The Falcon Man of LaJolla

Photo courtesy of Will Sooter. Used by permission.

We like it when semi-retired folk often do strange things that they wouldn’t have dreamed of earlier in their lives – and we don’t mean changing their dinner time to 5 p.m.

La Jolla’s Will Sooter is a fine example of someone who discovered how fate, nature and a morning jog can transform a life. Eight year ago, beneath the sandstone bluffs on an early morning run, Sooter spotted a peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) in flight; that meeting eventually brought an artist out of a man who had regularly used disposable cameras.

In this month’s Audubon Magazine Online, writer Nick Neely tells the story of Sooter and his breathtaking images of falcons which has given this San Diegan not only professional fame but also an intimate view of the day-to-day lives of these ravishing raptors.

Here’s an excerpt:

When a falcon dives, or stoops, it clenches its yellow talons into a mallet and hammers its prey. Often the peregrine catches its stunned victim as it falls, but sometimes, over the ocean, it plummets into the waves. Then the falcon swings back and forth, like a pendulum, determined to snatch its quarry from the Pacific before a riptide siphons it away. Sooter often splashes into the surf up to his knees to photograph. He’s lost three camera bodies to lapping saltwater. “It’s not crazy,” Mendola, a longtime falcon lover, explains. “It’s just enthusiasm.”

Read the entire story here; and check out Sooter’s website that features some amazing images of peregrin falcons.

Brenda Rees, editor