Thursday, June 7, 2012

What a catch!

The other day while at the Goleta slough a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) flew from its perch above the slough over to the beach and very quickly came back with its prey. I didn't get to see the catch, so I didn't even know what kind of bird it was until I looked at the photos on my computer. The second photo below shows that the peregrine caught a rock pigeon (also known as flying rats or Columba livia). Of all the times I have seen peregrines, this is the first time I have seen one with prey. Peregrine's diets mainly consist of birds and they often times catch them in mid air. It was exciting to get to finally see one with a successful catch!

An overcast Monterey Bay day

These photos are from May 12 (Yes, A whole month late on posting them!) while on the Monterey Bay Whale Watch boat. It was a very overcast day, which if you don't live in the area- is very, very common. We saw about 20 humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) along with some risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus) and pacific white sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens).

The first series is of the humpbacks that we saw doing some interesting behaviors. They were mostly doing pec slaps- slapping the water with their big pectoral fins. We saw a few breaches and tail slaps from a distance as well.
Humpback fluke

Humpback whale with a risso's dolphin (dorsal fin to the left of the whale)

Two humpback whales slapping their pectoral fins
Humpback whale slapping the water and making a big splash.

The next series is of the dolphins we saw along side the boat. The pacific white sided dolphins were riding in our wake, bow riding and along side the boat. A few were jumping out of the water and spinning (which is a common behavior for spinner dolphins, but rarely seen in white sided dolphins).
Pacific white sided dolphin along side the boat

Pacific white sided dolphin spinning while jumping out of the water.

Risso's dolphin.
Rhinoceros auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) taking flight.