Wind (current)

Another very sucessful season of the Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch has come to a close. Thanks to everyone who came out this fall. As well as a record count,many enthusiastic new folks joined us this fall. It was a pleasure to meet you all and teach you what I could.Thanks to the many experienced birders,who joined us and offered their expertise and knowledge. Thanks to the staff of Rosetta McClain Gardens,who offered flyers and encouraged park goers to join us,for allowing me to store equipment and get much appreciated and needed hot coffee. Thanks to those who allowed the use of their photos on the blog. Each and every one of you added to the success of the watch in many ways. Incredible views of all 15 species of raptors were enjoyed over the course of the season. Our lakeside,bluff-top view is an incredible vantage point,offering unique sight-lines. This years count was the highest ever,5845 and a park record 755 raptors was enjoyed on September 15th.
Final totals for this season were:
Turkey Vulture......... 1061(previous best 436)
Osprey.........................94(previous best 92)
Bald Eagle....................33
Northern Harrier..........389
Sharp-shinned Hawk..2691(previous best 2561)
Coopers Hawk..............92
Northern Goshawk.........10
Red-shouldered Hawk....18
Broad-winged Hawk.....177
Red-tailed Hawk...........715
Rough-legged Hawk..........6
Golden Eagle...................12(previous best 11)
American Kestrel...........431
Peregrine Falcon..............72(previous best 58)
2007 Season Total.......5845(previous best 5675 in 2006)

74 days were counted on,totalling 440 hours of observation. 12 days over 100 raptors were counted 9 of those days were over 200. As mentioned the 15th of September 755 raptors were counted which is the most every at Rosetta McClain Gardens in one day.

Species High Days
TV.......393 Oct 14
OS..........7 Sept 28
BE...........5 Sept 15
NH.........65 Sept 28
SS........569 Sept15
CH...........7 Oct 14
NG...........3 Sept 28 and Oct 16
RS............4 Oct 12 and 14
BW..........63 Sept 12
RT.........185 Oct 28
RL.............4 Nov 7
GE.............3 Oct 12 and 14
AK..........105 Sept 28
ML.............5 Oct 24
PG.............18 Oct 10

Over the fall,many new birds for the park were seen including,Pine Grosbeak,Pine Siskin,Evening Grosbeak,Common Redpoll,Purple Finch,Rusty Blackbird and Surf Scoters.Thanks again to everyone! 88 Days Till Spring Raptor Migration Starts At Beamer!

ASHBRIDGES BAY RARITY:Yellow-breasted Chat

Since the raptor migration has all but officially come to a close,I went today to Ashbridges Bay Park,just near Woodbine and the Lakeshore. For the past week there has been a Yellow-breasted Chat out near the southwest tip. Directions posted online at a few birding sites were excellent and got me right in the general area. A helpful birder I met hadnt had good luck,but did point me in the right spot. I waited about 20min and decided to sit down on a nearby bench. Within 5minutes,Ross and 2 of his friends arrived. Ross disappeared around the corner where I had previously been standing,and soon called out.."Guys over here!" With that,we clamoured over,scopes,binoculars and my camera at the ready. What a beautiful little bird..sort of a warbler on steroids..its about 7.5 inches tip to tail. The yellow was wonderfully illuminated by the bright sunlight,giving us all fantastic views. It ate berries,moved around and preened unbothered by either us or the Pointer that ran roughshod all over the area. For 3 of us,the Chat was a life bird,so all gathered were very happy with the sighting. I was very pleased with my photos,especially with all the "shmutz" around the bird.
Soon I will post a final summary and note of the raptor watch season..stay tuned.

Northwest Winds Push Raptors And Our Total To A Record

Today,thanks to the day long healthy northwest winds and some hardy observers,168 raptors were seen. 2 Different Coopers Hawks landed in the park,one very co-operatively in the top of a bare tree. A Redtailed Hawk also landed in the park briefly today. The bulk of todays sightings were Redtailed Hawks,high,low,above and below. Todays total was made up as follows:
1-Bald Eagle(juvenile)
2-Northern Harriers
3-Sharpshinned Hawks
6-Coopers Hawks
3-Northern Goshawks
149-Redtailed Hawks
2-Redshouldered Hawks
2-Golden Eagles
One of the Redshoulders and one of the Goshawks gave terrific views,at very close range. This brings this years total well beyond last fall's 5675,currently totaling 5826. With a southwest wind tomorrow I will NOT be present. If U decide to go to Rosetta please email me what see,if anything. Special thanks to Ann,for my ride,lunch,photos and hot tea.

Nov15 24 Raptors...YTD..5658

It was a cold wind today,and several local Redtailed Hawks kept showing themselves just to confuse things. Those gathered saw :
1-Bald Eagle(juvenile distant)
1-Northern Harrier
4-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Northern Goshawk(flew through low and fast)
16-Redtailed Hawks(high low near far)
1-Golden Eagle(juvenile)

Tomorrows conditions looked great the last time I looked..lets hope for a big day! or at least18raptors so I can achieve the highest count ever at Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch. Dress warm if U are coming!

Slow Day But Good Views

Despite early NE winds,the count was very low. Raptors definetly stayed north of the lakeshore in our area. Good but fast views of a Peregrine Falcon and Merlin were enjoyed. A few close Coopers Hawks and the star of the day,an immature Bald Eagle at 10:30am gave us hopes for a better day then we ended up with. Todays 15 raptors consisted of :

1-Bald Eagle

4-Sharpshinned Hawks

2-Coopers Hawks

4-Redtailed Hawks

2-American Kestrels


1-Peregrine Falcon

Right now,Tuesday holds abit of promise. As the migration winds down,there are still some great birds to see.

Few Raptors Near The Lake..Day Count 53...YTD..5619

While conditions were very good and both Cranberry Marsh and High Park Raptor Watches saw over 200 birds of prey,many fewer followed the lakeshore in Scarborough. Among the 53 raptors seen today,the best birds were 2 low,close dark-morph Roughlegged Hawks. We had terrific views of them. The bulk of the birds as expected were Redtailed Hawks. Hoped for Golden Eagles never came. I hung in until 330pm

Among non-raptors,a Common Loon and a Red-throated Loon were seen swimming together on the lake,as well as a feeding frenzy which involved hundreds of Red-breasted Mergansers and Ring-billed Gulls. A number of Common Goldeneye and a number of huge rafts of Long-tailed Ducks were also seen on the lake. Ron heard a Pine Grosbeak fly over and both he and I saw an Evening Grosbeak. A Pine Siskin landed briefly in an Elm tree,before moving onward.

Todays total consisted of:

3-Northern Harriers

8-Sharpshinned Hawks

1-Coopers Hawk

1-Red-shouldered Hawk

36-Redtailed Hawks

4-Roughlegged Hawks

This brought the year total to 5619,which is 56 short of last years final total. There are still a few 100+ days out there,but conditions will have to be nearly perfect. The next several days do not look very promising. Its unlikely I will be present over the weekend,unless conditions improve.

Record Season Soon...YTD Totals As At Oct 31

As of October 31,Rosetta McClain Raptor Watch is very close to breaking last fall's record total of 5675 raptors identified. The October 31 running total is 5513. The break down this fall is different from last fall,with a few species up considerably and others down. This gives me great hope for future years,as if all species approach record highs,a final season total in November could be considerably higher then all previous years. A big if I know but an intriguing thought none-the-less.Turkey Vultures,Sharp-shinned Hawks,Osprey and Peregrine Falcon totals are already at record highs. Very few of any of those species are expected over the next month,while Redtailed Hawks should be the bulk of the November birds,with a smattering of Red-shouldereds,Roughlegs,Goshawks and Golden Eagles.

Year To Date Sightings
1061-Turkey Vulture
29-Bald Eagles
381-Northern Harriers
2664-Sharpshinned Hawks
77-Coopers Hawks
6-Northern Goshawks
15-Redshouldered Hawks
177-Broadwinged Hawks
466-Redtailed Hawks
2-Roughlegged Hawks
7-Golden Eagles
426-American Kestrels
68-Peregrine Falcons(plus one with tethers)
So far this fall has been a great success,not only from a numbers standpoint,but also the new folks,introduced to raptor watching and birding generally. Ive really enjoyed mentoring newer people and learning from those more experienced who have joined me this fall. Truely its been a pleasure. A reminder that bathrooms are now closed,but just a few blocks up Kingston Rd are several restaurants and coffee shops.

Nov 1 No Day Can Be All Bad When U See A Golden Eagle

Another day where we remember raptors dont read weather reports. There should have been alot more seen then was. An almost pitiful 41 raptors were observed,though we did have some very nice views of what was seen. At 12:30pm,I looked out over the lake and spotted the hoped for Golden Eagle,well enjoyed by Ron,Bruce Falls,and myself.Included are photos of A Golden Eagle(gull with it gives size perspective) and a Redtailed Hawk being harrassed by 2 of 3 American Crows. Down on the lake,a large "slick" of Long-tailed Ducks and hundreds of Common Mergansers,could be seen. Our final total today of 41 raptors consisted of:
2-Northern Harriers
5-Sharpshinned Hawks
2-Coopers Hawks
27-Red-tailed Hawks
1-Golden Eagle(12:30pm)
2-American Kestrels
1-Peregrine Falcon

Also seen today,several flocks of Eastern Bluebirds,Cedar Waxwings,Pine Siskins and a few Common Redpolls were seen,flying past or landing briefly in the park. Towards the end of the day,a Yellow-rumped Warbler was seen "hawking" bugs.
Right now Saturday looks like the next best chancce to see some raptors.

Todays Total 231..YTD...5508

Eventually today became most of what was expected of it. Early arrivals were almost ready to pack it in for the day,when around 10:30am,a few vultures and Redtails were spotted circling together. While hoped for Golden Eagles failed to appear,all gathered went home happy. We saw a Bald Eagle at 4:15pm,many Redtailed Hawks near and far as well as several close views of a Northern Goshawk,which made several passes of the park(it may hang around awhile). With 4 or 5 other Redtailed Hawks,was what we believe was a dark-morph Redtailed Hawk. Jean got her scope on it,and the shape and pattern indicated the same. A new passerine for the park was recorded and photographed..Common Redpoll,a small flock of which landed in a tree almost right beside us. The large number of friends and visitors gathered,observed 231 raptors today.
21-Turkey Vultures
1-Bald Eagle
2-Northern Harriers
12-Sharpshinned Hawks
3-Coopers Hawks
3-Northern Goshawks
2-Redshouldered Hawks
185-Redtailed Hawks
1-Roughlegged Hawk
Thanks to everyone for their contributions today. Hundreds of Mergansers were seen feeding,down at the lake today.

Oct24 Day Count 90 YTD...5243

Today wasnt bad,but not near as good as Id hoped for. Bueteos were almost non-existant and no left over Vultures were seen. I havent heard but I dont think the strongish NW winds predicted ever materialized. Carol,Lee,Ann(on her lunch),Jaedon a newbie who joined us from the Toronto Birding Board(a message board),Margaret,Ron,Jean and myself saw a respectable 90 birds,though visitors had varying sucess. The 90 birds were made up of:

1-Bald Eagle(1:05pm Juvenile)

9-Northern Harriers

64-Sharpshinned Hawks

6-Redtailed Hawks

5-American Kestrels


We had great looks at a few of the Merlin,many Sharpies a few of the Harriers and the Bald Eagle which flew close into the bluffs. Also seen were a few flocks of Eastern Bluebirds,a Carolina Wren,thousands of Red-winged Blackbirds and a beautiful ,healthy looking Red Fox.

Oct 22 And The Sharpies Keep On Comin

Today was another day of flight of the Sharpshinneds,but the excitement of the day was a local Redtailed Hawk,which has now taken to hunting the park. It perched nearby several times,and Ann got some great inflight shots too(one sample provided). Todays count of 79 Sharpies,pushed the count to a new yearly record,surpassing last years final total of 2561(current year total is 2577) with several good days yet to come.

Todays count was:

79-Sharpshinned Hawks

1-Coopers Hawk

2-Redtailed Hawks

2-American Kestrels

The Year To Date total is now 5153.

Oct 21 Adult Sharpies On The Move

The beautiful weather,that southern Ontario has been enjoying,kills migration. On the plus side,adult Sharp-shinned Hawks dont read weather reports,and seeing a good number of Sharpies is a guarentee right now. Once they decided its time to leave,they just go. Recently we have had many visitors,including my friends Rodger and Jane from Cheshire UK,Alan from New York via Grenada,Lee,Chris,Carol,Rob,Victor,Ron,Jean,Berle and others who I appologize to for not getting your names. Its been great to see so many first time visitors,that have now made return visits. New folks really make things more enjoyable,with new people to meet and get to know. All those extra eyes definetly help too. Today we added 98 raptors to the season total,breaking the 5000 raptor mark,which is 4 or 5 days ahead of last year. I will add several photos tomorrow,but wanted to get an update on. Todays total of 98 was madde up of
3-Northern Harriers
83-Sharpshinned Hawks
2-Coopers Hawks
1-Northern Goshawk
1-Redtailed Hawk
4-American Kestrels
3-Peregrine Falcons(one very interesting one...stay tuned)

Our current total is 5069. Recently Pine Siskens and Surf Scoters were added to the ever increasing list of birds seen in,over and around Rosetta McClain Gardens,which stands at about 175(I will determine exact number soon). On Oct 20 2 small flocks of Eastern Bluebirds were seen flying past.

Oct 16th 68 Raptors...YTD..4895

Today,Rodger,Jane,Margaret,Murray and myself had a reasonable day,given the conditions. On the plus side,almost everything seen was very close and first time visitor Murray saw his first Rosetta raptor(the Bald Eagle). I enjoyed seeing the local Coopers Hawk harrass a Red-shouldered Hawk,which landed briefly in a tree along the bluffs for refuge. I took 2 steps in the direction of the tree to take a photo(it was at least 1/3 of the park away from me) and it took off. A few Redtailed Hawks streamed along the edge of the bluffs,followed by a juvenile Bald Eagle at 11:40am. All 4 Turkey Vultures also went right along the bluffs at or below eye level. It seemed there were definete lulls between short bursts of birds. The final total of 68 birds consisted of :
4-Turkey Vultures
1-Bald Eagle
9-Northern Harriers
21-Sharpshinned Hawks
5-Coopers Hawks
3-Red-shouldered Hawks
24-Redtailed Hawks
1-American Kestrel

The next week is very iffy...if it isnt raining I'll be there.

Vultures Ahoy...Day Count 499..YTD..4796

Sometime after 11am,by which time we had only 22 raptors,the squadrons of Turkey Vultures began to arrive. Within about 20minutes we saw about 150 and they just kept coming. As many of those gathered are newer raptor watchers,the volume of Turkey Vultures was very impressive,and I must say it was the biggest day for them yet at Rosetta. We saw many kettles of Vultures,with a Redtail,Sharpie or Red-shoulder thrown in. More people left,and Les,Berle and myself were treated to a Northern Goshawk,on which I was able to point out various characteristics to Leslie,an immature Bald Eagle..ID'd properly from a the time I couldnt get any colour looking at it and mistakenly recorded it as a Golden. ,and 3 immature Golden Eagles! Times 2:15,2:20(2 came) and the Bald was basically same time. One of the eagles circled with a Redtail,first just offering a great lesson in size contrast and wing shape,and then the eagle got annoyed at the hawk and turned its tallons up and grabbed at it! Quite a thrill to see. Our final total was 499 raptors,consisting of:

393-Turkey Vultures

1-Bald Eagle

3-Northern Harriers

29-Sharpshinned Hawks

7-Coopers Hawks

1-Northern Goshawk

4-Red-shouldered Hawks

54-Redtailed Hawks

3-Golden Eagles

3-American Kestrels


The 393 Turkey Vultures is a new one day record for this site. Thanks to everyone for their contributions and commraderie,without all those extra eyes,I would have missed alot.

Oct 12 Golden Moments..Day Count 386..YTD..4250

Today was another day with optimal conditions. Myself,Ron,Carol,Berle,Lee,Gunner,Rodger and Jane,as well as a small class of kids enjoyed some great raptors. We saw 13 of the 15 species normally seen in southern Ontario today. The first 3 Golden Eagles of the season and first 4 Red-shouldered Hawks(one was below us) of the season were the true excitement of the day. A few small kettles of Vultures were also enjoyed. Todays final numbers:
222-Turkey Vultures
1-Bald Eagle
5-Northern Harrier
6-Coopers Hawk
4-Red-shouldered Hawk(2 very well)
3-Broadwinged Hawk
3-Golden Eagles(all juvie)
4-American Kestrel
1-Peregrine Falcon
386-Final Total

The current year to date total is 4250 which was not acheived until Oct 20th last year.All ready this season Ive seen more Osprey(94),TVs(609) and Peregrines(65) then any other season at Rosetta. The weekends weather looks good for some good movement of raptors,with Sunday looking the better of the 2 days as they are predicted right now. Other special sightings 10 Common Loons on the lake,heard several times calling and one Shrike most likely a Northern.

Oct 11..Record TUrkey Vulture Day..YTD Total..3864

Today was a very clear day! I started by taking a few shots of Niagara Falls..the city and the mist rising up from the acutal Falls. I usually have a good day if I can count 20 raptors by 10am. Today I had already counted 49 by 10am. It just got better. From 11-12,I counted 188 raptors. The final total was 380. Squadrons of Turkey Vultures passed over us,and formed small kettles from 10-25 at a time. Jean and her scope were a great help at spotting and IDing several somewhat distant birds,but most were pretty close to us. In the end,Ron,Jean,Berle and a few others,saw 380 raptors,made up of:

286-Turkey Vultures


1-Bald Eagle

5-Northern Harrier

56-Sharpshinned Hawks

4-Coopers Hawk

20-Redtailed Hawks

5-American Kestrel


1-Peregrine Falcon

The next several days,conditions are optimal for a huge raptor movement. Im sure Golden Eagle,Red-shouldered Hawks and Goshawks will start to move. Hope to see U out!

Start of Something Big...Day Count 139 YTD..3484

The day began with another beautiful sunrise...yes I was at the park early! Shortly after sunrise,the first 2 Sharpshinned Hawks flew past. A few moments later the first of 18..yes 18 Peregrine Falcons went through. By 10am Id seen 10 Peregrines,tying the countsite record set last fall. The final tally of 18,was if anything understated,as I know there is one Peregrine thats currently local,which made several passes of the park,so in an effort not to double count,several times I allowed a Peregrine to pass without recording it. At about 130pm,Rodger and Jane,friends visiting from the UK..Cheshire,and Ron were on their way home. About 2pm,Margaret another visitor from the UK had arrived for the afternoon. All were treated to some excellent views of migrating raptors. Almost all of todays birds were very close. The final total of 139 consisted of:

47-Turkey Vulture


15-Northern Harrier

40-Sharpshined Hawk

3-Coopers Hawk

3-Redtailed Hawk

8-American Kestrel


18-Peregrine Falcon

The 18 Peregrine Falcons was a real thrill,particularily for myself,as I do a good deal of volunteer work with The Canadian Peregrine Foundation. An Osprey,Ann and I saw harrassed by 2 Ring-billed Gulls,was abit of excitement and also a great contrast in size. The next week looks very promising,though rain is called for several days,often the duration of the rain is very short,and will do little to discourage migration.

October 9 Good Sightings On Slow Day YTD 3345

With the humidity finally gone,I couldnt stay inside,so despite less than optimal conditions I went to the park. The total for the day was only 18,but 2 close Osprey and 8 very close Peregrine Falcons made the day worthwhile,not to mention good conversation with Ann. She was still buzzing over how great the day before was. Todays birds were:


2-Northern Harrier

1-Sharpshinned Hawk

2-Redtailed Hawk

3-American Kestrel

8-Peregrine Falcon

One of the Peregrines made several passes of the park. Hopefully it will appear on a clearer day.

Thanks to Leslie for taking the time and effort to record the migrating raptors today and all who helped her,mentioned in her report.

(Bald Eagle photos from Ann Brokelman..more soon)

As reported by Leslie.

We arrived at the park at 10am with our friends Laura and Harvey and were shocked that no one was by the fence. We're glad that it was just the humidity that kept you away and that you are OK otherwise. Everyone who stopped or walked by asked where you were. We thought you were enjoying turkey time with your family.

Because no one was there, I was concerned that maybe I picked a bad day. Then, Lorne showed up and told me that he had been seeing lots of Sharpies in the last half hour. He said he'd give you his numbers from before 10am.) We were later joined by Ron Pittaway, Mary, Vern, Beryl, and Ann (with the camera).

As you've likely heard by now, it was a good day. Many of the birds (Osprey and Bald Eagles) were low and gave us great views. We were an excited bunch! Because I had the notebook, I became the official recorder. It's hard work! By the end, I was almost dizzy by everyone making calls and trying to see birds myself. I was counting from 10am to 1:30pm. The birds slowed down after 12:30pm when it got really hot and humid. Here are the numbers:
- 303 Sharpies
- 3 Cooper's Hawks
- 1 Red-Tailed Hawk
- 1 Merlin
- 7 Peregrine Falcons
- 3 Osprey
- 4 American Kestrels
- 39 Northern Harriers
- 8 Turkey Vultures
- 2 Bald Eagles
- 3 Unknown (Ron didn't get a good look at them, as they went by so quickly)
374 TOTAL(Lorne's totals to be added still)



Poor Winds Good Company 31 Raptors YTD 2929

Today,winds were not favorable for a large movement of raptors,but all gathered enjoyed a few good raptors and beautiful weather for the last day of September. It was a pleasure to welcome Margaret from the UK and sharp-eyed Jef and Ingrid from Holland. A very close Osprey was a particular thrill for Jef and Ingrid.The usual suspects all helped out..thanks Rob,Lorne,Len,Darlene,Ann,Berle,Eleanor,Keith,Les and Mike and anyone I may have missed for your help and comraderie. Out total of 31 was:
5-Northern Harriers
20-Sharpshinned Hawks
3-Redtailed Hawks(one attacked by 2 Crows)
1-American Kestrel
1-Peregrine Falcon
Better days are ahead. Also seen today were a few Common Loons,many Kinglets,White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows,Blue Jays continued to migrate in large numbers and several migrating Crows also went past today. Tuesday could bring a Peregrine movement,Thursdays,current predicted Northwest wind after abit of rain Wed might prompt a big movement of raptors.Keep an eye on Thursday!

Good Upflight Day Total 80...YTD...2898

Today the light northwest winds in the morning brought a good upflight(birds migrated past which had spent the nite close by). The by 11am we'd seen 67 of the 80 birds to be seen today. The winds shifted or maybe just stopped blowing altogether so little else was seen. By 1pm I had shut things down. Ron,Rob,Berle,Ann,Matt and David all enjoyed some good birds though. A few interactions between Gulls and Harriers and Sharpies and Harriers was fun to watch. The final total of 80raptors was made up of:
3-Turkey Vultures
25-Northern Harriers
35-Sharpshinned Hawks
2-Broadwinged Hawks
11-American Kestrels
2-Peregrine Falcons
With a few first time visitors,Id hoped for better,but luckily they understood the nature of raptor watching,and enjoyed their day. I saw that out at Cranberry Marsh in Whitby,at around 1:30pm they sighted an American White Pelican. I hope it stopped off someplace between them and Rosetta McClain Gardens,though I suspect it has probably past by. I will keep my eyes peeled tomorrow.

Sept28 Great Winds Great Birds..317...YTD 2818

Today as expected was a terrific day. Only once did it rain,all other threatening clouds blew over. Winds were favorable all day long. Jean,Ron,Mary,Carol,Berle and I as well as several passersby,enjoyed 317 birds of prey.From 8-9am I had seen 30 raptors already,predominantly Kestrels,which continued all day. The number of Northern Harriers was also impressive,as we saw 65..very many very close views. Turkey Vultures have begun their migration,we saw 21. In all we saw 11 species. Our total was made up of:
21-Turkey Vultures
2-Bald Eagles(1pm and 1:20pm)
65-Northern Harriers
74-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Coopers Hawk(plus the local)
21-Broadwinged Hawks
18-Redtailed Hawks
105-American Kestrels
4-Peregrine Falcons

A great day enjoyed by all. Very few of the birds were seen at long distance,most were very close up. Tomorrow looks good for a decent flight of birds.

Intermitant Light Rains..Day Count 67 YTD..2501

Braving some cool temps and very light intermitant rains,I tallied a respectable 67 raptors. 3 Bald Eagles passed Rosetta today,all juveniles,at 10:20am,1:20pm and 1:45pm. The first of the 3 was very close in,then went well out over the lake. All Osprey passed very close,2 circled above the park,begging to be looked at. A real surprise came when I was following a Sharpshinned Hawk with my binoculars. Suddenly I saw some distant birds behind it out a good distance over the lake. Suprisingly it was 10 Northern Harriers circling with 2 Broadwinged Hawks. All 4 Peregrine Falcons were very close. Ron thought one for sure was a tundrius adult. Final totals were:
3-Bald Eagles
29-Northern Harriers
11-Sharpshinned Hawks
12-American Kestrels
3-Peregrine Falcons

After a decent rainfall overnite,this was the first morning there was a significant fallout. Several warblers including Yellow-rumped,Black-throated Green,Nashville and Magnolia. Brown Creepers,many Nuthatches and over 100 Northern Flickers. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,American Pipets and thousands of Blue Jays migrated through. Today 7 Common Loons flew over..yessterday there were 24.

Sept26 Day Count 58 YTD 2434

Today,despite rainy periods that never amounted to much,confused winds which sometimes blew north,sometimes west and sometimes northwest brought,given the conditions a respectable 58 raptors. The local Coopers Hawk was busy,she attacked a Northern Harrier and also a Sharpshinned Hawk. 4 of todays birds were hold overs from Gunner which he saw when I was not present. He saw a Bald Eagle,2 Peregrines and a Sharpie,they are added into todays total.
1-Bald Eagle
17-Northern Harriers
31-Sharpshinned Hawks
3-American Kestrels
3-Peregrine Falcons
Unfortunately all of todays photos were silhouettes. Friday is looking good for a big migration day,provided it doesnt rain too much.

Some Great Shots From Rob

The last few days have been very hot and humid,with south winds,all very incondusive to raptor migration,so I have not been present at the watch. Today(Sept.26th) I will be there,to see what moves on todays west wind after abit of rain. I missed little as I saw Cranberry Marsh Raptor Watch saw only 14 birds over the last 2 days.Friday is looking like the next best possibility for a huge day.

Sept 23 A Handfull of Falcons 36 Raptors..YTD 2376

Today,winds were very light,which meant not alot being blown right to the lakeshore. A local Redtailed Hawk flew into a tree in the park with an unknown meal. At 10am,a 2nd year Bald Eagle flew by,circling a few times before continuing its journey. The thrill of the day came when I spotted first one Peregrine we watched that one,a 2nd appeared above it. Rob looked towards the lake as the rest of us were looking north,and 3 more Peregrines were over the lake. All 5 flew and played together in the area for at least 5 minutes together. All were juvenile birds,which is a very interesting sighting. A good group of observers,unfortunately picked a slow day. Thanks to Leslie,Mike,Linda,Carol,Colin,Rob,Lorne and Leon for their help and passing the slow day with many interesting conversations. Todays total of 36 raptors were:
1-Bald Eagle
6-Northern Harriers
17-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Coopers Hawk
1-Redtailed Hawk
5-American Kestrels
5-Peregrine Falcons

With high humidity and less then optimal winds over the next few days I suspect migration will slow to a trickle. Wednesdays west wind has a chance,with Fridays current forecast of a strong NW wind holding the most potenial this week. Lets hope that prediction holds true and a mega-day occurs. An outbreak of North-west Wind Virus may take place Friday if the 25kmh NW wind happens(dont worry thats just people calling in sick so they can go raptor watching).

Sept 22 Sharpies And Kestrels And Harriers Oh My

Today with the help of Rob,Lorne,Colin,Lynty,Eleanor and Christi,a total of 256 raptors were counted. A local Coopers Hawk made several appearances and I managed a few decent shots of it. Rob got some great shots today(to be added later) as well. Our most amusing sighting of the day was seeing a Ruby-throated Hummingbird attack the backside of a Sharpshinned Hawk. Later a Sharpshinned Hawk made a dive very close to us into a tree after a Chickadee. Included in my photos is one with 2 Sharpshinned Hawks,not because it is of National Geographic quality,but so Id remember to mention that right now we almost always see Sharpshinned Hawks migrating in 2's. These "pairs" are currently all juveniles and are siblings from the same nests. Later adult pairs will migrate together. Todays count was:

1-Turkey Vulture


21-Northern Harriers

165 Sharpshinned Hawks

5 Coopers Hawks

1-Broadwinged Hawk

7-Redtailed Hawks

54-American Kestrels

While the mix is different,this falls total of 2340 raptors is within 3 of last years.

Sept 20 53 raptors..YTD 2084 NW WIND ALERT

Morning winds were northwest,but wind shifted around noon and raptors dried up. The 19th I took a break,and wasnt present at all,and from reports elsewhere I didnt miss much. Thursday I saw 53 raptors,consisting of:
1-Turkey Vulture
4-Northern Harriers
23-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Coopers Hawk(plus the local)
1-Redtailed Hawk
22-American Kestrels
The Merlin that had appeared to be hanging around seems to have left the area.

Northwest Wind Alert....Saturday,after so many poor wind days,a Northwest wind of 30kmh is currently predicted for Saturday. This will mean a very good migration of raptors. I hesitate to predict numbers,but if all else stays the same,I suspect 300-500 raptors or more will be seen at Rosetta McClain Gardens,of at least 11 species. While fairly warm temperatures are predicted,I suggest bringing some warm clothes just incase. The flight will start very early,if the winds predicted hold,by 9am on a similar day last Saturday,I had counted over 60raptors by10am and over 150raptors by 11am. If U are up early come on down. No bathrooms till 9am Saturdays!

SouthWind=Slow 28 Raptors YTD 2031

Today was slow again,with winds south and south east. Sharpshins made most of todays birds,with excitement coming when a migrating Merlin took a run at a Blue Jay. Thousands of Blue Jays were migrating all morning,through 1pm when I left for the day. Staff alerted me to a perched hawk up near the rose garden. A quick gator ride and I snapped off several photos,of a co-operative Coopers Hawk.
The next few days could be terribly slow with poor wind conditions and high humidity. That said I will likely be at the park from 8am-1pm and see what happens. The weekend now looks like the next best hope of some good count days. Sunday NE winds are predicted,which will move some birds.

Sept 16 Wind Shift..Slower Day 76 Raptors YTD-1977

Todays early west wind brought a small upflight,followed by a shift in winds,to the south which meant a real slow down in birds. That said the day was exactly as I had believed it would be,someplace between 50 to 80 raptors. Karen and Matt,Bruce,Fred,Les,Mike,Lorne,Keith,Rob and his "Muffin" all shared some of the birds today. At 1:20pm and adult Bald Eagle went past,abit high but,it was right overhead. One of the local family of Crows attacked a passing Sharpshinned Hawk on two different occassions,sorta waking us from our lethargy. Our final total was 76 birds,consisting of


1-Bald Eagle

7-Northern Harrier

53 Sharpshinned Hawk

3-Coopers Hawk

4-Broadwinged Hawk

2-Redtailed Hawk

5-American Kestrel
The coming week's warm up is likely to mean several slow days,with some Sharpshinned Hawks moving and not alot else. While currently Thursday has a good north wind predicted,it also has a rather warm temperature and some humidity predicted which may work against the good wind. Right now it is the most promising day though. Saturday and Sunday at this stage look reasonable. Sunday's predicted Northeast wind is promising,but you should be aware that birds tend to be higher on NE winds as opposed to N or NW. That said its a crap shoot,and if you want to enjoy a day out,then come join in!

Record Day!! 755 Raptors..YTD-1901

First,sorry for the late difficulties. Now then,near perfect weather conditions,along with the able assistance of so many who joined in the watch today,resulted in the best one day count ever at Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch. Over the course of a very busy day,many thanks to Rob,Bob,Andrew,Carol,Susan,Bruce and Lorne(sorry to those I was so busy I didnt get to pay special attention too and get names..thanks to others who did though),for helping with spotting,identification and informing passersby of what we were doing. Some photos Rob took will be added later today(Sunday). Together we all really enjoyed many close views of multitutes of Sharpshinned Hawks,which sometimes passed as rapid fire as Blue Jays. I might also mention that early in the morning Bruce Rob and I saw somewhere between 5000-10000 Blue Jays migrating in wave after wave. 2 very close juvenile Peregrine Falcons interacting gave Rob and Bruce a real thrill(Id vacated for coffee...thanks Georgia for the hot coffeeRob Bruce and I enjoyed). Id promised Rob a low Bald Eagle and we vigilantly kept our eyes low along the lakeshore. Around 940am,Rob hollered that something big was flying low along the bluffs.It was so low and close,we lost sight of it in tight to the bluffs. It emerged giving us an amazing view of a juvenile(nest year) Bald Eagle. Rob,Bruce and myself shall not forget that one for awhile. Later another juvenile Bald Eagle passed by very close again as more of us were gathered to watch,providing more thrills. Some very low Broadwinged Hawks provided excellent views and Sharpshinned Hawks were appearing everywhere.By the end of the day,last seasons record one day count of 559 was shattered,with 755 raptors being recorded. This great total consisted of

6-Turkey Vultures


5-Bald Eagles

54-Northern Harriers

569-Sharpshinned Hawks

4-Coopers Hawks

61-Broadwinged Hawks

9-Redtailed Hawks

39-American Kestrels



Todays fantastic total puts my Year To Date count 724 raptors ahead of last season at the same date. Hopefully this trend continues. Thanks again to everyone for their contributions today.(please ignore the conflict in my running year to date counts if U read previous postings,with Sept 15 totals,a review and correction of all totals was done and as at today,all totals are correct and current that are stated in this post.

Sept 13 South Winds..Slow Day 54...YTD 1128

Today was exactly what I expected. Winds shifted to the south and the skies were painfully blue. Spotting in a purely blue sky,it is tough to see the raptors and rough on the eyes. The morning was abit busier then the afternoon,as after a big day like yesterday,a decent "upflight"(birds that stopped overnite nearby)can be expected. Again Sharpshinned Hawks were the most commonly seen raptor followed closely by American Kestrels. A few Osprey were seen very well in the morning also. A Merlin attacked a Sharp-shinned Hawk again today. Terry,Jaques,myself and later Tim saw :

1 Turkey Vulture
3 Osprey(ytd over 50)
1 Northern Harrier
26 Sharpshinned Hawk
20 American Kestrel
3 Merlin

Friday should be a better day for counting,with Saturdays forecast still looking great for a big movement of raptors again. Get to your favorite raptor watching site on Saturday if the predicted northwest winds hold true.

Sept 12 Raptorous Day 445...YTD 1075

Today,almost perfect conditions existed most of the day for a large movement of raptors. All southern Ontario raptor watches reported fantastic results. While Rosetta doesnt get the huge counts of other sites,we are blessed with some fantastic views that are as good as any U will get anywhere. The days count was predominantly Sharp-shinned Hawks. 63 Broadwinged Hawks(at least 50 were very close or reasonably close views) offered some terrific views,allowing me to point out various field marks to a few attending birders who are newish. The resident Coopers Hawk is very territorial and took runs at several Sharp-shinned Hawks. Low Sharpies blasted through the park through the trees,while others were along the lakeshore. By days end myself,carol,2 Eleanors,Ron,Susan and Leon enjoyed 445 raptors consisting of:

8 Osprey

1 Turkey Vulture

6 Northern Harrier

345 Sharp-shinned Hawk

3 Coopers Hawk

63 Broadwinged Hawk

7 Redtailed Hawk

11 American Kestrel

1 Merlin

Saturday still looks great for another big day.

Sept 11 TFN Visit Day Count 156..YTD 630

Today about a dozen members of the Toronto Field Naturalists joined Carol and I for some raptor watching. The weather was less than optimal at the beginning of the day,which unfortunatly meant things started very slow. With perseverence,an Osprey flew past very close offering a fantastic view. We did share a number of sightings of Sharp-shinned Hawks and Markus saw an American Crow attack a Broadwinged Hawk. A Merlin attacked a Sharpshinned Hawk too. As the last remaining TFN member left at 2pm,we had seen only 55 raptors. From 2pm-2:08pm (not a typo)Carol and I saw 31 Sharpshins,18 of which were in a messy kettle with one Coopers Hawk. Soon a few straggling TFN members arrived surprised to find us still on site and counting up a storm. Sharp-shinned Hawks were flying fast and furious,a few Broadwinged hawks(one attacked by the local Coopers Hawk),a few more Osprey,a few Kestrels and another Merlin attacking another Sharpie. In both cases the explosive speed of the Merlin was seen and marvelled at! At 4:30pm when things were finally packed in,156 raptors were seen.

1 Turkey Vulture

6 Osprey

1 Northern Harrier

126 Sharp-shinned Hawk

2 Coopers Hawk

4 Broadwinged Hawk

7 Redtailed hawk

5 American Kestrel

4 Merlin

Tomorrow and Saturday look very good if weather forecasts hold.

Sept 10 86 Raptors Today..YTD 474

Today,Carol and I strained alot to find many of the Sharpies. Keith dropped in for a short visit,but did see a few Sharpies. We had one group of 8 and later a group of 7 Sharp-shinned Hawks. The 86 raptors broke down this way
2 Osprey
2 Northern Harriers
78 Sharpshinned Hawks
1 Coopers Hawk
3 Redtailed Hawks

This was the best day of the season so far,with many more to come. Right now Saturday could be really good,but of course that forecast is subject to change.

Sept 8... 59 raptors YTD 388

As morning approached,wind forcasts changed continuously. What was to be a day of perfect conditions,gave way to a mid-day change in winds,moving raptors inland(more north then I could see). Still,Rob,Carol,Keith and I saw some good views of several species. While a number of Sharpies and Kestrels were high the clear blue skies made it seem worse then it was. Osprey were reasonably low,2 went through was a huge female. 2 Merlin passed through,one made a dive at some small unseen by us,bird. The other zipped past,Im surprised Rob got a decent shot of it as it sped by.

The Broadwinged Hawks all circled together very high up. I caught what was eventually 8 American Kestrels together..I called them out as kestrels at first,then saw a whole stack of them and said ohhh no its just Swallows..then backtracked again when I got the colour on the tail of one of them. Getting it right in the end is what matters...isnt it? The final tally of 59 raptors consisted of:

1 Turkey Vulture

5 Osprey

1 Bald Eagle(adult at 11:50am)

2 Northern Harriers

13 Sharpshinned Hawks

1 Coopers Hawk

4 Broadwinged Hawks

30 American Kestrels

2 Merlin

Tomorrow the call is for rain..depending on if/when/for how long it comes,wind conditions are excellent. Better days to come. Provided there isnt a deluge,I will be at the park.

Sept 5 Day Count 43...YTD 306

Today was another decent early September migration day despite less then optimal conditions. The sky was 100% overcast most of the day. By 1pm things had pretty much shut down. Today I shared an Osprey(pictured) with Peter and while Georgia and I chatted a Peregrine Falcon made 2 passes of the park,on its return pass it took a run at a migrating Sharp-shinned Hawk. Todays total was 42 raptors consisting of:

2 Osprey

2 Northern Harrier

30 Sharpshinned Hawk

7 American Kestrel

1 Peregrine Falcon

Above is an Osprey. There seem to be several very humid days coming and then some very promising looking days after that. Always living in hopes.

Sept 3rd:Day Count 55...YTD 264

Today was warm and abit humid,which helped? to negate the good wind conditions. Still,we saw 55 raptors. A flurry of Sharpshinned Hawks with a few Northern Harriers passed by between 10am and 11am. We are doing much as "general" birders do in very early spring,hoping..wishing..willing migration to get busy and start in ernst. It's still early in hawk migration time to get a big day,but with the prediction of favorable winds we eagerly flock to our favorite raptor watching site,anticiapting skies lousy with raptors. Tomorrow is no different,there is a chance for a good day with a north element in the wind all day and a temperature cool down. The usual suspects were in attendance today,to see some portion of the 55 raptors:

2 Osprey
5 Northern Harriers
41 Sharpshinned Hawks
4 Broadwinged Hawk
1 Redtailed Hawk
1 American Kestrel
1 Merlin
55 Day Total

Sept. 2 Sharpies Push On:Day Count 29 YTD 209

Today was abit slow,but we persevered. Rob and I saw an early Osprey only about 30ft off the bluff as it made its way down along the lakeshore. Later Bob,Fred,Carol Mike and Les all joined us in enjoying the day and a few birds. Our 29 raptors consisted of:

1 Osprey
1 Broadwing
1 Redtail
1 American Kestrel
1 Merlin
2 Coopers Hawk (neither was the local..which was also seen)
22 Sharpshinned Hawks

Better days will soon be upon us,till then we have enjoyed ourselves seeing whatever comes our way.

Sept 1..Off To A Flying Start 43 Raptors

Today was another good early migration day. Once the winds shifted,it slowed down,but not before 43 birds were added to this seasons count. Sharp-shinned Hawks were the stars of the day,with 29 flying by. At Rosetta McClain Gardens,once Sharpies start,they dont seem to care at all what the winds are,they fly anyway. Last fall between the 6th and 10th of September a large number of the nearly 1000 birds seen were Sharpies,many of which were seen on what would be considered less than perfect conditions. Additionally,Bob,Rob,Keith,Carol and I saw :

6 Osprey

1 Turkey Vulture

1 Coopers Hawk

3 American Kestrels

1 Merlin

1 Northern Harrier

1 Broadwinged Hawk

Though some of the Sharpies were abit high,everything else offered good views. Rob managed some nice shots of a Broadwing and Coopers(that Ive seen so far),while I got passable shots of Turkey Vulture and Osprey(shame the osprey is silhouetted). The next several days could be spotty for migration,but I hope for the best.