Saturday, May 29, 2010

PEREGRINES AND GREAT HORNED OWLS

North side of Morro Rock, Morro Bay, Calif. One nestling observed taking short flights, another nestling a bit hesitant at flying. The north side of the rock is more expansive than the south, and one has to be farther from this massive rock to gain perspective - hence the Peregrines can be a bit difficult to locate. For the next two weeks or so, as the fledglings learn to fly, there will be much Peregrine activity to observe on the North side of Morro Rock.

Sweet Springs, Los Osos, Calif. Fortune shined! Experienced a leisurely sighting of 4 Great Horned Owls which consisted of 2 owlets (3rd owlet not visible) and both parents.

video

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

PEREGRINE FALCON'S of MORRO ROCK PERCHING AREAS




I thought it might be helpful to birders to post photos that have the most common Peregrine perching areas identified. Thanks to the wonders of flickr.com, one is able to make notes on a photo. http://www.flickr.com/photos/docentjoyce/sets/72157624012777973/

Sunday, May 23, 2010

PEREGRINE FALCON PARADISE


Morro Rock, Morro Bay, Calif. 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (The large hole on the left with the flat rock in the center is the nesting hole. It is refereed to as the "Diving Board.") Mom and Dad Peregrine Falcon and the two youngsters very active. The parents soaring and flying from perch to perch. The youngsters taking turns chasing one another, with much vocalization. (the young Peregrines have a yellow band at he end of their tails.) The youngsters land on perches that are open. They are not yet bold or sure enough to speed into a landing on a small rock, an indentation on the cliff face, or into a small hole like their agile parents are able to do. The young Peregrines continue to be fed by their parents.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

PEREGRINE UPDATE

Morro Rock - 10:00 a.m. Much Peregrine Falcon activity at the rock. It has been about two weeks since the nestlings fledged. They are becoming adept at flying and diving. When I arrived dad was sitting, rather serenely, in a small hole. In another area of the rock a youngsters was tearing apart a bird - feathers were flying. Earlier, anxious for his meal, the young Peregrine sped out and snatched the bird from his dad's talons - a most amazing sight.
video

Saturday, May 15, 2010

PEREGRINE FALCON UPDATE

10:00 a.m., South side of Morro Rock - Quite thrilling to see the Peregrine Falcon adult male grab a very small bird out of the sky and take it to one of the hatchling, who proceeded to tear it apart (photo by Mike Baird). With a scope one can see, the entire process. Over the course of about an hour the male brought 4 small birds to the nestling.

The female adult which is larger and darker than her mate was not visible. She is the stronger of the two. When there is a confrontation between the Peregrines from the other side of the rock, the female handles it while the male hides out in a hole and screeches.

At the western end of the parking area Bob has two scopes that are always focused on the Peregrines. All are welcome to look through the scopes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

PEREGRINE FALCON NESTLING

South Side of Morro Rock, Morro Bay, Calif. left, Peregrine Falcon Nestling; right, Peregrine Falcon Male. (photo by Mike Baird)

The two nestlings (only one visible in photo) are learning to use their wings by taking short flights. Their parents will continue to bring them food for about another 30 days. Fledglings screech loudly when they spot a parent carrying food.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

COTTONWOOD CREEK ROAD


From Hwy I in Cayucos, took Old Creek Road to Cottonwood Creek Road (located on the East side of Whale Rock Reservoir). Within the first mile we saw 3 Black-headed Grosbeak, 3 Lazuli Bunting, Western Bluebird, Wilson's Warbler, and 3 Ash-throated Flycatcher

A Bald Eagle was perched on a dead branch of a scraggly oak (center tree in photo) on a hillside above the Reservoir. Within the next couple of miles we saw 4 Lark Sparrow, 3 Western Kingbird, 2 more Ash-throated Flycatcher, 2 Calif. Quail, Wild Turkey, scads of Cliff Swallows, and many soaring Turkey Vultures.

To top off the day we stopped at Morro Rock to get an update on the two Peregrine Falcon nestlings. Bob, the Peregrine Falcon guy, had a scope on the male and another scope on the soon to be fledgling. The fluffy little Peregrine was perched on the flat rock that is in the center of the nest hole. Bob said the other nestling has flown around a bit and was out of sight at the moment.
Will go back tomorrow to check on their progress.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

TURRI PONDS

The Turri Road Ponds are located at the corner of South Bay Blvd. and Turri Road, Los Osos. High tides bring water into the ponds. When in the area it always pays to check them out. This morning in the first pond were 6 Greater Yellowleg, a Willet, pair of Mallards, and 2 Killdeer. In the next pond were a pair of Black-necked Stilts. Their glossy black bill and back contrast sharply with white underparts and their long, spindly pink legs. It is a real treat that they were so readily viewable. In the pond next to them was a cluster of 4 feeding Snowy Egrets. Across the road a Calif. Thrasher and a Spotted Towhee where singing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

TUESDAY BIRDING

This morning Linda and I checked out the birds at the pond that is located about a mile north of Cuesta College. We were delighted and entertained by the boisterous antics of the Great-tailed Grackles. In the reeds were Tricolored Blackbirds and Red-winged Blackbirds. Over the pond flew a Northern Harrier. Cliff and Barn Swallows swooped by in their never ending pursuit of insects. On the pond were Ruddy Duck, about 5 females and one male, a Pied-billed Grebe, coots, a couple of Western Gulls, and a Double-crested Cormorant. On the edges of the pond were two Killdeer and a Snowy Egret trying to stir up something to eat with its bright yellow feet.

We spent the next couple of hours viewing birds on Pennington Creek Road, San Luisito Creek Road, and San Bernardo Creek Road. Oak trees covered with new spring growth. Tall lush grasses in the fields. Our best birds were a pair of Blue Grosbeak, a pair of Cassin's Kingbird, and White-throated Swift. Other birds of note - Meadowlark, Black-headed Grosbeak, Violet-green Swallow, Kestrel, Pacific Slope Flycatcher, & Western Kingbird.

We brought our birding fun to a close by going out to Morro Rock to get an update on the nesting Peregrine Falcons. Three chicks have been hatched. We did not see the chicks, but Bob, the Peregrine Falcon Guy had some great photos of the fuzzy little darlings. Fortune did shine as we saw both the male and female Peregrine. As always I can hardly wait for the next birding extravaganza.