Aug 24th - Nothing but Orange and Black!

Another Hellish hot day at the park.  Of course, no raptors!

Today:
Monarch - 24 (20 tagged)

To Date:
Monarch - 288 (176 tagged)

Walter

Aug 22nd - 5 Birds!

As predicted the wind was blowin' for the NW early this morning but it lost a bit of  it's steam overnight.  There were no birds on the move until mid-day.  This was by far the most pleasant day to be out at the park, it was gorgeous!

Today:
Broad-winged Hawk - 1
Peregrine Falcon - 3
Merlin - 1
Total - 5

To Date:
Osprey - 2
Bald Eagle - 1
Northern Harrier - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1
Cooper's Hawk - 1
Broad-winged Hawk - 2
Red-tailed Hawk - 1
American Kestrel - 2
Merlin - 2
Peregrine Falcon - 3
Total - 16

Just beautiful! (Ann)

Other Birds:
Fairly quiet!

Butterflies:
Monarch - 59 (37 bagged and tagged)

Of note - Dragonflies suddenly filled the sky around 3pm!

Mammals:
All the usual suspects!

Mr. Curious (Walter)

People:
Allison, Terry, Peter, Carol, Betty, Hugh, Leon, Attila, and Ann

 Pirates?! (Walter)

Weather Prediction:
Warm weather returns tomorrow, enjoy it while you can!  The SW wind may bring a few birds our way.

See you at the park!
Walter

Aug 21st - Swirling Winds and Monarchs

Tomorrow we may see a few birds very early in the day with the NW element in the wind but it changes quite rapidly.  With the remnants of the tropical storm that devastated parts of Louisiana now upon us, the winds are swirling all around.  Remember, it's still a little early yet for any kind of big migration days.

Since August 15th we've been counting Monarch butterflies as they pass through the park on their migration south.  As it stands so far we've counted 162 of them.

Walter

Aug 19th - One Red-tailed Hawk

As we've had so few days of anything that would resemble a decent day I'm still trying to figure out which birds are locals and which are passing overhead never to return.  Today we had a lone Red-tail go straight over the center of the park that looked quite different than the two birds that I would say are 'locals', so I'm going to count it.  There seems to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk still hanging around the neighbourhood so for now, he's still not being counted.  The 8 Turkey Vultures that were observed kettling over the park earlier in the month will be dealt with once we get a few more views of them.  It's likely that several of them are birds that have moved away from their nesting area in what is called 'post-nesting dispersal'.  Time will tell.

Walter

Aug 18th - One Osprey

Another short one...

Today:
Osprey - 1

Butterflies:
Giant Swallowtail - 1
Monarch - 64

Walter

Aug 17th - Osprey, Bald Eagle, & Butterflies

At the time of writing it's very early in the morning so this is going to be as short as possible.

Today:
Osprey - 1
Bald Eagle - 1
Cooper's Hawk - 1
Total - 3

To Date:
Osprey - 1
Bald Eagle - 1
Northern Harrier - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1
Cooper's Hawk - 1
Broad-winged Hawk - 1
American Kestrel - 2
Merlin - 1
Total - 9

Eagle Time (EDT):
BE - 01:19pm

A young Bald Eagle (Walter)
(Not sure why it's beak appears pointed - likely the lousy photo)

Other Birds:
Mallard
Common Raven - 3
Red-winged Blackbird
House Finch

When I first saw these Ravens they were kettling with about
15 pigeons far over the east side of the park.

Butterflies:
Black Swallowtail - 1
Giant Swallowtail - 1 (briefly landed)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail - 1
Cabbage White - many
Monarch - 25 (18 netted, weighed, measured, tagged, and released)
White Admiral - 1
American Lady - 2
Red Admiral - 4
Mourning Cloak - 1
Silver-spotted Skipper - 9
Fiery Skipper - 3

White Admiral - not a common visitor to the gardens (Walter)

A female Black Swallowtail (Walter)

Tagged Monarch WBA 393 nectaring after being released (Walter)

Mammals:
American Red Squirrel

Hawkwatchers:
Allison, Ron, Carol, Terry, Betty, Berle, Vickie and Diana, and Leon.

A special thankyou goes out to our friend Sarah.  Sarah sent me a text message letting me know that she had just watched an eagle flying along the bluffs.  She wasn't aware that the Hawk Watch had already started and that I was at the park.....actually at the time I received the message I was in the main garden watching butterflies.  Luckily, myself and a few others got over to the fence just in time to see the bird soaring along just out from the bluffs.  What a beautiful sight!  Our first eagle!  Time between 'message' and 'bird' was less than two minutes!

Weather Prediction:
Sunny with the risk of a thunderstorm!  The Weather Network

Walter

Aug 15th - An Update Of What's Happened So Far

I should first remind everyone visiting the park with binoculars, cameras, and other expensive equipment to keep it all close at hand.  Yesterday it was brought to my attention that one of the photographers recently had his bag of camera equipment stolen while he was up near the rose gardens taking photos.  The thief ran out of the gate in that corner of the park and across the street to the apartement building on Glen Everest.   This is likely not the first time and likely not the last time that this will happen unfortunately!  It also could happen elsewhere throughtout the park so be careful.  And for anyone new to Rosetta McClain Gardens please do not be scared away from visiting as this beautiful garden park is filled with wonderfully kind-hearted people 99.9% of the time!

Well it should go without saying but as everyone knows it's been Hellish hot to start-off our hawk watching season so it should be no surprise to anyone that we've only seen 5 raptors so far.  My visits to the park have been few and far between and for the most part short as well.  Things should start to pick up over the next couple of weeks.

The following is what we've seen so far...

Raptor Species:
Northern Harrier (1), Broad-winged Hawk (1), American Kestrel (2), and Merlin (1)

Local Raptor Species:
Turkey Vulture (8), Sharp-shinned Hawk (1), Red-tailed Hawk (2-3), and Merlin (1)

Other Bird Species:
Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Caspian Tern, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Bank Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and Northern Cardinal

Butterfly Species:
Black Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Clouded Sulphur, Orange Sulphur, Cabbage White, Eastern Tailed Blue, Summer Azure, Monarch, White Admiral, Viceroy, Great Spangled Fritillary, American Lady, Red Admiral, Eastern Comma, Silver-spotted Skipper, Wild Indigo Duskywing, Fiery Skipper, and Peck's Skipper

Monarch Tagging:
5 Monarchs have been captured, weighed, measured, tagged, and released

Mammals:
Eastern Gray Squirrel, Eastern Chipmunk, and Eastern Cottontail

My thanks to all of those who have reported in with their sightings and experiences.

See you at the park!
Walter

Aug 6th - Gusting NW Winds Bring Our First Two!

Finally!  Today with winds blowing down from the north-west we saw our first raptors over Rosetta.  Between about 10:00am-12:30pm we were entertained by the flyover of 5 different species.  Although we are still not really in to fall migration by any means I'm going to count 2 of the birds that we saw.  Heck, at this early stage of the game I really don't even know which birds are locals as yet.  Anyway, we can always make changes later on if need be.

It was a much more comfortable day at the park with the wind and cooler temp.  Lots of people though!

Today:
Turkey Vulture - 8 (flying as a group - all locals for now)
Northern Harrier - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1 (local)
Broad-winged Hawk - 1
Red-tailed Hawk - 2 (1 adult, 1 juvenile - both local for now)
American Kestrel - 1
Total - 3

To Date:
Turkey Vulture - 0
Osprey - 0
Bald Eagle - 0
Northern Harrier - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 0
Cooper's Hawk - 0
Northern Goshawk - 0
Red-shouldered Hawk - 0
Broad-winged Hawk - 1
Red-tailed Hawk - 0
Rough-legged Hawk - 0
Golden Eagle - 0
American Kestrel - 1
Merlin - 0
Peregrine Falcon - 0
Total - 3

Our first Broad-winged Hawk (Walter)

Click on the above photo to enlarge it and look at the variation
in the outer tail feathers - they resemble those of a juvenile.  This
is an adult bird.  My thanks to Kris for sharing an article from
raptor expert Jerry Liguori on this subject.

Other Birds:
Great Blue Heron - 1
Chimney Swift - 2

Butterflies:
Monarch - 1 (possibly 2)
Great Spangled Fritillary - 1 (our 13th different species in six days!)
Fiery Skipper - 2 (both female)
Peck's Skipper - 1 (female)

A worn Great Spangled Fritillary (Walter)

A very fresh looking female Fiery Skipper (Walter)

Another female Fiery Skipper (Walter)

A fresh looking female Peck's Skipper (Walter)

Mammals:
Eastern Cottontail - 1

Hawkwatchers:
Kris, Carol, Gunnar, Allison, and a view others who stopped by.

Weather Prediction:
Aug 7th - Sunny, NW 15km/h gusting to 29km/h (The Weather Network)
Conditions look good!  Let's see what happens!

Walter

Aug 1st - Day One!

Day one of the 'build-up' to the Hawk Watch is now in the books.  If you missed it, you missed nothing!  As predicted, there was too much heat and humidity to really enjoy the day.  On the happier side I did see and talk with a few our hawk watching friends who were out for some fresh air.  Being that today was a holiday, there were a lot of people out so I stayed away from the main garden area.  I did do a bit of searching around the park but just sitting and relaxing on a bench in the shade and chatting was far more enjoyable!

The highlight of the day was seeing 2 Common Ravens which circled over the north side of the park just above the trees.  Earlier I watched a Turkey Vulture circling in the same area.  My thought was that there was likely a dead animal up on Kingston Rd or possibly a little further north on Danforth Ave.  The local crows were quite aware of what was happening up there!

Something to watch for:  I was informed that there's a Red-eyed Vireo feeding a juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird over in the north-west section of the park.  Might make a cute picture!

The following is what I saw today to get our Fall Species Survey underway...

Birds:
Double-crested Cormorant, Turkey Vulture (local), Sharp-shinned Hawk (local), Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Caspian Tern, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Bank Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, American Robin, Gray Catbird, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Common Grackle, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch, and House Sparrow

Mammals:
Eastern Gray Squirrel

Butterflies:
Black Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Orange Sulphur, Cabbage White, Monarch, Red Admiral, and Silver-spotted Skipper

As I mentioned in my last post, my time at the park will be 'hit and miss' right now due to the heat.  Again, no need for you to rush to the park.  Stay cool!

Walter

July 30th - Here We Go Once Again!

Hi everyone,

Well, here we go once again, season thirteen of the Hawk Watch at Rosetta!  It's hard to believe, especially with all the heat and humidity but it's that time of year when we start to watch the sky for the big birds heading south along the north shore of the lake.  As most of you know, the migration will be extremely slow for at least the first couple of weeks.  Migration will start to pick up as we near the end of August and head in to September so there is no reason for you to rush to the park.  With the present high heat and humidity, my time there will be 'hit and miss' at best.  During the past couple of days I've made a few trips to the Gardens and I can assure you that there isn't much happening.  Few birds and few butterflies!  It will pick up tho!

I look forward to everyone's return to the Watch and also look forward to meeting a few new faces as well this season.

See you soon along the fence at Rosetta!

Walter

A New Hawk To Watch For This Fall

Just saw this in the Toronto Star - click here

Walter