It eventually came to the attention of a resident minion of the Dark Lord, which chased it across the marsh.
Best photo, highly tweaked.
I believe the merlin had captured a dragonfly, the wings of which are barely visible behind the merlin's rump and beneath its tail feathers.
The merlin shot past us very close. The best I could manage were some retreating butt shots as it flew towards the marina. You can make out what I believe are the dragonfly's legs sticking out from under the merlin.
I had not set up my super telephoto package, so all of the above shots were taken with the 1Dx + 100-400L II telephoto zoom. Except for when the merlin was perched on the far tree, I doubt I could have followed it with the 500L telephoto + 2x III teleconverter.
The official residence of the Consul General of the Republic of Korea is near the nest of the Pt. Edwards eagles. While photographing the eagles Thursday afternoon (10-4-18), I caught a male Anna's hummingbird hunting bugs near the ROK national flag, which is always flying at the residence. Both of my children are adoptees from South Korea, so the photos have a special meaning for me.
I do a quick scan of my close surroundings when I park at the marsh to make sure something is not perched on the nearby viewing platform or boardwalk. Saturday (10-6-18) afternoon I noticed something perched on the old martin gourd holder off the #2 (main) platform.
I initially thought it was one of the juvie Cooper's hawks that has been hanging around the marsh. Looking at my photos, I realized it was a female northern harrier.
It stayed perched long enough for me to set up the super telephoto package of 5DIII + 500L telephoto lens + 2x teleconverter mounted on a tripod.
The harrier looks like a cross between a hawk and an owl.
and made several harrier type patrols low over the marsh. Tracking it was easier with the 1Dx + 100-400L II telephoto zoom.
I also saw two coyotes on the far side of the marsh, but my photos of them were not worth saving.
I see a harrier at the marsh once every year or two in the fall. I believe they are just passing through town on their way north , as I think the marsh is too small to support one over the winter. Somewhat surprising, harriers to not seem to draw the wrath of the crows like other raptors do.
Monday's birding (10-8-18) started in my backyard with a red-breasted sapsucker, a first for my backyard. It poked around the seed feeder while looking longingly at the suet feeder, which was occupied by a flicker.
It flew over to the suet feeder after the flicker left.
A wet marsh was in the foliage under the #3 viewing platform at the marsh.
It coughed up a pellet while perched on the old martin gourd holder. While behavior is usually associated with owls, it is common to all birds of prey. Sorry for the poor shots. I was too lazy to drag out the 500L telephoto and tripod and I should have been shooting these using negative exposure compensation due to the low sun.
A small flock of shorebirds flew up from the south side of the marsh and headed north. I thought they were all killdeer and focused on the lead bird. After viewing my photos on the computer, I discovered that at least one of the birds was a different species.
Some speculated that Sunday's mystery sandpiper might be a pectoral sandpiper. Tuesday (10-16-18) two of us found a sandpiper at the marsh that might be a pectoral. Unfortunately for photographers, our California summer has transitioned into an Indian summer with bright, sunny days continuing to make photography at the marsh difficult.
From the #2 (main) viewing platform.
From the walkway between the #2 and #3 viewing platforms. A pair of western (?) sandpipers among the killdeer.
Photography from the #3 viewing platform by the outdoor tennis courts was a little easier.
A local birder spotted the northern shrike on a tree bordering Willow Creek late Sunday afternoon (10-21-18) shortly before sunset. I am assuming it is the same bird I photographed a week ago as I do not see shrikes at the marsh with any degree of regularity.
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