Friday, May 6, 2011

The fastest animals on the planet......

This post is all about peregrine falcons, and how I spent a whole week tracking, observing, and photographing them.
Peregrine Falcon at Point Fermin, San Pedro
Before I started birding I knew about peregrine falcons and how they were the fastest birds on the planet, but I never would have guessed just how close they really were to me (before I used to think they lived in Africa LOL). They way I found about these guys was when my photographer friends and I (I'll talk more about them later) were driving around LA visiting all these cool different locations, and then we came to our last stop. That last stop was Point Fermin, San Pedro, CA and here they showed me the place where these guys nested on the cliff face (we had to use a spotting scope). I was pretty impressed and wanted to learn more about these birds. They told me It was around the time when they started to mate and showed me their usual spot which is where we saw them exchanging food.
per. falcon food exchange
It was getting late, but there was one last place we wanted to check out. We went to White Point Nature Preserve (pretty close by) to go look for a burrowing owl. We checked all its usual burrows, but he was no where to be found. We called it a day and went home.
sunset at whitepoint nature preserve
The next time I went to Point Fermin was on Tuesday (minimum day at school) when I took a bus right after school taking nothing but my camera. I got there around 3pm and I checked all the usual spots, they were no where to be seen. I decided to walk over to white point nature preserve and see what I could find. Still no burrowing owl, but at least I found a pair of killdeer and a nice little flock of California gnat catchers. I started to make my way back to check on the falcons-it was starting to get late.
kite + moon = cool picture
When I checked their usual spot I Saw the female with a recent kill (a small bird I think), but the male was no where In sight. I went to another spot to check her out from a better angle when the male suddenly swooped from below and started f****** her......not very gentleman like. Then as soon as it had began It was over, and the worst part was I didn't even get to film It (lol).
Falcon with kill
It was getting late, It was a pretty disappointing trip, It was time to head back home. I waited patiently for the next bus to come, and half an hour later It was there. Something was off, and the bus just stood there not opening its doors for what seemed like forever. I knocked on the door and asked the bus driver what was up, she told me the bus was out of service. The next bus wouldn't come for another hour, It was windy, It was getting cold, and I had nothing but a black t-shirt and jeans on to keep me warm. Now that's pretty messed up.
At least the sunset was beautiful.....

Fast forward half an hour later....I'm sitting on a bench, freezing my balls off, and using a lighter to warm up my hands. I try to make the best out of a bad situation, and I start walking around. It was a beautiful moonlit night, too bad my cameras only weakness was taking pictures in low light.
fishing boat out in the water
After what seemed like forever my bus finally came. The driver was surprised to see me out there in only a t-shirt and asked me what the heck I was thinking? I told him I was out birding. He gives me a strange look and I take a seat near the back of the bus trying to come up with an excuse to tell my parents. Ten minutes later a group of drunk Asian people board the bus, five minutes later a lady with a big framed painting hops aboard, 3 hobos, and two schizophrenics later I was home- Go Metro. When i knock on the front door, it turns out my parents aren't even home. Go figure

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Point Fermin
It's Friday and I'm ready for more. I get there around 3:30pm and look at the peregrine falcon's usual spot. There I see the female calling. I haven't seen that before, so I get out my camera and start recording. Then out of nowhere the horny male swoops up and lands on her back. The best part- I got it on camera.( viewer discretion advised....they're pretty into it)

So that was pretty successful, now It was time to test my luck over at White Point Nature Preserve. I arrived there soon enough and decided to change things up a bit this time. This time I decided to walk around the entire place scanning the hillside for burrows. No luck- that is until I stopped for a break. I decided to take a quick water break and take in the scenery, there were no benches so i just plopped myself down on this big concrete slab. I took a look at the hillside and saw this oddly shaped rock, and when I took a closer look It appeared as if the rock had eyes. I had found the burrowing owl.

burrowing owl -whitepoint nature preserve

Mission accomplished.

Now here are a few more pictures that I took around the area.......

beachy ground squirrel just chillin

White Point Nature Preserve

cool spider

View from point fermin


  1. Jacob, My friend and I went to see the Peregrine following your pictures hints and we were about to give up when one came by...we watched it from over Point Fermin to Korean Bell west to the Wilder Additionj and even west more and then back to Point Fermin, never flapping....but flying so fast all of our pics were of empty blue sky Thanks you!

  2. Jacob....did you get a picture of the heron with the bull frog? I would love to be able to post it to my cousins.....I drew a picture for my husband and he actually got it but I can't draw on my email yet..I looked here hoping to see a picture of the frog/heron Stephanie