This evening I had a meeting at Kingshill Farm, Elmley. I decided to go a little early so I could do some birding along the track before the meeting started.
Most of the area is very dry and there were no pools with waders or ducks on the left side of the car, where the light was good. As I got nearer to the reserve a Merlin flew in and landed on the ground quite close to me. As soon as I stopped the car if seemed aware of my presence and flew a little further away and landed on a hump.
several Marsh Harriers were in the air and one flew fairly close to where the Merlin was sitting.
There is no doubt that a ( ) Merlin is a very attractive little falcon and the evening sunshine makes the rusty brown streaks of his breast look very warm. As Pete has pointed out this isn't a male but probably a Juvenile. A male shows black streaks against a buffish breast unlike these big rusty blotches on a pale breast.