Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge

Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado. It’s morning in the wildlife refuge as the fog lifts over the cat-tails on the banks of the marshes, slowly dissipating, to reveal the sanctuary islands beyond. The waterfowl are going through their morning ablutions, primping and preening as the sun warms up the air and the day begins. Thanks for looking. G

Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge

“It’s mine, I killed it and now I’m going to eat it!”

Merlin. “It’s mine, I killed it and now I’m going to eat it!”  I made this image yesterday on my way home from my gallery in Arroyo Seco. I spotted the raptor on the fence post as I drove along. I pulled over, reversed about 100 feet and wound down my window. I said to myself, ‘that’s a male Merlin falcon, perhaps a juvenile’. I stopped about 20 feet away and while I was changing lenses I observed the Merlin tear at a dead bird’s chest … at least I’m pretty sure it was dead. I made about a dozen images, each, very much like this one. A few minutes later when a pickup came whipping by me, scaring the Merlin, the raptor took off clenching it’s prey. This evening I wrote to my friend Jean-Luc Catron, author of Raptors of New Mexico to confirm my ID of the bird. This is his reply … “What a beautiful photo!! You are right, it is a merlin, and because of the muted facial markings I can also say that it belongs to the subspecies richardsonii (prairie or Richardson’s merlin). It is a male because of the blue gray dorsal plumage”.   Thank you Jean-Luc.  Thank you for looking. G

Merlin, Prairie or Richardson's Merlin, Falcon