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Eyes to the Skies

Falcon Watch - Orion, Beauty, DC, Herons, Watchers and a Wink at the Moon for Neil Armstrong - 8/26/12

By Rochester Falcon Watcher Carol P.

I arrived downtown early this morning (6:30 am), and was joined by Dan S, Dana and Jeanne on the Broad St Bridge (BSB).  There weren’t many falcons to be seen, but the Herons were out on the river in all their colors, Green, Blue, and Black!  During the morning hours, we had a couple flyovers by Beauty and Orion.  We could hear Orion’s cry before we saw them.  He as a great pair of lungs and loves to announce his arrival to all.  lol

The majority of our morning was spent watching two Green Herons, a juvie Black Crowned Night Heron (BCNH) and multiple Great Blue Herons (GBH) and they were all hunting, or fishing in this case.  It was great fun watching the BCNH juvie pluck small silver fish out of the water and lay them, still flipping about, next to him on the concrete barrier.  It was very interesting to watch and we wondered if, unlike the GBH that swallows his fish whole soon after catching it, the BCNH would rather his food be less lively?  Even when there is not a lot of Peregrine activity, we are never bored.  There is always something to watch on the river below us and the sky above.

Dan and Jeanne had to leave and Dana and I were joined by Judy, who saw her first Peregrine last weekend.  Her first TWO Peregrines, Beauty and Orion.  Not a bad start.  :-)  We decided to drive over to the Frontier Communication Tower (FCT) where we found Orion on the top arm and Beauty within the framework below the platform.  It was getting very warm, so I decided to say my goodbyes.

Later during the afternoon, I returned for a quick afternoon Watch and found Beauty on the FCT, below the platform.  I could not find Orion or Dot.ca, so I decided to drive out to the BS location to see if I could find Pigott.  No luck finding her.  After circling the building slowly, twice, I could not see or hear any falcons.  Due to the heat of the day and the lack of falcons to be seen, I went home for a couple hours with plans to come back this evening.

At 7:00 pm, I arrived on the BSB for my evening Watch.  I was soon joined by Dan S, Dana, Lou, Jeanne & Larry O.  Beauty was at the nest box sitting on Cam 4.  She had been there for quite awhile and earlier Dot.ca had joined her for a bit of bowing and ee-chupping in the nest box.  A little bonding between them.  At first it was very quiet, but that was going to change and quickly.

When Jeanne arrived at 7:2o pm, Lou and Dana both spotted a 2nd falcon on the top arm of the jail communication tower, south of the Times Square Bldg (TSB).  So, now we had two falcons to watch!

At 7:40 pm, Dot.ca flew from the jail communication tower and landed on the SW corner of the Xerox Bldg.  Orion then flew in from the SE.  He flew over the library and the river and headed towards the FCT, where he landed on the platform.  Just as I was verifying he was there, DC took off from Xerox and headed south.  When he got past the Frederick Douglas/Susan B Anthony Bridge, he went into, what seemed like an endless stoop!  He folded his wings in against his body and then he dove towards the ground like a rocket!  We all watched breathlessly as he hurtled down, down, down and then pulled out and leveled his flight over the distant treeline, still heading south.  I watched him for a very long time until I could no longer see him.  I do have to wonder if he was heading to the BS location for a visit with Pigott.  He did not return this evening as far as we know.

At 7:50 pm, the Crows started to stream into the city.  Dana and I were just saying that we were surprised that Orion wasn’t chasing the Crows.  That’s when we notice that, in the midst of the Crows was a small, streamlined little Falcon coming in fast!  Yep, you guessed it.  It was Orion and he was ready and willing to play a little bit of tag with his friends the Crows.  We watched him chase one Crow up to the OCSR and both went into a cork screw dive, Orion hot on the Crows tail.  The Crow pulled up just above river and so did Orion, who was off, looking for another victim, I mean playmate! lol  After mixing it up a bit, Orion returned to the TSB and flew behind it.  We did not see him come back around, so we assume he probably landed back behind the TSB somewhere.

During all of this, Beauty watched from the nest box, Cam 4.  At 8:00 pm, she took off and flew over the river, heading east.  We saw her go up behind the Xerox building and we assumed that she may have gone up to the top south side where she like to roost for the night.  She was definitely in no hurry, so we didn’t think she was on a hunt.  Right after she left, more Crows flew through on the south side of the TSB and Orion came back out to play.  He is so tireless in his youth and such a joy to watch.  :-)

We were losing light at 8:20 pm, when we saw Orion fly up to the OCSR.  For about 5 mins, we watched him fly up to windows and Ibeams and veer off at the last minute.  He did this quite a few times before settling on the 3rd Ibeam down on the south side.  I believe he was dragging his feet, or in this case talons, so he didn’t have to go to bed.  Hahaha!  I’ve been seeing him go up to the top Ibeam, but Jeanne told us that he had gone to the 3rd Ibeam a couple evenings ago.  It was hard to see him up there in the dark, but we were able to see him sprint down the length of the Ibeam and finally end up tucked into the elevator shaft.  After waiting a few moments, we believed he was settled in for the night, so we said our good nights to each other.  It was time to head home after another beautiful weekend of Falcon Watching.  This was a weekend of keeping your eyes to the sky, but also down on river below, where so much was going on this weekend.

and just before I left, I looked up at the beautiful moon above us and gave a wink to a lost hero, Neil Armstrong.

Here is a link to some pictures from this weekend.  No sign on needed.


Beauty on Cam 4 at the Nest Box - 8/26/12Dot.ca on the SW Corner of Xerox - 8/26/12Orion on the platfrom on the FCT; evening watch - 8/26/12A Wink to the Moon for the Loss of Neil Armstrong - 8/26/12

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