The Day of the Merlin! Are you looking at me?

With very strong westerly winds today, migrating raptors were pushed to the coast, with hundreds zooming overhead at speeds in excess of 60-70 mph.  Near impossible to photograph, with my fancy but super heavy telephoto lens sans tripod.  But I tried:

At least 70% of the migrating raptors were Merlin, a small, very fast, and fierce, falcon.  You see them approaching just above the tree line, and then they break out into the open above the yard and they’ve shooting over you like they have a jetpack attached to them!  It’s amazing!

Also interesting today which I’ve noticed in the last couple of years since I’ve really been getting into this:  a lot of these raptors that fly over have full gullets (the passage leading to the stomach), meaning that they have recently had meals:

A couple Peregrines. dozens of accipiters, TV’s, Red-tails, lots of Northern Kestrels and a couple other interesting birds overhead, but wow, today belonged to the Merlin!

From the roof deck, where the wind gusts today easily got over 40 mph:

And finally, was this Merlin actually looking at me?  Whoa!  I told you these guys take no prisoners!