Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Unsuccessful Peregrines

On Monday's holiday, I went to Randall's Island.  There were more Brant there than I've ever seen--well over 500--and a similar number of Canada Geese.  Three Mute Swans basked on the rocks in the salt marsh at the north end of the island, and a small variety of ducks were around.

I was preparing to leave when I saw four Shoveler ducks flying into the Bronx Kill very fast from the east. Two males and two females, in a kind of vertical square formation that I think of as pretty typical for them.

Then I realized that a fifth bird was behind them--a Peregrine Falcon!  A second Peregrine came in from above--I can't even imagine where it was before--but the Shovelers hit the water and the thirty-odd Mallards rose up into the air (I think the Buffleheads and Ruddys all dove), and the Peregrines made a pass over the Kill and then broke off the attack and flew to one of the baseball field backstops--one went a few feet over my head!--and perched.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Peregrine Falcon, Randall's Island
take me out with the crowd

So I didn't get any pictures of that. I just watched with my jaw hanging open.  Oh well.

The Canadas and Brants didn't have any reaction to the Peregrines. That struck me as odd--I thought geese always flew up when falcons were around, and the Brants are small enough to be prey-size.  I was also surprised that the Falcons didn't make more of an effort to take the Shovelers when they went down on the water..  I suppose they didn't want to deal with angry Mallards who were already alter to them.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Peregrine Falcon, Randall's Island
Peregrine in flight

The two Falcons flew from one backstop to another a couple of times.  As you can see, I'm not great at getting birds in flight.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Peregrine Falcon, Randall's Island
convenient to midtown, all mod cons

Eventually they flew off towards the mental health center on the island, where they often roost.

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