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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Merlin - The Dragonfly Predator

We have now seen the beautiful Merlin 3 times on our walks. Looking at this bird's face up close one cannot help but feel "oh isn't it so cute!" and want to take one home lol! So, it is hard to recall that these fall into the birds of prey category. It was kind of cool to be reminded of this fact on one of our more recent walks at Thickson Woods. It was even more funny not discovering the gem image that I happened to get until I got home and looked at the images I had shot, on my computer. When I took the first shot, I had my shutter speed too slow having come off a shot that was not as lit just before I spotted the Merlin. The Merlin appeared quickly and landed on the branch of the dead tree where we've seen birds of prey in the past. I just shot without altering my settings in case he was going to be gone in a second. Well, he stayed for a bit, allowing me to adjust things quickly for the next few shots.

Well, these days, even really badly over exposed shots can sometimes be salvaged in Photoshop Elements and sometimes end up becoming quite artistically cool lol! In any case, the first shot I took, while correcting the exposure and removing the blue halo line around the Merlin, which in turn greyed the sky behind him, I suddenly noticed he had a honking dragonfly in his little talons. We had seen gigantic dragonflies during the walk and here was one, fallen prey, to the cute little Merlin I managed to get a few shots of before he took off obviously now, to eat his dinner in peace somewhere.

The rest of our walk proved to be quite exciting as well. We sometimes will go all along the walking path which winds around the water processing plant and over a bridge across a large marsh. We heard from passerbys that coyotes have been seen once in a while. On this particular occasion, a large "dog" ran through the woods just beside the bridge. I missed it but John watched run through and past us. Not sure if I am disappointed or glad I didn't see it. The next creature, which I spotted, was the resident huge snapping turtle. What an ancient looking thing He is. All in all, another cool and fun walk.

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