Date: 2/9/19 2:30 pm From: <phawk254...> [arlingtonbirds] <arlingtonbirds-noreply...> Subject: [Arlington Birds] Bad and Good News
In the past ten days the two largest trees within a block of my home on Arlington Street have been removed as "liabilities." The first wind storm with the subzero temperatures brought down several branches from one of the trees, necessitating National Grid trucks for several days working on the lines. The three tallest trees near my home when we moved here almost forty years ago have disappeared, leaving it looking much more barren. When the tallest tree, a huge maple, was still here, it was a favorite winter perch for Merlins. It might seem difficult to believe but for several decades the most commonly seen raptor on my street was Merlin (seen only in fall and winter). They would perch on the top of the tree and have great views of the Mystic's banks and the Mystic Lakes. About 20 years ago we discovered that Merlins loved the banks of the Mystic River as an open area to explore and hunt birds using feeders. They would also go to the Mystic Lakes to take "sitz baths" beneath the old dam. There was a shallow, slow flowing stream beneath the old dam that would allow Merlins to bathe, something most falcons love to do. There were multiple times when observers found 3 Merlins at the Medford Boat Club boat house, drying off after a bath. The new dam eliminated that shallow, rocky stream, so that Merlins are no longer regularly seen bathing there.
After working at my desk for most the day today, I walked out the door to go to the lakes for a walk. As I stepped off the porch, a Merlin rocketed only several feet over my head, as though it had been perched on the utility pole in front of my house. I tried to follow it, but you know Merlins. It's been a long, long time since I've seen a Merlin on my block.