I’ve been grabbing Seattle’s ever-so-fleeting sun breaks to photograph a group of Caspian Terns who fish every evening on Puget Sound. I’ll post those shots soon. As I was packing up my tripod tonight, I saw the telltale movement and wing shape of a Peregrine overhead. She was riding the thermals up and out of my lens range, but her presence created chaos in Ternville. I shot a few frames of the altercation. These images are grainy and soft, but you get the idea.
At one point, the Peregrine went into a stoop (which can reach 200 mph) to ditch the two terns on her tail. When she returned, the terns were on her again. After a few mid-air contortions, twisting her body to aim her talons at the terns, the Peregrine finally bolted southwest to West Seattle . . . and the terns went back to fishing.
This Peregrine might be the same one I saw hunting pigeons at a local Fred Meyer parking lot. There’s a Peregrine nest in between the store and where I was shooting tern photos, so I’m sure the Peregrine couple covers some distance in either direction. The Fred Meyer Peregrine, incidentally, did not catch a pigeon in that parking lot. (Score one for those amazing flyers, the pigeons.) But it was a strange, urban/nature experience to walk out of the shop and see a Peregrine swooping low over cars. Of course, it was the one day I decided I didn’t feel like carrying my telephoto lens in my bag. The Peregrine was practically posing for me.
For some truly spectacular Peregrine Falcon shots, as well as other raptor and bird images, check out Glenn Nevill’s photography page. He chronicles the nesting Peregrines on San Francisco’s PG&E building and has a gorgeous portfolio of their lives, successes and hardships.