First lifer of 2011: Merlin

I thought it was going to rain 100% today, instead it was quite warm and springlike. Good time to go out for a long bike ride - to Terra Nova.

Towards Steveston, this Mute Swan was snoozing beside the road. Not really an ideal spot but I don't want to disturb it.

Sleepy Swan Beauty
Sleepy Swan

Mallards flying along the West Dyke Trail when a Northern Harrier flew by.

Beside the golf course, I spotted a small bird perched on the treetop, with a crow next to it. Looking through the binocular, at first, I thought it was a Peregrine Falcon. But then I realized it was way too small, which narrowed it down to either a female Kestrel or a Merlin (which I confirmed once I checked with my field guide at home).

Merlin (Falco columbarius)
Merlin (Falco columbarius) with faint malar stripe and brown streaking on its body.

Merlin (Falco columbarius)
What is it looking at?

The Crow! Note the big size difference. The Crow cawed and dive-bombed the Merlin several times.

Crow VS. Merlin
The Merlin fighting back! But it was chased away from the perch eventually. I thought it was gone until I saw it again shortly along the trail.

Merlin (Falco columbarius)

Merlin (Falco columbarius)

Merlin (Falco columbarius)
Beautiful bird!

Biking towards Terra Nova Natural Area.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Great Blue Heron

Male Hooded Merganser swimming in the slough.

S for Slough
The S-shaped boardwalk.

Hope the weather forecast will be wrong for the rest of the week.


John S. Mead said...

Very nice captures! Especially appreciate the mallards!

PSYL said...

Thank you, John.

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