Shitada-mura, Niigata, Japan

March 11, 2005
This is one of my only record shots of  a Merlin in Japan. I took this back on March 11, 2005 on the outskirts of Shitada which was a village nestled in the mountains of Niigata. It has since merged with the city of Sanjo.

I was living there right through winter 2004/05 and saw some wonderful things including my first Steller's Sea-eagle.

As far as Merlins go, I haven't had any better photo opportunities other than this. I saw my fist Merlin chasing birds in a city park in Saitama back in 2000, and the last one I saw was sitting high up on a wire near Fukushimagata a few years ago.

A dynamic little raptor, I'd love to see another one and get better shots than this.

The photo was taken with my fist digital camera, a Panasonic FZ-20 bridge camera.