13 March, 2012

SY male Peregrine

Hi All,

Went out at dawn this morning as usual. The wind comes in really cold off the north-flowing ocean current here. But every morning, we get to see the sun come up over the coastal hills and the dunes. And you never know what you are going to see.

 This morning, I found a group of Chilean Flamingos feeding in the sun-lit mists along the river. The lagoon hosts over a thousand Peruvian Pelicans, multitudes of shorebirds, egrets, Kelp Gulls, Grey Gulls and even some Chilean Stilts.

At 10 AM, I caught a juvenile male peregrine off a tree stump just above the beach. The stump, along with trash, old lumber, floats and bottles are still left over from the tsunami from two years ago. We still see alot of wreckage scattered across the entire coastal area.

The immature male came in readily and caught its prey easily. I waited for it to get caught but three adult Turkey Vultures came in and intimidated the little guy away from his food. I drove in on the bike and chased them off, following them from beneath down the beach. It seemed to work as the tiercel came right back in to feed.

He was caught in a few minutes and, realizing something was wrong, tried to fly off. I drove in and picked him up, returned to base where Kathy, Becky and I weighed and measured him before release.

He has started his body molt but retains all of his flight feathers as is usual at this time of year. I have never seen a North American juvenile peregrine molt their primary flight feathers in South America.

Notice the new, light blue, adult feathers against his faded brown juvenile feathers.

The sunlight has faded his coloration so much that, given a different location, this falcon could be mistaken for a Prairie Falcon.

This is our second peregrine thus far. However we still need an adult female or two so we are hoping for some luck here.

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