Sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time. I had the pleasure of showing a guest around Irvine yesterday managing to escape from my desk for a bit of time in the field.
As we toured the land and discussed current and future projects, we were lucky enough to see some of Irvine’s wild inhabitants on display. We checked on a nest frequented annually by owls and hawks; we observed the resident northern harrier hover over and plunge into the warm season grasses of our meadow; and we watched the red-tailed hawk circle high above looking for prey.
I steered us towards Irvine’s new property, Bauer Preserve, opening to the public sometime this year, and we stopped to see a male kestrel swoop from his perch in search of tiny game then return to the pin oak and bob his tail. I mentioned how I hoped he would find a mate and settle into one of our new kestrel boxes later this spring.
After finishing the tour and heading home, my wife asked me to unload the hay and stack it in our barn. Once I had finished I took a moment to enjoy the last sunshine of the day. I glanced into a large cherry tree and saw an immature bald eagle take flight and circle high into the sky. It was the first I had seen actually on our farm.
Later that evening I mentioned my good fortune to a birding friend and he reminded me that now was the time to catch some of these birds finding mates, nesting, and producing offspring. He reminded me that the larger birds tend to nest first, followed by increasingly smaller birds (there are always exceptions).
So get out there and enjoy the good birding before the foliage makes it harder to spot nests and perching raptors, but always remember to be respectful of the wildlife and stick to the trails if venturing to Irvine!