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Friday, November 25, 2016

A view to a kill

We walked at North Beach on the outer coast of Point Reyes this afternoon (25 November 2016).  We'd been walking for a while, watching the waves, and then noticed this bird on the beach up ahead:

A beautiful adult Peregrine Falcon...with prey!  Can you see the feathers strewn out behind the falcon?  [Click on the image for a larger version.] 

It was tough to guess the identity of the prey from a distance, so after the falcon had flown to a higher perch with its prey, we went up to get a closer look at the feathers that had been plucked off.  Here are two close-ups of the feathers (see below).  

Do you have any guesses about which species of bird the falcon had caught?

The reddish color along the feather shafts is the best clue.  

The falcon was eating a Northern Flicker!  

(For pictures of a Northern Flicker taken last year, click here.)

When the falcon flew off, it landed on a piece of driftwood further south and continued to remove feathers:

We didn't want to disturb its meal.  Then at the same time, Eric and I realized a beach feature could help us get a better look.

The beach had prominent, deep cusps today high berms alternating with low valleys.  Although it's hard to capture in a picture, here's one attempt to show the berms along the shore:

So the three of us (Eric, my mother, and I) belly-crawled from the bottom of a valley to the top of a berm and barely peaked over the top:

It worked!  Our low-profile positioning provided amazing views of this falcon eating its prey without interrupting its meal.
As always, lots to be thankful for! 


Jennifer Zaslaw said...

Nice photos Jackie!!! glad you are enjoying your visit with mom!! Adventures are always nice :)

Alice Chan said...

And such dedication to getting the perfect shot!