MerlinOctober 2009

The merlin is a small falcon, not much larger than a kestrel. Previously, I've only seen a merlin in the neighborhood once, about 4 years ago.

Recently, a merlin has settled around the Toftrees pond, where he has a favorite perch (and tanking up before continuing on the fall migration route). Unfortunately, that perch is some 400 feet away, making photography difficult.

Today, a red-tailed hawk drove the merlin off that perch, and the merlin settled to within a reasonable distance. The only photographic disadvantage was that I was on his shade side, so the merlin's colors are somewhat muted.

Falcons (and hawks in general) are extremely interested in the people observing them.

My camera might have made strange clicking sounds, but the merlin evidently decided I was okay and proceeded to preen.
In the midst of preening, it doesn't hurt to take observations all around.
The merlin adjusts his balance, and it was my one opportunity to show his chest pattern.
American kestrel taking off

When I was living on Long Island, a merlin once perched near a window one day, and I shot a whole roll of film (yes, back in the days of film) for a few good photos.

Photo note: I used a Pentax K200D, with the SMC 1000mm reflex lens, today on 4 October 2009, for the photos.

My Pennsylvania bird list

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