Thursday, 13 April 2017

A mystery Garden Falcon - Merlin? 13th April 2017

This afternoon I was sitting watching the gulls coming over, practising my identification skills, when what I thought originally was my first Swift of the year started drifting towards me. When I got the camera on it, I still thought it was a Swift, with it's wings fairly tucked in and thin. Although I checked in case of a rarer Swift, it didn't seem like that. Then the wings broadened slightly, giving me the impression of a  Hobby - this would be equally satisfying. After watching it drift around about 80ft up for a while, with the dark clouds above it, it looked like a Swift again. My mind then went back to a smallish Hobby, as it gained speed and flew SW. When I went to submit my sighting of a Hobby, I noticed that at Holmethorpe SPs, a Merlin had been sighted. Everything seemed to fit in with a Merlin - slightly smaller, long rounded tail, resembling a small swift/large swallow as well as the fairly large chest. I'm very open to ideas for the pictures below, and would be grateful for suggestions. 
Peregrine

Peregrine

Peregrine

Peregrine?
Also over included the 1st Swallow (very fast but assumed with flight pattern.)

Update: After comparing with other pictures, the bird definitely looks more like a Merlin. I'm hoping for some clarification later on. 
Update 2: After suggestions of a small male Peregrine, which seems much more likely than a Merlin, I think that it is better to say that the falcon was one of the three falcons and more likely to be the Peregrine.
Update 3: With a varied opinion to start, now the general view of Merlin seems to have been concluded. 
Update 4: Still doubt as to whether it is a Merlin or Peregrine now is making me leave this as a Merlin/Peregrine.. Left as Peregrine for now.

10 comments:

  1. Have you not considered Peregrine?

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  2. No I didn't primarily because of the size. It was very small and when it came in it barely looked big enough to be Swift not like Swallow. It's definitely worth a shout though.

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  3. Can I ask how you were able to judge its size?

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    1. When it came in the gulls were coming very low. This bird was coming in with it at thr same height, with a very distant size difference. However, this is probably not enough evidence to conclude it is a Merlin so I'm not going consider it anything but a mystery falcon, possibly Peregrine, Merlin or Hobby.
      I agree that I was hasty to conclude it to be a Merlin!

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  4. Definitely looks like a Merlin to me. Chest not broad enough for Peregrine and wings not long enough for Hobby. Pic 3 looks perfect for Merlin. (Alan Wilkinson)

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    1. Thanks Alan.
      Also thanks for the locations for the Little Owl and love your pictures on Flickr from Tooting Common!

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    2. Merlin has a long tail square ended tail, this bird shows a short tapered rounded end like a Peregrine.

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    3. I'm not sure anymore so I've left it as a possible Merlin/small male Peregrine.

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