With a few Parrot Crossbills further south, you never know. Its donkeys years since I last saw a Parrot Crossbill, but that wasn't about to change today. We managed about 15 Common Crossbill in pairs with singing males on territory and very little else other than wet feet as I'd forgotton my wellies.
Back home, and the sun shobe nicely this afternoon so I thought I'd try a photo of the Coal Tits coming to my feeders. As I loitered, our friendly local racing pigeon ( Pigeon John) was on high alert. All of a sudden he erupted into flight and off and warp speed. Then the village jackdaws were all up, calling so I stepped out and scanned upwards, only to see, a little jack Merlin going like a rocket towards our feeders. His speed flushed everything for a hundred yards into the air.
He locked on to a small passerine from the feeder flock as they took to the air and chased it over the back field. The Merlin was loop the looping over our house so fast I couldn't even find it in my view finder let alone take a picture. As it chased the hapless passerine out over our back field into the open it made a speedy attack only for the prey to side swerve out of the way. Merlin towered high above then dropped like an arrow, just missing again. This happened again and seemed to tire out the target. Then finally Merlin came in at a million miles per hour and grabbed our bird from behind. It was over.
No Christmas meal for this little fellow.
The Merlin glided fast and low towards the fence line and landed to eat his meal.
I scrabbled for the scope and good views were had of the Merlin and one of our Goldfinches on the post. One of our neighbours who is interested in wildlife happened to be passing, so I was pleased to get him a good scope view of the lovely slatey blue Merlin on the post. Soon a Magpie flushed jack another couple of hundred yards up the fence where he totally cleared off his meal then sat scanning around the scene. He was in view for over half an hour.
What a bird!
|The only shot I got, but you can just see the goldfinches face hanging below...|