Cheryl and I got to the meadow at about 9:40. No one was in sight but
very soon a peregrine was flying and chasing away anything in the
area. We thought it was the male but had no reason to ID it as such
(too high up to ID)
We missed a nest exchange, seeing the male go in but not seeing anyone
come out. Being worriers, we waited 20 minutes pacing and fretting.
I climbed the hill to check. The falcon was flying around and there was the tiercel on the scrape so we worried for nothing. I climbed back down
(after getting startled by two turkeys gobbling right in front of me
when I had my eye to the scope). Just when I was below the tree level
and couldn’t see anything, I heard a nest exchange.
When I got down, Cheryl and I decided to explore so we headed south on
the trail. We went about a mile, maybe less, and entered the adjacent
Park. A map showed a trail behind the nest cave.
When we got back to the meadow, Rocky was in the heart-shaped hole
preening. He didn’t stay long and neither did we. By then it was
almost 2 pm.
We headed back to the car and drove to the access road (exploring a closer
road on the way–it ended in a private road). We found the trail we
wanted to explore and headed up. And up it was with
several switchbacks. There is a very nice peregrine bathing pond just
behind and down from the nest rock outcroppings—might be a good place to stake out.
We arrived on top after an hour of hiking. It’s a wide trail to start
then at the top narrows, and narrows further. I was wearing short
sleeves and now have scratches on my arms. We made our way to the
back side of the nest cave and sat. We saw one of them way out on a
far ridge, coming closer. We scooted back farther under the sagebrush
since we weren’t wearing hardhats and felt like we were too close.
The peregrine came toward us but veered off to the east. We saw it
again later, and again it didn’t come to the nest area.
We left at 5 pm and stopped at a place where we could see the side of
the nest cave area. There’s a cut out on the back that is
whitewashed. We saw the back of Sentinel Rock. All of these are
possible band-reading spots.
We headed back down, tired but exhilarated at our adventure and
discovery. I had three ticks.