Date: 2/9/19 7:34 pm
From: Eric Smith <esmithphoto...> [arlingtonbirds] <arlingtonbirds-noreply...>
Subject: Re: [Arlington Birds] Bad and Good News [1 Attachment]
I bet you remember this as well, Paul... on 2/6/2005 I went on one of your
winter walks around the Mystic Lakes, and we had... 5? 6? merlins that
day. It was wonderful and amazing. We got to watch a merlin take one of
those baths you were talking about. And then it flew over and landed on a
rock by the lower mystic lake (much closer to us) and I was able to get the
included picture. The large group of us were starting to wonder if we were
bothering the merlin... when it took off and flew up into a tree right
above our heads. I guess we weren't bothering it!

Merlins are great raptors. I don't see them often enough!


On Sat, Feb 9, 2019 at 5:30 PM <phawk254...> [arlingtonbirds] <
<arlingtonbirds-noreply...> wrote:

> 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..
> Best,
> Paul
> Paul M. Roberts
> Medford, MA
> <phawk254...>

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