March 2nd, 2014
Low Tide: 0.6' @ 7:08 AM
We had a short and wet morning at Haystack Sunday, with an early low tide and some blustery winds. Our staff and volunteers were still able to interact with visitors though, with our highest count at 17 people in the intertidal.
We welcomed two new staff members to our HRAP team yesterday! Deborah Strock joined us on the beach for her first shift and Junior Interpreter Katie Corliss joined the rest of the staff for a training session at City Hall. Make sure to welcome them during your next visit to Haystack Rock!
The creature highlight of the day was waiting for us when we pulled up on the beach - a Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrines, was perched on top of the Rock! As the morning progressed, we were lucky enough to see the Peregrine defend it’s territory from a sub-adult Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, that came a little too close to Haystack.
Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrines)
(photo provided by: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/peregrine-falcon/)
Once an endangered species in the United States, Peregrine Falcon populations have made a great comeback since the outlaw of pesticides like DDT. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica, and particularly thrive on the coasts. Preferring wide-open spaces, look for Peregrines perching or nesting on tall structures like Haystack Rock. These birds perform spectacular aerial assaults when hunting. They catch medium sized birds in mid-air with swift dives, sometimes reaching speeds of 200 mph!
Distinguishing characteristics include a blue-gray coloration with significant barring underneath, a dark “helmet", and a dark “mustache” in adults. Peregrine Falcons have a long tail and long, pointed wings.
(photo and information above provided by: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/peregrine_falcon/lifehistory)
Other creature highlights included:
- 10 Pelagic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax pelagicus)
- 1 Brandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus)
- 2 Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani)
- 3 Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus)
- 1 Rufus Tipped Nudibranch (Acanthodoris nanaimoensis)
Come out and visit HRAP this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (March 7th - 9th) during low tide at Haystack Rock to see these and many more exciting creatures for yourself!