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Posted by 7Y 
March 26, 2014 06:54PM
Yesterday (25/3/2014) I saw a very small bird of prey sat on my garden fence. I confess, I am very amateur at bird identification, so I consulted the bird ID book and from what I can see, it matches a female Merlin. I double checked with the Kestrel, but it appeared smaller than a Kestrel.

I live between Garstang and Scotforth. Yes, it is a rural location, but far from isolated.

Could anyone advise whether this could have been a Merlin - do they visit gardens, and in particular bird tables, which it did seem to have it's eye on.

Many thanks

Re: Merlin
March 27, 2014 12:30AM
Hi 7Y.

In the main Merlins are birds which prefer wide-open habitats, such as moorlands (in the breeding season) and saltmarshes (in winter). Though it's not impossible, the far more numerous Sparrowhawk would be more typical in gardens. Have you ruled out this species?

Best Wishes,
Re: Merlin
March 27, 2014 09:41AM
Hi Dan,

Thanks for your reply - yes, I am reasonably familiar with Sparrowhawks, and to me, this wee thing was a lot smaller. It was a beautiful looking little bird, slightly bigger than a blackbird. People I know, who know a lot more than I do, are all doubting it was a Merlin, and I have to admit, the more I read, the more I doubt it myself.

The problem is, the birds will not oblige by staying still long enough for you to get binoculars or better still the camera.

Being protective of any bird of prey, I am reluctant to say exactly where I live, but, the front of my property does look onto the start of the Trough, so I had wondered whether it was passing over and spotted the birds on the bird table. Guess it will be one of those that we will never know.

I have just read that a tagged Osprey was spotted in our area yesterday. There are one or two Ospreys who's transmitters have stopped sending, so that will be interesting to see who turns up in Scotland that was 'presumed' lost.

I just love this time of year.

Thanks again Dan.

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