Road Trip to Morro Bay

The last time Katherine and I visited Morro Rock (in April) we hoped to see Peregrine Falcon babies. The babies on the north side of the rock were just beginning to fly and the babies in the nest on the south side had yet to show themselves.

We headed back to Morro Bay about three weeks later to see if the south side babies had made an appearance.

When Katherine and I take road trips, we never hurry (and this was a lesson I had to learn early in our relationship!). We stop frequently to explore or eat with a view. During our breakfast stop on the first day, we were delighted to see a large pod of dolphins swimming and surfing by…

Dolphins off the coast of Highway 1

The dolphins swam north and we thought the show was over until they swam back! They swam back and forth for several minutes. We probably spent about forty-five minutes watching them as we ate. It was a great start to our trip!

Eventually we made our way to Morro Bay. There are plenty of things to see besides the Peregrines we were hoping to see.

Below, a sea otter leaps out of the water as it plays with another…

Sea Otters at play in the bay

A Great Egret hunting…

A glossy Pelagic Cormorant fishing…

A pair of Western Gulls…one will take a fish out of the other’s mouth! That’s love…

Sadly (?) the Cycle of Life was being enacted on the beach by Turkey Vultures feasting on and fighting over a dead Sea Lion…

Turkey Vultures playing tug of war with sea lion remains

However, not all sea mammal stories end in tragedy. Employees of the Marine Mammal Center field office in Morro Bay rescued an injured juvenile sea lion…

The birders we’ve met have all been very friendly and often tell us where to find other birds. Bob, who watches the Peregrines daily, directed us to a location to see juvenile Red-tailed Hawks and juvenile Great Horned Owls…

Red-tailed Hawk juveniles eating
Three juvenile Great Horned Owls. I at first never saw the two on the left…they blended in so well with the rocks

What about those Peregrine Falcon chicks we came to see? Well, Katherine and I went over to check out the south side nest and…two chicks approached the front of the hole where their nest was! Katherine was technically the first person that we know of to see these chicks! Bob hadn’t even seen them yet.

Two little balls of fluff peering from the edge of their home
Adult Peregrine Falcon driving away a Western Gull who flew too close to the nesting site (“close” being relative)
Juvenile (in the back) and adult Peregrine Falcon from the north side nest
Juvenile Peregrine Falcons from the north side nest. One is playing with a stick…apparently a common activity

Katherine and I saw the south side babies come to the edge of their nest hole two days in a row…very exciting. Bob told us that the babies usually fledge when they are around forty-four days old. He thought the ones we saw, based on my photos, were about 22 or 24 days old. We would like to go back to see them fly.

Another fun adventure in Morro Bay!

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