Sunday, December 9, 2007

Titmouse and Merlin

I spent over 4 hours birding the neighborhood this morning. Near Stillforest and Meadowheath I was watching a nice-sized mixed species foraging flock in the trees when I heard a tapping sound. It was louder than woodpeckers usually make so I looked around and finally found a Black-crested Titmouse pecking at its reflection on a car's side mirror. I hope it didn't waste too much energy in this endeavor -- poor bird!
I found 40 species this morning which was actually a little lower than I expected. But there were a few good finds. A few Northern Cardinals and Bewick's Wrens were singing which is unusual for this time of year. Near the Amber Oaks corporate center drainage pond I found a Brown Thrasher. At about 11:15 I was on the T&C playing fields near the most downstream creek crossing. I was finally on my way back home when I saw a Merlin perched at the top of a willow tree. It let me get pretty close and I got these pictures. It made a few flights out over the creek which were neat to see -- Merlins are such strong and fast fliers. I think I've only seen one Merlin per year since I moved into the neighborhood so this was an exciting find! As I was watching this falcon about 55 Ring-billed Gulls flew over.

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