Thursday, April 9, 2015

Neighborhood Merlin

A few weeks ago I was out the door a few minutes early on a Friday morning in order to get to a Natural History conference - as I got to a stop sign a block away I saw a small bird on a neighbors snag and turned down that road to get a closer look.  Sure enough - a Merlin, and it had prey.  I called my wife and asked if she could get my camera bag and bring it to the door to save me from having to go get it... a couple minutes later I was photographing the bird as it consumed what I later determined to be a House Sparrow (non-native/invasive species, so as prey items go this was a great choice!).

On my way home from the conference it was snowing and I hoped the Merlin would be there - but I wasn't in luck.  My wife returned home a few minutes later to report she saw an Osprey nearby so I headed out to try and get a shot of that bird in the snow which certainly would make for an unusual shot.  By the time I got to the location the Osprey was gone, but as I returned back home, who was there waiting for me?  The Merlin.

The next morning as I left to go look for birds - I lucked out a 3rd time.  There was the Merlin on the same tree and this time the sun was actually shining!  What a treat.

Haven't seen the bird since (it has likely migrated north as they don't breed this far south) but this morning while running near the Swan River I saw two falcons - I'm quite confident they were Peregrines but have only seen them around here once and it's possible they were Merlin.  Either way, anytime you get to see a falcon this close (to me AND to my home) it's a real treat.

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