Activity 1: Sitting in my back yard, I identified 5 birds. American Robin (surprise, surprise :), house finch (male and female) mourning dove, American tree sparrow, and black-capped chickadee. I saw another small yellow and black bird, but was unable to see enough of it to ID it. It had a yellow throat and a large black stripe from the chest up - I think! Merlin did not help me.
Activity 3: Yesterday, I was unable to make the most likely feature on Merlin work. Today it is working - Yeah! I love it! Birds I did not know that pass through here: Cassin's finch; Green-tailed towhee; Yellow-breasted chat; Wilson's warbler; Dusky flycatcher.
Activity 2 I plan to do later today when we will visit a local small park with a wide variety of habitat.