Friday, August 14, 2009

Fading Light

About a month ago, Early and Lexi were chasing each other and Early made an error and flew right into one of the windows of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. It scared everyone and it was loud. He fell into the scallops below the window but was up and flying shortly and seem to recover just fine. Several evenings over the next few weeks, the watchers said you could see the 'smudge' from where he hit the window just as the sun set and the light hit that pane of glass. I wasn't there to see it but last night I spent one last evening to hang out and hope for a glimpse of the kids and adults on Temple Square. It was cloudy but with some breaks of sun. I waited for that magic hour to see if I could get a shot of the smudge as the sun set. Nope. Couldn't catch a thing - from outside.

So I decided to go up to that floor of the building and get some photos of the grounds to show you; give you a flavor of the gardens, fountains and buildings. I walked to the observation area and took a couple photos. I then tried to figure out where that pane of glass might be with Early's smudge. Forgive me please, I couldn't resist. I entered an area that was off limits to the public. Really just a conference room. And there it was. What was to be my last photo of this season and a fitting goodbye to Early and Lexi.

Early's Smudge

Come dance with the west wind,
And touch all the mountain tops,
Sail o'er the canyons, and up to the stars,
And reach for the heavens,
and hope for the future,
And all that we can be, not what we are.
— John Denver

Northeast view from JSMB (really I am just above and right of the nest box). Both Early and Lexi made their first flight out of the nest box down to the gardens just below.

Some Final Thoughts
Bob Walters (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources) and I sat together last night watching one last time in hopes of seeing Early and Lexi. Around 9:00 we saw an adult fly off the COB going south. It then returned and seem to 'put in' for the night on the west shoulder. Soon after, Bob spotted another adult on the north face of the building up next to one of the copper window frames. No kids sighted anywhere. As the sky darkened we chatted about this season of watching the young-of-the-year. I was a little sad actually. I've enjoyed the time sitting in the beautiful gardens feeling the warm breezes and watching the skies for flights. I told Bob I was feeling sad it was over.

Bob responded that he is just grateful this year turned out so well. Some years he's seen birds break a wing or a neck flying into a building. There have been years that eggs didn't hatch or the horrible disaster of 2008 when all the eyases died a few days after hatching. We should be very happy with this year's outcome - it is, afterall, the best we can hope for he said. "It's really not our show - it's theirs."

'See' you all next Spring.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


August 5 - I received this note:

I went down to the square last night, around 8:55PM

We observed an adult on the office building, south eastern-most corner on the low shoulder, which seems to be a typical roost for the mother falcon. She disappeared shortly thereafter.

We walked into the square from the east, and then observed an adult falcon in the Low corner, south facing west side shoulder of the office building, which is where the adult tercel has been seen many times at dusk.

We then circled around the office building to north temple, and walked east on the north side of the road, and did observe the two kids sitting in the breezeways on the north face of the office building, both on the west side of the north face, one at 4 slots down, the other at 13 slots down, both in exactly the same spot (lower left hand corner of the slot).

We did not see any flying or crying, but saw at least 3 of the birds on the office building at one time.


Then this note from Bob Walters:

I found both adults on the evening of Friday, August 7 on the "shoulder" of the eastface of the tall COB and a short time later one of the pair on the "shoulder" on thesoutheast corner of the tall COB ... but no young-of-the-year.

August 11
Karl Wall reported that he searched in the usual places in the downtown area today(<4:26>Note: I will be spending Thursday night at the Temple grounds. If I don't see anything, I will write my final post on Friday and share some observations from the year of being a Towel person watching the falcons.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

July 31

When I leave for work each morning, I am weighted down with not only my purse and my gym bag, I now drag along clothes and my camera bag so that I can stay after work and watch the falcons. Its ridiculous how much stuff I carry around. So on Friday I had no plan to stay after work and left my camera behind to lighten my load. Big mistake. As I was driving home, I spotted a falcon on the ledge of the Utah One building right where that leftover meal from earlier in the week was still sitting.

My curiosity got the better of me, so I parked and walked over the the Walker building and took the elevator up to my perch on the 9th floor to get a better look. Sure enough, there was an adult picking at the carcass and just as I pulled out my binoculars the carcass fell off the ledge. It fell about 15 stories and landed on the sidewalk just missing a woman walking in her cute summer outfit and her high heels. Wow, I wished I had my camera. She stopped about 10 feet a way, looked at the dead bird, looked up in the sky, then looked at the bird again, then walked by. Woo wee. I raced down to the sidewalk and across the street to take a look. A headless, bodyless, pigeon as best I could tell. Kind of smelled bad too. I went back to my car, got a plastic bag, and picked up the remains and threw it in the nearest trash can (at the Carl's Jr.) Fun times in the life of a falcon 'watcher'.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Tonight I drove back south the few blocks to the One Utah Center building. I was sure I had seen adults on the building earlier in the day when I drove to work. There was a music fest going on at Gallivan Plaza. Rather loud and metallic. But I spotted both parents perched on the two skyscrapers in the right of this photo. Dad on the far blue building, Mom on the near tan building.

I rode the elevator up in the building just across. I was able to get just to the 9th floor but got a fairly good shot of this bird which I believe is the adult female.

Cropped a little closer. I also spotted another adult just one skyscraper south.

Fairly sure this is the adult male. You can click on any of these photos to get a larger image.
Another shot of the female. Quite fluffy.

I then drove up closer to where the kids were. Susan said they were putting on a great show on the north side of the church office building (28 story). Lexi is perched on the very top corner under the lamp. Early under.

Cropped a little closer.

In this shot, Early is perched on the crack just below Lexi.

Starting with this image, I am uploading the full size photos. When you click on these you should get a really large image and more detail.

Susan said Early was trying repeatedly to get Lexi to fly with him. He made several great flights around and around the building, coming back to land just below Lexi.

Lexi, then moved over a bit but didn't fly. Early keeps up the pestering.

And then Lexi joins in.

Be sure to click on the photos.

A very fast stoop. Then the light got too dim. Be back Monday.