Finally, both my camera and me were ready this afternoon when a Merlin decided to hunt in our back yard. Granted, the photos were taken through the window (never the best choice), but it was either that or try to get outside with camera without scaring off my quarry.
He was hunting the small birds that come to our feeders (the downside of having them), and it was seeing him swoop down and miss that alerted me to his presence. I saw him attempt to catch his prey two more times without a capture. The fourth time, he flew after his prey into the evergreen trees in the back of our yard, and I wasn't able to see what happened. In the past, I have twice seen Merlin drop like a bomb from above down to an unsuspecting bird on the ground. That seems to be their preferred method of hunting.
Here he is:
Magnificent, isn't he!