Monday, 25 February 2013

Merlin Distracts From Dire Patch Birding

I rarely take a photo I am actually proud off, I just don't have the patience or kit really. I suppose the Seaton Semi-P was my last.  

Friday last week, after spending an hour or so at the home of Devon's best Data Manager and Assistant County Recorder (with Brambling, Siskin, Blackcap, Bullfinch and Jay on view in the garden!), I made my way back home over Dartmoor.

Not far from Princetown, I was surprised to see a Merlin perched right beside the road.  It took me a while to find a place to turn round, so on my return I was expecting it to be gone. Amazingly it wasn't, and I managed to ease my camera out on the rucksack...

How annoying is that blade of grass though over the birds left wing!

In the past every time I have ever slowed down near a road side perching raptor, it flies off, so was beginning to think it was injured or maybe stunned after hitting a car.  But on opening my car door, it flew off and away over the hill!  Thinking about it it was very windy, so I reckon it was using the bank to shelter from the wind.

I love the photo so much I thought I'd experiment with cropping. I am pretty rubbish at cropping as you can see, but wanted to try all the different options. And do you know what - I think the original is best, which is very rare for me!

The same Merlin photo five times over!!!

Patch birding really has been disappointing. Gull numbers are on the up, but have found nothing amongst them. Great to see more Common Gulls though, Ring-billed feels like a real possibility.

Today I spent a couple of hours out and the best I managed was a drake Gadwall and the two Bar-tailed Godwits on the Estuary and 220+ Golden Plovers in the Bridge Marsh/Boshill area. Here's part of the biggest flock...

Back to my usual quality of photos :-)

Won't be around for a couple of days, with my next opportunity for patch birding probably being Thursday. Can the last day of February produce a patch year tick??


  1. Superb opportunist shot Steve. Glad you mentioned your imminent patch absence, so I shan't get more buttons too prematurely. I've put on 2 stone since the Green-winged Teal! ;o)

  2. Thanks both! And Gav - get those buttons - steves back home!