Winter birds continue to arrive. This beautiful Merlin – the “Pigeon Hawk” – showed up today in the border between the residential area and the old ag fields. Philip Unitt, in the standard reference work “The Birds of San Diego County” (1984) states that Merlins are rare visitors to the County and are usually seen along the coast. As of 1984 there was only one record for this bird in the Anza-Borrego desert.
This falcon is small, about the size of a pigeon- from which the old name of pigeon hawk derives. They are incredible fliers, capable of amazing high-speed acrobatics.
Another winter resident, the red-breasted sapsucker, a large woodpecker.
Here we have a late migrant or wintering warbler.