The increase in Merlin records at Eakring
The Merlin has always been particularly scarce and erratic in it's appearances at Eakring. However, over the past few years, there has been a decided increase in the number of records produced per annum. Now the Merlin can be expected here several times during the early part of the year. This page represents just a quick look at this recent turn of events.
Merlin records 1998-2007

By the end of 2007, a total of 20 different Merlin had been recorded and this total was deemed large enough to accurately depict the peak months in which the species is likely to be encountered in the Eakring area.

  All of the records feature brief fly-over records and few birds have remained on site for more than five minutes at a time. There are no long-stayers, where birds have been present in the area or have been seen several times over the course of a few days or weeks.

Determining the bird's age and sex wherever possible allows birds to be identified and distinguished. Details of age and sex always accompanies the record of any falcon in the records archive unless seen distantly and when any size/plumage features are'nt possible to note. This helps to remove any possible link with any other Merlin recently seen in the area.

The period 1998 through to and including 2003, only managed to produce single records, apart from two in both 2001 and 2003. The only blank year for Merlin came in 2004. At this stage Merlin remained an extremely difficult species to catch up with here, but that changed with three late Winter/early Spring records in 2005. This meant a real increase in the number of sightings over previous years and the same number of records was repeated again in 2006. By the beginning of March 2007, there had already been three Merlin records which has continued the recent increase in records. More than half the area's current number of Merlin sightings have now come within the last three years.
Sex/age Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Adult female 1 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Immature female 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Adult male 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Immature male 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Undetermined 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0
Peak months for Merlin

February is by far the peak month for Merlin here and presently accounts for approximately 50% of all early year records. This is quickly followed by March and then later in the year by October. All three month's totals are likely to involve migrant birds returning to and from their northerly breeding ranges. Single records for November, December and January, relate to wandering or wintering birds. No records have been produced between the months of May and September, although passage birds are surely likely to occur during the latter half of September.