Merlin and courting(?) White-tailed Kites at Stege Marsh

Kate Hoffman

Two days ago Blake Edgar and I spotted a female Merlin perched on a fence near the Richmond Field Station where a dirt road to the station meets the Bay Trail along the edge of Stege Marsh. She perched long enough for us to get out our Sibley and double-check the marks (I've never seen one so still before). Then she was chased off (temporarily) by some crows. We spotted her again hunting over an adjacent cleared dirt area (in-process restoration?), where she deftly chased a lone crow. Over the marsh we also spotted one and then two White-tailed Kites, and at close range watched a number of interactions as they perched on some small trees. One kept flicking/pumping its tail, while the other circled and landed repeatedly.

Kate Hoffman, Oakland