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

David Provencher davidprovencher at sbcglobal.net
Tue Sep 27 22:04:47 EDT 2011


Years ago I watched a migrating Merlin go out of its way to hit a Great Blue
Heron in flight. Imagine that. The Merlin had no intention of eating the
Great Blue (how could it?) but it couldn't pass up the chance to hit
something. After the Merlin hit the Blue the Heron actually turned in flight
to face the departing falcon as if to say, "Come back here and try that
again!" The old saw about telling a distant Merlin from a Peregrine rang in
my head, "If it goes after whatever passes by, it's a Merlin."


Dave Provencher

Naturally New England

-----Original Message-----
From: ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org
[mailto:ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org] On Behalf Of
streatham2003 at aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 9:19 PM
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Subject: [CT Birds] Quaker Ridge - Some raptors and cool Merlin observation

 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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