[Tweeters] Re: Peregrine/Dunlin video

Martin Muller martinmuller at msn.com
Thu Dec 9 17:13:33 PST 2010


It really helps to slow things down. Of course that only works when you get something on video in the first place!
I've deleted a lot of "shaky, empty sky" or "confused birds flying around" when I lost the activity through my camera's viewfinder.

But I love the move the Dunlin with the peregrine on its "heels" makes at time marker 3:06. To me it looks like a corkscrew motion the peregrine simply cannot match, hence the widening gap between them.

I did get some harrier activity. I missed the one event where the immature female peregrine relieved a harrier of a vole (or some such critter) it had caught. Only to lose the rodent to an eagle herself.

I think that most of the "animosity" between harriers and peregrines stems from this behavior (peregrines kleptoparasitizing harriers). Just like the peregrines like to occasionally show the gulls they want them to stay clear, so the harriers occasionally want to "tell off" the peregrines. That said, the harriers did appear to "stir up" the Dunlin flock occasionally. Whether this was a byproduct of the harriers searching for rodents where the Dunlins happened to be, or if they were searching for a Dunlin as a meal, I don't know.

I did occasionally spot totally asleep and oblivious Dunlins. As in: the flock they were part of when they settled their bills between their scapulars and closed their eyes had moved away, and there they were, standing out in the open all by themselves. A few years ago I witnessed a Prairie Falcon nab one of those snoozing Dunlin without any effort at all. I would guess a harrier could do that too. I wouldn't put it past the harriers to be checking for such an opportunity, but I have no proof of that (yet).

More observation time needed.....

Hopefully when hunting season is over I'll have time to video the harries/owls. That certainly looks like fun too.

But then I want to spend more time with the Bald Eagles too. Last Saturday there were 3 adults, side-by-side, in and out of the nest, placing sticks as well, near the field in the video. I want to know if this threesome is serious about sticking together for the coming breeding season....(looked like 2 males and a female).

For instance....

Martin Muller, Seattle

From: Barbara Deihl <barbdeihl at comcast.net>
Date: December 8, 2010 2:04:25 PM PST
To: Tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Tweeters] RE: Peregrine/Dunlin Video by Martin Muller

Tremendous video of many of the intra- and interspecific hunting-related interactions that take place up there - my eyes can never follow half of what is going on. 1/4 speed really helps. I was up there Dec. 4, 5, and 6 and only caught snippets of the action. Could never tell how agile and evasive the Dunlin can be, how much "dropsy" goes on, that the Peregrines can glide upside-down and always wondered why a gull or 2 are often hanging around in the fields nearby. Thanks for the window to all this special behavior. I wondered if you caught any Peregrine/Northern Harrier interaction on video? That is mostly what I saw going on when I stopped in last weekend - it seems the N. Harriers merely harrass the Dunlin (flush them), but aren't maneuverable- or fast-enough to take them. And then the Peregrines fly down or in, and harrass the harriers.

It would be great if you or someone else, could get some video of the Short-eared Owl and N. Harrier hunting activity and sound effects that go on at West 90 before, during and after dusk (about an hour). It is amazing. I stayed for the show this past Monday evening and was rewarded amply with thrills - I will post about the experience later today - unfortunately it is all recorded in my head, unaccompanied by photographic or video images, or sound recordings. At least I have that and can go back again for another take on the goings on in the marsh near sunset. How cool it would be to capture this on video and audio... :-)

Thanks so much, Martin, for sharing your skills, time and perseverance with all of us - at least it was sort of "balmy" weather on Saturday, Dec. 4 (and, as I recall, it was a sunny day, at least in Seattle, on Sunday Nov. 28).

Barb Deihl

North Matthews Beach - Seattle

barbdeihl at comcast.net

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