All Three Kids Flying High at Stoney Creek!!

July 07, 2014 - Stoney Creek

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Bruce and I decided yesterday that we needed to get out on a road trip and Stoney Creek was on the agenda.  We both have quite an affinity to Athena and Craig as we have been tracking them and their activities for the past two years now.  We were both elated when we found them in the quarry with young and were now itching to see how well they were all doing.

When we first arrived at the quarry, there wasn’t a bird in sight.  We checked the nest cavity and scanned the top wall but were unable to see a single bird.  We checked the ages of the young ones and they are all now between 45 and 50 days of age.  Too old to still be in the nest we hope and yet too young for any major off campus travels.  We scrambled into the car and decided to circle the concession to see if we could spot anyone from the various angles on the sideroads.  Our first circle to the west netted nothing.  Then a circle to the east.  Still nothing.  Back to the top end of the quarry we went and just then a Turkey vulture came in really low over the top of the quarry.  If anyone was home this big bird was about to get run out of town.  Blam!!  In comes Athena and gives it a whack.  The vulture struggled to regain its composure when Whap, another strike by Athena.  The vulture beat a hasty retreat out of the territory and we scrambled back over to the west side to see if this activity brought out any of the young ones.

As soon as we made our way down the road just past the entrance to the quarry we could see Athena flying above the open field to the north and we could clearly hear a juvenile calling.  Craig joined Athena in the swoop passes of the field and then next thing you know it, we had a young one in the air!  As it turns out, the juvenile was Ariel, the only female, and she was flying like mad after her mother.  They flew together back towards the quarry and disappeared from view behind the berm.  A moment later she was back and this time she was being chased. by a second juvenile.  This turned out to be Stoney and the two played a rough and tumble game of aerial chase of which Ariel felt the need to be really vocal about.  Two in view!!  Fantastic!!  They both circled back towards the quarry and again were lost from view behind the berm.  We didn’t have to wait long before they were back yet again and this time we had all three as Cameron decided to join in the fun.  Both Athena and Craig were also flying with them and at one point we had all five birds present and flying together.

The rest spot for the young ones was the same hydro pole that Athena was roosting on the last time I was there.  Ariel and Stoney both landed on the wires and were content to sit their briefly for a rest.  Ariel took off down into the quarry while Stoney remained on the wire, but not alone.  A moment later, a Red Winged blackbird flew in and landed feet away from the young male.  Stoney didn’t quite know what to do with this information and so just sat there flipping his head in play at the blackbird who did not find Stoney equally amusing.  After a minute or two, the blackbird took a run at little Stoney, knocking him off the wire and grabbing his tail as they went.

We left the family at rest in the quarry by mid afternoon and were feeling quite pleased to see that all three juveniles were doing amazing.  Thanks to Bruce for the wonderful outing and congratulations to the quarry for such a successful breeding season!!

!!! 3 Chicks Successfully banded at Waterford Vinemount Quarry in Stoney Creek Ontario!

June 15, 2014 - Stoney Creek

Marion Nash Reports:

Sunday June 15th - 2014
3 Chicks Successfully banded at Waterford Vinemount Quarry in Stoney Creek Ontario!

June 15 was banding day for 3 healthy peregrine hatchlings - 2 males and 1 female.

We were met by Ian from the Waterford Vinemount quarry today along with Anne Yagi from the Vineland district office of the OMNR,,, John Miller, CPF’s volunteer rock climber and Bill and Sue from Burlington who were all willing to come out on their own time, (Sunday, and Fathers Day) to help get the young peregrine falcon hatchlings banded.

It took some time to work out the safest way down to the nest to collect the chicks as there was no where for John to anchor his ropes. A huge thank you to Ian who drove one of the Quarries giant wheel-loaders out to the field behind the nest site so we had something substantial for John to tie off too and attach his climbing lines to.

CPF fledge watch coordinators Bill and Sue from the Burlington lift bridge nest site came out to help to man the two way radios to communicate with John, Mark and Ann while Sue assisted myself and Anne manned the banding table.

Bill stayed at the upper parking area to direct both John and Mark via 2 way radio communication to direct them into the nest ledge spot overhead and keep an eye on the adults as they prepared the ropes and collection equipment for the decent down to the nest on the cliff face.

John did a incredible job safely extracting the chicks while Mark from the CPF lowered the carrier down to John, then down to Ann who was waiting at the base of the quarry floor below to receive them. Everything went exactly as planned and very smoothly despite all of the distractions.

All 3 chicks checked out very healthy and I must admit, were some of the most aggressive and feisty peregrine hatchlings that I have every had the pleasure to handle!

They were all hiss and talons, each one quite happy to strike out grab my gloves with their feet and talons and aggressively lash-out and bite hands throughout the entire process!
Actually, nice to see such healthy aggressive attitudes!

Anne and I banded the chicks as quickly as we could since poor John was still hanging out over the edge on the cliff face while trying to keep the adults distracted and busy so that they would not realize we had removed their chicks.

Throughout the entire process, the resident adults had quite a time indeed, as they successfully defended their nest and territory against several Turkey Vultures that were flew overtop and into the Quarry air space, in addition to dealing with the remote controlled gas powered model air planes and at least one remote controlled powered gas model jet that was being flown by others from across the concession road,, overtop, in and around of the Quarry during the entire banding process. It was a very busy airspace for sure!

We processed all 3 hatchlings through the banding in about 30 minutes, checked them over to make sure they were healthy, gave them each a drink of water took some photos and it was back to John to place them back in the nest.

The first chick a male was 606 grams at 24 days old and was named Stoney

The second was a female weighing 868 grams and the oldest at 28 days she was named Ariel by Ian’s daughter.

The third chick, another male was 602 grams and was given the name Cameron by Quarry staff.

We were able to confirm that the resident adults nesting at the Waterford Quarries are in fact Athena and Craig (both resident adults are in fact banded and known to us as being the resident territorial adults that attempted to nest in another area in Stoney Creek in a microwave dish on a communications tower last year).

I can say that they were very happy to see their chicks back on the nest no worse for ware and went out hunting for lunch for the little ones as soon as they were sure they had succeeded in chasing John and Mark off the cliff.

It was back to the more mundane duties of peregrine parenthood for the falcons.

An incredible day indeed, and a huge thank you to all that came out to support and help! What a fantastic team of caring people!!!
Stay tuned for the many photos to follow……..

!!! Banding Day at the Stoney Creek nest site!

June 15, 2014 - Stoney Creek

Mark Nash Reports:

Sunday June 15th - 2014
Stay tuned for the updated news on banding news later today for the Stoney Creek hatchlings.

Huge News!!! Athena Has a Hatch at the Quarry!!

May 25, 2014 - Stoney Creek

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Yesterday Bruce and I went out to Stoney Creek to check in on Athena and her mate who we believe to still be Craig (but have yet to confirm) to see whether they have been successful in having a hatch yet.  We found Athena in the nest cavity with her wings cupped and standing elevated and we both positioned ourselves for hopefully a peek at what she had.

After about 10 minutes of Athena shuffling around in the cavity, in comes the male and lands just to the left with food.  Athena exited the cavity to take the prey and we could see in the scope view two tiny little white heads peeking up ready for dinner!!  The feeding took about 10 minutes during which time we could see the chicks fairly clearly and it looks as though they are about 5 days of age.  Because of the distance across the quarry we can’t say for sure if it is just two or exactly how old they are but there are kids in the house nonetheless!!

Congratulations to Athena and her mate!!  We will be out again to check on the chicks as they get older!

Nobody Home

March 10, 2013 - Stoney Creek

Sue McCreadie Reports:

Bill and I spent a couple of hours, both yesterday and today,  at the Stoney Creek nest site.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t find either Athena or Craig.

Craig and Athena Still Call Fruitland Rd Area Home

March 03, 2013 - Stoney Creek

Tracy Simpson Reports:

A delayed post but important nonetheless, I stopped by Stoney Creek to check on Craig and Athena a week ago and was pleased to find both on site.  I initially located Craig in the tower which was a challenge as he blended so well with the structure.  He was roosting the afternoon away and at first glance, no sign of Athena.  I was about to leave the site when I glanced down the road at Taylor Steel and found Athena roosting on an air vent above the shipping door.  The door opened a few times while she was there and trucks exited which garnered her attention.  Otherwise she was quite happy roosting there.  I couldn’t help but notice how much she looks like her mother, O’Connor from the Etobicoke Sun Life site, as she clearly claimed the vent she roosted on as hers.  She flew off of the vent after 20 minutes to the roof of Taylor Steel where she landed briefly before heading over to the tower to join Craig.  Last year, the pair were unsuccessful in hatching eggs and we will watch the progress of this pair this season to see where they choose to nest and whether they succeed.

Still Hanging In

December 14, 2012 - Stoney Creek

Sue McCreadie Reports:

Bill and I just returned from a visit to Stoney Creek.  When we arrived, one Peregrine was sitting on the very top arm of the tower.  As we got out of the car, it took off in a hurry towards the lake and right out of sight.  We drove around the area to see if we could find it anywhere, but no luck.  There was only one bird visible while we were there today.

Thought They Were Gone

October 01, 2012 - Stoney Creek

Sue McCreadie Reports:

Over the past 3 weeks, Bill and I have visited Fruitland several times looking for Craig and Athena.  We had been disappointed every time.  We were convinced they had migrated.  We took another trip on Monday and when we arrived Craig (17/Y) was sitting in the tower.  He was very alert, surveying the sky (we thought he must have been looking for Athena)  and had a full crop.  We waited around for an hour or so in the hope that Athena would appear.  No luck.  We decided to pack up but did our usual check of the drum from down the road.  To our surprise, Athena had been sitting on a beam, just above the drum, the whole time we were there.  Once we spotted her we drove back to the Fire Hall and even after seeing her location, she was impossible to spot from the ground.

Both Still Home

September 06, 2012 - Stoney Creek

Sue McCreadie Reports:

Bill and I spent some time at the Stoney Creek Site this mornings.  We arrived around 11:00 am and we found both birds at home and visible in the communications tower.  Dad, Craig 17/Y was sitting at the top totally surrounded by Starlings.  He was very busy watching the Starlings but never left his perch.  The female was sitting down lower in the tower tucked in behind a beam sleeping.

Still At Home

August 13, 2012 - Stoney Creek

Sue McCreadie Reports:

Bill and I spent some time in Fruitland this afternoon.  We we arrived there was one bird visible in the tower.  It must have been Dad because as soon as a few sprinkles of rain started he flew directly into “HIS” drum.  The other bird was not to be found.