2/28/09 Nest Monitoring

As we headed down the trail from the parking area toward the prairie falcon nest area around 10 am , we could see a large falcon on top of the rock outcropping where last year’s eyrie was.  She flew and by the time we walked out there, we saw nothing.  So we set up our scopes and scanned the outcroppings and trees, and waited.

At 11:11 we saw the male in a hole on the left slope of the backside of the eyrie.  We hadn’t seen him fly in.  He had a very full crop so we thought maybe he’d been deeper in the hole eating.

We heard wailing at 11:24.  The male dropped down into the hole out of sight.  A minute late, wailing, he came out, flew straight down.

The falcon appeared from below him and flew to the top of a rock to the right of the eyrie.  He followed, landed on her and they copulated.  She stayed on the rock and he flew somewhere behind it, out of sight.  We could hear both of them wailing periodically.

We left at noon and headed out to the peregrine eyrie.

We were walking down the trail and saw a peregrine flying from the ridge on the opposite side of the canyon toward the Climbing Rock area.  We lost sight of it as it flew low over the trees.

We set up in the meadow below the nest cave and scanned everything, seeing and hearing nothing.

At 3:45 we heard wailing from behind us at the top of the ridge in the trees.  At 3:55, again we heard wailing and from behind us the falcon came flying in.  From the north we saw the tiercel also flying in.  He landed in the nest cave and she landed on top of the nest rock.

At 4:14, he flew out of the cave, circled and landed on the falcon, copulating, with a lot of e-chupping from both.  He flew back to the nest cave.  They continued  to wail and e-chup.  At 4:20, the falcon flew from the rock top to the area behind Castle Rock.  A minute later, she had circled around and was flying in from the south.  She landed out of our sight but we could hear her.

Tiercel approaches falcon

Tiercel approaches falcon

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As we walked out, we heard a great horned owl calling from the trees on the ridge opposite the nest cave.  Hope it has plenty to eat and leaves the eyases alone.

There is some new graffiti on the rocks in the area of Climbing Rock, but not in the area of the nest cave.  Inside one of the caves in Pyramid Rock, there is some new graffiti, carved into the rock.

It looks like both pairs are well on their way to a nesting season.

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