Black crowned night heron © Robert Sommers 2023

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Torrey Pines Falcons

Yesterday I had to go to the coast to do some art business. Afterwards I decided to scratch my own artistic itch and take a little stroll down to Black's Beach to try to capture some pictures of falcons. My last attempt was pretty pathetic and I wanted to make amends to myself.

I paid the $12.00 State Parks fee necessary to get into the reserve and walked down the beach past the sunbathers, the Nikon D7200 with the heavy Sigma 150-600mm C lens hanging on a strap over my opposite shoulder.

I asked a Ranger sweeping the sidewalk for some tips on finding the nest but he said that he hadn't really been paying attention this year. I kept walking and crossed my fingers.

I didn't have long to wait before I saw the mother falcon and two progeny practicing their nascent flight and acrobatic skills, swooping in and out of the beautiful eroded canyons and cliff faces. I had read that the mother peregrine had four offspring this year, sometime in late May I believe.

There are 19 separate subspecies of Peregrine Falcon, most of the continent harbors Falco perigrinus anatum although DDT nearly wiped out the bird population in the eastern United States. I believe that it is the fastest bird ever clocked, with a recorded flight of 242 miles per hour, which makes it the fastest life form in the entire animal kingdom.

I took over 1750 shots yesterday and got some that I really love, mostly shooting at 1/2000th of a second.

As always, next time I will be even smarter and better prepared, I learn something with every shoot.

It will take me a while to process, cull and mull over all these.

The day was a little cloudy and gloomy but it didn't keep me from getting some good captures.

There were all manner of birds around of course, pelicans, gulls and crow abounded.

At one point I watched the falcons harass a gull and if I may be permitted to anthropomorphize, he had a very angry look on his face. Seriously.

After about an hour of watching the falcons cavort, they disappeared into the mist and I decided to go up top to the Torrey Pines reserve and put the smaller nikkor 70-200mm vrII lens on the Nikon and see what would happen.

So beautiful up there amongst the Torrey Pines, which happen to be the rarest pine on the continent.

Didn't see much but met some good folks and had a nice walk in the northern section.

La Jolla hovered in the distance.

Del Mar to the north.

It turned into a beautiful day.

I was having a lovely but mostly uneventful walk when I spied a lone peregrine prowling the Pacific.

I decided to head back to my van, and traffic and the tumult of real life when things started to get kind of crazy.

I watched my avian friend head for a stand of Torrey pines. I followed.

Where did it go? I followed it to the area where I had lost visual sight.

There was my bird, perched on a tree limb not 30 feet from where I stood. It stood docile and allowed me to photograph for minutes. What a wonderful blessing and opportunity!

It is going to take a while to assess this wonderful moment. I left the bird to his or her journey and continued on to mine.

It was worth the wait! I look forward to my next visit with these wonderful creatures.


Unknown said...

Love it Robert! Beautiful shots...

Ken Seals said...

Great job with the story and photos!!

Penny said...

wonderful photos. you've shown there is much more to see at Torrey Pines besides the ocean scenes.thanks.