Sunday afternoon I saw another MERLIN go after a group of CEDAR WAXWINGS - this time on Brigham Hill in Essex.
The falcon perched atop an old maple in our yard about 100 yards from a small group of perched waxwings. When the merlin launched towards the flock, it took little time for it to single out one unlucky, but apprarently smart, waxwing. As the rest of the flock flew in the other direction, the single waxwing - merlin 20 feet behind it - proceeded to flap upward like mad, consistently gaining elevation. The merlin couldn't seem to gain ground on it, which I thought was strange. Then I realized, as did the waxwing perhaps, that by going up, it took away the merlin's speed advantage. It worked; either that or the merlin was just chasing for fun. Eventually it broke off from the chase and faded away to the north.
Brigham Hill Rd, Essex.