Saturday, March 21, 2015

Oddly cozy Merlin and Kestrel

Early this morning I again walked the batture levee in Harahan.  It has flooded extensively since my last visit two weeks ago.  Newly returned migrants included a Northern Rough-winged Swallow that passed overhead giving its buzzy call note, and a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron that stood stock-still in the floodwaters of the batture woods.

The biggest surprise came in finding an American Kestrel and a Merlin perched five feet apart in the crown of a tall leafless pecan.  The tree was about 45 feet tall.  It was in the batture across from the southwest corner of the country club property.  Neither bird seemed concerned about the other's presence- the Merlin sat still as it gathered the early morning rays, and the Kestrel preened.  Both were males.  Neither nest in Harahan- Kestrels do so as close as the Florida Parishes, but Merlins no closer than the Canadian border region.

Other highlites included two White-winged Doves, growing numbers of Cedar Waxwings (150 or so, including 15 busily bathing), and 350+ Lesser Scaup in a series of flocks flying up-river at low-medium height.  Birdsong is still intensifying; a dozen Cardinals were singing between Elaine and Colonial Club Drive.


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