We arrived for our third tour on Santa Rosa on March 10 (I am currently working for Institute for Wildlife Studies monitoring Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles on Santa Rosa Island). Since we stopped at both landing sites on Santa Cruz, we didn’t arrive until later afternoon. On Wednesday, we headed to the west side of the island where we had rain last week. Both the Sandy Point and Orr’s Camp peregrine pairs were present, but not up to much in a light rain. At Bee Rock, peregrines were a little more active and were seen copulating. We also checked out some satellite data locations for two adult Bald Eagles that have been hanging out in the same spot together, A60 and A17. This pair has a tumultuous history, but they seem to be very close now, although not up to any nesting activity.
On the way home, I checked the infamous Lopez Bald Eagle pair, who are still incubating and should have chicks by next tour.
As always, at Sandy Point, elephant seals were putting on a show.
On Thursday, we headed to Trancion, where the pair was very active near the eyrie and seen copulating.
Meanwhile, sparse observations at both Chickasaw and Krumholz make us think this may be the same pair using both territories. An active Common Raven nest at Chickasaw may be enough to keep the peregrine pair away.
On Friday, Bonn Point was again the territory with the most activity for the week. The pair was actively hunting the grassy fields of their territory, and the male caught and ate a small bird. Both birds were at the eyrie, and the female scraped out the nest bottom in response to the courtship bowing of the male.
At Gnoma, a pair was present, but not interacting. This is the first time we’ve seen the female near the eyrie, however. This is the lowest elevation eyrie we have, and is an interesting choice for a peregrine pair. On our way home through East Point, I spotted a blue-tagged Bald Eagle being chased by gulls. He was too distant to get a resight on. We staked it out multiple times but his identity remains a mystery for now. We looked for nests in the nearby canyons, and it seems like the area could be suitable, but we found no structures.
We’ve also been looking for peregrines at Jonson’s Lee, but haven’t seen any there yet. Johnson’s Lee is loaded with seals, so ATV access is limited.
Back at housing, a pair of Common Ravens has been feasting every morning and evening on caterpillars. They are very tolerant of people and don’t seem to mind having their pictures taken.
The island in general has started turning brown and crispy on most south-facing slopes. But north faces are still green and wildflowers are still persisting.
Stay tuned for part two of tour 3!