Thursday June 11th 2009, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

imgp7763Thank you all for the kind messages about John; much appreciated. And re the Zofran, no longer needed for now.  Yay!

imgp7760(Can you see the speck above the Rotunda?  Up! In the sky! It’s a bird! There is one, honest.  And below, fledgewatchers doing the garage band thing.)

Last night I found myself with a chance to go see the peregrines in person, in the evening when the UV was far less of an issue and when I hoped the traffic wouldn’t be horrible even if I couldn’t use the carpool lane on the freeway: originally, Michelle was going to go with me, but that hadn’t worked out.  It was 6:45, it was a half hour away, the San Jose library would close at 8–I just suddenly made the decision to go anyway.  I grabbed my keys and took off.

I had been told the 8th floor there was a good viewing area, and I was fortunate to find a parking spot on the street a little past the library in a handicapped zone. Walking inside, I had no idea how to find what where; the security guard’s face lit up when I told him why I wanted to find my way upstairs.  Yes! The falcons!

From the upper corner, I got a good view of the side of City Hall: the nestbox, the louvers above the windows to the side starting just below it, the hallway lights turned off on the two top floors for the fledglings’ sakes.  And best of all, the peregrines.

A parent was up there near the top, identifiable by its white chest so tiny in the distance.  I had binoculars, not a great pair, but something, at least.  Two babies over there, one over that-a-way.  Clara (I was told later it was) then went soaring slowly around and around City Hall, floating effortlessly in the wind currents, taking her time, surfing the skies.

There were far fewer details than what I could have seen looking at the cam on the computer at home, but to see them alive and in person!

imgp7764And then it was hitting eight and I headed out.  But this time, going to my car, I knew what I had had no idea of when I’d pulled into the space: my car was half a block directly to the side of the building that the peregrines were on, in some ways a better view even than from the library. Fabulous!

So I stayed.  I saw a young’un taking off and flapflapflapping furiously, trying to gain altitude, finally getting high enough to ride the currents a moment too but perhaps too tired from all the energy expenditure to keep at it long.  Later, one running the ledge when Mom arrived and two more flying over from the louver to join in.  One, however, stayed on the louver, their latest favorite place.  Having claimed the most perfect spot, it wasn’t giving it up.

There are three babies up there–I wish you could embiggen this.  I saw their huge wings outstretched and then folding in again, again and again.imgp7770

I saw, once the Momma-mobbing was over, what looked like one juvie on her return ever so gently missing and hitting the wall above the louver, wings outstretched, before settling down with her siblings.  Like this, (thank you, Eric!) which happened a day or two earlier; some of them are still working on their landing gear.

Veer, however, is quite the flyer. He’s been practicing the prey handoff thing, and actually, after I wrote the other day that that was something they had yet to learn, I got a report that he had actually done it for the first time that very night. He had received a large pigeon in a handoff from Clara, they flew together to the top of another building, and then when she went to fly off to the other babies, it was, Hey, don’t leave me!  He took off after her.

Without the pigeon.  Making excuses.  Mom! I don’t know how to cook this thing, here, you do it!

Clara noticed, swooped back, collected it and reinstated the dinner menu, and one can just picture the eye-rolling to go with the wing-rolling.

I loved Eric’s picture of Clara above while some of the juvies played at hand-it-over. If you mouse over it and see the comments, you’ll understand, given the end of yesterday’s post, why I guffawed out loud when I read them.

The whole thing was absolutely thrilling. I was so close.  There were quiet moments, with a baby pancaked here and others sitting there and Clara on guard above, where nothing much was happening for about twenty minutes, with the dark gathering quickly.  I reminded myself that I am a knitter: I am well versed in quietly waiting for things to unfold and come to be.

The other thing I want to mention?  Every person I encountered, whether I interacted with them or not, had an air of happiness about them. Quite a few glanced with a smile towards the top of City Hall or above: San Jose State kids waiting for a bus, downtown diners, random people walking by on the sidewalk.  The peregrines–so nearly disappeared permanently from all of life so recently–were right there, in plain sight, alive, graceful (or at times still just aspiring to be, like the rest of us) and glorious.

And life was good.

13 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Used to be that when I clicked on any photo on your blog it would instantly enlarge. This hasn’t been the case for a long time. Too bad.
Do you remember my friend Marianne H? She, too, was a bird lover. When a trillion blackbirds, crows, or starlings (don’t remember which but birds for whom many do not find redeeming values) were taking over one of our Southern states, official calls went out for help in finding ways to eradicate the pests–or at least make them move on to inflict somewhere else. Marianne was so incensed that she began calling everyone in the country she could think to call, pleading the case for the birds. This at a time when telephone calls cost time and distance. She ran up such a huge bill, which she couldn’t pay, that her phone was cut off for a long time. Marianne was the friend who also owned two pet margays, Mexican wild cats. I used to go visit her once a week, and I’d ask her, as did everyone else, to lock the snarlers in another room before I arrived. She’d reply, Lawrence, if you see them just whistle “Waltzing Matilda.” They hate it, and they’ll run. Now I ask you, would you be able to whistle “Waltzing Matilda” when confronted with a pair of threatening wildcats? Besides, I never learned to whistle.
Love, Dad
p.s. Never been the first respondent before.

Comment by Dad 06.11.09 @ 4:28 pm

I do remember that! And how hard you laughed over it later.

Comment by AlisonH 06.11.09 @ 4:31 pm

What an adventure. I think sometimes we forget to be grateful for our miracles. I know, I have been forgetful before and probably will be again. While you are watching the floggings learning the flight techniques, I am watching my youngest daughter learning to climb. She is amaithing.

Comment by Henya 06.11.09 @ 6:36 pm

Any way you look at it, birds are amazing creatures. There was a movie – true story – of geese in Canada losing there northern habitat, and the young ones not knowing how to migrate. The man in the story built a goose-like light plane, and taught the young ones to follow him. Truly amazing.

Joke just in: What do you call a cow that has just given birth?

Answer (are you sitting down?) De-calfinated.

Comment by Don Meyer 06.11.09 @ 7:29 pm

How wonderful to see for yourself the young ones we’ve been keeping track of.

Comment by Barbara-Kay 06.11.09 @ 7:50 pm

what an incredibly heartwarming experience. thank you so much for sharing!

Comment by marti 06.11.09 @ 8:59 pm

And there you go… amazing sight, I am sure. Lucky you!! Celebrating life…

Comment by Cathy (catsandyarn on ravelry) 06.11.09 @ 9:51 pm

I was wondering when you’d get to see see them in their big backyard!

Comment by LynnM 06.12.09 @ 5:41 am

Look at Alison! She grabs her car keys and takes off on the-spur-of-the-moment to go birdwatching. Cool. LIFE is good. And, of course, thank the Lord!

Oh, this post is about the 😉

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 06.12.09 @ 6:06 am

I’m so glad you got to see them rather close and in person! Your delight and awe is clear. We should all celebrate the beauty of nature.

Comment by Channon 06.12.09 @ 6:27 am

I never fail to be amazed by the change in people when they actually look at the world around them and see the Good present in life.

p.s. good is only God spelled the long way.

Comment by Leslie 06.12.09 @ 7:45 am

Cool! Even better to hear your up and about on adventures! 🙂

Comment by Alicia 06.12.09 @ 10:33 am

So glad you were able to go and capture these pictures. How much longer do you think they will be around?

Loved your dad’s comment. He sounds so sweet!

Comment by Joansie 06.12.09 @ 3:49 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>