As we hiked through the desert scrub of Punta Santa Teresa, we came across one of the natural world’s greatest performances. Two peregrine falcons perched above the Sea, one atop a huge boulder that formed a cliff above the crashing waves, and one atop a giant cardon cactus a few hundred feet inland. We knew them immediately, even from afar, their posture and form indicitive of the great hunter. They allowed us to watch them at rest for a few moments, and then they both flew, far out to sea and rising among the frigate birds and the pelicans.

As they climbed high on the rising air, we also noticed a group of eared grebes below them. These are a small bird, like a tiny duck, that is common in this part of the sea. For the next 15 minutes we were witness to the peregrines stooping, a mighty fall from above where they reach tremendous speeds and attack their prey with a deadly blow of the talons. These grebes were wary though, stoop after stoop was unsuccessful, the grebes diving below as the vicious shadows came near, only to see the peregrines rise again for another dive.

 

We watched this dance until they were out of sight. We climbed the boulder where the peregrine first sat, and we found one single wing, the markings of which matched perfectly those of the eared grebe.

 

 

Update: As we mentioned before, we are on a mission to see every bird in Baja, and hopefully some interesting stories to go with them. Of the 250 birds that Sibley says should be here, we have now positively identified 89, one of which was not supposed to be found here. For any fellow bird nerds out there, we’ll keep updating as we close in on triple digits.