Sunday, January 3, 2016

Merlin on Avenue A

I had a surprise merlin-sighting this last Saturday on Avenue A.  I've only seen one in the area before, so I was really excited to see one again.

I was watching Christo, the red-tailed hawk, eat his evening meal in Tompkins Square around 4pm, just as the sun was going down.  He was in the big elm near the Avenue A & St Mark's entrance when what looked like a kestrel went zooming by.  I followed several other birders who caught up with it high up on some scaffolding on the SE corner of Avenue A & 7th Street.


Closer inspection proved the bird to be a merlin.


The merlin is a small falcon, about the size of a pigeon.


As we watched, the merlin lept off the scaffolding and chased after a sparrow right over the Avenue A traffic.  The acrobatics were fast and amazing (too fast for me to catch with the camera!) but the sparrow got away.


The merlin then perched on a water tower on the SW corner of Avenue A & 6th Street.


From there, it dove west, into the Village View complex where we were unable to follow.


Read more about merlins here.