Jordan Lake: One never knows what the next bend in the lake’s shoreline will bring to you. This time the bend brought Captain Doug and I into the presence of a merlin! I see a few merlins every winter, but, I have never seen one at Jordan Lake in late April. This small falcon calmly ignored the gawking humans and kept looking for a bird for its next meal.

I was tracking a fish-carrying osprey with my camera when I realized there was a small bird also tracking the osprey. Hmmm. Too late in the season to be an eastern kingbird chasing an intruder away from its nest. Too big for a kingbird anyway. But not as big as an American crow. And, oh, the pointed wings and the facial markings sure said “merlin”. Oops! I have never seen a merlin at Jordan Lake before late fall – some migrate here for the winter. A puzzle, but it was great to see the small falcon. Oh, and I think he was just curious about the osprey, especially since the merlin was smaller than the fish the osprey was carrying.

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.