I was out shooting some architectural photography this afternoon for an upcoming project when I spotted a distinct falcon shape over the canal near Appleton Street.
With just enough time to change the settings on my camera for a suitable moving-subject shot, I was able to capture this frame:
Now, I know Peregrines are regular visitors to downtown Holyoke, but this bird’s field marks — mostly brown, heavily spotted, with only a very faint hint of the Peregrine’s signature “mustache” — made me wonder if this could be a migrating Merlin.
When I enlarged the photo, I noticed this bird seemed to have the whitish “eyebrow” that serves as one of the Merlin’s few distinct field marks.
It’s a tough call here, so feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.