Merlin at Delaware State Park - Photo Rich Bradley
Muggs’ memorial – Photo Robert Dudley

It was a gloomy day at Green Lawn, leftover puddles of the night before’s rain reflecting dark gray skies. We started our walk with a cacophony of American Robins that seemed to be enjoying the unexpectedly warm late season rain. While our walk was rather quiet bird-wise, we enjoyed one another’s company, and were entertained by Green Lawn’s cast of interesting characters, from the distinguished founding fathers of the City of Columbus to James Thurber’s troublesome pup, Muggs (pictured).

As we approached the small ravine area at Green Lawn someone called out “Is that it? Is that the Merlin?” I had mentioned Merlin as a possibility for the trip, but cautioned that these winter-resident falcons can sometimes be hard to track down. This Merlin seemed intent on not being hard to track down. It appeared to be glued to its perch for at least 20 minutes, even as a Cooper’s Hawk strafed alongside it, providing a good comparison of these two agile birds of prey.

Blue Jay - Photo Shenandoah NP
Blue Jay

As we headed back to the parking lot the sun finally peaked from behind the clouds. A new birder among us proudly picked out a Blue Jay in the sun at the top of a tree, and for a moment we all got to put on our beginner eyes and enjoy the flashes of iridescent blue after a morning full of dark winged silhouettes.

I encourage anyone to make a trip to Green Lawn this winter! The ever-present birds combined with stories of our city make this a delightful urban oasis.