Friday, March 28, 2014

Merlin at Long Pond

 The calm before the storm lured me out for a walk on Wednesday. Long Pond was the most promising place to fit in a walk and enjoy the birds, too. Robins, Cedar Waxwings, chickadees and juncos were out and quite active.
 In fact the behavior of the robins and waxwings was peculiar. They were not enjoying the abundance of remaining berries, but rather were flying high and frequently. I wondered if it were their reaction to the impending storm.
 Near the end of my walk by the fluvarium, I heard and saw an aggressive flock of crows flying overhead.
 A closer look yielded this juvenile Merlin. Despite the mobbing, it seemed to continue on with its hunt. It was swift! I was really straining to see the field marks on this bird, because I thought the mustache was darker than usual. I wondered if it might be something other than a Merlin.
 I had about 30 seconds with the bird, quite long for a falcon, to try to get a good look and snap a few pictures. I knew my camera was set for the darker woods, so I worried my sky shots were going to be really weak or perhaps, yield no image at all.
Making a quick adjustment of the shutter speed, I went too dark. No time for correction.

I determined this bird was a juvenile based on the first photo in this series. The white spots on the wings, seen from above, according to Sibley, indicates a juvenile bird.

This was a great surprise! If there is only one Merlin in town, it is a very busy one as there have been reports from Cavell Avenue, to Churchill Square to Bannerman Park.

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