05/06/08 The Tiercel’s Band is Read

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.

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Site #1 Monitoring 05/03/08

We got there a bit late today (gym and sleeping in was critical this
morning) so it was just after 10 when we got there, hiking in to the top of the hill opposite the cave outcropping. (Cheryl, Joy, Mary)

The falcon was on the scrape
At 10:18 she left and we heard cakking to the north.
She returned at 10:20 and we were able to see two bobbleheads as she
came back and before she settled in.

11:31 She again left the scrape and returned a minute later.

12:10 Again she leaves. She flew to Sentinel Rock and wailed. A
minute later she left and headed north

At 12:12 she returned with a large bird and fed the eyases. Again, we saw two.

At 12:22 she was done feeding and she flew off at 12:27

She came back at 12:34 and landed in a small hole to the left of the
nest cave. She flew north and circled back to the scrape and
e-chupped.

12:52 she leaves again
1:01 She returns
1:02 She leaves, heading straight down from the scrape and flies
behind pyramid rock and lands on Sentinel Rock.

1:03 She flies to the east and at 1:08 she is flying from the north to
the south at eye level.

At 1:15 she returns to the scrape and sits on the porch for awhile,
then heads back to the babies

She has been periodically shaking her head for awhile, each time we’ve
had her in sight.

We haven’t seen the male yet.

1:15 Cheryl leaves
1:23 The pigeons leave the rock face and I see a small peregrine
flying high above the rock outcropping, It circles up and to the
south

At 1:49 the falcon comes out to the porch and settles down to sunbathe
At 1:58 She leaves

At 1:59 Again I see the pigeons leave the rock face and the tiercel
flies in from the south, passing the cave. He is carrying a large
bird. Simultaneously the falcon returns and flies downward behind
pyramid rock. She goes to Sentinel Rock where she has the bird and is
plucking and eating. The tiercel is sitting on the porch

At 2:03, the falcon returns to the scrape and the male flies off. She
brings the carcass. We hear e-chups and she feeds the eyases.

At 2:13 from the north we hear cakking and see a RTHA. The RTHA is
chased to the south in front of us and is hit by the tiercel.

2:16 Feeding is over and the falcon flies off.

2:31 She is back on the scrape.

2:45 We leave.

We have confirmed two eyases. The weather was near perfect, sunny,
light breeze, approx 65-70 degrees. Western bluebirds sat in the
trees on either side of us. We saw turkeys on the way out, 7 males
and 3 females. One male did a tail-spread display. No coyotes today,
either seen or heard. No one climbing the rock outcropping today while we were
there.

Site #1 Monitoring 04-29-08

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.

Peregrine Site Monitoring 04/26/08 – Hatch!

Cheryl, Paulette, Kanit and I arrived at the hilltop view point at 9:45. The falcon is on the scrape and the tiercel is to the left of the ‘refrigerator’.

At 10:20 the male flies and at 10:24 he flies into the scrape, e-chupping. And then out, similar to Thursday evening’s in-and-out activity.

At 11:08, the falcon leaves and we hear wailing. At 11:10 the male returns and enters the scrape — with food!!

At 11:12 the falcon returns, wailing. The male eats one bite, then leaves at 11:13. with e-chups.

11:35 Two climbers are calling from on top of the rock outcrop to the north. The male is in his preening spot in the heart shaped hole.

12:14 The falcon comes to the porch. She spreads her tail out, spreads her wings and puts her head down and lays on the rock. A minute later she returns to the scrape.

12:20 She is again sunbathing on the porch.

At 12:32 She is again on the porch. looking around, then heads back to the scrape.

12:42, the male returns with e-chups. At 12:44, the falcon flies to a food stash, then heads south.

The falcon is cakking to the south and the male seems to be listening. At 12:49 the female is back again, with food. We see her feeding babies!!

We have a hatch!

At 12:54 she is done feeding and she eats. When feeding, she is moving her head to two different spots, bobbing up and down feeding.

12:55 she settles back down

1:12 and two men are on top of the nest rock

1:14 the falcon moves to the porch and the men are leaving. The male returns and then leaves at 1:15. The falcon returns to the scrape.

1:17 The same two men move to the front of the rock. The falcon is barely seen, making herself small in the scrape. The men are leaning down over the rock face, throwing rocks, trying to get them into the cave. The falcon continues to make herself small in the scrape. I take several photos showing the men clearly. (photos later sent to naturalist in adjacent jurisdiction who works with scrape jurisdiction to post signs asking people to stay out of the sensitive nesting area)

At 12:24 the men leave

1:29 The falcon leaves. At 1:32 the male returns.

1:55 We hear cakking from the west. The female is following a golden eagle which flies in from the west over our heads. The male leaves the scrape.

1:59 The male returns

2:04 The male is off the babies, looking around. At 2:05, he settles back on the babies.

We hear quail bubbling in the brush to our north.

At 2:35 the male is talking to the eyases. At 2:40 the falcon flies up, circles, chases an RTHA and disappears. At 3:33 the male moves onto the porch and flies off a minute later. At 3:39 is he back.

3:40 The falcon brings food and the male leaves. We hear e-chupping to the babies, which are being fed.

We pack up and leave, having seen several feedings.  On the way out, we see several coyotes.

Site Monitoring 04/24/08

I went in the back way to the top of the opposite hill and got to the top at 5:10. Larry and Paulette came with me. The dogs came along also.

At 5:12 , the male comes in to the scrape and then leaves.

At 5:44, again he visits and leaves. At 5:55 the female is rooting, shimmying, restless.

At 6:05 an RT flies by and no one goes after it. The male stays close by.

At 6:25 the male again goes into the scrape and visits, then leaves.

6:51 wailing and e-chups. The male visits again and leaves.

The behavior has changed. Possibly a hatch.

It was a warm evening. The dogs ran off down the hill and Iita returned with a very wet face and shoulders, having been sprayed by a skunk. Blanca returned a little later, fortunately having escaped getting sprayed. It was not a pleasant ride back in the car.

Site Monitoring 04/22/08

I arrived at the meadow at 9:45 and there was no visible activity.

At 10:05 I heard e-chupping. At 10:19 there was a nest exchange with the peregrine in and the female coming out of the scrape. She moved 4 times with food and ended up on pyramid, on the rock inclusion. With a lot of wailing, she dropped her food , e-chupped and flew to little half dome. More e-chups and wailing and a very copious poop. She flew south, e-chupping all the way.

At 10:28 she flew overhead and circled and at 10:30 she flew to the east. It was another half hour before anything else happened and at 11:00 and intruder female peregrine flew in from the north and was chased off by the female resident who chased the intruder to the north. There was no cakking–just a quiet escort out of the territory.

At 11:43, the falcon returned with a soft e-chup. She sat in the ‘refrigerator’ and watched the sky.

At 11:48 I heard very loud cakking from east of the nest scrape and two minutes later the female flew from the east to north over head. At 11:56 she stooped in front of the nest rock, then sailed over the top to the rock on top of the cave and sat.

At 12:02 she flew to Sentinel Rock and preened. While she was there, at 12:10 a rainbow lit up the sky. She flew east at 12:10.

They did a nest exchange at 12:15 with the female going in and the male coming out. He sat on the ‘refrigerator’ and wailed.

I left soon after that.

It was partly sunny to start, slight rain later. 55-65 degrees. There was a bird watching group going through at the time the intruder female peregrine came into the territory, and a group of grade school kids later on. Hatch is due in a couple of days.

Nest Monitoring 04/19/08

We arrived at 9:19 am, not having crossed the creek, and immediately heard cakking to the west. A peregrine adult was chasing an RTHA.

Again at 9:27 we heard cakking in the same area and a few minutes later at 9:40 we saw a nest exchange.  The female went in and the male came out, with wailing.  The male was sitting on the left side of Sentinel Rock

At 10:09 he flew wailing away.  We took the opportunity of having the falcon occupied on the scrape and the male off to climb the hill behind the meadow to get a view of the scrape.

Glenn had is GPS and answered some questions we’d had about height, angle of the slope.  We’ve been climbing 300 feet up at a 45 degree angle, through brush growing taller every day, cow footprints to turn our ankles, poison oak.

At 11:45 climbers were to the left of the scrape and an hour later they moved to the top of the nest rock where they sit and stand on top.

Glenn S joined us from the top of the hill, having hiked in from another access point.

At 1:06 the climbers left and at 1:18 the male flew to the north, then circled back south.

At 1:16 there was a nest exchange and a food transfer.  It was a small bird.  The tiercel went onto the scrape and the falcon came out.  The female sat on the rock face to the right of the ‘refrigerator’ at at 2:01 she moved to Sentinel Rock and a minute later flew south.

We left, climbing up to the top of the hill and out to the north.