Site Monitoring 5/24/08

Last week we had a temperature of 98 with hot sun, hot breezes, thin
shade. Today it was 45-50, cold wind, overcast skies, sprinkles.
Hard to believe it was the same place a week later.

Cheryl and I arrived on the hilltop at 9:21, having hiked in to the hilltop opposite the cliff site.

One eyas was standing on some prey, eating. Both falcon and tiercel
were on Sentinel Rock.

A few minutes later, the second eyas moved from the left rear of the
cave to the right side. The tiercel flew off.

At 9:30 the falcon flew into the scrape and ate the bird the eyas had
been eating. We heard wailing. At 9:43, she flew to Sentinel and at
10:03 she flew north wailing.

Both eyases are up briefly, then they lie down side by side. We are
thinking one male and one female. But at 1/3 mile away, we are still
not certain.

10:20 we hear cakking in front of the nest rock and one peregrine
flies past. We see the falcon on Bindi Rock.

She is looking around. We see a man in a blue jacket, red packpack ,
grey hair, and binoculars on the trail directly behind Bindi Rock. He
and Cheryl look through their binos at each other. He moves north,
stopping periodically to look down through his binoculars. On
Thursday someone posted to a birding listserve seeing two downy
peregrine chicks at this sits and described perfectly how to find
them, despite the policy of Birding Ethics (from
the American Birding Association) against the revealing of nests of
rare birds. Based on the way he is looking for something specific, we
think this is the person who posted this site or someone who read
about it and is looking for the scrape. It is not a random birder.

At 10:27, the falcon flies to Sentinel and two minutes later the same
man is now moving back along the trail to the south, again stopping
periodically to scan with his binoculars. We don’t think he’s found
the peregrines because he doesn’t stop and look for long. This even
though the falcon is sitting on a rock about 200 feet in front of him.
He continues to move south down the trail and out of sight.

At 11:02 we hear cakking. The falcon is alert and both eyases are
up, preening.

At 11:32 we find the tiercel on South Rock. Ten minutes later he
flies toward the nest scrape and stoops above the climbing rock. The falcon
remains on Sentinel.

At 12:28 the falcon flies to South Rock and sits just above where the
tiercel had been sitting earlier.
12:31 one eyas is on the porch flapping. At 12:46 the second eyas
joins the first. Both are flapping their wings. One eyas stands on
the edge and looks down.

At 12:54 the falcon flapped and jumped and disappeared behind South
Rock. A minute later she is on Sentinel wailing. The eyases are now
in the rear of the cave also wailing.

12:56 Both eyases are again on the porch wailing. A swift flies into
its nest in the ceiling of the cave and one eyas watches it come and
go. As it’s watching, it trips on the edge of the porch. It recovers
its balance.

1:07 one eyas is wailing and walks to the far right edge of the porch,
still wailing.

1:13 the falcon flies, e-chups and the tiercel flies in from the north
and there is a side-by-side food exchange. The falcon goes into the
scrape and the eyases run to the food. She feeds them.

At 1:19 she leaves and returns to Sentinel. The eyases are on the
porch and seem to be watching her. They do some head bobbing. One
is particularly good at preening its tail feathers, pulling and
separating feathers.

1:45 both eyases are wailing, sitting together on the porch. We get a
good look at them. One is larger and lighter in color. The smaller
one is darker on the breast. Both have some brown on the sides of
their breast. We’ve decided it’s one male and one female.

We get distracted for awhile. Cheryl starts to lean back on her
backpack and sees a pair of brown ears coming up the hill below us.
She first thinks mountain lion and then realizes it’s a young coyote.
He sees us and stops. He sits and watches us and we watch him. He
sticks his muzzle in the air and sniffs, then turns and sniffs again,
turns to the other side and sniffs. He opens his mouth and tastes the
air, then sniffs again. He starts barking at us. I pulled out my
phone and started to record him and his barking. This goes on for
several minutes and we get up to discourage him. He turns around and
starts to the right and downhill. Just as he disappears, we hear him
bark again. We walk down hill toward him and he moves to the right
away from us. He’s going to be trouble some day. If we see him
again, we will be more aggressive to scare him

2:28 the falcon flies to South Rock, this time sitting on top.

At 2:30 two men are climbing up and going behind the nest cave. The
falcon leaves South Rock at 2:42 and stoops behind the nest rock.

At 2:50 both eyases are up and on the porch. We see 4 people heading
for the rock and at 3:04 the tiercel is stooping and cakking. He
attacks again at 3:13 and stoops twice. And again two minutes later.
At 3:17 a girl is climbing through the hole in the rock to the left of
the nest cave. We hear e-chups and wailing.

Two of the people have left and are on another rock to the north. We
hear the others talking somewhere above the climbing rock.

At 3:38 the falcon stoops on a turkey vulture and soars above the nest
cave cakking.

We pack up and leave.

As we are approaching Coyote Alley, we see a very large dark bird take
off from the ground about 100 feet in front of us, along the trail.
It’s a golden eagle. If we’d been a little more alert we might have
been able to see it and stop and get a better look to see if it was
eating. It flies and we follow it with our binoculars. In the air
nearby is a pair of adult redtails, talons down. We watch for a
talon-linked skydance but they move behind some trees on the ridge.
We continue on down the hill and out.

The eyases are 29-30 days old.

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