I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!
I knew the Merlin would come. Well, actually I have to admit momentarily I had some doubts, but as the light faded and I already put my camera into my car, I turned around for a last look at the tall cedar tree at Manassas National Battlefield Park, I saw the bird perched there — the same place where I saw it 10 months ago!
The Merlin is a migratory bird. It is a falcon and a beautiful bird. In my neck of the woods (northern Virginia), it is supposed to only appear during migration season (as you can see its range map here). But not all birds conform to the same rules. I think that this particular bird overwinter here. Actually I am not even sure if it is the same bird (without banding, individual birds are nearly impossible to distinguish from each other). But I have a hunch that this is the same bird indeed (though without proof).
I first saw the bird on February 23, 2014. Then a year later, on February 14, 2015, I saw and photographed it again. Today (December 16, 2015), I went to the same place again (I don’t go there nearly as much as I would have liked), thinking — even believing, even convinced that — I would see it there.
I arrived around 4:15pm or so. The light was already fading on this shortened late-autumn day. I walked about, looking at the usual places. But I did not find it for half an hour or so. As the sun started to set and the light started to fade, I started back to my car, thinking “maybe not today, but I will check back again next time”. Then it happened — I turned around and saw it on the exact same branch where I saw it three seasons ago.
The following are two pictures I took earlier:
As I said — it is a beautiful bird!
To see more of my nature pictures, you are welcome to join the Facebook group Nature Lovers of Virginia.