Peregrine falcons were migrating south along the beach a couple of days ago.
I saw a post on the Audubon of Martin County Facebook page about a pair of birders counting 40 or 50 of them on the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 4 near the House of Refuge. I was heading out to Hutchinson Island anyway in the early afternoon so I stopped by for 10 or 15 minutes.
One after another, peregrine falcons were coming along the beach. Flap, flap, flap, glide. They were faced into the fierce onshore wind, both battling and using the gusts.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
Powerful and fast-flying, the Peregrine Falcon hunts medium-sized birds, dropping down on them from high above in a spectacular stoop. They were virtually eradicated from eastern North America by pesticide poisoning in the middle 20th century. After significant recovery efforts, Peregrine Falcons have made an incredible rebound and are now regularly seen in many large cities and coastal areas.
Also saw a few Frigatebirds. There have been more around lately, with our easterly winds.
Such a distinctive shape.
Next stop was a little further north on the island to Florida Oceanographic Society where I joined a workshop on Seagrass Collecting.
The F.O.S.T.E.R. program relies on community-based restoration efforts to restore seagrass habitat. With a growing volunteer base, F.O.S.T.E.R. restores seagrass by collecting and growing seagrass fragments in nurseries, constructing seagrass planting units, and transplanting living seagrass into the estuary.
We headed out to Stuart Beach to collect, in strong winds.
We saw more falcons while we were there. Weirdly exciting!
One of the world’s fastest birds; in power-diving from great heights to strike prey, the Peregrine may possibly reach 200 miles per hour. Regarded by falconers and biologists alike as one of the noblest and most spectacular of all birds of prey.