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October 2003


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Dana Rohleder <[log in to unmask]>
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Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 14 Oct 2003 23:51:50 -0400
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I wanted to pass on an interesting observation I had last week on Nantucket. While surf-fishing I saw 12 Peregrines and 5 Merlins over the course of the week, most of which were migrating. Some of the Peregrines may have been recounted because I believe there was at least one that stayed near Great Point for several days. One day, a Merlin flew by 50 yards offshore followed about 100 yds back by the Peregrine noted above. Then, oddly, the Merlin stopped abruptly and began to "hover" similar to a Kestrel as the Peregrine closed. When the Peregrine was about to strike, the Merlin dove into the ocean! The Peregrine may have hit the bird when it was in the water, but I didn't get a good look. The Peregrine made a quick turn and flew over the spot several times, but the Merlin was no longer visible on the surface. After several passes, the Peregrine left and the Merlin was not seen again, apparently resting in Davy Jones' locker. 

I find it odd that with some fairly abundant scrub nearby that the Merlin sought refuge in the water. I would think that it would have been able to dive into the scrub and avoid the larger bird. Possibly it never knew the Peregrine was pursuing it, and it saw something interesting in the water and stopped to investigate, then it was surprised by the Peregrine ambush. 

Dana Rohleder
Port Kent, NY