A humid morning has given me a moment to punch out a blog. I like the title but not sure how the actual story telling is going to come across.
On June 6th I spent about 4 hours in Mississauga at the Mississauga Executive Centre, which is across Hurontario from Square One. There is a Peregrine Falcon nest site high up one of the office towers. This was my 2nd season for coming out to assist in the watch at MEC. We struggle with volunteers at MEC, much like many of the Peregrine sites these days. So I've made the time to come out during 2017 and 2018.
Peregrine fledge watches can be long, if you chose to make them so. They can be rather dull for lengthy amounts of time. Then when things start happening, it's a bit of a rush. I admit to having some freak out moments in my mind when the young birds are on the move.
This year at MEC there was only one hatch. Her name is Gigi. But this isn't about Gigi. This is about her mother, Midnight.
I've known about Midnight for a few years now. She was born in 2011, in Canton, Ohio. She is daughter to Mystic and Maverick.
Midnight used to nest north of my work at the Brampton court house. I'd heard about the site but never visited.
Over the last few years I have spotted one or two Peregrine Falcons roosting on an office building corner ledge by the Pepsi plant. There were times it was rather steady for weeks on end. Then lulls with no birds. It seemed to be more of an early Spring and early Autumn thing for whatever reason. The ledge of choice was not a good spot in the winter months as there is no shelter from the winds. There was a time when there was 3 Peregrines about this building. My friends Tracy and Bruce headed out that weekend and ID'd Midnight as one of the birds. So even after this, when I would spot a lone Falcon, I would think it was Midnight even though I would refer to this bird as "The Pepsi Peregrine". I never saw it on our plant but since it would seem I was the only person watching it and could see the bird from our parking lot, why not?
Two Peregrine Falcons on this building near the Pepsi plant. Revenue Canada is located here, it's at 5800 Hurontario. The birds normally sit at the north/west corner but sometimes the north/east too. I usually don't post locations to anything but maybe someone will catch this blog, know the area, and perhaps notify me of future sightings either here or in the vicinity. A scope would be needed to positively ID any banded Falcon sitting up on those ledges, but sightings are appreciated nonetheless.
An odd afternoon at Rev Can, one Peregrine chilling out with 2 Turkey Vultures above.
If you've followed my blogs the last while, especially in the winter, you know I embrace these wild moments near work... it's like a time out from my job. I forget the work day even for a couple minutes, which is sometimes all I need.
So a couple years ago Midnight left the Brampton court house site and wound up just south of my work at the Mississauga Executive Centre.
Anyway, that's some back story for you about Midnight. Let's get back to this morning.
Midnight was quite attentive to her child being where she was, low on a ledge over the CIBC bank, at the corner of Hurontario and Robert Speck Parkway. Gigi was screaming away as young Peregrines do. Midnight had flown in and perched on a lamp post nearby. She would then fly to a low building not far off. Then to another lamp post. Keeping in sight with Gigi. It was obvious she was communicating with her child on where to go next, and get off that ledge. I wish I had thought of taking another shot here, getting Midnight and Gigi in the same frame. It was a cold wet morning and I was there at the crack of light pretty much, and it was a couple hours before I relaxed at the watch and brought out the camera.
It was a thrilling morning with Midnight because in my times of watching, I've not witnessed adults coming that low to the ground for their young. I've heard about it from others but never seen it with my own eyes.
Local Gulls came in at one point and picked a battle with Midnight. They were swooping her, screaming away. I should have taken shots of this but did not (my camera was still in the truck at this point). Midnight never left this spot for a long period, keeping watching on Gigi. The Gulls eventually gave up, flying over Square One way.
Then later on, as Midnight sat on a lamp post, a pair of Robins came out and gave her proper shit. They let out a steady flow of angry chirps at her which I can only assume translated to "get the #@$& out of here!". Midnight stood her ground, still staying focused on Gigi.
Midnight is right over Hurontario here. Funny how many cars sat under her at the stop light and I bet so few people took notice to her. How often does one see a Peregrine Falcon sitting on a lamp post?
Anyone who knows the Square One area, certainly knows these buildings down the street from MEC.
Another time she did a bold low fly by the bank, and I'm talking just over street level, passing Gigi. Tracy and I were like "holy shit!" It was early in the morning, traffic was light, but there was a bus coming down Robert Speck at that moment. A few seconds later and this could have been a terrible outcome for Midnight. I do like to believe she would not have done this if the road was not clear. It's just something I have never seen with a mother Falcon.
Midnight brought in some breakfast, much to Gigi's delight. She had spent the night on that low ledge and was probably very hungry by this time.
Midnight really added to my morning watch. Naming the birds really personalizes things. I suspect even if she was an unbanded nameless female, after this time with her, I may not have given her a name, but I certainly would not have forgotten her and the time spent watching her this day.
The hours spent at a watch can have a little pay off with these moments. It rocks for someone who likes to take photos. But you got to invest the time, focus on the birds (pun intended) and be prepared to put the camera down if a Falcon gets into trouble. I wish I kept the business cards I have been given by guys wanting to come out for photo opportunities, asking me to call them when things are good. Yes, this has happened a few times over the years. Do I ever call anyone? #-@-*-!-n-o spells FUCK NO!
Some of you know Gigi's story. Please keep it out of this blog. This is about Midnight. Thanks.