While there are probably Merlin on the Washington Coast at Ocean Shores each year, some years they're easier to find. In October I found Merlins on three out of four days, which was the highest percentage of sightings I've had in 10 years of going to the coast looking for them. Here's a little tribute to them.
Out on the Washington Coast last weekend there were flocks of Dunlin and Sanderlings as well as a few birds of prey. On Friday when it was sunny we watched a group of sub-adult Bald Eagles take turns feeding on a seal carcass.
On Saturday morning from sunrise until about 9:00 AM there weren't too many clouds threatening to rain on us. We drove the beaches looking for more eagles and hopefully a peregrine. I spotted this Merlin, the first one I've seen and photographed on the coast since March 2010. It was exciting to be able to watch it for awhile. They are so in-tune with their environment, constantly scanning the sky around them. When I was watching it, I was glad not to be a small bird.
Continuing norhtward we finally found a Peregrine Falcon. This is a first year female, and has the band "Z2" on it. The peregrine was banded by Coastal Raptors a research, education and conservation non-profit banding birds on the Washignton Coast.
It was a fun weekend on the coast, and I was happy to see peregrines and Merlins again!