1 EAGLETON NOTES: A First: Merlin

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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

A First: Merlin

It's not the first Merlin I've seen on the Island by any means but it's the first one I've seen sitting on a post in my garden. It was there for only a short time and, sod's law, I had a macro lens on the camera and the Big Lens was in the boot of the car. So I had to make do with a 200mm lens through a window at an oblique angle. I just managed a shot before it departed at speed. I say 'it' because it's either a female or a young male. The garden has been strangely devoid of sparrows this afternoon so I assume it's still lurking.


Post script to this post: Well I apologise for misleading everyone. I have seen many Sparrowhawks and photographed them too. What made me not even think of this one being a sparrowhawk was the fact that it was so small: about the same size as a blackbird. However I have now had a more analytical look at it and the determining factor is the wings. I should immediately have noticed. When one sees a sparrowhawk the short stocky wings are very noticeable when compared with the long sharp wings of the Merlin.

Post post script: As my next post will show. It was a Merlin after all. I should have had the courage of my convictions.

36 comments:

  1. Oh, I know how fast birds can be! You did well to get this shot. I thank you for snapping it and sharing it here. I have never seen one.

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    1. Well, Kay, you still haven't seen one. I made a mistake in my identification. However I was still fortunate to get the shot.

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  2. Nice photo. Beautiful green moss carpet on that post. Its no wonder it chose that spot.

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    1. Maywyn the atmosphere is both damp and clean: a great place for mosses and lichens.

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  3. You must have had a rapid reaction Graham to have taken this photo ?

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    1. Heron I don't think I've ever changed a lens so quickly.

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  4. We have a merlin in the neighborhood most of the year. I wish we'd get a second and that they would do away with the house sparrows.

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    1. Red we have Merlins here. Unfortunately on reflection this is not one of them.

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    2. I thought I saw Merlin in my yard once, but I was wrong. It was Gandalf.

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  5. Last Monday I saw about 8 Sparrow Hawks sitting in line on a telephone wire. I think they must have been holding a meeting; very strange.

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    1. Ah. A kettle of hawks, Cro. How unusual.

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  6. Never mind not having the "right" objective at hand, Graham - it has turned out a good picture! I would have never been able to take it.

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    1. Meike with the right piece of equipment you'd have had no problem.

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  7. It's a fabulous photo, correct lens or not!
    It would be a privilege to have such a close encounter with a bird like this

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    1. Well, Kylie, it was still a good experience. I just got the bird wrong in my excitement.

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  8. Great photo anyway Graham. I always struggle with what lens to take when going out on the farm... the one I usually need is not the one that I usually take... Murphy's law.

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    1. Lynda I find that most of the time I only use two lenses. Life was so much simpler when I commuted between here and New Zealand and used a versatile bridge camera for lightness when travelling.

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  9. Isn't that always the way - wrong lens on the camera! Great shot regardless, how wonderful to see it sitting there.

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  10. Posh bird and posh wasp....Things are looking up on Lewis.

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    1. Adrian the bird wasn't as posh as the wasp unfortunately.

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    2. posher than a wood pigeon, I see lots of pigeons.

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  11. I've never seen either bird but this one looks mighty impressive to me, regardless of its name. Good of you to provide a soft carpet for it to land on. Sorry, on which to land.

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    1. Pauline, I have long ago given up on worrying about ending sentences with prepositions. In fact I sometimes even split infinitives these days.

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  12. It wasn't wearing a pointy hat with stars on and it wasn't waving a wand so it can't be a Merlin.

    To tell you the truth, online photos of the two hawks make it hard to differentiate.

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    1. YP, they are easily mistaken, particularly as the female sparrowhawk can be quite small. However I shouldn't have been so set on concentrating upon the overall size because the wing lengths are quite different and, I'm ashamed to say, I knew that but overlooked it.

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  13. Its a fine specimen what ever it is. Nice shot too.

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    1. Thanks Dianne. It is rather splendid isn't it.

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  14. I agree...no matter what specimen he is, he is a beauty.

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  15. I think I commented on FB... Anyway I like this image of the bird, whatever his/its name may be. Its pose kind of reminds me of a "gentleman" formally dressed in a tail-coat, standing with his hands behind his back. (The smaller birds in your garden may not agree on the gentleman part, though, I suppose.)

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    1. Yes, Monica, as you know most of the discussion took place on Facebook otherwise I'd have carried on in blissful ignorance.

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  16. It reminds me of a rather stern old fashioned headmistress. In fact, we had one who looked rather like that!

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    1. Jenny it does, doesn't it: with hands firmly clasped behind her back under her gown.

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  17. Yes birds are very fast, I've tried photographing waxeyes but they are too quick for me.

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    1. Amy a friend in Auckland had lots of waxeyes in her garden. As you say, they are difficult to photograph. I must see if I ever got one good enough to have blogged about it on my New Zealand blog. I know I did photograph one which banged into the ranch slider of The Cottage but that doesn't count- it was motionless!

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