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    The Blacks Beach Sentinels

    Eerily in the pre-dawn light, where everything seems to take on
    an otherworldly patina, the shrill cries echo off of the massive
    sandstone cliffs looming over Scripps Canyon. At once
    haunting and majestic, this is merely the aural interplay
    between the Blacks Beach Peregrine falcons and their newly
    fledged offspring. And the sound is unmistakable – a sharp
    rip in the sky, unique to these magnificent birds of prey.
    The Blacks Beach Peregrine family has been living and
    reproducing on the scrape above the Lifeguard Perch since
    2006, astounding beachgoers who witness them performing
    impossible aerobatic maneuvers and precision strikes upon
    unsuspecting prey. By far the fastest members in the animal
    kingdom, these raptors are, for want of a better term, “living
    missiles”: A Living Missile
    Blacks Beach local Will Sooter has been observing, collecting
    behavioral data and photographing the ever-evolving family of
    Peregrines which reside at Blacks Beach since 2006, when
    lifeguards Brian Zeller and Eric Jones pulled him from his
    research on a migratory Peregrine falcon at Torrey Pines
    Natural Reserve, and told him that they believed there was a
    Peregrine breeding pair further south at Pinecone Canyon.
    Upon investigation by Will determined that the Peregrines
    observed at Pincone where the first breeding pair at this locale in
    half a century. He arranged for a rappel of the cliff and his
    partner Scott Francis placed USFWS identity bands on 3 eyasses
    (chicks) that year.

    Since then, the female Falcon has produced 32 offspring
    (although the female remains the only original member; she is
    on her third Tiercel mate). And during the late Spring, the
    fledglings careen and shriek all along the canvas of sandstone;
    learning to hunt and survive as their parents fly protectively
    above. This is the spectacle which causes everyone on the
    beach to turn their backs to the Pacific ocean and stare,
    fascinated, at the faunal interplay taking place along the
    timeworn cliffs. It’s actually pretty amusing: people entranced
    not by the sea, but seemingly hypnotized by the sandstone
    massif directly East. And woe is the sandpiper or pigeon (or
    snake or squirrel) that lets down its guard for even an instant –
    at 200 mph the encounter is swift, silent and lethal.

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