'Statistics' Updated

The 'Statistics' section, which is found in the right-hand column of this blog depending on the device you're using, has now been updated to include the 2017 hawk-watching season.  How you arrive at this section using other devices, such as cell phones is your problem - LOL!!!  Anyway, you can click on the various links there to view and/or download all the numbers from over the years.  Once the Dropbox page opens you might get a popup box asking you to either join or sign-in.  If not interested just click on 'No thanks, continue to view' at the bottom of it.  Once the page that contains the file has loaded, move you cursor down to the bottom of the screen and a box should appear that will allow you to expand the file to full screen for easier viewing.  Remember, I said 'should', that's how it works on my computer anyway.  Once finished viewing, click on the X in the top right-hand corner and then use the back-arrow to return back to the raptor watch page.  Good luck and enjoy!

Walter

Nov 30th - The Party Is Over For Another Year

Today, as we said our thankyous and goodbyes to Richard Welsman, the ‘retiring’ gardener at Rosetta, we brought to an end the 2017 Raptor Watch at RMG.


The collective, better known as ‘The Friends of Rosetta’ did a fabulous job this fall with the Watch.  I’m sure that not very many hawks got by without being noticed, photographed, identified, and counted.  Having said that, unfortunately this was not the migration season we’d all hoped for.  Numbers were way down on many of our favourites.  This of course, does not mean in any way that the birds are in-decline, it just means that the conditions were not right for them to be blown down to the shores of Lake Ontario and then eventually bringing them over the park.  A huge lack of northwest wind during peak times of the migration was the culprit.  Not every year is going to be bigger and better than the last and this was one of them for sure.  We certainly enjoyed every bird that did see all the same and, we had at least one of each species to keep things exciting.  Thankyou everyone! 

The following is a review of what happened during our time at the Watch this fall and all stats are based on our 14 year study of migration at Rosetta...

Total Raptors (4265) - Our 11th best year ever at Rosetta McClain Gardens.  We had 6 count days with over 100 birds, 2 with over 500 birds, and 1 with over 1000 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 16th when we observed 1407 birds.   Unfortunately, no records were broken this year.  Our last day of raptor migration counting occurred on November 29th.

Turkey Vulture (2680) - Our 3rd best year ever for this species.  October was our 5th best month ever for 'TVs' with a count of 1831 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 16th when we observed 1128 birds.  Our last Turkey Vulture of the season was observed on November 27th.

Osprey (34) - Our 14th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 8th when we observed 11 birds.  As the case in previous low count years - with all the hot humid low to no wind days that occurred during the first half of the fall season, it's likely that many Osprey migrated across the city further to the north and out of our viewing range.  Our last Osprey of the season was observed on October 16th.

Bald Eagle (73) - Tied for our 4th best year ever for this species.  September was our 6th best month ever for 'baldies' with a count of 38 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 28th when we observed 13 birds.  Our last Bald Eagle of the season was observed on November 7th.

Northern Harrier (103) - Our 12th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 16th when we observed 14 birds.  As the case in previous low count years - with all the hot humid low to no wind days that occurred during the first half of the season, it's likely that many Harriers migrated across the city further to the north and out of our viewing range.  Our last Northern Harrier of the season was observed on November 19th.

Sharp-shinned Hawk (634) - Without a doubt our 14th best count ever for this species - only 3079 birds shy of a new record - OMG!!!  Interestingly, our highest two-week count of 'sharpies' for the season occurred during the last half of October when we tallied 250 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 16th when we observed 152 birds.  As the case in previous years and as with other species, the hot humid low to no wind days that occurred during the first half of the season likely caused many 'sharpies' to migrate across the city further to the north and out of our viewing range.  Our last Sharp-shinned Hawk of the season was observed on November 29th.

Cooper's Hawk (44) - Our 14th best count ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 8th when we observed 6 birds.  Our last Cooper’s Hawk of the season was observed on November 22nd.

Northern Goshawk (2) - Our 14th best count ever for this species - only 27 birds shy of breaking last year’s RMGRW record of 28 birds….wait, what?!?!  Our highest day count for the season occurred on November 10th and 13th when we observed 1 bird on each.  Our last Northern Goshawk of the season was observed on November 13th.

Red-shouldered Hawk (23) - Our 8th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on November 10th when we observed 7 birds.  Our last Red-shouldered Hawk of the season was observed on November 27th.

Broad-winged Hawk (60) - Our 11th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 28th when we observed 26 birds.  Again, this species, as with so many others was likely moving across the city further to the north and out of our viewing range during all the hot humid days of September.  Our last Broad-winged Hawk of the season was observed on October 16th.

Red-tailed Hawk (286) - Our 13th best year ever for this species - missing the RMGRW record by just 734 birds!  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 16th when we observed 60 birds - amazingly, we didn't have a single day this fall with a count of over 100 birds.  Our last Red-tailed Hawk of the season was observed on November 29th.

Rough-legged Hawk (4) - Our 11th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 26th when we observed 2 birds.  Our last Rough-legged Hawk of the season was observed on November 6th.

Golden Eagle (7) - Tied for our 8th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on November 10th when we observed 3 birds.  Our last Golden Eagle of the season was observed on November 10th.

American Kestrel (223) - Our 13th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 28th when we observed 119 birds.  Another species that likely migrated across the city further to the north and out of our viewing range during the hot humid days of September.  Our last American Kestrel of the season was observed on October 26th.

Merlin (33) - Our 12th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 30th when we observed 8 birds.  Our last Merlin of the season was observed on November 27th.

Peregrine Falcon (30) - Our 14th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 28th when we observed 5 birds.  Our last Peregrine Falcon of the season was observed on November 6th.


Rarities (0)

Unidentified Species (29) - Although a little hesitant after so many years to finally include the 'unidentifieds' in our count for the 2017 migration, I’m now very happy that we did.  It shows that we’re not perfect and that we do get raptors we just cannot identify to species.  In the end, it added a much-needed 29 birds to our count that in previous years would have just been left off the sheets.


Plus...

Species Survey - Birds (132) - Highlights included the following new species for our 'Park List' - Northern Waterthrush.  Our list of bird species identified at Rosetta since 2001 officially now sits at 212 species!  Other great sightings included; Short-eared Owl (observed on two different occasions), Olive-sided Flycatcher (observed over several days), and two not identified to species; Ross’s/Ross’s hybrid Goose (yes it’s over, no further discussion please), and Teal duck (either Green-winged or Blue-winged).  Every fall we always manage to find some fantastic birds passing by/through the park!  Great work everyone!

Species Survey - Mammals (9) - Very limited sightings of the fox(es) was a highlight.  Also, today I was informed that a Coyote was seen in the park back in September.

Species Survey – Butterflies and Moths (28) - It was another excellent season, in fact a record season for butterflies due in part to all those hot humid low to no wind days in August and September.  One new species was observed, a Dun Skipper on September 26th - a little triangular-shaped guy that is all brown in colour.  Other great sightings included; Pipevine Swallowtail, Giant Swallowtail (many), Spicebush Swallowtail, American Snout, White Admiral, Red-spotted Purple, and Common Buckeye.  Of interest, The Fiery Skipper which we observed in the gardens for nearly 3 months straight last fall, was almost non-existent this year.  Both the Monarch and the Painted Lady butterflies were observed in amazing numbers at Rosetta.  On October 10th there was an estimated count of 7500 Monarchs flying by the Watch!  That alone is 3000 more Monarchs than our count for the entire migration last fall!  Unfortunately, a complete migration count was not conducted this season but numbers overall were extremely promising for this now ‘endangered’ species.


In mid-August, a ‘provincially’ rare moth, called a Fadus Sphinx, was observed and photographed in the main garden area.  This drew many of Toronto’s finest moth and butterfly experts out the following Saturday morning in hopes of finding this extremely rare visitor.  And, although not seen again, the sheer number of searchers that day left us with our best single-day count ever for butterflies with 21 species being tallied.  The very beautiful Hummingbird Clearwing Moth was observed on multiple days in August and September.  To finish off the season - on the final few days of the Raptor Watch in November a small number of Fall Cankerworm moths were observed.

Monarch Butterfly Tagging (1487) - Terry and Betty, with the help of many others, managed to capture, weigh, measure, tag, and release an incredible 1487 Monarchs this season!  They could've easily doubled that number!  So far, this year's ‘Rosetta tagged’ Monarchs have only been found and photographed in one location – Acambaro, Mexico!  The city is less than 100kms from Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve where they normally spend their winters!  It took this little butterfly (tagged ‘XAL289’) only 61 days to travel from Rosetta McClain Gardens to Acambaro, a journey of close to 4000kms. If that’s not incredible enough, from all counts this was the first sighting in Mexico of any ‘2017 tagged’ Monarch from across the entire United States and Canada!  This was big news for the people of Mexico and stories of the find were printed in many of the newspapers there.  We now wait to see how many more of Terry and Betty's Monarchs are found in Mexico at the Reserve during the spring of 2018.

Thank you everyone!


Walter

Nov 29th - Today?, More Birders Than Birds!

Sorry for the late post, my eyes were closed earlier and I found it extremely hard to type. 😄
_____

A clear indication that we're done at the Watch for this season - today we had perfect flight conditions all day and very few birds.  We had our hopes up and our finger's crossed that some of the missing were going to fly over the park today but it just wasn't to be - they're gone for another year!  Having said that, we'll try for a little while again tomorrow mid-day, if it's not raining.

Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch, Toronto
29 November 2017
10:30am - 3:30pm

Raptors:
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1
Red-tailed Hawk - 4
Total - 5

Other Birds:
Loons - 4, Merlin (local) - 1, Red-tailed Hawk (local) - 2

Please, if you can join us tomorrow (Thursday) there will be a small celebration for Richard (Rosetta's gardener and friend to all) at 11:00am as tomorrow is his last day before retirement.  Richard has been absolutely instrumental in helping us year after year with our Hawk Watch, our Monarch tagging, and our Springtime birding.  Of course, above all else, he has expanded everyone's knowledge when it comes to just about everything that grows!  I'm sure we all have many great memories from over the years.  He will definitely be missed!


Walter

Dare to Dream!

Just found this while searching through the old Raptor Watch posts from years ago.  This is part of Frank's posting for 22 November 2008...

"...we have now what appears to be 2 fairly local (seen dependably each day) juvenile Northern Goshawks.  One did a quick hunt run through.  We also had an adult Northern Goshawk land in a tree at the east end of the park.  Before Tu, Walter or I could get there for a photo, the 4 local American Crows started to harass it into flight.  It flew right past Walter and I.  While taking evasive actions, it came very low, barely clearing a short hedge just in front of where Walter and I stood.  What a sight!!"

Oh my!

Walter

Nov 27th - Apparently They're Still Coming!

I haven't checked to be sure but I would say this is very likely our highest single-day count ever for this late in the season.  Only 3 days left!

RMGRW, Toronto
27 November 2017
11:30am - 2:30pm

Raptors:
Turkey Vulture - 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2
Red-shouldered Hawk - 1
Red-tailed Hawk - 20
Merlin - 1
Unidentified Accipiter - 1
Total - 27

an unidentified Accipiter (Matt)
(a fine example of a hawkwatcher's worst nightmare,
the old 'is it a Sharpie or is it a Coop?')
I'm glad we have finally come clean this year and
admit we can't identify everything that flies over - lmao!



three different Red-tailed Hawks (Matt)

Other Birds:

American Crow (Matt)

Great Blue Heron (Matt)
(with it's legs crossed)

Hawkwatchers:
Matt, Dave, Ron, Betty, Arvo, and Krista

Walter

Nov 22nd - A Dozen Raptors

Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch, Toronto
22 November 2017
9:00am - 3:30pm

Raptors:
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2
Cooper's Hawk - 2
Red-tailed Hawk - 7
Merlin - 1
Total - 12

Red-tailed Hawk (Matt)


this Cooper's Hawk had just eaten lunch (Matt)

Great Blue Heron (Matt)

Hawkwatchers:
Walter, Carole, Brian, Matt, Betty, Theresa, Naish, Manny, Tim, and Dave.  Thankyou everyone!

From Betty:
I invite birders and butterfly folks to come and say thanks and goodbye to Richard (Rosetta's gardener) on Thursday November 30th at 11:00am.  I will have a card for folks to sign.


Walter

Nov 21st - Weather Prediction for Wednesday

Well, at the time of writing the wind for Wednesday is looking pretty sweet - from the northwest all day and gustin' good.  This could be the last breath for this slow-dying beast, let's see if it's got a few more birds to spit our way.  LOL!!!

See you at the fence!

Walter

Nov 19th - The Birds Must Be Gone!

Absolutely perfect conditions all day today and no birds to speak of really!  Now, with only 11 days left to go in this year's Watch, I guess we really shouldn't be surprised.  Great conversation over coffee, hot chocolate, and Timbits really helped to keep us all happy and warm!  Thank you Betty!

Rosetta Trickle-of-Raptors, Toronto
19 November 2017
08:00am - 03:00pm

Raptors:
Northern Harrier - 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 4
Cooper's Hawk - 4
Red-tailed Hawk - 9
Total - 19


 
 
 
This crow was just making sure Mr. Red-tail
knew where the exit door was. (Mike)

So beautifully marked! (Mike)

 
an adult Cooper's Hawk (Mike)

Other Birds:
Common Loon (6), American Pipit, Short-eared Owl

Mammals:
Red Fox

Hawkwatchers:
Owen, Jack, Ella, Hugh M, Theresa, Walter, Betty, Mark, Naish, Margaret, Trudy, Lee, Allison, Sonja, Dave, Mike, another Jack, Ron, Bruce and Ann Falls, and several others.  Thankyou everyone for another fantastic day!

Walter

Nov 17th - We've Done It!

If anyone thought that we would count just over 4200 raptors this season, well we've done it!  We're now at 4202 with thirteen days to go.  Where are all those Red-tails?!?!

Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch, Toronto
17 November 2017
09:30am - 01:30pm

Raptors:
Turkey Vulture - 1
Northern Harrier - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1
Red-tailed Hawk - 2
Unidentified Raptor - 1
Total - 6

a juvenile Northern Harrier (Mike)

an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk (Mike)

To Date:
Turkey Vulture - 2678
Osprey - 34
Bald Eagle - 73
Northern Harrier - 101
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 625
Cooper's Hawk - 38
Northern Goshawk - 2
Red-shouldered Hawk - 22
Broad-winged Hawk - 60
Red-tailed Hawk - 246
Rough-legged Hawk - 4
Golden Eagle - 7
American Kestrel - 223
Merlin - 31
Peregrine Falcon - 30
Unidentified Accipiter - 2
Unidentified Buteo - 13
Unidentified Falcon - 5
Unidentified Eagle - 0
Unidentified Raptor - 8
Total - 4202

Other Birds:
Common Loon, Brown Creeper, and Golden-crowned Kinglet

Hawkwatchers:
Theresa, Sonja, Allison, Jack A., Ron, Mike, Pat & Nancy, and Dave

Weather Prediction:
Rain for Saturday and maybe a little bit on Sunday.  The wind for Sunday at present is looking perfect.  Hopefully a few birds will fly our way.

Walter

Nov 13th - One Raptor!

Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch, Toronto
13 November 2017
09:30am - 11:30am (Theresa)

Theresa saw a Northern Goshawk this morning around 9:40am.

Other highlights included American Pipit, Hermit Thrush, Golden-crowned Kinglet and Carolina Wren.

Carolina Wren (Ella)

The group today included Theresa, Ella, and Dave

Thursday is looking good at the moment.

Walter

Nov 10th - 56 Raptors, 3 Goldens, 1 Goshawk!!!

Brrrr!!!  Holy crap was it cold at the park today!!!  We did it tho, we hung in there til 4:30pm...at least the crazy ones did!  I paid for it tonight tho, when I got home I had a hot bowl of soup and a Tennessee coffee and then went off to la-la land for the next 5 and half hours!  I'm ready to do it all over again now - lol!  Thank you everyone for coming out and enjoying the weather and the birds today.  As I predicted, it was a 'fantastic' day!

Frozetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch, Toronto
10 November 2017
07:30am - 04:30pm

Raptors:
Turkey Vulture - 1
Northern Harrier - 6
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2
Northern Goshawk - 1
Red-shouldered Hawk - 7
Red-tailed Hawk - 36
Golden Eagle - 3
Total - 56

Eagle Time (EST):
09:56am - GE (juv.)
11:40am - GE x2 (ad., juv.)

To Date:
Turkey Vulture - 2677
Osprey - 34
Bald Eagle - 73
Northern Harrier - 100
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 624
Cooper's Hawk - 38
Northern Goshawk - 1
Red-shouldered Hawk - 22
Broad-winged Hawk - 60
Red-tailed Hawk - 244
Rough-legged Hawk - 4
Golden Eagle - 7
American Kestrel - 223
Merlin - 31
Peregrine Falcon - 30
Unidentified Accipiter - 2
Unidentified Buteo - 13
Unidentified Falcon - 5
Unidentified Eagle - 0
Unidentified Raptor - 7
Total - 4195

Oh my, this is a beauty! (Mike)

Red-shouldered Hawk (Mike)

a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk (Mike)

Red-tailed Hawk (Mike)

a lightly marked Red-tailed Hawk (Mike)

The moment everyone warmed up!  Two
Golden Eagles at once! (Mike)

same pair of GEs (Matt) 


 a gorgeous adult Red-shouldered Hawk (Mike)

Another 'Grey Ghost' (adult male Northern Harrier) passing low and fast! (Mike)

Red-shouldered Hawk (Matt)

Other Birds:
Common Loon (27), Rusty Blackbird (300+), American Pipit, Eastern Bluebird, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Trumpeter Swan, and Great Blue Heron were some of the highlights.

just one of likely 100 American Crows that flew over today (Paul)

Mallards flying overhead (Matt)

Hawkwatchers:
Kris, Nolan, Owen, Noam, Paul, Allison, Matt, Trudy, Dave, Mike, Ron, Betty, Manny, Jean, Blaine, Lynn, Liz, Carole, Brian, and a few others who braved the cold.  Thank you everyone for your 'warm' friendship and help spotting, identifying, and photographing the birds.

Nolan brought the ultimate in winter birding accessories! (Walter)

Weather Prediction:
At the time of writing, Tuesday is looking like our next decent day.

Walter

Forecast for Friday...

Tomorrow is looking fantastic for raptor migration, hopefully the birds that are left think the same.  Excellent N and NW wind all day!  See you at the fence!

Walter