I've been occasionally visiting a merlin site over the spring/early summer and last Friday it was clear that one female had fledged (2nd July). I've had some fabulous sightings on these visits, including the male bathing in shallow water nearby; both adults furiously chasing a red kite away, the male pecking chunks off the kite as they went. On my last visit the male flew within 30 yards carrying prey, and on another I just heard this "whoosh"" behind my head as he (presumably) checked me out . He's a real live-wire.
Thursday, 8 July 2021
I've also been reading "The Merlins of the Welsh Marshes" by David Orton, which gives a real insight into the character of the species. The book refers to the early 1970's and it is noticeable how much other incidental birdlife he sees in the uplands - curlews, whinchats, ring ouzels, redshanks, etc - which we certainly wouldn't see around here any more.