Red right returning…

Observation date:  23 August 2016

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Without having chicks this year or last, the south side Morro Rock peregrines have not been themselves, active and entertaining. To me they seem to be more like fixtures on a mantel when I am watching them.  Somedays you see them, others you may sit for five hours and catch a glimpse just as you pack up to call it a day. In the past twenty years, I have been skunked about three times. In July and August of this year, I have failed to have seen them four different times even by trying to stay more than five hours each time.

The north side falcon frequents the rock every now and again. The three young from this year’s hatch have not been seen for at least five weeks, until today.  Around noon while watching for the south side pair, which were not there at the time, when over the bay came a dark familiar wingbeat of a juvenile female falcon, passing between the red and green buoy markers, one hundred feet off the deck.

Young female at the rock Photo by Cleve Nash

Young female at the rock                          Photo by Cleve Nash

Traveling down the bay, she made a sweeping left turn to approach the rock high over the old Indian trail. While traveling the face of Morro Rock, east to west, at speed, she strafed and tumbled an adult Western Gull.*

Strafing a gull Photo by Cleve Nash

Strafing a gull                                             Photo by Cleve Nash

My sidekick, Gordon and I said nothing until she rounded the windward side of the rock and went out of sight. After that we couldn’t shut up. It brought back times when we had excitement around the rock about two months ago.

Happy trails, Bob

Item: We are still here at the rock for the public to view these magnificent birds every day. Afternoons are best.

* Strafing and tumbling –  Something young birds do to hone their hunting and flying skills.


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 Red right returning…

  1. Linda Wedel says:

    I THOUGHT I SAW ONE LAST WEEK ON THE SOUTH SIDE BUT WASN’T SURE, i need to find my good bird book. Yesterday we say on the north side a very large black and white bird, i think it was waiting for some prey to wash up on the sand for easy pickens. We were not sure what it was, my friend thought it had a red head, the bird was large, but would a turkey vulture, sand on the beach where people were? One of these day I will get out of my car and come to see through you wonderful spy glass. I enjoy you pictures and post on what I am seeing at the beach. Linda Wedel.

    • Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch says:

      Always fascinating to watch the antics of birds. Mature vultures do have red heads and are often there to clean up the expired animal life… so it probably was a turkey vulture. Good observation! ~Heather

  2. Donna Chance says:

    Maggie Smith and I stopped on the south side of the rock about 10:30 am on Tuesday, Sept. 6. We were about to leave when we saw 2 peregrines. The larger one chased a smaller one away around the rock to the east. One returned and perched high near the dome. We were happy to see them in the short time we were there.
    Donna Chance
    Wathena, Ks

    • Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch says:

      We have seen incidents on both sides of the Rock of birds being chased off. The juveniles are not my concern right now since it is normal behavior at this time of year. They do not want to leave their familiar territory where the were raised. I haven’t seen the south side female in three four hour periods during the afternoon. I have read that an old female that cannot reproduce will leave and be a solitary bird. I think this may have been the case of “Doris,” the female in Baywood that wintered here for five years never with a mate. Bob & Heather

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