Tuesday, November 26, 2013
|A Peregrine harasses this poor, helpless Short-eared Owl as it searches for a spot to roost on Southeast Farallon Island.|
However, most people plainly agree on one thing. Ask almost any birder, bird watcher, or bird enthusiast what they think of the ever more abundant Peregrine Falcon, and you will hear a number of phrases ranging from "epic" to "freaking awesome" to "badass" to "they're cool just because" to "the fastest animal on the planet" to "one of the most impressive and successful conservation initiatives ever in the history of the universe."
Despite its resumé, I have never understood the typical birder's obsession with Falco peregrinus. A classic article in The Onion argues that "Peregrine Falcon [is] acting pretty cocky since being taken off the endangered species list". While some people refer to Peregrines as an “apex predator," in reality PEFA is the bully of the bird world.
|Surely this bird is up to no good.|
Listen, I’m all for a good predator-prey interaction, but how many innocent vagrants have to take their final breath while being crushed and skewered by a pair of these raptorial talons? Sure they’re graceful avian athletes, vigilant and mighty predators of the sky. Sure they have evolved some tremendous abilities to catch a wide variety of avian prey from shorebirds to ducks to songbirds to urban pigeons. Sure their bodies are anatomically and physiologically built to be both aerodynamic and incredibly powerful. Sure, watching them fly and hunt is breathtaking to say the least. Some would even say that they are truly noble and incredible birds. I just don’t like losing lifers to their stomachs.
|A peregrine Falcon perches on granite boulder on Southeast Farallon Island, patiently formulating a plan for how it will consume its next vagrant victum.|
|Shorebird watching becomes a truly laborious task when a Peregrine Falcon is around. Have they no consideration for others?|
Peregrines appear to have it all; the charisma, the power, the hearts and minds of the people and conservationists (nobody likes a showoff). My point is that if everybody likes it, it’s probably not that cool (if you’re under the age of 35 you probably live by this motto whether you know/like it or not). So by this alone, I would argue that PEFAs are the most overrated and least interesting bird that the ABA, if not the world, has to offer...
...Ok, maybe they’re pretty cool ;)
|Yeah I guess they are pretty magnificent.|
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
|Sure they appear slow and indolent, but they have a certain charm about them, perhaps due to their eccentricity.|
|They groan and grunt all day nipping at each other over a few extra inches of beach space. Their fart-like vocalizations never fail to cause uncontrollable laughter.|
|They're always watching, helpless and confused from their place in the gulch.|
The date was September 26, 2013. It was a windy day. Bad weather had pretty much dominated the forecast for several days. I was outside when I heard Jim's thunderous voice come through the radio, "Sandhill Crane, there's a Sandhill Crane over East Landing." I ran out the door and there was a crane flying in closer and closer. This was the second record of Sandhill Crane so everyone was ecstatic.
Eventually the bird landed, and we crept up to get some photos. Little did we know, this bird would stay with us for a while.
Before long all of us were feeding this lucky bird straight from our hands. But we knew that wasn't right. This was a wild animal after all and it had to learn how to forage by herself. I began giving her foraging lessons. I would sit down and start digging under rocks, turning up beetles and brown funnel-web spiders plump and ripe to a Crane's tastes. But still, she was getting too close. She took too much of a liking too us.
|Dan and his bag of crane food and water|
One day we had a huge wave of migrants and all of us were up on the hill looking through flocks of sparrows and Hermit Thrush (and one Williamson's Sapsucker) only to look out at Crane Crane circling up higher and higher then circling around us. She tried to land at the lighthouse a few times, chirping at us all along. She was jealous of the other birds.
Monday, November 4, 2013
Today I got to do some birding back in Marin county after a long time gone. We dipped harder than a hillbilly on christmas looking for an American Tree Sparrow in Point Reyes Station, but that's okay because we (Ryan DiGaudio, Megan Elrod, Cameron Rutt, Mark "Mad Dawg" Dettling, and I) found a Red-throated Pipit at Abbott's Lagoon. This is my third of this species in just over two weeks so I guess I should be good at identifying them by now. The best way to find these guys is by listening for their diagnostic call, a short, high, thin, descending pssseeee when near a flock of pipits.
This also happened...
This also happened...
|This river otter was extremely appealing candidate for the day's highlight until this happened.|
Thursday, October 31, 2013
|NSWO has only one defense mechanism––the stink-eye––needless to say, it works pretty well.|
|Snow Bunting is on the CBRC Review list. This record will be accepted even though he wet himself.|
|"Aleutian" Cackling Geese and Lark Sparrows are common birds, but crushable nonetheless.|
Leaving the Farallone$ in two day$. Where doe$ the time go?
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
All I can do for you right now is tell you that there are three good photos here. We had a Yellow-green Vireo the other day. Otherwise, the shit storm continues. Forgot to remove the spots from my lens. Sorry.
|This Merlin thinks it's better than us.|
|This Hermit Warbler probably is better than us.|
|Just a humble Pectoral Sandpiper|