Recently there has been a raptor in the neighborhood chasing birds attracted by the food Connor and Rowan have been putting out. They told me it was a Merlin they saw, and as a result, I have assumed the raptor I’ve had glimpses of has been a Merlin – even though I never really saw it well enough to be sure. Today I noticed a bird perched in the large alder tree south of the house. There was a break in the clouds behind it from my perspective and the sun brightly illuminating the puffy cumulus clouds made it difficult to see very well. I got a slightly better angle by moving to the southwest corner of the deck, but still didn’t have a good look. Despite that, I took these pictures and was subsequently able to tell the bird was a Sharp-shinned Hawk rather than a Merlin. I’m now uncertain whether it’s been this bird all along, or if there are multiple raptors visiting the neighborhood this winter.
Rain overnight and the temperatures dropped, so for the first time in a while there was snow down the slopes of Gavan Hill. It seemed pretty dark this morning, with heavy cloud cover producing the rain and hail/graupel, but this afternoon things broke and sun shown for a while. This evening I noticed stars showing in across much of the sky, though overcast returned after that.