Beach Metro News Article

In the current issue of the Beach Metro Community News, Andrew Hudson has done a nice piece about our record breaking year at Rosetta.  Please click Record Year Raptor Count to read the article.

My thanks to Andrew, Phil and Ron.

Walter

2014 Christmas Luncheon

Thankyou to everyone who came out to this year's luncheon at East Side Mario's, it was a great time.  So nice to see everyone without their hawkwatching paraphernalia hanging around their necks!

Hope you all have a very merry Christmas and all the best in 2015,

Walter


________________________________


Once again this year Lee has been kind enough to set up a place, date and time for our annual year-ending Christmas Luncheon.

 Just some of last year's group!

PLACEEast Side Mario's
12 Lebovic Avenue (Eglinton Ave E & Warden Ave)
In the Eglinton Town Centre
DATE:  Sunday December 14th
TIME:  1:00 PM

Please let either Lee or myself know if you will be attending.

Confirmed:
Betty
Phil, Josh & Marissa
Murray & Debbie
Berle
Hugh (possibly)
Dave
Cori
Diane
Ann
Patty
Anne
Ron
Gunnar & Vivian
Angie & Rob
John
Lee
Walter

Hope to see you there!

Walter/Lee

Thankyou!

I would like to thank everyone who came to enjoy one of nature’s most amazing spectacles – ‘migration’ at one of Toronto’s most beautiful parks – Rosetta McClain Gardens.  What a wonderful time we shared together with endless great memories.   Again this year we had so many returning faces and equally so many new ones.  It was a real pleasure seeing everyone again and at the same time meeting and welcoming all the new folks.  I’d personally like to thank everyone for your friendship and all your kind offerings throughout the season.  Without all your help searching, spotting, photographing, and identifying everything that came our way, our numbers would be nowhere near as high as they ended up being.  This record season is a true reflection of all your hard work.  Also I’d like to thank Rosetta’s staff for allowing us to conduct our Watch again this year, without your help and understanding none of this would've been possible.

Sincerely,
Walter

Statistics Updated

The 'Statistics' section down the right-hand column has been updated with all the 2014 numbers.

Walter

Nov 30th - What an Incredible Season!!!

The following is a review of what happened during our time at the hawk watch...

Black Vulture (1) - Our first ever and without a doubt the highlight of this year's count.  Observed on October 23rd.

Turkey Vulture (3306) - Our best year ever for this species - 1083 birds more than our previous high count.  October was our best month ever for 'TVs' with a new high count of 3156 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 11th when we observed 1234 birds.

Osprey (140) - Our second best year ever for this species.  September was our second best month ever for Osprey with a count of 90 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 6th when we observed 15 birds.

Bald Eagle (106) - Our second best year ever for this species - missing a new high count by only 4 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 12th when we observed 17 birds.

Northern Harrier (278) - Our fourth best year ever for this species - not bad considering the low count by the halfway point of the season.  As suggested at that time, this species might have been running a little late this year.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 22nd when we observed 26 birds.

Sharp-shinned Hawk (3712) - Our best count ever for this species - 915 birds more than our previous high count.  September was our second best month ever for 'sharpies' missing a new high count by only 45 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 22nd when we observed 560 birds - only 10 birds shy of a new record!

Cooper's Hawk (116) - Our second best count ever for this species - not bad considering the low count by the halfway point of the season.  October was our best month ever for 'coops' with a new high count of 72 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 10th when we observed 11 birds.

Northern Goshawk (19) - Our fifth best count ever for this species - missing a new high count by only 6 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 19th when we observed 4 birds.

Red-shouldered Hawk (83) - Our best year ever for this species - 7 birds more than our previous high count.  October was our best month ever for 'shoulders' with a new high count of 58 birds.  Our highest day count for the season, and all-time, occurred on October 19th when we observed 33 birds.

Broad-winged Hawk (1418) - Our best year ever for this species - 661 birds more than our previous high count.  September was our best month ever for 'wings' with a new high count of 1322 birds.  Our highest day count for the season, and all-time, occurred on September 16th when we observed 1057 birds.

Red-tailed Hawk (1019) - Our best year ever for this species - 17 birds more than our previous high count.  October was our second best month ever for 'tails' with a count of 585 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 22nd when we observed 223 birds.

Rough-legged Hawk (13) - Our third best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on November 21st when we observed 5 birds.

Golden Eagle (12) - Tied our second best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 1st when we observed 5 birds.

American Kestrel (697) - Our second best year ever for this species - missing a new high count by only 23 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 22nd when we observed 149 birds. 

Merlin (128) - Our second best year ever for this species - missing a new high count by only 3 birds.  September was our second best month ever for Merlin with a count of 64 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 9th when we observed 14 birds.

Peregrine Falcon (80) - Our second best year ever for this species.  October was our best month ever for 'grines' with a new high count of 65 birds.  Our highest day count for the season, and all-time, occurred on October 8th when we observed 21 birds.

Total Raptors (11128) - Our best year ever at Rosetta - 3861 birds more than our previous high count.  October was our best month ever for migrating raptors with a new high count of 6126 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 11th when we observed 1577 birds.

Plus...

Species Survey - Birds (133) -  18 species more than our previous high count.  Highlights included the following new 'Park List' species - Black Vulture, Pectoral Sandpiper, Eastern Meadowlark, plus an unidentified Plover and an unidentified Jaeger.  Also, a Long-eared Owl was a thrill for those who saw it.

Species Survey - Mammals (12) - Nothing overly exciting was observed this year.  Highlight was a Red Fox that was seen on November 27th and 28th.

Species Survey - Butterflies (23) - It's was another great season for butterflies with 23 species being identified.  Although highlights which included a sighting of the now 'GTA rare' Leonard's Skipper, 17 Giant Swallowtails, and new 'Park List' species - Red-spotted Purple, nothing compared to the number of migrating Monarchs.  FYI - The sighting of the Leonard's Skipper is so rare that it is now thought that Rosetta McClain Gardens is likely the last place that this species will be observed in the GTA.

Monarch Count (6897) - An amazing turnaround from such a dreadful migration last year.  By the end of the season last year we had observed an estimated 1468 Monarchs, this year our count was a very encouraging 6897 Monarchs!  Terry, with the help of many others, managed to capture, tag, and release 160 of the orange and black beauties.

Walter

Nov 28th - A Couple More!

Today from roughly 10:00AM - 1:00PM the Hawk Watch doors were wide open for business.  Five birds decided to fly through - a Sharpie and four Red-tails.  Carol, Pat & Nancy, Winnie & Ed, Lee, Bruce, John, Betty, and I were on-hand for at least some of the action.  With unfavourable winds over the next two days, it's likely that these were our last birds of the season.....hopefully not tho.

Here's a nice highlight from today - a fox.  This was actually my first sighting of a fox at Rosetta this fall.

American Red Fox (Ed)

Walter

Nov 27th - 2 Reports, 2 Birds!

Unfortunately today life got in the way and I couldn't make down to the park to do any hawkwatching.  Luckily we had two folks that did spend some time there and they each had a countable hawk fly by.  First, Allison had a Northern Harrier at 10:30AM and then later in the day Bruce had a Northern Goshawk go by at 1:50PM.  Excellent news, thankyou both.

Walter

Special Post - Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk

On Sunday November 23rd Phil and I were out on another one of our legendary birding trips, this time it was in and around the Oakville/Burlington area.  Although it rained lightly off and on the whole morning we did manage to find a number of great birds including American Pipit, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Common Raven, Fox Sparrow, Snowy Owl, and an adult Bald Eagle.  As we returned home along the 401 we were commenting and looking at all the Red-tailed Hawks that lined both sides of the highway.  Suddenly we noticed a big white bird sitting in a tree on the opposite side of the road, I immediately thought it was a Snowy Owl, Phil on the other hand thought it looked more like an albino Red-tail.  We discussed what we had observed and thought it was worth getting off the highway, turning around and heading back down the other side.  As everyone knows, the 401, even on the best of days is as dangerous as Hell and not a safe place to stop anywhere on, especially with it's narrow shoulders.  Anyway, upon returning to the site where we spotted the bird, Phil put the blinkers on and we pulled off the road for a couple of quick photos out the window before we sped off again to merge back in to the traffic - whew!!!  The bird turned out to be a leucistic Red-tailed Hawk!  Nice call Phil!!!  Just as we were pulling away it flew a short distance to another tree and we could see that it had a few darker feathers out towards it's wing tips.  How cool, what a way to finish a great day!


Walter

Nov 21st - Birds!!!

Finally a decent day for raptor watching!  I get the feeling with what was observed across the GTA today, there must still be more raptors to come.  Let's hope we get a few more NW wind days in before the end of the month.

Today:
Northern Harrier - 7  (4 adult males)
Cooper's Hawk - 2
Red-tailed Hawk - 11
Rough-legged Hawk - 5  (2 dark, 3 light)
Total - 25

To Date:
Black Vulture - 1
Turkey Vulture - 3306
Osprey - 140
Bald Eagle - 106
Northern Harrier - 277
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 3711
Cooper's Hawk - 116
Northern Goshawk - 18
Red-shouldered Hawk - 83
Broad-winged Hawk - 1418
Red-tailed Hawk - 1015
Rough-legged Hawk - 13
Golden Eagle - 12
American Kestrel - 697
Merlin - 128
Peregrine Falcon - 80
Total - 11121

Here are a few photos from the day courtesy of Kris...

a nice adult Cooper's Hawk
(thankyou Ron for the correct ID)

a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk

one of several Red-tailed Hawks

Non-raptor highlights included several small flocks of finches and waxwings, a late Eastern Phoebe, 2 Great Blue Herons, and a flock of small geese which may have been Brant (very high flying).

Great Blue Heron (Kris)

Enjoying the sunshine and braving the cold today were John, Kris, Terry, Arvo, Betty, and Bruce.

Fingers crossed for another day of raptor watching!

Walter

Nov 15th - Red-tail Record Broken!

Tonight I received an email from our fellow hawk-watching friend Dave (the guy who shows up on the bike).  He was at the park for just over 3 hours today.  Not sure if he knew it at the time or not but his 6 Red-tailed Hawks set a new 'Year' record for that species at our hawk watch.  Way to go Dave!

Today:
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2
Red-tailed Hawk - 6
Golden Eagle - 1
Total - 9

To Date:
Black Vulture - 1
Turkey Vulture - 3306
Osprey - 140
Bald Eagle - 106
Northern Harrier - 270
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 3711
Cooper's Hawk - 114
Northern Goshawk - 18
Red-shouldered Hawk - 83
Broad-winged Hawk - 1418
Red-tailed Hawk - 1004
Rough-legged Hawk - 8
Golden Eagle - 12
American Kestrel - 697
Merlin - 128
Peregrine Falcon - 80
Total - 11096

Eagle Time (EST):
02:00 PM - GE

Also at the park today were John and Betty.  Great to know that others are there to fill-in when I can't be at the park.  Thankyou!

Walter

Nov 14th - A Cold But Beautiful Day.

With a light NW wind blowing when Gunnar and I arrived at the park this morning, it didn't take long before our first bird came along, and a good one it was - a Golden Eagle!  What a way to start the day!  With a mix of sun and cloud all day we had great views of most birds.  Later in the afternoon and with few people still braving the cold, we got our second Golden Eagle.  This one was flying much lower but was out over the lake when first spotted.  It got to a point where it was over the lake directly out from the park, did several circles, and then made it's way back to a point well beyond the top of the apple tree from our vantage point.  It then came along and flew right over top of us providing a spectacular view.  Not too long after that we were rewarded with a Rough-legged Hawk which also flew low over the center of the park.  By the end of the day we had added another 63 Red-tailed Hawks to our 2014 count leaving us only 5 short of a new 'Year' record.  As Ron had pointed out today, many of the Red-tails were juveniles suggesting that there could still be many to come including the adults.

Today:
Turkey Vulture - 3
Bald Eagle - 1
Northern Harrier - 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 6
Cooper's Hawk - 3
Red-shouldered Hawk - 4
Red-tailed Hawk - 63
Rough-legged Hawk - 1
Golden Eagle - 2
Total - 87

To Date:
Black Vulture - 1
Turkey Vulture - 3306
Osprey - 140
Bald Eagle - 106
Northern Harrier - 270
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 3709
Cooper's Hawk - 114
Northern Goshawk - 18
Red-shouldered Hawk - 83
Broad-winged Hawk - 1418
Red-tailed Hawk - 998
Rough-legged Hawk - 8
Golden Eagle - 11
American Kestrel - 697
Merlin - 128
Peregrine Falcon - 80
Total - 11087

Eagle Time (EST):
09:52 AM - GE
12:35 PM - BE
01:55 PM - GE

 juvenile Golden Eagle (Walter)

light morph Rough-legged Hawk (Walter)

Red-tailed Hawk (Mike D)

Red-tailed Hawk (Mike D)

Non-raptor highlights today included 2 Loons and what appeared to be a small flock of Tundra Swans.

possible Tundra Swans (Mike D)

My thanks to Gunnar, Pat & Nancy, Carol, Mike D, Peter, Berle, Ron, Lynn, Betty, Manfred, Hugh, and Manny.

Walter

Nov 12th - Nuttin'

This morning I met-up with Kris and eventually Betty at the Hawk Watch and the three of us enjoyed nothing but cold wind, overcast skies, a few flocks of finches and waxwings, a local TV and Red-tail, and each other's company.  Of course, not necessarily in that order.

Keep an eye on Friday's forecast, looking fairly good at present.

Walter