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Quest Keeps Coasting

View Quest Travels November 2009 in a larger map

Quest remains locked in on the northeast end of Lake Ontario. Her newfound base of operations at the Lennox power station is obvious for its dual smokestacks, but now we hear that there is also a nest box installed at the facility. We have no way of knowing whether she’s using it, but it seems likely that Quest has at least given the box a look. There aren’t any cameras installed, but we’re hopeful someone may soon spot her at the plant.

Another attraction for Quest may be the 120-acre wetland on the plant’s grounds. The Lennox folks received the Wings Over Wetlands award from the Wildlife Habitat Council and Ducks Unlimited, Inc. in 2008. Read more about it in their newsletter. Thanks to Falconcam fan Chrissy for the link!

An active wetland full of migratory birds and waterfowl combined with tall smokestacks overlooking the lake sounds like a nearly perfect habitat for Quest. It’s no wonder she’s decided to stick around!

45 Responses to “Quest Keeps Coasting”

  1. Maureen in MA Says:

    A nearly perfect habitat indeed! 😀 Thank you for the update!

  2. Lennoxman Says:

    Good morning from Lennox Generating Station (Peregrine playground of the North). I’m the lucky guy in charge of the biodiversity program at Canada’s largest dual fuelled generating station. First off… I would like to reassure all of Quest’s loyal followers that she is in friendly territory. I have been trying to spot her since I first learned she was touring the area but haven’t been able to see her yet. I’m armed with my binoculars and Nikon camera, and if I get lucky, I’ll be able to provide you all with some photos of your favourite girl. I’ll keep you posted…

  3. Carol P. Says:

    Yes, it is. A beautiful area for Quest to raise a family. 🙂

  4. Jess Says:

    That’s fantastic news Terry! We’ll keep our fingers crossed in the hope that you spot Quest. I know all of her many fans would love to get a good look at her.

  5. Carol P. Says:

    Thanks Terry! We were visiting the power station over the weekend, but just missed Quest yet again. Interesting that there is a Osprey nest so close by. That nest box might be filled with eyases come Springtime. 🙂

  6. Carol P. Says:

    Terry – Some spots to keep an eye one for Quest. The railings that circle the stacks just below the top. This would be a prime spot for a falcon to perch. There are a lot of pigeons on the lower buildings. Look for them to take flight as though being chased. They just might be! She may also sit on the building near the nest box, if she’s taken an interest in it. Of course any roof top is a potential resting spot for Quest. I’m so happy that you’ll be keeping an eye out for her.

  7. Lennoxman Says:

    Carol – Thanks for pointers. The lower building is the pumphouse and it is located just below my office window. I have noticed that the pigeons have been quite flighty lately. I saw a raptor hovering high above the stacks yesterday afternoon but I think it was a hawk. We also have surveillance cameras pointed at the tops of the stacks; Ive asked the Control Room operators to let me know if they see Quest when they view their video monitors. I’m going to get them to point another one of the cameras directly at the hack so we can monitor it as well. This is quite exciting… we installed a top notch Peregrine hack box on the Unit 4 roof 10 years ago in hopes of attracting one of these amazing birds. I hope we see her soon !

  8. Kathy Villone Says:

    I’m so glad to hear that, sounds like a great place for her. Thanks Chrissy.

  9. Kathy Villone Says:

    Thanks to the Lennox Generating Station people, glad you are there to keep us up to speed on our girl Quest. Looking forward to some photos.

  10. Joyce Says:

    Everyone – If you look carefully at the photo in the newsletter, you can see the nestbox on the building at the base of the stack closest to the east side.

    Terry – Carol P, Kathy O, and I were the watchers on this weekend’s quest for Quest. We also saw a red-tailed hawk circling the stacks and disturbing the pigeons on Sunday. Got some nice pics, just sorry we missed Quest. We saw the bird houses on the east side too. It is wonderful to know that Lennox is interested in wildlife and the environment. So happy we have an interested contact. Maybe we’ll meet up on the next adventure to Canada.

  11. jeanne Says:

    Terry, thank you so much!!!!!

  12. Kathy Says:

    Thank you Lennoxman for keeping an eye out for Quest! And wow to Terry, Carol P, Kathy O and Joyce for going all the way over there to look for her! I hope next time you get to see her!! I bet she would be happy to see someone from home!

  13. Maureen in MA Says:

    I ditto the thank you to Lennoxman and everyone at the station in search for Quest!

  14. Alison in Indiana Says:

    Hooray Lennnoxman! We are delighted to hear from you and I, for one, will not turn up my nose at a hawk or osprey report if Quest proves illusive.
    About all the other raptors who have discovered this paradise: How well do our local experts think Quest will do with the competition for territory. I know that Mariah chased off every redtail in Rochester within quite a range of the box. But these birds were here first, as are the osprey… Will she elbow a chuck of territory out for herself? Or will she, when spring has sprung, find it too crowded?

  15. Carol P. Says:

    Joyce, Kathy and I were wondering about what would happen to the Osprey’s if Quest decides to use the nest box at Lennox. She would be looking directly down at it. My thought is that the Osprey would not be allowed to nest there any longer. I can’t imagine any Peregrine allowing another raptor nest so close to theirs. There were many Red-tailed Hawks around the area, but I didn’t notice any nests nearby (not to say there isn’t any!). Again, this is just my opinion, but I’m sure that Quest would be quite comfortable there if she were to find a mate. Lots of prey to feed their young.

    There are no large cities nearby. No tall buildings to fly into. Only two very tall stacks. First fledge flights would not be down the stacks since the nest box is well below the tops of the stacks. First flights may take them out over the lake (Lake Ontario), which could turn into a rescue.

    Although we didn’t see Quest, it was nice to see her possible nest site. 🙂

  16. Lennoxman Says:

    I think Quest must have some type of cloaking device that is making her invisible. I went looking for her at about 7 a.m. on Wednesday because the satellite tracking showed her position to be in the vicinity of the osprey nest at 17:15 on Tuesday. I didn’t see her, but some employees have told me that they may have seen her over the last few days; they’re not sure because they don’t have the knowledge to distiguish between a hawk or a falcon. I’m sure I’ll get a glimpse of her soon.
    Regarding the ospreys: that nest near the front entrance of the Plant has been there for almost 10 years. A pair of osprey arrive at the nest within two days of March 29 every year and soon begin to raise a family. They usually head south in early to mid September, so the nest is empty right now. If Quest does decide to make this her home she may have a problem chasing these long-time resident fish hawks away. Although they get a little perturbed when curious motorists get too close to the nest to take photos, they otherwise seem unfazed by anything. I’ve included some photos of them.


  17. chrissy Says:

    Terry, wow! You’ve certainly done a beautiful job up there at Lennox! No wonder Quest is choosing to stay on rather than return to Cape Cod. As you may be aware, Quest spent last winter hunting the easternmost shores of Nantucket, so shorebirds are on the menu for her. She seemed right at home on the beach perched on flotsam http://tinyurl.com/ye6y37c posing for photographs. Also, I think it was Maureen who mentioned that there are a lot of osprey poles on the Cape and Nantucket, so that may be a familiar sight to her. As for her cloaking device, she gets that from her dad, Kaver. Watchers here are well familiar with his stealth mode!

    Hope she makes Lennox her home! All she needs is a mate. I wonder if Sparrow King migrates through there?

  18. Alison in Indiana Says:

    OOOoooh! a darling kestrel! And one can see every feather so clearly.
    Not only do you have a camera, Lennoxman, you use it very well. Thanks.

  19. ei Says:

    After a brief jaunt out to Mississauga, Quest was back at Lennox yesterday. Hope you can catch a glimpse of her Lennoxman!

  20. Lennoxman Says:

    Looks like Quest prefers to be a country girl right now. I thought the bright lights and tall buildings of the big city might keep her there for awhile, so I’m glad she’s back. It’s a beautiful clear sunny day.. with any luck I might get my first look at her.

  21. Paul Says:

    Good luck spotting Quest, Lennoxman! Here are some tips from an intermediate-level falcon watcher:

    Peregrines spend a lot of time not moving. They blend in with rocks, branches, and most buildings. When I am trying to find a peregrine the tipoff is often a disturbance among bird flocks. In flight, they have long wings like gulls, but seem much faster and heavier. They are less affected by wind than other, similarly-sized birds. They can change direction startlingly quickly. If you find Quest you will likely get a good look — they are not shy birds, so it is easy to get within good binocular range. If you see a hunt or a territorial display, you will remember it for a long time.

  22. Lennoxman Says:

    Thanks for the tips Paul. I was at the back of the plant this morning and noticed that a large flock of pigeons were in a bit of stir. I thought I saw another larger bird putting the run on them but I was too far away to make a positive Quest I.D. If Quest stays here, it’s just a matter of time before I’ll have some nice pics to share with you guys.

  23. Carol P. Says:

    Good luck Terry. Quest may not be shy, but she sure is good at keeping out of sight. LOL 😉

  24. Barb Says:

    About keeping out of sight that is a trait her mother seems to have at the moment too. lol. Good Luck Terry, I hope you get to see her and get a picture because I (we) really really want to see her now too.

  25. Alison in Indiana Says:

    It will be great fun when the first picture comes in. To read the discussion, does she look more like her mother or her father? :-), because by now she should have that adult peregrine coloring.

  26. Alison in Indiana Says:

    I just noticed, Imprints is on Atlantic time for posting. It was 9:25 when I made the previous post and it is about 9:28 when I hit the Submit button now.

  27. Melissa in MA Says:

    How exciting to pop in here and see all this dialogue going on with someone who works near where Quest has been seen. It seems as though she is not coming back here anytime soon, so I hope you are able to spot her. She certainly is a well loved Peregrine. 🙂

  28. Lennoxman Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving neighbours! You all know the term “it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack”. Well, I’m going to change that to “it’s like searching for a Quest near a smoke stack”. According to her transmitter, Quest has been frolicking around here the last couple of days. I’ve looked high and low but my searches are fruitless. I think I’ll make an appointment with my Optometrist to get my eyes checked 🙂 There’s a lot of waterfowl activity in the wetland these days so I’m sure Quest is indulging in this all-you-can eat buffet. Since I can’t provide you with any pictures of Quest yet, I’ll provide you with some images that could be viewed through her eyes while she is at Lennox. I’ll post them later today.

  29. Carol P. Says:

    Thanks Lennoxman! I know how hard it is to find Quest after missing her by a day twice! She is very sneak, just like her dad, Kaver. 🙂

  30. Alison in Indiana Says:

    Thank-you, Lennoxman. With her feathers the same general color as smoke, Quest would be hard to spot on a smokestack 😉

  31. Joyce Says:

    Too funny Lennoxman! Still laughing. Glad to see your keeping a sense of humor about this, because we know how frustrating searching for Quest can be. Geesh, she been there all week. She must have a good hiding spot…can’t wait ’til you find her. Thanks for all the updates!

  32. Lennoxman Says:

    Here are some pictures that I promised from my last post. They give you an idea of Quest’s environment right now.

  33. Alison in Indiana Says:

    Thank-you for the photos; looks like a lovely habitat.
    Actually, I am a bit concerned at the lack of peregination displayed by Quest in the last few days and hope sincerely that she is hard to find because she is illusive and not because she is downed somewhere.

  34. Shaky Says:

    Quest is still moving

  35. Kathy Says:

    It’s been raining and cooler here the past few days Alison so that might account for her seeking shelter. Temperatures are expected to dip below zero with wind chills tonight with talk of rain mixed with snow coming in the next few days.

    Thanks for confirming she’s sitll on the move Shaky.

  36. Maureen in MA Says:

    Thank you, Lennoxman, for the photos! Hopefully you’ll have one of Quest very soon!!

  37. chrissy Says:

    Alison, there’s a double posting (11/24) which makes it look like she hasn’t moved in two days. Jess will probably catch it later.

  38. Alison in Indiana Says:

    I examined the Quest’s week page and when one starts at the original setting the multi-colored falcons were all on top of each other. When one zoomed in (a great deal closer) one saw them move apart, but is the separation a result of actual movement or satellite aberrations?
    I want Quest to settle down in this paradise and provide photo-ops a plenty for Lennoxman, but in comparison to her movement at this time last season on the Cape, she seems pretty stationary to me.

  39. DianaR Says:

    Lennoxman – if Quest does stay there and breed – we hope that there is a reasonably priced hotel/motel somewhere near. You guys will probably be having visitors!

  40. chrissy Says:

    I see what you’re saying, Alison. The duplicate I was referring to doesn’t appear on the weekly map. I was using the monthly map (linked above) when I referred to it in my post. My thoughts were that with a virtual smorgasbord right next door, Quest doesn’t need to wander. Most of her timestamps for that week are after sundown when she’s not likely to be hunting. She could be roosting somewhere on the roof of the building. I do wonder how accurate the transmissions are with such short, overcast days. I know my own solar lights dim way sooner with all the overcast weather we’re having.

  41. Paul Says:


    That worried me also. I remembered that Jess had told us how to read Quest’s data last month ( http://rfalconcam.com/imprinting/?p=874), and found out how to get the accuracy of each position from the code. Returning to Quest’s map, I saw that she has been moving around by much more than the error in the satellite positions. In fact, right before and after her long trip to Mississauga, ahe was right in the midst of that tight cluster of points nust horth of the power plant. Still, her behavior has really changed since last year


  42. ei Says:

    It really is quite fascinating to watch the changing patterns-which is the whole point of the transmitter, after all. Before this it was only conjecture how a young Peregrine travels. We are learning a lot!

  43. Alison in Indiana Says:

    We are indeed learning a great deal about the behavior of this juvenile falcon, but, as we recall, each of the eyasses had a personality and I hesitate to generalize from Quest’s behavior. In fact, the behavior of an individual falcon changes over time, even in adulthood. We have seen previously migrating falcons deciding to stay put. There is so much more in there than just instinct.
    I also watch storks, where more and more are resisting the impulse to migrate. Yesterday, the Isny storks woke to snow – something a “proper” stork would never see, because it would be in Africa (or at very least, sunny Spain) by this time.
    For me, snow not withstanding, this is an indication of the effects of climate change, reinforced by human influence (not just in creating global warming through enormous increases of greenhouse gasses, but also by feeding the “snow” birds through the winter).

  44. Lennoxman Says:

    It’s nice to see that Quest is exploring the region again. To tell you the truth, I was a little worried because of the stationary profile of her transmitter since returning from Mississauga. The satellite was indicating she was here, but I couldn’t see her (and believe me I tried!!) Maybe she’s headed back to the Cape for winter.

  45. Melissa in MA Says:

    Well, if she comes back here, you can be sure this bird watcher will
    be posted out on the cape to get a glimpse (and a pic!) of this
    stealthy Peregrine! : )

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