September 1st   Leave a comment


Juvenile male merlin

Juvenile male merlin

As I came through Kingsbarns this morning I noticed a commotion among the swallows and house martins rapidly bunching up over the newly harvested field by the road to the beach. There was a juvenile male merlin in full attack, diving into the middle of the swallows, missing and then chasing a chaffinch that flew up out of the field. It just made the cover of the sycamore with the merlin banking away just above the car I was in. A brilliant close action view of one the most exciting birds of prey we get to see around here. August and September is the best time of year to see merlins in Crail with a small passage of birds and a few that stay a few weeks in the fields and even occasionally visiting gardens. Male merlins are really tiny, smaller than a collared dove. This makes them really manoeuverable and very exciting to watch when hunting. When they are not hunting they disappear though, perching for very long periods on stone walls or even the ground. The best way to spot them, when they do move, is by the chaos they cause as every small bird then dives for cover or like the swallows this morning, flock up above the predator.

Posted September 1, 2015 by wildcrail in Sightings

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