Sunday, January 07, 2007

A merlin at Green Lawn Cemetery (and other pics)

The Sunday paper had two articles about a couple of merlins that are overwintering in Green Lawn Cemetery. This is a birding hotspot that Steve and I had been wanting to visit for several months, so we finally took the time today to go visit in the hopes of seeing a merlin.

First thing we saw as we drove into the cemetary was a car parked along the road and a birder looking up into a tree. Yep, there it was. We found a spot around the corner so that we could bring Emma out of the car without startling the merlin. We walked over to the area and had several good minutes of viewing and photography before it flew off to another part of the cemetary. What a treat to see this rare bird! It usually only is here during migration.

After the Merlin left, we spotted a yellow-bellied sapsucker in the same tree. It's pretty well camouflaged against the bark when you see it from the backside.

It's profile is pretty distinctive though, with it's bold white stripes and red cap and throat.

From the side it's clear that this is a male with its red throat. Females have a white throat. The shoulder bar is a bit on the yellow side, but that's more of a characteristic of the female. You can also see the white wing bar along the length of the wing near the belly.

We also saw mockingbirds here today, plus the usual cardinals, robins, goldfinches and a red-bellied woodpecker and a pair of downy woodpeckers. Not bad for an hour's stroll through the graveyard.

The cemetary has several military sections. This one is from the American Civil War.

Another view of this section.

It's still an active cemetary with many new plots dotted around the grounds.

There are a lot of interesting places to explore, too. This bridge goes over a small ravine.

This is the area beneath the bridge. The path takes you to another section of the grounds.

There are a lot of very interesting tombstones and monuments here. This one has a tree or log section theme.

The artwork on some of the crypts is also pretty interesting.

I'm sure we'll be back during the spring bird migration, so I'll try to photograph some of the interesting features in the cemetery then, when the weather is much nicer.

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