Lazy rainy day

Today’s soggy weather provides an opportunity to catch up with a new Falcon Watch post.

The chicks have not yet flown, although two of them — the male and one female — have been practising with increasing enthusiasm and a conspiratorial air. The third seems less excited about leaving the nest ledge, but she will no doubt follow her siblings when the time comes.

The Falcon Watchers themselves began with a rather cold weekend. Moira, Dominique, Nancy, Heather, Jennifer, Chris and Marie helped me out on Saturday, and Lorraine, Pauline, Nancy, Anna, Jennifer, Chris and Marie came on Sunday.

Yesterday, Lorraine, James, Rick, Hedrick, Chris and Marie pitched in, and we didn’t need long pants or sweaters for a change. Hedrick deserves special props because he offered to fill in for me while I joined my peeps at a nearby pub to watch the Netherlands beat Chile. Hup, Holland, hup! (And please note that volunteering for this Sunday’s afternoon shift will earn you similar gratitude.)

The chicks have been progressing steadily from awkward and down-speckled to agile and sleek. Just a few days ago, they were still gingerly approaching the front of the ledge and clumsily climbing onto its side. Now they perch on the very outer limits, staring down and around and contemplating what it would take to get to the next ledge. Yesterday, one of the chicks napped with its entire tail protruding over the side.

They have mastered hopping onto the raised side of the ledge, and are looking more and more graceful as they stretch and flap their wings. Yesterday, the male and one female appeared eager to get going, especially when Ivanhoe and Rowena cruised by, demonstrating what their wings could do. But encouraging the chicks to fledge takes more than a few fly-bys, and the adults have also been cutting back on feedings and are now spending much of their times out of the chicks’ sight. Tough love.

Today, I arrived towards the end of the first shift to find Lorraine and Anna soaked to the bone, but the chicks nonetheless flapping. I was raining so hard by then that I sat in the car and kept an eye on the ledge for a while, before deciding the chicks were highly unlikely to fledge in this weather. There’s still some intermittent flapping and moving about, but they are staying back and out of the rain as much as possible, and so will I.

I’ll check again later today when (if?) the downpour eases up. In the meantime, enjoy the latest photos.

Sunday, June 22, 2014.

I like how the shadow of the chick’s hind end looks more like a wing. Sunday, June 22, 2014.

Sunday, June 22, 2014.

Faceoff. Sunday, June 22, 2014.

Sunday, June 22, 2014.

Sunday, June 22, 2014.

Sunday, June 22, 2014.

Sunday, June 22, 2014.

Sunday, June 22, 2014.

Sunday, June 22, 2014.

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