I climbed up the back side of the outcropping and arrived at 9:43. I moved off the ridge trail down a side trail into the sage brush, well south of the nest cave. The female is on Sentinel wailing and the male is on the scrape.
At 9:47 there was a nest exchange with e-chups.
At 10 I heard e-chups and there was a food delivery. At 10:27 the female is on sentinel, softly e-chupping and softly wailing. At 10:29 the female goes to the scrape. She is spending most of the time off the eyases so they are thermoregulating well.
At 10:46 I hear wailing and 15 minutes later cakking across the canyon. The tiercel is chasing 2 redtails. I move out of the brush and up the trail to the north, closer to the nest outcropping and hide behind a rock in the sage. Bees are buzzing all around and the sage smell and the heat and the view lull me.
At 11:16 the falcon is on Sentinel wailing. She e-chups, wails and looks around. At 11:24 she goes into the scrape. At 12:19 the tiercel visits with e-chups and then flies south.
At 12:28 he is in the area in front of the scrape flying back and forth, stooping, seeming to hunt. He does this until 12:54 when he brings a very small bird to the rock directly in front of me. He is eating and I slowly and gently move the scope and focus it on his leg.
I have a clear view as he bends over and eats. He sees me move or he hears me and looks up. He turns and I see the other side of the band and confirm the number. He looks at me with a piece of meat in his mouth, just staring, not seeming to be alarmed. I really want to pick up my camera and get a photo of him with the food in his mouth but I don’t want to scare him. He leaves and I reach for my note paper and pen and write down the band number. Nothing would be worse than getting close enough to read it and forgetting it on the way down. It’s a 3 over a sideways 6 (take a 6 and rotate it a quarter turn clockwise.)
I wait a half hour, and leave. When I email in the band number I find out that he was hatched on a bridge in Long Beach in 1996 and hacked out at Vandenburg Air Force Base. At 12, he is old for a peregrine in the wild and he has come a long way to nest here. I’m still not quite believing it was that easy. After spending a month watching and knowing where he liked to sit, it still isn’t a sure thing to get into position and hope he comes, all without scaring him, alarming him enough to get defensive. And he still needs to be close enough and had to bend over to preen or eat so the band shows. I’m so grateful.