Yesterday’s last walk at Thatcher Woods began very cool and cloudy. We saw several birds but not all that well. And then by the time we reached the open meadow, the sun had emerged from the clouds and it was easier to see whatever birds came to the edge. The best part of the walk was perhaps the very end when first one very dark Merlin flew right over us and then another flew in and perched atop a dead tree. I kept expecting it to leave, but it didn’t, so I took way, way too many photographs of it as it changed its viewpoint.
This post is a celebration of a few more or less unusual birds that appeared yesterday and on September 1 when I participated in another walk led by Henry Griffin. On that day, the grand finale bird, if you will, was a Black-billed Cuckoo.
That day also started off with a bang when we spotted a distant Red-headed Woodpecker.
And September 1 was also a good day for flycatchers.
And a Least Flycatcher.
And just now reviewing the photos I think I found an Olive-sided Flycatcher. I’m not sure we reported it. But Merlin – the app, not the bird – seems to agree with my identification.
One more bird from that day was a Gray-cheeked Thrush.
And from yesterday, I barely captured this Hermit Thrush, even though it behaved exactly like all Hermit Thrushes I have ever met by sitting for quite a while staring right at me.
Another surprise bird at the end of our walk yesterday turned out to be a juvenile Purple Finch. Perched pretty far away, the photo doesn’t do it justice.
One more bird from the September walk.
So that leaves me with more images of the Merlin. I so rarely see these birds, I couldn’t help myself.
Today is sunny and crisp, but I was singing in the choir this morning, so I won’t be going out for a walk until tomorrow. However, there is much to do outside in my backyard. I think I will go out and disperse more bucketsful of dirt and wood shavings. We’ve warmed up a bit, but I am already embracing the inevitability of hot cocoa.
Great shots of the merlin. I have seen one very occasionally but never near enough for a photograph.
I have never had a chance to really study a Merlin before either, I’ve only had distant views or brief flyover captures, so this was a real treat for me. I hope it helps me identify them more quickly in the future.
Wow, what a a banner day you had! The Merlin was amazing, as were the BB Cuckoo, the RH Woodpecker AND the cherry-on-the- top Olive Sided Flycatcher. Thanks for sharing them with us! I was on a native plant walk yesterday- our grand prize was a colony of fringed gentians.
It only took me a month’s space to realize that was an Olive-sided Flycatcher – a bird I have rarely seen! The Merlin was simply fabulous and I hope after all those photographs I can recognize the next one more easily. Now I’ll be looking out for fringed gentians. 🙂
Wow again, some very nice last walk finds. I love the shots of the merlin, the red-headed woodpecker and the cuckoo. I have not seen a cuckoo this year, but I did see and got pictures of a merlin last week at the Little Red School House. Well I guess you won’t have to get up in the dark to head over to Thatcher tomorrow.
Thanks, Bob! Merlins seem to be everywhere. I had one fly right over me this morning when I was on the Riverside Lawn side. I’ve been gearing up all week for the flute-and-piano recital and we got that over with this afternoon. As it turns out I will be getting up early to go to Columbus Park tomorrow morning – they wanted to add one more walk because they were rained out on Wednesday. Or something like that. Maybe we’ll get another Merlin. 🙂