Birding is just like life: Every day you go out hoping something great will happen. It hardly ever does but there's always the possibility that keeps you going. If something great doesn't occur, then perhaps, at the least, something interesting appear. That's slightly more likely, because "interesting" takes in a wide swath (remember the apocryphal Chinese curse).
All this leads up to the last bird I saw on Great Bay Blvd this morning. It was just over the freezing line but very windy, so I suspect a lot of birds were hunkering down. I saw 5 species of ducks, but nothing that I'd get excited about--exasperated, yes, in the case of the scaup flock that sat just far enough off shore to make identification a real chore, especially with the scope vibrating in the wind.
After checking the inlet twice and finding nothing new for the year or even the county, I was driving back north up the road when I glanced to my left and saw, sitting on a post, a Merlin. Not great, but interesting, especially since it didn't seem to mind me staring it, although as soon as I rolled down the window to take a picture, it disappeared. Exasperated again!