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Archive for February, 2009

SE Nantucket Still Home For Quest

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

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There is not much to report regarding Quest’s movements over the past ten days. Indeed, with few exceptions she has settled into a fairly predictable pattern. Most early morning and late evening locations are in the Tom Nevers neighborhood. Most daytime readings show her along the coast, south of Low Beach Road.

From Nantucket birding authority Edie Ray, we learn that Quest continues to be seen at the beach. Edie emailed recently to say that “the Nantucket Marine Mammal Stranding Team were down on the beach near the Loran Station and Tom Never’s Pond (measuring a dead Pygmy Sperm Whale that had washed up) on 2/11 and 2/12 and saw Quest both times!”

Since she’s keeping to such a small area we think residents and visitors have a pretty good chance of spotting her at the shore on most days.

NY DEC Releases 2008 Peregrine Falcon Report

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation released their report on the state’s Peregrine population last week. It has some good information about the success of the repopulation program here in New York State.

Read the DEC’s press release

View the full report (in Adobe PDF format): Part 1 Part 2

Rochester Falconcam Cameras Open for 2009!

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Night At The Powers Building

We’re happy to announce that we’ve turned on the three cameras at the nest box that was installed at the historic Powers Building in downtown Rochester late last year. This is the nest box that used to be located on the Kodak tower. A second nest box has been installed about a block away from this one at the Times Square building.

The Rochester Falconcam team is still working on getting cameras up and running there, and there are some technical tweaks still to be made at the Powers Building. Mariah hasn’t yet put in an appearance before the cameras, but we invite you to take an early look while we wait for the 2009 “falcon season” to move into high gear. Check out the Rochester Falconcam’s Multicam page to see if you’re the first to spot Mariah. And be sure to read the Falconwatch blog for all the latest news from our on-site watchers!

Mostly More Of The Same For Quest

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

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It appears that Quest has found a good place to rest in the area around Wood Hollow Road and Chuck Hollow Road amid the woodlands and expansive houses just south of the Siasconset Golf Course. Morning and evening readings form a tight cluster of locations within about ½ mile. Her daytime locations are farther south near the shore in keeping with many of the eyewitness accounts we’ve received over the past months. Data from the transmitter’s temperature sensor continues to show that Quest is keeping warm, with temperatures from 18-25°C being recorded. So as we head toward the latter part of winter Quest is keeping a routine that ought to make it relatively easy for her many fans on Nantucket to keep track of her.


And The Quest Stories Keep Coming…

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

The birding populace on Nantucket certainly seem to have taken Quest into their hearts. The latest sighting comes from Edie Ray, who had a close encounter with Quest on the 25th of January. She sent along some pictures to go with her engaging story too. You can view the pictures by clicking the pictures and highlighted links below. Edie writes:

Late in the afternoon on [January 25, 2009] I pulled into the parking area at Low Beach in ‘Sconset on the Eastern edge of Nantucket Island, Ma. As I exited my car and began pulling on numerous layers of clothing (it was COLD), I noticed a woman with several dogs walking up the trail from the beach. Just beyond her and seemingly undisturbed by this activity I observed a Peregrine Falcon sitting on a sign on the beach. “Must be Quest”, I thought to myself.

I asked the dog-walker as she hurried past if she had seen the Peregrine and would she like a closer look using my binos. She replied that she had indeed seen the bird and had wondered what “that funny stick was on it’s back”. Aha, Quest for sure…

Now on a quest for Quest I headed to the beach and managed a pic or two of her sitting on the sand. As I watched I could see her looking at a flock of Bufflehead ducks feeding just offshore. All of a sudden she took flight and headed out over the startled ducks. I then lost sight of her over the water.

Turning my attention to gulls I amused myself for about forty minutes counting and admiring the many Iceland and Lesser Black-backed Gulls feeding just North along the beach from Quest’s take off point. As I left the gulls and began to head back along the beach to the path I once again saw Quest. She now was sitting on a “shipwreck” looking piece of flotsam and jetsam and looking very photogenic indeed.

Quest Shipwreck 1     Quest Shipwreck 2

Quest Shipwreck 3     Quest Shipwreck 4

Not wanting to disturb her I approached slowly, pausing at times to let her get accustomed to my presence. At one point she lifted her tail and produced a “nice poop”, good evidence of her success in hunting I think! With her “consent” and a telephoto lens I was then able to get a number of nice shots of her basking in the late afternoon sun.

Leaving Quest I headed up the path to my car. While greeting some arriving birders in the parking lot one of them (Vern Laux) yelled “Peregrines!” I turned just in time to grab my camera and get a pic or two of Quest embarking on an aerial dogfight with a smaller Peregrine right over the beach. Even at a distance we could her vocalizing!

After watching this amazing display until both birds were out of sight I headed for home having had a most memorable encounter with a true master of flight. All in all an afternoon I won’t soon forget!

We’re so grateful to Edie and all of Quest’s fans on Nantucket for keeping us informed about her, and especially for sending along all of the terrific pictures! Quest looks great, and she sure seems to be having a good time on her island winter home.


Homebody at Tom Nevers & Mariah’s Return

Friday, February 6th, 2009

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No new real news about Quest, who has stayed close to Tom Nevers for the past week. Most of the stong transmissions came in the early morning hours when Quest is presumably sleeping, so perhaps we aren’t seeing the full scope of her wanderings. What is clear is that she’s returning to the same small area day in and day out, and most likely not venturing very far from it. In fact, on the 28th of January and February 2nd, Quest was in exactly the same spot, a wooded area adjacent to the residence at 68 Tom Nevers Road. Since these data points occurred in the early morning and late evening hours, it’s likely this is a sleeping spot for her. If anyone currently resides at that address, they might have a good opportunity to see her.

Other interesting plots for Quest occurred on the 29th of January, and again on February 1st. These place her in the vicinity of the Coast Guard radio tower at Siasconset. This is probably the highest point on the island, and if she’s perching at the top of the tower, Quest doubtless has an unobstructed view of much of Nantucket.

If you’ve been following the reports from our on-scene watchers at the FalconWatch Blog, you’ve already heard the good news. If you haven’t, why not??? Anyway, we’re happy to announce that Mariah flew back into Rochester a few days ago! A non-resident falcon (female) and tiercel (male) had been making themselves at home at many of the perching spots familiar to our volunteers for the past couple of months, but they both left the area as soon as Mariah returned. Some research suggests that migrating Peregrines may have nearly as much affinity for a particular wintering site as they have for their home territories. Interestingly, these winter migrants aren’t often interested in taking over a territory, just in having a place to roost and hunt during the winter. When the regular residents return, the migrants often leave without engaging in territory battles or other disputes, to head back to their own “home” territories. Perhaps that’s the case with our winter visitors this year. In any event, we’re glad that Mariah has returned to Rochester for an astounding 14th year!

She’s been spending a lot of time on the Kodak tower, so there’s still some uncertainty as to whether she’ll find and move into one of the two nest boxes that have been placed downtown for her. Our dedicated watchers will be braving the mid-winter freeze here in town to keep an eye on her, so keep checking back for more reports!


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