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Falcon Watch - Orion is Learning His Lessons Well! - 8/25/12

By Rochester Falcon Watcher Carol P.

I arrived downtown around 7:30 am this morning to join Dana, Dan and Larry O on the Broad St Bridge (BSB).  I was greeted by a “WE HAVE ALL THREE!” by Larry.  Well that was a nice greeting, one I love to hear.  :-)

Beauty was at the nestbox, DC was on the top IBeam of the OCSR and Orion was on the base of the Mercury statue.  The whole little Rochester Falcon family was together this fine Saturday morning.  For about 40 minutes Orion remained on there before he decided it was time to play.  This time it was Dot.ca’s turn.  O took off and flew up to DC, knocking him off of the IBeam.  First they headed north and out of view.  We thought maybe they headed for the Frontier Communication Tower (FCT).  Beauty remained at the nest box on the Times Square Bldg (TSB).  Dan and Larry O said their goodbyes, leaving Dana and I on the BSB.

It wasn’t long before we saw both DC and O flying over the downtown area.  Orion was chasing DC and we were entertained by their mock aerial battles.  Dot.ca was giving his son flying lessons and we were happy to watch.

They again flew out of view and we saw that Beauty had flown out of the nest box (thanks Ei!) and she was now on the 2nd IBeam down.

At 9:15 am, we saw Orion fly in from the east without DC.  He flew over the river, low and down he went!  Splash!  A gull dove into the water, totally submersing itself.  Orion flew on, skimming the river and chasing another gull!  Dana and I watched in amazement as Orion would fly up from the river and stoop. Up and down, up and down.  He would land on the nearby Convention Center Roof for a second, slide down the metal roof and then down to the river again to chase anything that moved down there.  Nothing was safe!  This little tiercel is an incredible flyer.  Has been from day one.  His high speed chases take your breath away.  Impossible to follow with your camera.  For most of it, I would just put the camera down and enjoy watching him.  I truly wish there was a way for you all to view what we saw with our eyes.  It’s impossible to explain it accurately.

When Orion finished, he again took off, heading north towards the FCT.  Kathy O joined us for a short time and told us that Beauty was still on the OCSR, she had just moved around to the other side.  We think it was DC who then flew in and landed on the base of the NE wing of the TSB and then to the jail tower.

Twenty minutes later, Orion returned.  He started to dive towards the river when a Pigeon caught his attention!  The Pigeon skimmed over the top of the BSB with Orion coming in supersonic from behind.  Orion easily caught up to the Pigeon and knocked it down from above, actually hit it.  Orion followed it down, just in front of the Blue Cross Arena.  It was the Pigeon’s lucky day.  I saw it go down towards the river and fly back under the bridge.  Orion continued down the river and pulled up, just before the Court St Bridge.  He circled back, but the Pigeon had made its escape.  Orion headed towards the OCSR and landed on the windows on the disk above.  He then started to run around the perimeter of the disk.

Orion then took off and landed at the base of the SE wing on the TSB.  He ran (he is always running!  lol) to the base of the wing and pulled out a tidbit of food that he ate up there.  Jeanne joined us.  It must have been pretty substantial, because it took him awhile to finish his meal.  When he was done, Orion took off heading north.  We drove over to the FCT, but we could not find him.  We decided it was a good time to head home for lunch, with a promise to return later.  The heat was getting to everyone on this late August day.

When I was getting ready to go, Kathy joined me and we decided to head down to the pedestrian bridge and High Falls, just to make sure Orion had not headed over there.  We didn’t find any Peregrines, but we did get to watch a juvie Red-tailed Hawk and his mom flying over the gorge.  We even saw the young hawk land in the falcon sucking tree (guess it sucks in hawks too!), the bowed tree and the Genesee Brewery Bldg.  So much fun to watch!  Then a Kestrel flew in and I saw him chase a butterfly, catch it for a few seconds and then release it!  Wow!  Never saw that before.  The young RTH took off and flew over the bridge towards the High Falls and the Kestrel followed, stooping on the much larger bird, doing no harm.  Finally the RTH left and so did the Kestrel.  It was hot out there and no place to get any kind of shade, so we didn’t stay any longer, but it was great fun watching from there.

Later, I arrived downtown to join Kathy O on the Broad St Bridge around 5:00 pm.  There were no falcons in sight at first.  Finally we saw Orion and DC flying above Xerox.  We saw one of them head towards the FCT but lost the other one.  So, we headed over to the FCT, where we were joined by Dana and Lou.  DC was on the top arm of FCT, Beauty was below the platform and I could hear, but not see O, somewhere hidden in the framework.  We received a text from Jeanne that she, Dan, Carrie and Shaky were on the BSB.

I had to leave at 8:00 pm, and I was happy to get Jeanne’s text that at 8:20 pm, Orion was back up on the top IBeam of the OCSR, next to the elevator shaft, his nighttime roosting spot.

What an incredible day for watching our Falcons fly high and low over the downtown area.  Orion is continuing to learn from his parents how to learn to survive when it’s his turn to leave Rochester and hopefully find a mate of his own and raise young.  I truly hope that we hear about this feisty little tiercel in the future.  In the meantime, I know that I will keep my eyes to the sky in hopes of seeing Orion continue to master the skies above Rochester.

Oh, and before I forget.  I received a phone call from our friend Ginha this afternoon.  She and Dave had made their way downtown for a short visit.  They didn’t find any falcons, but they were very happy to check out the area.  She said to say hi to everyone!

Remember to click on a picture twice, if you would like to see it in a larger format.

Orion on base of Mercury Statue - 8/25/12Orion on base of Mercury Statue - 8/25/12Orion Stretches! - 8/25/12Orion Poops!  :-) - 8/25/12

Orion Flying above OCSR - 8/25/12Orion flying over Convention Ctr after dunking gull - 8/25/12Orion flying over river - 8/25/12Beauty on the FCT - 8/25/12Dot.ca on the FCT - 8/25/12

5 Responses to “Falcon Watch - Orion is Learning His Lessons Well! - 8/25/12”

  1. margaret Says:

    Great report! Exciting! He is a strong tiercel!. I, too, hope that we hear about him when he leaves our skies. Thank you for your devotion.

  2. Barb W. in L.A. Says:

    Wow…That was quite a day of witnessing Nature’s wildlife activities in the middle of the city! All of you Watchers make a great team. Carol P., your descriptions of Orion’s steady climb on the learning curve indicate his strength and developing skills at becoming a successful tiercel. Again, thank you!

  3. kathy from Canada Says:

    Great report Carol! We always marvel here at what a great flier Jack is and I’m happy to hear these skills have been passed down through the gene pool to Orion!

  4. Nancy Says:

    So glad to hear that our little Orion is doing so well. Also really glad that the wonderful, dedicated watchers in Rochester have a little one to watch this year!

  5. Carol P. Says:

    Thanks ladies! I really do appreciate all you kind comments. :-)

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