Early Merlin at Larchmont Park, Sacramento County

Chris Conard

Hi folks,

On the heels of Mark Martucci's report of a Merlin yesterday at Sacramento Bar on the American River Parkway, this morning a Merlin flew over Larchmont Park just as it was getting light and landed near the levee on a traditional (fall through early spring) perch of a large oak that died a few years ago. Fortunately the bird posed for a few poor but diagnostic low light photos (https://ebird.org/checklist/S93681357).

This is my first summer Merlin in California (or at least before well into Sept). A coworker and I saw a bird independently the same day at the Bufferlands in mid-summer over 12 years ago that we both thought was a Merlin, but we both had quick flyby views and let it go. I had a similar experience on Saturday at the American Canyon Wetlands in Napa County. A small falcon flew by that may have been a Merlin. It looked pretty good and after today and yesterday's reports in Sacramento, I suppose it probably was.

In older news, my coworker, Steve Scott, found a Ruddy Turnstone at the Sacramento Regional WTP on 8/16. It is the first photo record (https://ebird.org/checklist/S93690818) of species for the county, the first for the property since May 2000 and one of three county records to my knowledge (the other from April 1999 at Cosumnes). Frustratingly and unfortunately, there is no current (typically limited) access to this site because of Covid restrictions. If it's any consolation, when I checked on the site at 1 pm, around when in normal times I may have been able to escort a few people to look for the bird, I was unable to find it then or later in the week.

Take care,

Chris Conard