Mary, Gracen and I went back to Wacker today to see if we could get and egg count and leg bands for the adult female. We planned to stay for an hour or so and since the day was beautiful, we all felt that the female would be much more likely to stand up off of the eggs long enough to get her band numbers.
We met with Fred and caught up on his life while we rode the elevator to the top floor. When we got to the room off the ledge, I settled down in the corner to get the camera assembled while Mary, Gracen and Fred took a look out the door.
Joe was up in the air as soon as the door opened, swooping and diving down. The female glared from the southern nest box, packed down tight on her eggs. After a few minutes, Mary switched out with me and I took a few test shots. With the wonderful lighting, I figured the pictures would come out gorgeous, but I was a bit put-off when I checked and they seemed really blurry. I gave Gracen my binoculars and switched with her so she could watch while I checked the camera over. Everything seemed set perfectly. I rechecked and rechecked, but every single thing was spot on. Weird.
Gracen shut the door gently and we decided to give the pair some time to calm down before taking another look. So, we sat in that great room and chatted peregrines for a good long time. Gracen, new to the program, had a lot of questions and it was a great time for Mary to give her nice long answers.
After a bit, I opened the door again just a slit and caught the female up, readjusting the eggs under her. Joe was sitting on the ledge behind me. I snapped a ton of shots while she moved, but couldn’t be sure I’d gotten the bands. That sort of vexes me when that happens. I really like to be sure before I leave a site.
However, we’d really bothered this pair long enough, so it was time to leave them at peace. We packed up and I hoped I had the goods.
Later that night, I went through all of the shots. The good news is, I got the bands. Our girl Rahn (b/g 01/A) had returned to Wacker! Good to see her. But, the pictures were still a bit blurry. I talked it over with Sean and we went through all of the exif data. After looking at that, he was as puzzled as I was. The camera was set up perfectly for the conditions. What in the heck had happened?
My brilliant husband. He snapped his fingers and said, “Oh, wait a sec. It couldn’t be…”
Turns out, I’d bumped the tiny diopter dial on the eyepiece. D’oh.
Ah well, got the bands, that’s what counts. Welcome back, Rahn!