Falcon!  The Merlin.
 
This small raptor is slightly bigger than our American kestrel.
I am used to seeing a few merlins each winter at Jordan Lake.
But, oh my, this morning at the dam, a merlin came in and made my day shine!!!
Note that in the last picture he was quickly leaving me and my camera behind.
Like all falcons the merlin is a speedy raptor!!
 
 
 

Jordan Lake Dam Birds

I was sitting on top of the dam this morning thinking that I needed to post some birds for all of you.
I was bemoaning the fact that I didn’t have any decent bald eagles to show you …
and then these two bald eagles flew past.
The top bird is a 4 year old and the lower bird is a 5 year old.
They got to about midway between the Haw River and the New Hope River and they each went a different way.

This bright-eyed falcon is a merlin.
I was surprised to see one this early in the migratory season – I usually see a few about the first of November.

There were so many killdeer swooping and calling at the dam that I thought I was at the beach this morning.

Yep, those are acorns – a total of 4 of them (hard to see the 4th one) – all stuffed in the beak of a fish crow!

_RK_3257 merlin flight 2014

Merlins can accelerate in flight at tremendous speeds.
I watched this one leave its perch in a tree and impossibly quick it was past me and down the canal line.

_RK_3295 merlin in tree med2014

The sharply swept back, long tapered wings say “falcon”. This is the falcon known as a merlin.
They sometimes visit Mattamuskeet Refuge for the winter.