucky enough to see this on a windy day, I’m sure it will be etched in your mind forever.
*stoop – near vertical dive