Wind (current)

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

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.


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 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-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.