Site Check at OPG Nanticoke Station; One Adult Seen

April 13, 2012 - Nanticoke OPG

Tracy Simpson Reports:

I went down to the Nanticoke Generating Station on Friday to check in on the resident female Marla and the unidentified male that she has spent the winter with.  Upon check in I met up with Jill, my chaperone, and we headed out to the old nest cavity to determine whether there was any activity this year.  We looked carefully with the scope in all of the cavities that lined the area but were unable to see any falcons or fresh activity here.  Jill and I then headed over to an adjacent building to chat with some of the staff to see if they could provide any insight.  According to the workers onsite, there was quite a bit of activity up until a few weeks ago when everything with the peregrines seemed to go quiet.  This could definately mean that a new nesting site on the property had been chosen and incubation was underway.  As we were setting out to investigate further, a female flew in from lakeside and landed low on one of the stacks.  I was able to snap a few, albeit blurry, pictures of the female before she flew off around the plant and disappeared from our sights.  I will be visiting the site again soon to determine where the nest is located and update you on the peregrine activities.  A very big thank you to the OPG staff, and especially Jill, who took the time with me to support their local peregrines.  Check back in soon for further updates on the progress of this year’s nest.

!!! Checking In on the OPG Nanticoke Peregrines

November 24, 2011 - Nanticoke OPG

Tracy Simpson Reports:

This week I have been delivering Project School Visit to students throughout the Haldimand area and have been having a fabulous time.  Yesterday, I was joined at Walpole North Elementary by Jacob Clements from OPG Nanticoke, the sponsor for the school, where we enjoyed the morning sharing the story of the Peregrine falcon with almost 100 students.  Afterwards, Jacob took me down to the plant for a check in with the territorial female residing there.   It was just this past June that the CPF and OMNR were at the site banding the three young hatchlings; the first hatch in the plant’s history.  At the time, there was no territoial male to speak of and according to our on-site eyes, Ulrich Waterman, there had been a fierce battle between two males that most likely left Marla with no male at all.  My goal was to check in and see if anything had changed for the resident female as available males migrating through may have stopped and stayed.

After checking in with security, Jacob and I toured the grounds of the plant looking for signs of peregrines.  As we were coming around to the lake side, I caught sight of a male and female peregrine moving west towards the stacks and then, out of nowhere, another female peregrine came at them in hot pursuit.  The male circled one of the stacks and landed on the light while the two females were having it out.  One female landed on the lower elevation of the plant after launching a stoop attack on the other female.  The female on the roof turned out to be Marla, the red tape over her UPFW band apparent in the pictures I was able to take.  The other female took off from our view leaving the resident female to sit, very agitated and alarm calling, on the plant roof.  Moments later, Marla took off again in pursuit of what we now knew was a challenging adult female in her territory.  The pursuit took them around the plant and out of our view for a few moments until Marla returned and made her way up to the light on the stack opposite her new male.  As we came around the west side of the plant, the interloper took off from a low position and flew a very low and very powered flight around the plant and off towards the lake.  As Jacob drove me back to my vehicle, both Marla and her male were kiting above the stacks together and then headed off to the north.   

While I was unable to identify either the new male or the rogue today, it is exciting to see that Marla now has a mate.  As the OPG Nanticoke plant is not a facility that is open to visitors, the CPF, Ulrich Waterman from BC International and Jacob Clements from OPG are going to continue to be your eyes and ears on your local pair of peregrines.  We will post all of the news and pictures on our website so that you can stay in touch with Ms. Marla and her new mate.  A huge thank you to Ontario Power Generation Nanticoke for sponsoring the Haldimand area schools this week and a special thank you to Jacob Clements for attending the presentation and taking time with me at the plant for a check in.  Your support of the peregrines at the plant and our education program is so greatly appreciated!!

!!! A great day at Nanticoke OPG and some very good news!! Marla Black 15 over Black X with hatchlings!

June 09, 2011 - Nanticoke OPG

Mark Nash Reports:

Thursday June 9th
We have some good news to report from the Nanticoke Ontario Power Generation plant! After spending a great day with plant staff doing presentations for environmental week, we are very happy to report that their earlier reports of peregrine nesting activity has been confirmed.

Both Tracy and I had a great morning with approx. 70 OPG plant staff and four members of our feathered educational team. A huge thank you to Ulrich for bringing in his two eagles that joined us for the morning presentation. A very good morning indeed!

The afternoon was spent with plant staff investigating their earlier reports of peregrine activity and we have some further good news to report.

OPG Nanticoke has their first pair nesting peregrine falcons! We were able to both confirm the identity of the resident female peregrine as being a 2009 Etobicoke produced bird named Ms. Marla, banded with a Black 15 over Black X. We were also able to confirm that she has new recently hatched young! The now so good news has yet to be confirmed.

Earlier reports from the OPG plant staff is that there has been ongoing territorial disputes going on with another adult male, the staff have witnessed aerial between the two males earlier on in the week.

A resident male was not observed at all during our visit, and other observations recorded during our visit would suggest that there may not be a resident male attending.

We watched the Ms. Marla fly in to the net ledge with food and feed her offspring with no signs of a resident male. We also observed a Turkey vulture flying overhead during this dame time period, and at no time did we see a resident male defending or present anywhere.

On two separate occasions during our one plus hour observation period, the resident female Ms. Marla called out looking for her mate, but once again, no male ever responded or attended.

Speculation that the resident male may have been injured in the earlier aerial battles with the other male peregrine and may have succumb to injuries sustained in a battle and has been killed.

It is very odd to see the resident female with new hatchlings having to leave the nest to get her own food, as the resident male is usually supplying her with food directly to the nest ledge at this stage of family rearing with new born hatchlings in the nest. While the pair usually have a number of food cache spots where the male stashes fresh food that they can both draw from, and occasionally the resident female will leave new hatchlings to draw from these stashes herself, it is the male that usually delivers food directly to her, to the nest ledge to feed the chicks.

Further to this, Marla called out and loudly vacuolized on several occasions during our visit to attract the attention of her mate, but no response was ever heard, and no male was ever seen.

The fact that the Turkey vulture was allowed to come this close to the nest ledge un challenged by the adult male (especially with new hatchlings on the nest ledge), might also suggest the absence of a resident male. While it is entirely possible that the resident male may have simply been out hunting or taking a break on another part of the plant out of eye sight of the nest and his mate, the entire situation remains very suspicions indeed.

Further observations are needed to get a better handle on the situation before any hard conclusions can be made.

On a more positive note, the nest ledge is a great spot that is hidden under a huge conveyor belt structure with only a single accesses in and out to a completely closed-in portion of the superstructure frame underneath the conveyor superstructure , and it provides ideal protection both from the elements and any avian predators that might be in the neighbourhood.

The abundance of available food sources in the area also offer more than enough food and all in all, this is a fantastic location and nest site for the peregrines.
Stay tuned……..