Wind (current)

Best Of The Season




Thanks to Lee for organizing our end of season Raptor Watch dinner. A great time was enjoyed by all. We'll do something each month over the winter in addition to some birding outtings.
To all of you Merry Christmas or best of the season if U celebrate something different. Its been a great year and I hope everyone has a happy,healthy and bird filled new year.

End of season extravaganza!

Hey everyone, this is Lee. Frank's computer is acting crazy so I'm posting on his behalf.

We're having an end of season get together on December 14th at 6 pm at Fanny's Sports Lounge. It's located near Rosetta, if you're coming from the west, go past Rosetta and at the end of the second block, turn right into the plaza. If you've gone past Shoppers Drug Mart, you've gone too far!

The address is 2277 Kingston Road and it's next door to the Bo Peep Restaurant, across the street from Tim Horton's. Both Fanny's and Bo Peep are owned by the same people so we can order bar food or from the restaurant's menu.

If you've already confirmed, you don't have to send an email, but if you haven't, please email Frank at raptor.watch@hotmail.com and he'll hopefully get it :)

We currently have 10 people attending and have a reservation, so if you are coming we need to know. They've given us the section at the back of the bar and I'll have to contact them a few days before to let them know if there will be more than 10 people coming. Hope to see everyone again!

COMMENTS AND CUDOS

Thanks to my friends and fellow raptor enthusists for their kind words and comments. Keep them coming,I will contiune to add your memories.

From Ann:
Every day that I got to spend at Rosetta McClain Gardens at the raptor watch was special. Watching hawks, falcons, and eagles fly over me, beside me and even high above us is a thrill. I have so many special memories from this year that I hardly know where to begin. First of all thanks to all the friends I have made over the past few years, especially Frank,Walter,Carol,Lee,Chris,Peter,Beryl,Mary,Mike and Les. My favourite memory this year has to be when Frank, Walter and I were there early one morning and were greeted by 2 sets of peregrine falcons. At 9am 2 young peregrines flew on by right over us and then came the highlight of 3 more peregrines (1 adult and 2 youngsters) who were playing, calling, talon touching/clasping, and bumping each other and just having a great old time. They flew over us and then turned around and came back. Two disappeared and came up behind Frank no more than 5 feet from him. Man was that fun to watch. I also got some great photos. What a great morning. My second memory was the wonderful trip I took to Hawk Cliff with Carol for one week. Close to 15,000 hawks, falcons and eagles we saw. Wonderful time - great food, new friends and well a fantastic trip with Carol.
I will miss not seeing the hawks every day but I have some wonderful memories and look forward to next year. Thanks everyone. Ann


From Les and Mike:
The numbers may have been down, but the birds seen generated a lot of excitement. Also, you encouraged new birders and made the local community aware of the watch. Congrats and thanks for all you do. I know each year I'm getting better at this. My favourite pic of the year is all of us looking at the sky, while Mike reads the newspaper.

Lee submits:
Memories of this year's raptor watch:
My favourite part of the raptor watch is knowing that someone will be there when I drop by almost every time, and as you all know, dropping by and leaving shortly after is my specialty! It's great to see the birds, especially eagles and kettling turkey vultures, but there is so much downtime so the best part for me is all the laughs we have.
My favourite bird moment was when nobody else was there and I saw a juvenile bald eagle go along the bluffs below me. I couldn't believe my eyes and even though I knew crows didn't grow that big, I still didn't feel confident enough in my abilities to say I saw an eagle. I was looking around, hoping Frank or Walter would materialise out of thin air to say "oh, it was definitely an eagle" but Frank didn't show up at all and Walter came by 5 minutes later. Fortunately, there was a woman doing Tai Chi a little way over and she looked at me and said "was that an eagle or a hawk" and I knew it was an eagle because no hawk is that big or dark. Now just don't ask me if it was a bald or golden because I have no clue!(maybe next year)


Mary writes:
Dear Frank,
I just want to thank you for all you do in promoting raptor watching in(east) Toronto. People like you not only make raptor watching interesting, but fun as well. I have learned a lot from you and am able to apply this knowledge when I am out in the field.
I look forward to seeing you again when the warblers start to fly. Best regards,
Mary


Peter writes:
GREAT Raptor watch, Frank. The past few months have been like an advanced course on birding.From the top of the bluffs, it was amazing to get those close upviews and to see the birds, many I didnt know even existed, from all angles, not just from underneath. And the information passed along, to newbies like myself, was friendly and informative. Definitely the hilight was the day Walter and I saw the golden eagle circling, soaring, and crossing back and forth for ten minutes outover the lake. I never would have thought those types of birds flew through this area. Of course, it was not just about the birds, the many humorous conversationsand puns (a 'pair-a-grins'?!) and Ann's side splitting impersonations made the hours fly by. Thanks again, everyone!

Walter writes:

Well my comments about the Raptor Watch start way back in the spring when I first met Frank. I said "Frank, I'm getting ticked off, I keep seeing big birds along the Bluffs and I can't identify them at all (looking back now, it was probably the same local Red-tailed Hawk over and over out hunting each day). Frank's reply to me was "Oh don't worry about them now, wait until the Fall and I'll teach you everything you need to know about birds of prey, they come by very close here and once I point out some of the shortcuts in identifying them, it will become very easy for you". That sounded fair enough. As Spring went on, Frank had told me so many stories about the Raptor Watch that it was really sounding like it was going to be a lot of fun and sure enough, it was. Here are some of my favourite moments: Sitting in the shade of trees during August to see the first few birds of the Fall migration was great, but very hot! Seeing the 3 Peregrine Falcons flying and playing with each other along the way was really neat to see and hear. Seeing a little Hummingbird chasing after a Red-tailed Hawk was an unbelievable sight that I'm sure I'll never see again. Sitting at home the night of the 845 birds and feeling the pain running through my arms and making my hands numb (caused from holding my binoculars up almost the entire afternoon!) was pretty special to say the least. Seeing large numbers of Vultures flying through the centre of the park and just above the trees was beautiful to witness. Seeing the Bald and Golden Eagles flying below us along the Bluffs (us looking down at them for a change) was amazing. Seeing 6 Golden Eagles in one day was very high up on the list as my favourite moment...unfortunate that several of the regulars including Frank, were not present to share in the excitement. Seeing the juvenile Northern Goshawk flying back and forth all day, the one day, was really cool, many times it flew by very close to us. Watching a Red-tailed Hawk come screaming out of the sky talons first at a nice fluffy Black Squirrel (BTW - he missed!!!) and then to have him turn and fly right passed me 10 feet away was incredible to watch. Wow, I could just go on and on with special moments there were so many. But most of all, going from a complete "novice" at Birds Of Prey to a "semi-pro" (lol!) and being able to turn around and teach others what I had just learned in such a short time was very satisfying and rewarding for me and was by far the best "moment". I cannot thank you, Frank, enough for all that you have taught me over these last couple of months, it really has been an incredible time and, yes, we will get the number to match somehow. And to all of the others, way too many to mention here, I would like to thank all of you as well for teaching me what you know, sharing endless laughter and enjoyment (especially the comedy duo of Lee & Ann), freezies, coffees, hot chocolates, donuts, pizza, car rides, and whatever else you had to offer, it's all been very much enjoyed and appreciated. I look forward to doing it all again next year. Walter

Tu writes:Dear Frank
Thanks for creating the blog on the internet,which lead me to my first time ever at Rosetta McClain Gardens. I was able to see some action from the Crows chase of the Goshawk up close and personal. For next season you bet I will be there. Nice to meet you all, Ann, Lee, Walter and Frank.
Tu Dong

Keep them coming gang.

Rosetta Wrap(tor) Up 2008

So ends another season of raptor watching at Rosetta McClain Gardens. As was the case several times this season,weather played a role in an unspectacular end to the watch. More later on the role weather played.
To begin,let me thank Walter for covering days I was unable to attend,his help was very greatly appreciated. Thanks to Walter and Ann for use of their photos on the blog. Special thanks to Lee for revamping the look of the blog and adding a few things to it as well,we've had many positive comments on the new look.Thanks to all who reported on the blog,for keeping those following it up to date. Thanks to all the regulars who came faithfully to the watch this season,your friendship and commraderie was both enjoyed and appreciated. Thanks to the many new folks who joined us this season. I hope U all learned something,enjoyed some great birds and will join us again next fall.
Special thanks also to the great staff at Rosetta McClain Gardens(Richard,Ron,Don,Georgia,Billy and Sharlene),for their consideration,interest,passing out flyers,informing park goers of our activities and giving us a few special considerations.(among them Freezies in the heat and coffee in the cold!) These things dont go unnoticed and are greatly appreciated.
Thanks to Peter Wood for his article in The Bluffs Monitor,it increased awareness and brought several new watchers out for their first visits to Rosetta.
Our totals this season were somewhat lower then the last few years,in a few species in particular. Weather played the biggest role. I suspect a poor breeding season for Northern Harriers was part of the cause of such a low total,record rains this year likely greatly affected the success of these ground nesting raptors. Other species just went around us this season. When large numbers of some species were expected,the winds were all wrong for them to come down to the Lake Ontario shores.
That said,we enjoyed another wonderful season of raptor viewing. Hundreds of low and close birds of all species thrilled those who gathered. We had our busiest day ever at Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch on October 17th when 845 raptors were counted,due to a record one day count of 683 Turkey Vultures. November saw our highest one day count in November of 176 raptors,consisting mainly of Redtailed Hawks. An outstanding 6 Golden Eagles on October 28th will stick in Walter and Peters memories forever. Though most species final tallies were lower then the last few seasons,we set record highs this year for Turkey Vultures at 1369 and Osprey at 100
.

Our Final Totals(adjustments over Duckworths pending Walter)
Turkey Vultures.............1369(new record,new one day record 683)
Osprey...........................100(new record)
Bald Eagles......................32
Northern Harriers.............84
Sharpshinned Hawks.....1208
Coopers Hawks................74
Northern Goshawks..........13
Red-shouldered Hawks.......9
Broadwinged Hawks.......156
Redtailed Hawks.............621
Roughlegged Hawks............9
Golden Eagles....................11
American Kestrels............406
Merlins..............................43
Peregrine Falcons..............37
Total...............................4172

I invite everyone,to email me their favorite memories of this season,which in whole or in part I will add to the blog.Again thanks to all who attended and helped in anyway for another great season! Lets all enjoy some winter birding!

Weather Change

The weather forecast for the week up to Sunday has changed a great deal,currently no north winds of any kind are predicted. To end the year I may pop down on one of the strong West wind days. Mother nature may have decided the watch is over. Stay tuned for a seasons end summary at the end of the month.

Nov.22 Slow But Interesting 11Raptors

Today we didnt expect much,so werent disappointed. Add to that,that 3 of our regulars(who are highly irregular)saw a nest year Bald Eagle before they even came to the park. Ann spotted something dark and large in a tree in the distance. Walter confirmed it was a Bald Eagle..or at least an Eagle of some sort at that point. Surprisingly this was at Kingston Rd and Main area,in a residential backyard. As Ann and Walter explained what it was,soon many of the neighbors were out with kids in tow,some still in pajamas(adults too if U can imagine) in the morning cold! It was attacked by an alarm calling Redtail before it left the area over an hour after Ann and Walter arrived. Bald Eagle nut errrr enthusiast,Lee was called via cell and she arrived to see the bird too. (see post below for video and pics).Back at the park 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 either 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 infront of where Walter and I stood. What a sight!! A Redtailed Hawk and a Sharpshinned Hawk circled together,with the Sharpie taking a run at the Redtail. A migrating Coopers Hawk took a rest in a tree near the bottom of the bluffs. It sat for a goodly amount of time,leaving as soon as noone was looking his way. Never a dull moment...well a few but the good times and company make up for them.

1-Sharpshinned Hawk
1-Coopers Hawk
1-Northern Goshawk(2 "locals")
8-Redtailed Hawks

Sunday through Tuesday(rain and snow that day) dont look very good,though if Tuesday forecast changes it could be. Wednesday-Saturday looks promising. Check previous report for reminders!

Eagle at Kingston Road/Main Street

Hi everyone, this is Lee. Frank wanted me to post the link to some pictures and video clips I took of a juvenile bald eagle that Ann found this morning. She and Walter were making a dash to the Spit before going to Rosetta and somehow she spotted the eagle in a tree in someone's back yard just south of Kingston/Main!

I've posted my side of the story on our discussion board. You have to be a member so here is the URL to the site: http://z10.invisionfree.com/RosettaMcClain/index.php?

Once you're in, the thread is here: http://z10.invisionfree.com/RosettaMcClain/index.php?showtopic=15

And if you don't want to join but just want to see the pictures, here you go:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sammikens/sets/72157609711620772/

I don't have a good camera but you can see how big he is. In one of the video clips you can hear the red-tailed hawk screeching and see him dive past. It was such an incredible experience for the three of us, it's one thing to see them fly by but to see them just sitting in a tree, fluffing their feathers, scratching their heads or stretching their wings is just amazing. And then to see the red-tailed hawk show up, both of them "talking" to each other was just surreal.

The neighbours were all coming out, some still in pyjamas, wondering what we were looking at! One guy called The Toronto Star and they were going to send out a photographer but the eagle had already taken off. We gave Ann's phone number to the person who called so we're hoping they'll contact her and she can send one of her photos in.

Edited to add Ann's photos (click on them to make them big):






Still Some Birds Out There...15 Raptors

I heard the temperature from The Weather Network,and questioned whether I really wanted to suffer the cold. Fortunately,the weatherman was wrong,and it wasnt near as cold as he made out. Colin joined Walter and I until 1pm,Peter arrived around 2pm,Lee did a watch and run visit. We had great views of many of the Redtails today as they came in low just over the lake,before really working hard to gain altitude before carrying onward. A very large female juvenile Goshawk flew past giving us a great view. A Turkey Vulture flew through the middle of the park. The local Goshawk and 2 different local Sharpshinned Hawks passed by too,one landed briefly in the park. Each year,something odd or rare is usually observed at The Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch. Until today we hadnt had anything strange. Today at 1:17pm,2 Sandhill Cranes came through the park.just above tree level,over the fountain/rock. They were Walter's first ever and first time he'd seen them from Rosetta. I had seen them once before in the spring,but this was the first sighting for the raptor watch. After a few hot chocolates,Ive thawed out and am ready to go tomorrow. Currently tomorrows winds dont look great,but I will give it a go for a few hours. Next week from Tuesday forward looks like the remaining raptors will have several optimal days to decide if they will leave intime for our count or spend the winter in Ontario.
If U join us,a few reminders...BATHROOMS ARE CLOSED! .....DRESS WARM..hands and feet especially...WATCH YOUR STEP(its slippery in places)....DONT COME TILL AT LEAST 10AM.

Todays 15
Vulture-1
Goshawk-1
Redshoulder-1
Redtail-12

Nov 20 Beautiful Day...41 Raptors

Walter and I arrived at the same time around 10:15am. At 10:45am we saw one interesting bird in the distance. I told Walter to stay on it. It was a dark morph Roughlegged Hawk. It passed reasonably close and as we watched it suddenly 3 more birds appeared circling together,it was 2 light morph Roughleggeds and another dark morph Roughie. What a start! Worth braving the snow. Redtails passed near and far,and at 12:38pm,2 Turkey Vultures were seen..abit odd this late. Another dark morph Roughleg went by with a Northern Harrier sort of buzzing it. At 1:50pm Walter and I saw an adult Bald Eagle..we give credit to Lee finding this one,as she called by cell to tell us a big dark bird was on its way towards us...from Markham Rd. We saw it awhile after she called. Our final total was 41 consisting of:
30-Redtailed Hawks
5-Roughlegged Hawks
1-Bald Eagle(adult,1:50pm)
2-Turkey Vultures
2-Northern Harriers
1-Sharpshinned Hawk

Friday we are going to give it a try,with early winds NW and later in the day West. Saturday looks good right now too,but weather is always subject to change. If U join us,dress very warm. Things have been starting up after 10am,Id almost say to wait till after 11am. Please step carefully,the path is slippery in many areas.

Nov 18th Likely Last Push..176 Raptors

Today started off very well,for a late fall migration day. By 10:30am Walter and I had already counted over 40 raptors..almost entirely Redtailed Hawks. On Nov 16th of last year I counted 168 raptors. With today being the 3rd day in a row with great wind conditions,we had what is likely our last big day for 2008. There are several coming days with good north element winds,so we may yet be surprised/rewarded with a few more great birds,but today was exceptional for this time of year,and infact we finished with the 2nd highest number of Redtailed Hawks seen in one day at Rosetta. Last season on Oct 28th we had 185 Redtails,today we saw 171 Redtails. Todays total of 176 birds was the best we have ever done in November.The local Goshawk gave myself,Walter and Peter a thrill by coming very close to the bluff and below us..we had a terrific view. At 2:31pm a 3rd year Bald Eagle passed by during a flurry of 40 Redtails,which came together from 2 different streams to kettle together. Carol just missed this arriving within moments of the birds breaking up and disappearing. Lee was disppointed about missing the Bald Eagle. It had circled for several minutes before moving on. While the Bald Eagle kettled with the Redtailed Hawks,Walter and Peter were amazed at the obvious size difference. Walter enjoyed seeing Purple Finch and also today we had 2 Northern Shrikes fly by,perching briefly before moving on. The birds seen pre11am were much lower and I believe most were what is called upflight birds or birds that stopped overnight,nearby and have left early that morning. Birds after 11am until about 2pm were very high. As the day got later they became lower again,indicating they were looking for food or a place to set down for this evening. Walter and I also enjoyed seeing our first Purple Finch of the season in the park and 2 Northern Shrike,one which landed in the big Poplar Tree.
Going forward the north winds will be the determining factor as to whether I am present at the park. Wednesday,doesnt look very good. Thursday,Friday and Saturday have a chance to be good.Thanks to all who warmed our day,especially Peter for our hot chocolates and donuts! Thanks to Walter for keeping tally and everyones help spotting.
Todays sighting were:
1-Northern Harrier
1-Bald Eagle(2:31pm,3rd Year Bird)
2-Sharpshinned Hawks
171-Redtailed Hawks
1-Rough-legged Hawk(dark morph)

Nov 16 and 17 CCCCold Winds...11 and 34 Raptors

Walter and I have been braving the cold. We start off fine but once the sun gets behind us and starts to get lower in the sky around 2pm ..we start to freeze.Each day we saw the "local" Goshawk and Coopers Hawk. The 16th,the Goshawk came low and close being chased by 4 Crows. Today there were tons of ducks moving around the lake,a huge number being Red-breasted Mergansers and Long-tailed Ducks. There were a few Bufflehead and a number of Common Goldeneye. Many American Goldfinch passed by,a few Eastern Bluebirds and House Finch as well. Nov18..Tuesday looks promising,so Walter and I will be out again,tempting the frostbite gods.
Specie........Nov16.........Nov17
Sharpshin...........................2.....
Harrier..........1..........................
Redtails.........10................32...
Total..............11...............34....

Nov 11 Good Conditions...Lousy Flight 7 Raptors

Today we had the hope of good winds,we got them. They were apparently not good enough for the birds though. Walter,Ann,Lee and I saw little to nothing. By 2:30pm we had seen only 7 raptors
1-Turkey Vulture
2-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Northern Goshawk(plus one "local")
1-Redtailed Hawk
2-American Kestrels

As Walter and I were leaving a local Coopers Hawk flew into a big Maple tree. It moved around a few times in the same tree before taking off. Almost as soon as the Coop took off,4 Crows were kaaing like mad and we saw them chasing a juvenile Northern Goshawk. It has been in the area for about 2 weeks now. The Goshawk took evasive action,and took refuge in a tree briefly,before flying on,the 4 Crows in chase again. Maybe we should have decided to leave by 11am and action woulda started!

Sunday is the next decent wind day forcast.Thursdays winds have changed,so the next day for a decent shot at a few birds is Sunday. Dress really warm if U attend,and be aware the bathrooms are now closed.

Nov 1-7,Not Much Flying

The first week of November has been terrible for raptor migration. Its been beautiful weather,but not condusive to birds of prey flying. A few of the gang has started winter birding while we wait for some better raptor days ahead. Walter and a few folks went to Rosetta Nov7 and Walter sent me the following report.


Finally Something!!!

Today started out with the local Red-Tailed Hawk unsuccessfully hunting pigeons up on top of the apartment building on Glen Everest. When I arrived at the Hawk Watch spot, I turned to the East and noticed him sitting in the big poplar tree in the corner of the park. After a 20 minute rest, he then swooped down at a Downy Woodpecker, unsuccessfully again! He returned to the tree and was starring down at a Black Squirrel as I returned to our Hawk Watch area. While I was talking to a lady about the raptors, the local RT flew out of the tree and came just over the fence in front of us and went for a Black Squirrel and just missed him as well, he then circled around the fruit trees and came right through barely clearing the fence less then 15 feet away. The lady was in disbelief...I said to her "that's the reason we're here, it's unbelievable what we see." Upon his return from an unsuccessful hunt to the West sometime later, the RT came screaming out of the sky "talons first" at the same Black Squirrel, and sure enough, missed again! He then turned and flew right in between myself and the "bird sucking" tree and then back over to the poplar tree again. Lee and I saw 2 Red-tails fly over the park low and we also watched the local and another Red-tail fly along the Bluffs heading westward. Another nice sighting for Lee and I was a Pileated Woodpecker which only paused for a short rest before flying across the park and out the other side. Anyway, not a busy day but interesting at times, here is today's report:

NH - 1
SS - 3
RT - 4

My thanks to Lee, Ann, Tim, and Peter for coming down and giving me reason to stay at the park longer today.....always a great time.
Including todays 8 birds our November total is 18. 10 birds were seen Nov1. This brings our season total to 3868. The next day that holds any promise may be Wednesday(strong west winds),and Thursday there was a Northeast wind predicted,so I will try both of them and see what comes. Its believed that there are still a good number of Redtails to come yet,from northern Quebec and northern Ontario. With luck winds will blow them down to Rosetta for us to see.

A Few Birds But...Some Excitement 7 Raptors

Very, very slow today, the winds were all wrong but it was a gorgeous day to be outside all the same. A couple of bits of excitement were the Red-tail that came and landed in the pine tree right beside us and sat for 10 minutes scoping the ground for lunch, a Red-tail that came soaring over us with a Cooper's screaming and attacking the heck out of it, and the final bit of excitement was when Peter and myself saw an extremely light coloured (and probably partially albino) Red-tail which came slowly soaring over the tree tops and then over the fountain area flying at less than 100 feet above giving us an excellent view of this rarer coloured bird.

Today's count was:

NG - 2
CH - 1
RT - 4

Total - 7

My thanks to Lee, Berle, Peter, Betty, Ann, Carol, Leon, and Gunner for coming out and keeping me company while not much was flying. Always a great time, birds or not. I won't be at the park tomorrow (Friday) so if you go, let Frank or myself know what you've seen.

BIGFRANKS NOTE:I will be back in commission on Saturday,which right now looks like there is a chance to see some good birds. Very high counts are unlikely from here on,but some great birds are left to be seen. If north east winds that are predicted hold true for Saturday,birds will likely be high. Hope to see folks out,remember to dress warm. Keep your eyes peeled for Pine Siskins,White-winged Crossbills and Boreal Chickadees

Oct 29 Simply Red...75 Raptors








Walter Reports:


Today was filled with a good flow of Red-tailed Hawks. One adult RT came directly at Peter and I from over the lake and soared barely over the top of the small Poplar tree in front of us and turned and landed in the Maple tree along the fence line, just West of our watch site. Other highlights of the day would include another Golden Eagle. This juvenile eagle appeared at 10:51AM to the West of us and soared out over the lake and quickly climbed towards the ozone layer not allowing any opportunity for photos. Another highlight was the Northern Goshawk that never left. From 8:30AM when I arrived at the park to 5:00PM just before I packed it up this bird kept flying away to the West only to return again sometime later. It was the first bird and also the last bird I saw today. When Gunnar arrived around lunchtime, we informed him that we had seen an NG a few times in the morning but figured it had disappeared for good, then 5 minutes later, it returned from the West and flew low at us and then right up and over us allowing Gunnar and the rest of the gang an excellent view of this rarer species. Ann was able to get some fantastic shots of it on extremely short notice. Once again, another fun and interesting day despite the cold winds. Here's the final count for the day:


TV - 1
NH - 3
SS - 14
CH - 2
NG - 1
RT - 53
GE - 1

Total - 75

During Frank's absence from the Hawk Watch the last couple of days, it has become very clear that all of his teachings about raptors to myself and the other novice watchers has paid off greatly...a BIG thankyou!!! Although we are IDing everything with confidence that flies passed us, we do miss you and hope for a speedy return to the park. My thanks to Lee, Peter, Betty, Gunnar, Andrew, and Ann for all their help today and a big thumbs up to Lee for the hot chocolate and donut. Also, Ann for the ride home.
BIGFRANK's Note: My thanks to Walter for his kind words. At year end I will have more to say,but its been a pleasure to pass on the knowledge and love of raptor watching. The leg is feeling great today,just in time for a weather shift. Watch Saturdays weather.

A Golden Day..6 Golden Eagles of 69 Raptors






Today Was a Golden Day - 69 Raptors

Today was not a day for quantity but a day for quality. All the birds were down low along the Bluffs, straight out over the lake, or just above our heads. 6 Golden Eagles were the highlight of the day. Betty had never seen one before and Peter and I had never seen one up close. Today we had fantastic views of them, one even passed by us a total of 5 times as it searched out the Bluffs. Another highlight was a Turkey Vulture that landed in a tree very close to us. After about a 5 minute break from the 50 km/h wind, he took to the air and swooped down along the fence line just 20 feet above Charlene and Peter's heads. The Rough-legged Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Northern Goshawks were also very nice to see up close making identification fairly easy for us.

Here is today's final count:

TV - 4
NH - 7
SS - 13
CH - 2
NG - 3
RS - 1
RT - 28
RL - 2
GE - 6
AK - 3


The times of the Golden Eagles were as follows:
GE001 - 11:35am (juvenile)
GE002 - 11:35am (juvenile)
GE003 - 11:42am (juvenile)
GE004 - 11:42am (juvenile)
GE005 - 01:34pm-02:22 (juvenile)
GE006 - 03:20pm (juvenile)

My thanks to Lee, Peter, and Betty for all their help today and also Betty for the hot chocolate, it kept me warm for a few minutes anyway...wow, was it cold out today!!! If any of you are thinking of coming out tomorrow for more raptor action...dress warm for sure and we'll see you there.

Walter

BIGFRANK'S NOTE: My thanks to Walter and the gang for being at the park and tallying things up. Walter managed to get shots of all 6 Golden Eagles. He also got a shot of the first ever Turkey Vulture to land in the park. Congratulations gang on a fantastic day!

Start Late End Early Day Count 65




The anticipated big day did not materialize. Yesterday winds were just too strong. Today as expected things started abit late noonish before much started to move,but the tap went off early,such that by about 230pm not much was flying. Judging by some of the flight paths,other birds were north of our site. We did have some excellent raptors though today,with 2 Red-shouldered Hawks in with a few Redtails. It was a good example of size contrast and the obvious markings on the tail of the Red-shouldered Hawk. We had a juvenile Golden Eagle at 1:08pm,Peter's first. We also had a Roughlegged Hawk,our first this season...a new bird for Walter and Peter. In the morning while no raptors flew by,an Eastern Bluebird landed in a tree next to us. Ann (would we expect less) got a few nice shots of it. Thanks to everyone for their help spotting today,with tough blue skys. Thanks to Betty for the hot chocolates! Today we saw:


2-Turkey Vultures


3-Sharpshinned Hawks


5-Coopers Hawks


2-Red-shouldered Hawks


50-Redtailed Hawks


1-Rough-legged Hawk


1-Golden Eagle


1-Peregrine Falcon




From here on unless there is a north element in the wind,its unlikely I will be present. Anyone who sees anything please let me know. The next days forecast with any potential are Monday or Tuesday(Tues looking better) right now.

Ann and Carol Visit Hawk Cliff






Recently,a couple of our Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch regulars(who are highly irregular) paid Hawk Cliff a visit. What follows is Ann's account of she and Carol's visit..what they saw,highlights and some of Ann's great photos. Enjoy!



Visit to Hawk Cliff in Port Stanley:

From Oct 12 to 19 Carol and I went to Hawk Cliff to do some hawk watching. Hawk watching we did to the tune of 11,055 birds. We saw 16 Golden Eagles, 17 Bald Eagles, over 8700 Turkey Vultures, 81 Northern Harriers, 1194 Sharpshin Hawks, 71 Coopers Hawks, 2 Osprey, 140 Red Shouldered Hawks, 689 Red Tailed Hawks, 174 American Kestrels, 10 Merlins, 4 Peregrine Falcons, and 3 Rough Legged Hawks. This does not include the thousands of hawks we saw in Port Stanley and on the road to and from Toronto.

Highlight of my visit was a juv red tail hawk circling me while I was taking his photo. In the photo you can see the Redtail looking right at me. He went around and around with the sun shining through his wings. When he finally left he started to make the red tail cry. It is a moment in time I will never forget.

Carol told me her favourite moment was on the second morning at 7:30am we looked out on our cottage porch to see approximately 150 Turkey Vultures directly above us. They were kiting one way then they would fly really fast back. Carol called it the March of the Turkey Vultures. Some of the vultures were on the beach eating a dead fish, and some were just flying around. What a great way to start the morning.

If you have never been to Hawk Cliff to see the migration of hawks in Port Stanley PUT THIS ON YOUR MUST DO LIST - take a weekend, day trip or like Carol and I a week long trip. I have so many wonderful memories and a card full of photos to edit that it will take me a month to go through them. By the way the fall colours were amazing.-- Ann Brokelman

Painfully Slow And A Piliated

Oct18-20 has been very very slow,no count was done on the 19th or 20th. The 18th saw only 7 raptors.


1-Sharpshin


3-Redtailed Hawks


1-American Kestrel


2-Merlin





A Piliated Woodpecker has been around the park lately. Today as Ann,Mary and I wandered the park looking for owls,I stopped Ann in mid-story as I heard the Piliated Woodpecker. Mary noticed where it flew and we were able to track it down..what a team. This is one of Ann's great photos of the female Woodpecker.


The next 2 days(Tuesday and Wednesday) have incredible potential to be the last of the MEGADAYS this season. While counts of 100+ on one or 2 more occassions may occur in November,the next 2 days offer a chance at some huge counts. If U join us DRESS VERY WARM.

Record Setting Day...845 Raptors

Today was a record setting day,with 3 records falling. Walter,Berle,Lee,Andrew,Ron and Jean all enjoyed many birds,though almost all were high and abit distant. The "extra eyes" really helped,especially when skies were very blue..thanks gang. The first significant movement of Redtailed Hawks saw 141 pass by,often streaming. The species which helped break 3 park records was Turkey Vultures. We saw a record 683 Turkey Vultures. This pushed the number of TVs seen this season to a record1358,destroying last falls record1061. The large number of vultures also pushed the day total to the highest ever...845(beats last seasons 755).

683-Turkey Vultures
2-Bald Eagles
2-Northern Harriers
11-Sharpshinned Hawks
3-Coopers Hawks
1-Redshouldered Hawk
141-Redtailed Hawks
1-American Kestrel
1-Peregrine Falcon

Tomorrow looks pretty good for another good movement of raptors. Sunday will likely be slow.

Oct.16 Good Conditions...235 Raptors First of Season Golden Eagles

Finally after several very poor days in a row,a day of almost perfect conditions. The northwest winds didnt disappoint. Today,Gunner,Andrew,Naish,Sheila,Berle,LeeWalter,Linda and Linda,Betty and myself,enjoyed many low Sharpshinned Hawks. Naish(a High Park regular) and Sheila were present when a late movement of Turkey Vultures went through the park low and very close. At 10:30am there was a Bald Eagle. Late in the day,at 3:40pm and 4:12pm the first and second Golden Eagles were seen. One was clearly juvenile,the 2nd adult. A male Harrier passed low and close,which Walter and I especially enjoyed. Another treat was 3 Merlins that moved past "together". Our total of 235 consisted of
1-Bald Eagle
96-Turkey Vultures
2-Northern Harriers
100-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Coopers Hawk
1-Redshouldered Hawk
11-Redtailed Hawks
2-Golden Eagles
15-American Kestrels
6-Merlin

Tomorrow looks like conditions are very good for another fine flight of raptors. Also seen today was a Pileated Woodpecker,which flew very close to us along the bluffs after briefly landing in a Maple tree.

Please note the link on the main Raptor Watch page,to a discussion board recently started to chat about not only birds of prey at Rosetta McClain Gardens,but various small birds,insects and wildlife,as well as a place for us all to stay in touch over the coming months. Lee invites us to join. Hope to see you there.

Oct 14 Report..Slower Than Expected 46 Raptors

Firstly,sorry for the late posting. Secondly,sorry for the brievity of the post. A good group of birders joined me on Tuesday,hoping that predicted strong northwest winds would bring a large number of birds. To everyones surprise,despite good winds most of the day,a large flight did not take place. It would seem inclimate weather east of us probably held the birds up. By the end of the day,Walter,Mary,MaryUK,Gunner,Murry,Peter,LeeFrank Sr,Lynne,Mike and Katherine saw at least some portion of the following 46 birds of prey:
21-Turkey Vultures
2-Nothern Harriers
10-Shaprshins
1-Coopers Hawk
8-Redtailed Hawks
3-American Kestrels
1-Merlin

This brings the season total to 2547. I await a report of the birds seen Oct 15. Thursday through Saturday look like there is a chance for a big movement of birds. Fingers crossed the birds read the weather forecast! Remember no matter the forecast high temperature,dress warmer then U think U need,many hours standing in NW winds is cold!

Raptor Watch Slow And Some Good News

The past 4 days have been painfully slow raptor wise. There were no counts on 2 days and little to count the other 2. A total of only 10 raptors was seen over the 4 days. A Merlin,a Goshawk,a Turkey Vulture,a Kestrel,a Redtail,a Harrier and 4 Sharpshins were observed.

The good news...U have no doubt noticed the changes to the site. Thanks to Lee for her work on the site. Her help has changed the look of the site for the better and added a few things to help out users. Thanks MUCH Lee!

October..Rosetta McClain Raptor Watch In The News

In late September Peter Wood contacted me to do an article about the raptor watch and myself. Below is his article, for anyone who hasnt seen it locally.  It is in The Bluffs Monitor, which reaches about 25000 local Scarborough residents.  We have already had a few visitors as a result of the article.  Peter writes a monthy column for the Monitor, called Birds of Bluffers Park.  Thanks again to Peter for his interest and for doing the article.


Hawk Watch With BIGFRANK

Frank Butson has a passion, he has an expertise and perhaps most importantly, he is willing to share it.  The passion is for raptors, that is, predatory birds such as hawks, eagles, vultures and Osprey.

During the fall migration, which begins in September and continues to the end of November, Frank can be found at Rosetta McClain Gardens, looking out over the Bluffs searching the sky for migrating raptors.  He identifies them, records the species and numbers, photographs them and posts the information to the internet.

Frank began hawk watching as a member of the High Park watch group.  As an "east-ender" he was excited to discover that the Scarborough Bluffs was on a "fly way" or migration route for raptors.  It began as personal enjoyment but soon developed into an educational project.  So, five years ago, he set up shop at Rosetta McClain and began to invite people to join him - "all ages,all skill levels" he likes to say, thats what "keeps it fresh" for him.  He is rewarded by the amazement and joy that he brings to park visitors.  So far this year the watch has been highlighted by 70 Ospreys, over 400 birds of prey in one day and 3 Peregrine Falcons flying together.

There is a serious side to this work as well.  When I asked Frank why he does this he told me about Red-shouldered Hawks.  These birds have been diminishing in numbers for many years.  People may not be aware of the decline, but if they actually see one, they may come closer to understanding as Frank says "It does matter."  As a volunteer with The Canadian Peregrine Foundation, he is proud that Peregrines have recently been removed from the endangered species list............The article goes on to give the webstie and location of the park.

This Saturday,a group of birders Peter leads will visit the park,as will The Toronto Field Naturalists. Hopefully the day will bring more raptors then I expect. Thanks to all my raptor watch friends for all each adds to the project. The efforsts of each one of you makes a difference.

Oct 6 Antisocial Raptors...Day Count 74

Though predicted conditions were perfect,apparently raptors dont watch The Weather Network. The raptors were antisocial today,not coming to see us for the most part. They stayed north of our viewing range most of the day. While our count of 74 doesnt sound bad,54 Turkey Vultures in a short period made up most of the count. They were all very distant. Almost all birds were very high. It was unfortunate,as 2 Marys,Walter,Lee,Ross and Murry searched high and low for raptors. Some did enjoy a good selection of smaller birds today. It was nice to see Bob,who joined us several times last season. He is an older gentleman who got a real spark when he joined us to watch the raptors. I packed up early after seeing:
58-Turkey Vultures
1-Northern Harrier
9-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Coopers Hawk
3-American Kestrels
2-Merlins

The remainder of this week,as forecast doesnt look too exciting. It is subject to many changes of course. My advice to potential visitors is to wait for better days. If however U have a limited viewing schedule,I will welcome the company.

Oct 5 100th Osprey Seen Day Total 50


Today was slow,but not without highlights. Berle,Ann,Les,Mike,Andrew,Peter,tall Peter,Harold,Bonnie and I saw a total of 50 raptors. A somewhat distant though very recognizable Osprey,was the 100th of the season,a height not reached before! 2 Bald Eagles were seen,one going through high the other surprising us going through very low west to east,right along the bluffs below us. The latter was at 12:35pm,an eagle went through east to west at 1:10pm,which I considered to be the same one.


1-Osprey


2-Bald Eagles


34-Sharpshinned Hawks


1-Coopers Hawk


1-Redtailed Hawk


11-American Kestrel


Tommorrow looks great for a good movement of raptors. Note some may be high due to the east element in the NorthEast wind.

Oct 4 Some Great Views 77 Raptors..YTD...2365



Saturday,the winds were better then predicted,but it appears many of the vultures went too far north for us to view. We did see one group of 29,followed closely by an immature Bald Eagle at 2:15pm. An Osprey,which has been around the bluffs area for a few days gave all gathered quite a thrill as it came in from over the lake,and flew no more then 20ft directly above our heads. As Ann tried to get shots(that likely would have been of its eyes it was so close) she said "Im stuck!". We all took this to mean her camera was somehow jammed or maybe for her big lens the bird was too close. "Im still stuck" she said. Only later did we learn,that she was caught on the fence by the arm and couldnt get her jacket free so as to move and track the bird.

We had our first Northern Goshawk of the season,which went by very close and fast. It was a beauty. A juvenile.

2 more Red-shouldered Hawks were seen as well,one quite well at first,the other at a distance. We were lucky to see all 3 falcon species today again too. Also of note,Sharlene and Billy(park staff) reported that a Coopers Hawk caught a pigeon near the parking lot. Theyve been trying to discourage feeding of the flying rats in the gardens,maybe this will help.

Our total of 77 raptors was made up of:

29-Turkey Vultures

2-Osprey(bringing us to 99...my goal is 100 for the first season)

2-Bald Eagles

26-Sharpshinned Hawks

3-Coopers Hawks

1-Northern Goshawk

2-Red-shouldered Hawks

2-Redtailed Hawks

8-American Kestrels

1-Merlin

1-Peregrine Falcon


Monday looks like it could be a good day for a decent movement of raptors,with a Northeast wind and Tuesday will either be a hit or miss. With east winds expected,this time of year they could bring a big Peregrine Falcon count. Last season we saw 18 in one day on such a day.

Oct 3 All In The Upflight 316 Raptors...YTD..2288



Today,most of our total was in the "upflight". By 11am we'd seen almost all of the 199 Turkey Vultures seen today. Ann called excitedly early in the day saying she was following a group of vultures down Kingston Rd. Walter went up to the gates of the gardens and watched in the distance,able to see most of them. The remainder of the day brought mainly Sharpies and Kestrels. Late in the day 4 Crows attacked a juvenile Redtailed Hawk. A good group of watchers enjoyed the day,despite some cold weather. Thanks to Mary,Peter,Ann,Lee,Carol,Berle,Walter,Mark,Andrew,Bruce and Gunner for adding to the day.The 316 raptors was made up of:

199-Turkey Vultures

3-Osprey

4-Northern Harriers

66-Sharpshinned Hawks

5-Coopers Hawks

2-Redtailed Hawks

33-American Kestrels

2-Merlins

3-Peregrine Falcons


Oct 2 Vulturama 283 Raptors..YTD...1972



Today a steady stream of watchers including Walter,Gunner,Mark,Terry,Lee,Chris,Berle,Carol and Peter enjoyed a steady stream of birds! Early in the day Sharpies dominated the count. Upon Mark's midday arrival the seasons first Red-shouldered Hawk went through. It was low and very close. I could see the field marks without binoculars,it was a beautiful bird,and one of the best views Ive ever had of one. Close views of Osprey and the seasons first adult male Northern Harrier were other highlights. Sometime after 1pm(pre2pm) Gunner called out that he saw a Turkey Vulture,then excitedly called out "hey guys there is a whole kettle!" There was 45 birds in that group..so the Vulturama began. Following close behind that group was another of 55 and then 6 stragglers. The next hour saw 72 Turkey Vultures. Despite a few short periods of rain,and ever changing fall sky,our final total of 283 raptors consisted of:

191-Turkey Vultures

4-Osprey

3-Northern Harriers

68-Sharpshinned Hawks

4-Coopers Hawks

1-Red-shouldered Hawk

9-American Kestrels

1-Merlin

2-Peregrine Falcons


Tomorrow looks like another great day for raptor movement. I suspect it will again be a large afternoon movement. Dress warm if you join us,U can always take off clothes...if U dont wear enough,and are cold its very uncomfortable and no fun.

Oct 1 Good Start To New Month Day Count 145


Today,Walter,Ron,Peter,Ann,Carol,Keith and myself had a great day. 3 Osprey pushed our season total to 90..Im hoping to see 100 for the first time. We saw 10 of the 15 raptors normally seen in southern Ontario today,including all 3 falcon species and Bald Eagle. Close views of Northern Harriers were enjoyed. A small kettle of 11 Turkey Vultures has us dreaming of more when their migration hits prime time. Todays final total was:

22-Turkey Vultures

3-Osprey

1-Bald Eagle(343pm)

5-Northern Harriers

60-Sharpshinned Hawks

4-Coopers Hawks

3-Redtailed Hawks

41-American Kestrels

2-Merlins

4-Peregrine Falcons


Depending on the rain tomorrow(if any) there could be another good movement of birds. An upflight will probably take place(a number of early birds,that stayed the night nearby).

Sept30... 22 Raptors To End The Month

Over the course of the day Peter,Carol,Lee,Chris,Ann and Berle observed a number of good birds,totaling 22
3-Osprey
5-Northern Harriers
2-Sharpshinned Hawks
8-American Kestrels
4-Peregrine Falcons

Thanks to Carol and Peter for covering for me today. Thanks to Ann for passing their report on to me. The next month will bring the true start of migrating Turkey Vultures and Redtailed Hawks. Red-shouldered Hawks will migrate in October.

Sept29th Good Views 21 Birds

Walter manned the watch today..many thanks to him for that. The following is his report.

I was at Rosetta from 8 until 5 today and although a slow day, not all was lost. With much help from Berle, Lee (2 visits), and Peter (they spotted most big birds today!), the following was seen:

Total Birds - 21

OS - 5
BE - 2 (12:45 PM - Juvenile) (4:06 PM - Juvenile)
NH - 1
SS - 10
AK - 1
PG - 2


Notes: Both Eagles flew by close to the bluffs and didn't circle until they got down around the end of Birchmount or so . Both Peregrines were out over the water but not too high up and with today's poor lighting conditions, made it good for viewing of the field markings.

Walter

Good Friends Good Winds Good Birds Day Count 172




Today we finally had all day north winds. While they didnt seem near as strong as predicted,all gathered (too numerous to mention..dont wanna slight anyone)enjoyed many good sightings. 5 Bald Eagles were a highlight,including a juvenile,which flew below us along the bluffs at 506pm. Earlier at 3:45pm,a full adult flew by offering a good view. Of the 50 American Kestrels seen,many offered nice views. 2 had a little go with each other. Ann caught that interaction nicely. By days end,the final tally was 172 consisting of:

25-Turkey Vultures

5-Osprey

5-Bald Eagles

6-Northern Harriers

68-Sharpshinned Hawks

4-Coopers Hawks

4-Redtailed Hawks

50-American Kestrels

2-Merlins

3-Peregrine Falcons

This brings the season total to 1501. The next week's weather looks very iffy,with predictions for alot of rain.Lets hope "they" are wrong. Thanks again to everyone who came out and enjoyed the day with us.

Rain Rain Go Away Day Total 9



Well...Saturdays good conditions disappeared. Happily almost everyone read the weather right and stayed home today. A flurry of 2 Coopers Hawk,a Kestrel and an Osprey arrived at 10:01am,almost clashing. Luckily the good company helped pass a poor day. Ann got a couple of silhouettes today. I thought with little to report Id show 2. A Peregrine Falcon and an American Kestrel.

They are both in the falcon family. The Peregrine is the largest falcon we see in southern Ontario on a regular basis. The American Kestrel is the smallest. One defining feature of a falcon is the "sharp" wings. They are "pointed",while hawks have rounded wings. The Kestrel has a wing span of 23inches(58cm) and a length of 10inches(26cm),while the much larger Peregrine Falcon has a wingspan of 36-44inches(91-112cm) and a length of 16-20inches(41-51cm). In both species females are larger then males. In the case of Peregrine Falcons females can be up to 2/3 larger then the male,whose name is tiercel which means one-third.

Todays count was:

2-Osprey

1-Sharpie

2-Coopers Hawks

3-American Kestrels

1-Peregrine Falcon


Conditions for Sunday remain excellent as at the time of posting 940pm Saturday.

East Winds Slow Day

There was no count the last few days,but I have included a few birds people saw while at Rosetta over the last few days. We counted today and saw only a few birds again. Total 34 Birds.
Saturday is iffy now as to whether there will be a large movement..we remain hopeful. I will be on site irreguardless of the weather tomorrow. Sunday still looks great for a big movement of raptors.

Recent count:
7-Turkey Vultures
2-Osprey
1-Northern Harrier
13-Sharpshinned Hawks
4-Coopers Hawks
5-American Kestrels
1-Merlin
1-Peregrine Falcon

This pushes this years total to over 1300 raptors. That is down significantly,owing mostly to missing a few big days of Sharpshinned Hawk counts. Because of weather conditions good and bad,fewer Sharpies have moved past the count area. Most other species aside from Harriers(as noted earlier likely a poor breeding year) are at the levels of previous seasons or even a little ahead. Large movements abit later of Redtails and Turkey Vultures will be necessary to make up the numbers.

No Birds,So You Get A Few Photos




Today no raptors were seen that could be counted at Rosetta. Peter Wood came by to show me his article on myself and the Rosetta McClain Raptor Watch. I will wait until the article is out before posting it. It is both complimentary and informative. It hits all the high points.
The photos are,my shot of 3 Peregrine Falcons in almost a perfect formation..they really put on a show. Thanks to Susan for her shot of a Turkey Vulture. Lastly a shot of a Redtailed Hawk,also mine.

The next couple of days dont look very good,thats to say the weather is too nice for much in the way of migration. Its unlikely I will attend the site on Wednesday. Friday through next Tuesday look like there are many promising days. Fridays strong east wind,Im interested to see what it brings. Depending on when predicted rains come Saturday,it could be very good. Sunday and beyond look excellent for good movements of birds.

Beautiful Day Few Raptors..26

We enjoyed a beautiful day today,but after a steady start,by 11am not much was flying. Watchers broke away to check nearby trees for migrating Warblers. We did enjoy close passes of an Osprey and a few Redtailed Hawks. One was chased by a family of American Crows. Walter and I had a good look at a Merlin,which is the medium sized falcon. Being lakeside,we are fortunate to consistantly see all 3 falcon species in one day,American Kestrel,Merlin and Peregrine Falcon. Todays total of 26 birds of prey consisted of:
1-Osprey
1-Northern Harrier
13-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Coopers Hawk
3-Redtailed Hawks
4-American Kestrels
3-Merlin

Right now Saturday is forecast as a good Northeast wind,which would move a good number of birds. The remainder of this week is hit and miss. There is a chance Friday's strong east wind will bring a number of Peregrine Falcons along beside the bluffs.

Day Count 109 High Birds Today



With northeast winds most of the day,we enjoyed a good day,with 109 raptors. A 2nd year Bald Eagle was fairly close up,while one of the Osprey went by bluffside. Much thanks to Leslie and Walter for their spotting. We had a good group of folks out today including Ann,Carol,Berle,Murray,Bryan,Mike,Les,Walter,Andrew and Don..my thanks to everyone for your contirbutions. Todays total consisted of::

Osprey-5

Bald Eagles-2

Northern Harriers-3

Sharpshinned Hawks-56

Coopers Hawk-1

Redtailed Hawk-1

American Kestrels-39

Merlin-1

Peregrine Falcon-1

Sept 19 and 20 More Than A Pair A Grins...Total 32 Raptors




Sept 19:

Desptie a slow day of raptor counting,the early morning (pre9am) provided the most exciting siting of the day,possibly the season. Ann,Walter,Rob and I observed,at first 3 distant Peregrine Falcons approaching,playing and calling as they did so.Eventually the 3 Peregrines were over the park,still calling,talon touching/clasping and bumping each other.It was great fun to watch.They zoomed all around the area and dove. At first I believed all 3 were juvenile but after viewing Anns photos,clearly one is adult. Ann left for work around 930am,and at 945am I got a cellphone call from her saying she saw 3 Peregrines at Victoria Park and Eglinton(reasonably nearby as the Peregrine flys),thinking that it was the same 3. I interrupted letting her know it was not,as we had 2 juvenile females flying around the park at that very moment. They put on a real show! From Anns photos,I could see they all had the black bands(white numbers/letters we couldnt see) which indicates they were banded in Ontario.In another I could see the US Fish and Wildlife band which we put on the other leg.(WE as I volunteer with the Canadian Peregrine Foundation). Thanks to Ann her many photos. I chose a few for posting.


Sept 20

Todays count was pitifully slow,totalling only 11. We did enjoy a fun day,with our many friends who dropped by the park. Today we had to remember the saying Ive modified for our watch...A bad day at Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch is better then a good day at work!


The 2 days total raptors was 32,consisting of:

2-Turkey Vultures

1-Osprey

2-Northern Harriers

15-Sharpshinned Hawks

1-Redtailed Hawk

3-American Kestrels

3-Merlin

5-Peregrine Falcons


Sunday and Monday look like they could be very good days. Dress warm if you join us. Better to take a layer off then be cold all day.

Sept 18 Rosetta Photo Day......156 Raptors





Suprisingly today brought quite a decent count. Berle,Tim,Walter,Ann and myself enjoyed some fantastic views of low and close Osprey,a Turkey Vulture and a perched Merlin. All provided terrific photo opportunities. Spotting Sharpshinned Hawks in the clear blue sky was very challanging,we'd like to think not too many got past us. Todays total was:

1-Turkey Vulture

8-Osprey

2-Northern Harriers

110-Sharpshinned Hawks

4-Coopers Hawks

1-Broadwinged Hawk

2-Redtailed Hawks

26-American Kestrels

1-Merlin(very photogenic)

1-Peregrine Falcon


Todays total put us over 1100 raptors for the season. Upon analysis,though this total is significantly lower then the same time last season(owing to a hot spell and rain after the hurricanes),only Sharpshinned Hawks and Northern Harriers(which may have had breeding sucess issues due to all of the rain in the spring),are down...groan..sharply. Several other specie counts are up very slightly and any deficits in other specie counts could easily be made up. Last year on the 19th I didnt count at all,so tomorrows total will all be catch up.(not to be confused with Ketsup).Sundays north-east winds look promising for a good count,while Saturdays south-west winds may bring alot of Sharpies. (Todays Osprey is my photo)

Sept 17..96 Raptors YTD..963


Today was a beautiful day,marked by a very slow mid-day. Sharpshinned Hawks moved through steadily all day,with a spike at the end of the day. Most of the day it was Walter and myself manning the watch,later joined by Peter and Ann. We all got to witness an Osprey attacked by the local Coopers Hawk. Though it was but a short moment in time,it seemed longer and will live in our memories. Susan joined us briefly and saw a few Sharpshins,with hopes of joining us soon for better days. Todays final total was 96


4-Osprey

71-Sharpshinned Hawks

1-Coopers Hawk

17-American Kestrels

2-Merlins

1-Peregrine Falcon


Thursday looks like a potentially good day,with north winds early in the day and north-east winds later. This will definetly push us over 1000 on our year count with hopes of a significant boost to that total. (Osprey photo from Sept 15)
Today was about as expected,I thought we would see between 30-50 raptors and we saw 75. A kettle of 6 Northern Harriers was nice to see,4 more Osprey and 2 Merlin,one which zoomed by me at such a speed that I heard the beat of its wings,were the highlights,until noon. At noon while Walter was amusing himself looking for butterflys,he looked up and hollered Bald Eagle. Immediately all gathered scrambled to view an adult Bald Eagle,circling over the park. We had several interested passersby,who will likely return to join us soon. I met Peter Wood,who writes a birding column in a local newspaper called,The Bluffs Monitor,about birding in the bluffs. He said he would like to do an article on me/the watch,which suits me fine. This will introduce the watch to about 25000 people(the papers circulation). It is a good opportunity to inform many folks about the incredible birds we love so much. Peter runs a birding course,and the participants,will join us soon on a weekend sometime. Im sure as a result some new folks will come to the watch,but I dont believe it will cause a problem so far as huge volumes of people joining in.
Todays final total was 75,consisting of:
2-Turkey Vultures
4-Osprey
1-Bald Eagle (adult)
7-Northern Harriers
32-Sharpshinned Hawks
2-Coopers Hawks
5-Broadwinged Hawks
1-Redtailed Hawk
19-American Kestrels
2-Merlin

867-Year To Date
The next few days should bring some decent movements,with colder nights and winds that while not optimal,still good enough to help many raptors along. Thanks to Walter,Carol,Murry and Tim for their help and enthusiasm. Thanks to Peter for his interest..a pleasure to meet you. Special visitors included Clive and Libby from Devon in England,who saw a few raptors and enjoyed a lively conversation. Sharing the birds with all of you adds to the watch greatly.