Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Peregrine Surprise

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest species on the planet, with the ability to top out at 200 MPH during a dive (or  stoop) using gravity to aid its speed.  During straight flight (pursuit or otherwise) it can reach speeds as high as 70 MPH, and regularly cruises above 25 MPH.  The Peregrine, like all falcons, is built for speed and its diminutive size, sleek pointy wings and light frame make it the king of all flyers.  While in pursuit of the Clapper Rail seen in the previous post, I came across this beautiful Peregrine (males and females are virtually indistinguishable other than size) just south of where I had spotted the rail.  This was only my third definitive encounter with this species, with both prior occasions occurring on Dune Rd., and with my best look at this species taking place about 100 yards West of this bird, perched on a lightpost in February of last year.  It took a bit of stalking and careful walking on the frozen marsh to get in a good position (in regards to background/sunlight) to get the photos I wanted, but it was well worth it.  Unfortunately with the bird so out in the open there was no way of getting closer, and as such these are about 50% or greater crops.  The bird was seen again today, so I can only hope it will be a more common sighting along Dune Rd. this winter.

I did see 1 of the 2 Clapper Rail, however I didn't stop because it wasn't where I'd seen the other one and was hoping for a better photo-op, which is when I stumbled upon the Peregrine.  When I went back for the Clapper Rail I couldn't locate it (i.e. couldn't remember where I saw it. . . ).  Not wanting to pass up a chance to go to the Inlet in the hopes of seeing something unusual, I headed down there with a about 45 minutes left of sunlight but all that was willing to be photographed was this Cormorant, which is truly the best look I've gotten.

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