Friday, April 20, 2012

Wyandotte Peregrine Falcons - 20 Apr 2012

While dropping off library books at Bacon Memorial Library in Wyandotte, MI I was alerted to a trilling Chipping Sparrow across the street.  It was only 6:15 am (still dark) but I wanted to verify that I was indeed hearing a Chipping Sparrow, so I grabbed the binoculars and walked toward the bird.  It flew off toward the Wyandotte Power Plant, so I continued on after it.  I was just about to turn back when I heard a loud "Yak-Yak-Yak" overhead and saw a Peregrine Falcon soar out from the stacks.

I watched it circle a few times in the dark sky then head to the east side of the plant.  I quickly jumped in the car and drove over to the Wyandotte Hospital parking lot just north of the power plant, and scanned the stacks for the bird.  A second Peregrine flew in and landed on one of the roofs next to the first bird.  Since I had my scope I pulled it out and watched both birds for about 10 minutes before heading off to work.  Great start to a Friday morning, and it was only 6:30 am!

At noon I headed back to the power plant to look for the birds.  This time I had my digiscoping gear, and was able to find one of the birds on one of the shorter stacks and put the scope on it.  It took off just as I was about to get my first digiscoped image and disappeared among the buildings.  I continued scanning the stacks and found the second bird atop the tallest stack.  At about 200' away I had to put the camera at its longest focal length (30mm) and use the self-time to capture some images.  I then decided to capture a short video against the overcast skies.

Both birds then took off and circled over the hospital before disappearing to the south.

After work I drove back to the hospital parking lot and scanned the stacks once again.  This time I found one of the birds perched at the end of protruding rail.  After having talked to Gary Ambrus, who works at the Power Plant, I had learned that a nesting box had been put on one of the roofs, but that noone had seen the birds all winter.  There had been some discussion that a pair of falcons were nesting at Trenton Power Plant and that Wyandotte's bird(s) would not nest due to proximity issues.
The bird I was scoping appears to be perched next to the box.

A few minutes later the second bird flew in and landed atop the roof next to the first bird.  Getting the scope on the bird it appeared to be heavily streaked with a brownish cast.  It appears to be a juvenile bird.  Oddly it appears to be significantly larger than the adult, suggesting a female, making the adult bird a male.  The bird walked along the edge of the roof, then disappeared inside.  It would later appear atop the wooden platform that the adult bird was perched on.

With skies threatening I packed up and headed for home.  Hopefully w/ some clear skies I'll get better looks at these beauties!

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