[CT Birds] Quaker Ridge - Some raptors and cool Merlin observation

streatham2003 at aol.com streatham2003 at aol.com
Tue Sep 27 21:18:36 EDT 2011

 Hi All,

After a really pretty decent day yesterday (totaling 432 raptors) we had a better than expected day today. Although only totaling 84 birds today it was certainly better than expected considering visibility was low all the way through to late in the day (and even then not perfect). It seems like even on these less than ideal winds raptors are moving, especially those that do so under their own steam. 

Without any NW winds however, there is little to concentrate raptors here in CT apart from natural barriers such as LI Sound and they seem to be moving on a broad front. I'm imagining much the same is happening with passerine migration too. This weekend (the weekend of the Audubon Greenwich Hawk Festival) should give us some idea of what else is still out there though as the weather and winds look set fair for a good day.

Today's highlight at the watch was spotting a Merlin that was soaring directly over the building. Every now and then it would maneuver so as to grab a passing Monarch. It never tried to eat any of the Monarchs although it caught 3 or 4 so I am assuming it must have known they weren't good eating but continued to snag them anyway. Made me wonder what it was up to? Either just messing around and/or honing its hunting skills, I can't believe it was grabbing them first and only realising as it caught them that they weren't edible? Kind of interesting to ponder and sure as hell fun to watch. A week or so back I managed to get a couple of nice shots of a passing Merlin that stopped in to grab a House Sparrow, a much heartier meal than any Monarch: http://underclearskies.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/merlin3.jpg 

Luke Tiller, Greenwich



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