Saturday, February 21, 2009

February 21st: Must Be Avian Valentine's Day

It was a beautiful, albeit cold, day today in Annapolis. February 21st... and love must have been in the air. Declan and I spent the morning at Thomas Point State Park, while his mother (my wife) took a knitting class. Maybe she could knit Declan a super-thick, wooly sweater? It's been a cold winter. I digress...The Buffleheads were in full swing out on the Bay. As far as the eye could see, the buffle-drakes were head-bobbing, posturing and showing-off. From the Bay Bridge all the way to Mayo Beach, the male Buffleheads were all about impressing the ladies today. Nothing fowl about it, right ladies? Right.The best 'move' of the day however, wasn't observed until later in the afternoon.I was on my way to Whole Foods to pick up something 'organic', when I decided to make a quick detour. Why not check on the local PEREGRINES before visiting the food store that the Haas Family affectionately calls 'Whole Paycheck'? BIRD COUPLE described it as such some time ago, and the name stuck.So I pull up to my viewing spot and put my bins on the bridge. Not a falcon in sight. But just before I was about to walk back to my car, I hear a scream coming from behind me in the trees. Not just any scream... no no no. This was the scream of a PEREGRINE looking for love. He was perched mere feet from where I was standing.QUICK!! Get the camera. DANG. It's back at the house. Why? Well, I really wasn't planning on being this close to a Falcon today. For the next half hour, I admire the male situated on substantial limb in this still-leafless tree. Just stunning.I manage to pull myself away from the falcons, go to the grocery store and get my shopping done. Not really rushing, I mosey back home to drop off the groceries. Noticing that there is still 'some' light left, I grab Declan, Emery and oh yes... a camera and we head back to see the falcons.You've been looking at the results. It was late now, about 4:30PM. The sun was set low and the thin clouds were blocking any direct afternoon light from the tree tops. But the moment was still spectacular.On this second visit, I immediately notice the male perched on the bridge. Thinking that I missed my opportunity, I walk back up the car. Em was in the car knitting and Declan was busy sleeping in his car seat. Just then... zip... the much larger, dusky-colored female sails right in front of the Volvo. Literally, a few feet from the windshield!!! I run up to the car and ask Emery, "Did you see that???" Unfortunately, she was captivated in her knits.I watch her (the falcon, not my wife) perch. This time, she is doing the screaming. The male darts from the bridge, lands on her and copulates. Immediately after their embrace, he perches beside her to what I imagine is 'avian-cuddling'. How adorable.I take as many photos as possible through the canopy of limbs. She soon flies off, showing off her 'bands', also known as Falcon bling.Both birds then take turns flying from the tree, back to the bridge, back to the tree, etc. Both appear to keep opposite perches for the remainder of our visit. I wonder if this is something like 'sleeping in separate beds'? Nah.With the sun nearly set, it was time for the Haas family to go home and consume some of those organic groceries. Maybe before bed tonight I'll try that 'screaming-from-the-tree-tops' thing? Just kidding folks. The truth is...EMERY AND I ARE EXPECTING ANOTHER BABY IN SEPTEMBER!!

Have a Great Sunday.



Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Some amazing pics in there. Wow! Must have been a really great experience.

Adam S has a decent North American birdlist of 170 or so. There is one brid he really wants to see: PEFA!

Nervous Birds said...

I would be delighted to help!!!

Name the time, I know a good spot.


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