|Merlin and Belted Kingfisher at Morris Arboretum. Watercolor by Ken Januski|
After Andorra I stopped briefly at nearby Morris Arboretum. When I small raptor in the large dead tree in front of where I parked my car I expected the familiar American Kestrel that has been frequenting the area. But it just didn't look right. Finally I realized that it was a Merlin. Species number 51.
It was also very quiet here, though that might have been partially due to the Merlin. It didn't seem to bother the Belted Kingfisher though, who was on the same large tree simultaneously with the falcon. The small 30 minute 5x7 inch watercolor above is based on field sketches and photos from that scene, rearranged to suit my artistic purposes.
Icterids are always a sign of spring. I assumed that I'd see Common Grackles one of these days. Another sign of spring was a singing Red-winged Blackbird at Morris. At one point they'll drown out all the other birds I'd rather hear but that time is still 4-6 weeks away. For now it's nice to hear their song.
And as usual it's nice to be out birding for GBBC. You never know what you'll see. I believe the Merlin is only the second I've ever seen in Philadelphia. I can't complain about seeing him either.