I felt even more virtuous than usual when I arrived at Brookdale Park this morning to find that I was the first birder of the day.
Or so I thought.
This female merlin, presumably the same bird that has been hanging around most of the winter and quite possibly the same bird that I had seen a day earlier in downtown Montclair, had already taken a commanding perch over my — or I guess I should say our — sparrow patch.
A couple of hundred yards away, this little male sharp-shinned hawk kept watch over the same half acre of weeds.
Neither of my competitors moved in the hour and a half I was there, but it was evident nonetheless that they and the other raptors wintering and passing through the park of late are eating well.
I’m happy to share.