Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 26: Peregrines at Play

A chilly north wind is blowing through the island right now, making birding a bit harsh. For some reason, though, lots of goldfinches are flying around. And falcons. While typing this on the lawn of the Yew, half a dozen merlins have zipped past and two have landed at the tip of a spruce tree about 100 yards away from our little cocktail hour gathering. We've seen a few kestrels, as well. But the most fun was watching two peregrines soaring over Manana Island. They were joined at one point by as many as four ravens, which they chased without serious intent. A flock of goldfinches flew across the harbor at one point, were chased by a peregrine, and quickly flew back to safety. The speed at which the world's fastest animal plays is breathtaking; we watched transfixed for almost half an hour. The birds would soar, barely moving a feather, and then suddenly transfix on something and go after it, just for fun. Even after we stopped watching with full focus and walked up to the lighthouse, every now and then we'd look out to Manana and see one falcon still dipping and diving over the island horizon.

Despite the cold wind
we watch them for a long time,
free-wheeling falcons.

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