We went away for the weekend up to a bed and breakfast in Gualala - the Breakers Inn
a bit on the expensive side but they have pretty nice rooms with great decks that look out over the Gualala river where it comes into the ocean. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky all weekend and no fog either - fall really the best time of year on the Northern California coast.
So there I was sitting on the deck enjoying the sunshine and checking out the seagulls and other water fowl hanging out in the river when all of a sudden they are all flying up in the air (often a sign that a predator is in the area) and so I am looking around in this swarm of birds and there it is a juvenile Peregrine Falcon. He takes a couple of stoops on some water fowl, like 3 or 4 times but nothing doing so he starts heading up the river just a few hundred yards and sees a lone water fowl in the river, next thing I know the Peregrine is diving in on this bird from 15 to 20 feet above the water, coming in from the right and then back from the left, each time the water fowl would avoid being hit by ducking into the water at the last minute - this went on for what seemed like over 5 minutes, I gave up counting how many times he stooped in on the bird after about 40.
So this Peregrine is really determined (probably real hungry) and finally gets the killer blow on the water fowl. He lands on the shore and rests for a few minutes then is back at it, but this time trying to pick the kill up out of the water, takes awhile but he finally grabs it; too heavy to pull out of the water so he flys just out of the water for a bit before dropping in the water and swimming the last 10 feet to the shore.
After a short rest he starts to pluck the feathers and eat some of it. But life is not easy at the top of the food chain. Some Turkey Vultures and Ravens move in and start hanging around the Peregrine. He did not get to eat too much of it before the Ravens move in a steal it from him, they flew off with the kill and the Peregrine tried to pursue and they all went out of my view from there; I doubt the Peregrine was going to get anymore of it at that point.
This was the craziest bird sighting I have ever witnessed - would have been really cool to have a video camera, although it probably would not due the sighting justice.