Wind (current)

Year End 4515 Raptors

Another season has come to an end. Thanks to everyone who helped count,spot and contributed photos for the blog. Special thanks to Walter,without whom things would just not be the same. Thanks to Ann,Lee,Walter and Tu for photos this year. Their generous sharing of images adds a great deal to this site. Thanks to Betty for so many hot chocolates to keep Walter and I going during some frosty days in October and November. Thanks again to the staff of Rosetta McClain Gardens Don,Richard,Charlene,Ron,Billy,Frank,Ryan and Gary for their help with storage of materials,passing them out,directing park goers to us and cold drinks in hot weather and warm ones in the cold weather. All you all do,help things run much smoother and help the watch to grow. To the all of the regular irregulars,an ever expanding gang,thanks for your help,support and commraderie. Your participation adds greatly to the enjoyment for all of us and for new folks. Its great that everyone is a good ammbassador for not just our watch,but the birding community as a whole and dare I say positive representation of our city to park visitors from far and near.

A very crisp clear day,we were able to see the city of Niagara Falls and the mist from same very clearly.

November 30th marked the end of the watch,which finished up with 3 raptors. A Redtailed Hawk,a Sharpshinned Hawk and a Red Shouldered Hawk. I was quite surprised to have such a great turn out to wrap things up. Walter and I were joined by Peter,Brad,Skiff,,Ann,Carol,Betty(with a final round of hot chocolate),Pat,Nancy and Bill.

This season was a funny one for weather,which affected all raptor watches in Ontario. Totals at most were down considerably beacause of very poor totals of Broadwinged Hawks. Winds at the time they migrated were not right and this resulted in few being observed relative to historic levels. Fortunately for us at Rosetta McClain Raptor watch,Broadwinged Hawks are a very small percentage of the total raptors we usually see,so our final tally of 4515 was not as negatively affected. Indeed our final total this season of 4515 was considerably more then last years total of 4172 total raptors. (see chart) We recorded a record number of Peregrine Falcon sightings this year,reaching 73. Our previous best was 72,seen in 2007. Numbers of several other species of raptors were up from last season,and ranked 2nd or 3rd of the 6 years counting at Rosetta.
We recorded 18 days with over 100 raptors. That is about average for any season. Our biggest day this year was 744 on September 30th.
The only rarity that we had this season was the sighting of Common Raven on 3 occassions.
We were priviledged to enjoy fantastic views of so many raptors this year and enjoyed sharing them with everyone. I hope everyone enjoys their winter and that we can all get out and see some great birds. Over the winter,I may post some interesting sightings,video and or photos,so drop by here once in awhile to check things out. Remember only 89 days until spring Raptor Watch starts at Beamer!

Turkey Vulture.............1209............1369...........1369
Bald Eagle........................33................32..............46
Northern Harrier...........122................84.............488
Sharpshinned Hawk....1718.............1208...........2691
Coopers Hawk.................94..................74............127
Northern Goshawk.........21...................13..............24
Redshouldered Hawk.....21....................9...............29
Broadwinged Hawk........57.................156.............225
Redtailed Hawk............675.................621.............828
Roughlegged Hawk...........2........................9................11
Golden Eagle....................5.......................11................12
American Kestrel..........354...................406...............679
Peregrine Falcon............73......................37................73

Nov 28th The Fox and The Harrier

Ok we saw one Northern Harrier over Lake Ontario,which Ron spotted,aside from that we saw only a local Redtailed Hawk and 2 local Coopers Hawks. The best sighting today was a hunting Red Fox. It was looking to lessen the parks squirrel population,however was unsuccessful. Walter,Ann,Lee,Ron and I watched it make its way through the park. Thanks to Lee's keen spotting,Ann got these great pictures. I really like the motion they portray.

With the last few days worth of raptors,our count site total since inception in 2004,has surpassed 24500,coming in at 24503. Early next September we will surpass 25000.
I will be present Monday to wrap up this years watch. Fortunately the winds look like they will be favorable,so we may go out seeing a few birds,though things really do appear to be all but done for this far. It will be wicked cold so if you join me dress very warm!

Nov 27 Final Days Final Raptors?

After more then a week of no counts at all,as weather was totally unco-operative, Walter,Betty,Bill and I turned up to try our luck. In the end we managed to see 5 Redtailed Hawks. The best sighting today was the local juvenile Coopers Hawk,who tried to catch a squirrel. It was very comical. The squirrel was in a pear tree and the Coop landed in it. It tried hopping branch to branch to chase the squirrel but to no avail. If the hawk went to one side of the tree the squirrel ran to the other. After 3 rounds of this,the Coopers Hawk gave up and flew to a few other trees in and just outside the park before taking off out of sight. Todays total of 5 Redtailed Hawks takes the season total to 4511. I may give it a go again tomorrow afternoon as judging by he weather forecasts that will be my last day to count. A season ending post will give final totals,many thanks and a summary.

Last Saturday Walter and I went to Humber Bay Park in the westend of Toronto. Please enjoy this lovely Peregrine Falcon which Walter and I enjoyed seeing perched there. Walter shot this video. Photos by me.

Finally A Few Raptors Nov 16

Today for the first time since Nov 10th we saw some migrating raptors. Conditions looked good but the big numbers hoped for didnt come. In the end Walter,Carol,Bill,Skiff,Pat,NancyBerle,Lee and I saw 16 raptors,putting us over 4500 for the season. We saw:
2-Sharpshined Hawks
3-Coopers Hawks
2-Redshouldered Hawks
9-Redtailed Hawks
16-Total Raptors

Keep an eye on the weather. Starting Friday there may be a few good days,but at this stage its really hit and miss. I say again there should be at least one more good flight of Redtailed Hawks left out there to come.

Nov 11-13th No Raptors Flying

Just to keep everyone up to date. There have been no raptors counted since Nov 10th. Friday there was no count. I will not be present Saturday. Sunday is now iffy also,as predicted Northwest winds have changed to a light west wind.
I did have the pleasure of meeting Robert Shillabeer this past week,on his first visit to Rosetta McClain Gardens. Robert was the original Cranberry Marsh raptor watcher,figuring out that raptors might be seen along the shoreline there. We look forward to many return visits in the future. Another experienced,able watcher will be of great help in the future.
Right now we sit at 4490 raptors counted this season. There is at least one last big push of Redtailed Hawks yet to come. We sit 169 Redtailed Hawks short of a new countsite record,so lets hope for a few good days...or one great one! Sunday may yet surprise us. Watch the weather for Monday,it looks like the most promising day right now for a good movement of raptors. Again the large raptors that are left to come dont get moving too early,so if able drop down no earlier then 10am.

Nov 10th Streaming Redtails And Count Record 73rd Peregrine Falcon Of The Season

Today the weather was right for a decent raptor migration,though winds were light from the north,birds came. Most were quite high,but not in the "ozone"(ridiculously high). With keen spotting help from Walter,Tim and Bill,Betty,Berle,Peter,Skiff,Pat,Nancy and I saw a decent variety of raptors including :
8-Sharpshinned Hawks
8-Coopers Hawks
1-Northern Goshawk(plus the local)
4-Redshouldered Hawks
80-Redtailed Hawks
1-American Kestrel
2-Peregrine Falcons
104 Total Raptors

We saw several short streams of Redtailed Hawks. On a few occassions we saw a Redtail and then spotted a Redshoulder and a Coopers in the same vicinity. Spotting was definetly a challange sometimes,but we enjoy a challange. Betty spotted the 100th bird of the day,which is always a benchmark.
Todays 2 Peregrine Falcon sightings brings the seasons total to a new record of 73 for our count site. 72 Peregrines were seen in 2007. This is always very exciting news to me as I volunteer with the Canadian Peregrine Foundation( Here is the link to a video clip which is our 73rd Peregrine of this season flying by.

Keep your eyes on the weather. Remember we really do need a NORTH element in the wind to see much of anything this time of year. At this time in the season very few raptors fly before 10am or 11am. If your cold tolerance is low,wait to come down until around those times. Another reminder,BATHROOMS ARE CLOSED.

Ann's Redtails and Some Recognition

This past spring and summer,one of our regular watchers Ann Brokelman observed a Redtailed Hawks nest. She regularily photographed and faithfully reported her experiences. With some of her photos and a few video clips I took on a visit to the nestsite,I put together this little video clip that summarizes the year. For a full report with a ton of great photos please view Ann's blog at here is a link to the video Enjoy.

I was just sent a copy of the September Toronto Birds,the Toronto Ornithological Club's e-journal. In addition to records of sightings,this issue highlighted the raptor watches of Metro Toronto,including High Park,Cranberry Marsh,Iriquois Shoreline and Rosetta McClain Gardens. I was very pleased when I was asked by Glenn Coady to submit my results and some notes of explanation about how things got started and abit of history. To quote Glenn "The efforts of various sites will provide an exceptional record for students of raptors for countless years to come."

I thank everyone involved in helping the watch be the success that it is. By no means is the watch a one man show. Thanks especially to Walter,who is such a great help and subs for me when called upon to do so. Dedicated watchers old and new make it all very enjoyable.(more praise will come in the seasons end summary in December)

Surprise Big Day..126 Raptors

Redshouldered Hawk
After conditions yesterday that should have meant a big count,yesterdays disappointment was replaced by a nice surprise. While light northwest winds were called for in the morning,afternoon was supposed to be south winds. We didnt get south winds until 3pm. Things really slowed down after 1pm,but we saw some great birds before that. We had a juvenile Bald Eagle go past at the end of a short stream of Redtailed Hawks at 12:45pm. Redtailed Hawks were streaming today,at one stage we had 21 within a period of 5minutes. Streaming is when several hawks in a row appear from about the same spot and fly along the same line,as if on a clothes line,one after the other. The stream kept changing routes,but as one ended another would start. Although most birds were high,many were directly over us so that makes things easier. We enjoyed a lowish Red-shouldered Hawk which circled right above us for several minutes,giving a great view in wonderful light. Later a light-morph Roughlegged Hawk did much the same. Redtails not only streamed for several hours but often they would kettle briefly too,coming together and circling together going higher and higher. Thanks to everyone for their contributions today.
Redshouldered Hawk
Terry,Berle,Betty,Bill,Peter,Skiff,Don,Lee,Pat,Nancy,Cliff,Walter and I enjoyed:
1-Bald Eagle
3-Coopers Hawks
1-Northern Goshawk
1-Redshouldered Hawk
119-Redtailed Hawks
1-Roughlegged Hawk
126-Total Raptors

Watch the weather for your best chances at a big day. With a south wind tomorrow I will not be present. Keep an eye on Sunday. A reminder bathrooms are closed for the season.

More Was Expected...Only 6 Raptors

Today,more was expected. Faithful watchers braved some cold weather with few birds. One great sighting was the "local" Northern Goshawk,which flew by quite closely and later perched in a bluff-side tree. It tried to catch a squirrel which dared to come to close to the Goshawk,almost taunting it. Later the Goshawk made another pass of the park. A local Redtail was harrassed by the local Crows. They were really diving and screaming at the perched Redtail. Berle,Walter,Brad(Skiff),Terry,Bill,Carol,Betty(thanks for the hot chocolate run!)Bev,Lee and I did see a few countable birds including:
2-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Redtailed Hawk
3-Peregrine Falcons(included is one Ann saw yesterday)
Anns great Peregrine Falcon photos
We are hoping for a decent day tomorrow,but with only light northwest winds we may not see much.

A Good November Day..140raptors

It was beautiful to start the day,became overcast and very gray with an angry looking lake and back to being a beautiful evening. The day started well with Sharpshinned Hawks moving by 8am. Before 9am we had seen 11 raptors,which for this time of year is pretty good. While many Redtailed Hawks were abit high and distant,we also had many that were nice and close,offering great views. A juvenile Redtail below the bluff,circling gave us a very unique view. 7 low Turkey Vultures gave us a thrill,particularily the first one which popped up in a spot we sometimes see a Golden Eagle. One Turkey Vulture landed in a tree near the parkinglot briefly.We had a Bald Eagle pass,lighting was too poor to age it right. There were a few male Northern Harriers today,its nice to see them moving now. Local Crows were a good vanguard today,alerting us to pay special attention for raptors. At one point as shown in the photos and the video,a Redtail was harrassed by the Crows.
A Redtail landed in the park for only an instant.
The perfect conditions brought out the gang. Walter,Carol,Bill,Brad-Ottawa,Sue and Bruce,Bruce Falls,Peter,Lee,Murray(glad you are doing OK buddy),Ann,Betty ,Bev(welcome Bev) and I saw:
8-Turkey Vultures
1-Bald Eagle(950am)
5-Northern Harriers
21-Sharpshinned Hawks
5-Coopers Hawks
98-Redtailed Hawks
1-American Kestrel
140-Total Raptors

Here is a video of some of the birds we saw. I did this for children who watch a website I frequent.

A Great Blue Heron gave us a momentary thrill as we caught the large wingspan...but it was "just a Great Blue"

This takes us over last years final tally of 4172, we now have 4254 raptors. There should still be a few good days left as the final big push of Redtails wont happen until at least Nov 15-20th. November birds are very weather specific,watch for north element winds or if desparate give west winds a go. If there is a south element in the wind it will be very very slow. Dress very warm if you join us,the best days now have some bitter winds. Thanks to everyone for a great day.

Nov 1... 39 Raptors Plus Correction

After speaking with Walter he pointed out to me that I had reported Anns birds on Oct 26th,but didnt record them on my master sheets. This error has been corrected,bringing our final October total to 4075 raptors.
Today was better then I had expected,with low winds called for,I was pleasantly surprised by the volume of birds if not their altitude! Most birds were very high. A low Turkey Vulture went through early in the day and a few Sharpshinned Hawks as well. A few Redtails went low along the bluffs. A few times short streams of Redtailed Hawks went by. A Red-shouldered Hawk circled with a Redtailed Hawk. At first I believed it was a male and female Redtail,but as they went by I realized there was more then just a size difference. Poor skies at that time made it a real trick,as almost no colour could be seen on most of the birds at the time. When skies got clearer we could often see the rusty tails of the adult Redtailed Hawks. Walter,Berle and I enjoyed:
1-Turkey Vulture
5-Sharpshinned Hawks
2-Coopers Hawks
2-Northern Goshawks
1-Redshouldered Hawk
28-Redtailed Hawks
39-Total Raptors

With poor lighting most of the day,small birds were tough for Walter and I to ID. I believe we had a small flock of American Pipits and an Eastern Bluebird. We definetly saw a few flocks of Cedar Waxwings and many large flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds. As we were readying to leave I heard the unmistakable call of a Piliated Woodpecker. I alerted Walter to it and as we proceeded in the direction of the call,before we got more then a few steps the Woodpecker flew over us and beyond the limits of the park. Earlier we had also seen a Hairy Woodpecker. Tuesday looks promising.

Past Week and Year To Date Totals

To summarize October of 2009,is to say it wasnt as bad as it may have seemed. We counted over 2200 raptors this month,its just that they were very concentrated. We enjoyed 6 days which we counted more then 100 raptors. 4 of those days were over 300 raptors and 1 of those was over 500. Last season (when our YTD tally was very similar) was much the same story with just over 2300 raptors and 5 big days. Both years we had alot of bad weather that wasnt condusive to large(or sometimes any) raptor movement. Some species we are up considerably,some down and some about even as compared to last season,with the end result being that we have counted just over 200 more raptors then last year at the end of October. Our year to date totals as at the end of October are:
1200-Turkey Vultures
31-Bald Eagles
116-Northern Harriers
1677-Sharpshinned Hawks
73-Coopers Hawks
17-Northern Goshawks
12-Redshouldered Hawks
57-Broadwinged Hawks
330-Redtailed Hawks
1-Roughlegged Hawk
5-Golden Eagles
352-American Kestrels
68-Peregrine Falcons
4069-Total Raptors Year To Date

Many thanks to all for their contributions to this seasons count so far and their continued support. As their season comes to an end,special thanks goes to the staff of Rosetta McClain Gardens. Of their own accord and friendship,they allow us to store information materials and seats in their facilities. They often pass out information and direct people to us. Much thanks to Ron,Richard,Charlene,Don,Billy,Frank and Ryan for hot coffees in the cold and cool water in the heat. Thanks to Gary for allowing them to continue to help us in this manner. All of their help,makes things run much more smoothly. I thank them for their interest and increasing the awareness of park goers as well.
Here is hoping for a few more big days in November and more fabulous photos and awesome sightings.

October 26th-31st
The past week has been disappointingly slow. Weather didnt co-operate so few raptors were moving past Rosetta McClain Gardens. Without the local birds to entertain us and good friends,new and not so new(didnt want to say old) the days would have been longer. We saw only 6 raptors we could count between Oct 26 and 31 we counted:
1-Bald Eagle(juvenile)
1-Northern Harrier(my first adult male of the season spotted by Peter)
1-Northern Goshawk
2-Peregrine Falcons

Bathrooms are officially closed now,there is a slim chance if staff is present they may be opened..dont count on it. From here on dress very warm. Watch for north element winds,they are really the only guarentee of some birds flying. There should still be one more good push of Redtailed Hawks and any decent north winds should bring Golden Eagles and a few Roughlegged Hawks. November is likely to see 300-400 raptors,though I reserve the right to be wrong either way!

Another Slow Day

Beautiful Rosetta McClain Gardens

Today the only counted bird was an adult Peregrine Falcon. We did see a local juvenile Coopers Hawk and an adult Coopers Hawk which has been seen in the area a few times recently too. A local Redtail flew along the bluffs from west to east. A recently arrived Northern Goshawk seems to be a local bird. It was chased again today by American Crows. They have been a very good raptor early warning system,sounding off,letting us know there is a raptor on the way. There seemed to be a movement of European Starlings today. Black-capped Chickadees and Northern Juncos continued to move in good numbers. Pat saw a Piliated Woodpecker briefly in the park today. I saw 2 Common Nighthawks fly by. At a distance they sometimes appear to be a Kestrel,but as they get closer you see the tell tale marks on the wings. One co-operatively circled above briefly,predictably leaving just as I got my camera ready. Today I have included some of the fall colours from around Rosetta McClain Gardens. Wednesday looks better now with an all day northeast wind. This should bring a decent migration of Redtailed Hawks and hopefully a Golden Eagle and a few Roughlegged Hawks. Birds may be somewhat high tomorrow. Things are unlikely to start up before 10am. A reminder to dress warm and pack a lunch.

Oct.26th Not Much Going ,,,A Few Photos

Redtailed Hawk Fly Past

Today not much was expected and not much came. While I was present for a few hours,I saw only the local Coopers Hawk and a few wrong way Redtails. Later Ann saw 4 Redtailed Hawks and 2 Sharpshinned Hawks,for a total of 6 birds today.
Coopers Hawk Perched
Coopers Hawk
Coopers Hawk Trying For A Squirrel
Turkey Vulture In Flight

Lee and Ann have got these great photos over the past few days.
Again a reminder the next week doesnt look too good for raptor migration. Watch for the next day with a good north element wind,it may be very good. It looks like it will be into November before that happens.

Past Week Plus Oct25th..Golden Eagle,Bald Eagle Among 38 Raptors

Coopers Hawk Takes A Seat

Hello,there wasnt much to report the past week. From October 18th-24th only 13 raptors were counted. Walter and I had several very slow days. Migrating birds were
4-Northern Harriers
3-Sharpshinned Hawks
3-Coopers Hawks
2-Redtailed Hawks
1-Peregrine Falcon

We enjoyed good views of local birds which really saved a few very slow days. Walter Lee and I saw the local Merlin perch in several trees one day. Another Peter and I enjoyed seeing the Merlin perched. I saw it leave the tree in a dive and return with a Kinglet which it plucked and ate. Walter and I were treated to a great look at the local juvenile Coopers Hawk too. I got a video of it trying to chase a Red Squirrel. Its juvenile hunting ability was very apparent as it ran around the base of the tree.
Coopers Hawk Courtesy Walter
Coopers Hawk Profile..Courtesy BIGFRANK
Coopers Hawk Comes Up Empty

Coopers Hawk video
This video is abit dark due to conditions,so is not very graffic.
Merlin With Kinglet Breakfast
Sunday October 25th Report
Today was a much better day then all of the days this past week. We had some good looks at a number of birds. Ann and Lee followed the local Coopers Hawk around the park in the morning(awaiting photos). A few Sharpshinned Hawks started things off today. Later a few Redtailed Hawks gave us hopes of a good day. Todays highlights included an adult Bald Eagle,a juvenile Golden Eagle at decent range and a juvenile Northern Goshawk which the local Crows chased back to the east. The Goshawk made at least 2 appearances. We are hopeful it will stick around for a few days. A few Northern Harriers came along the bluffside. By the end of the day,Bruce,Berle,Lee,Ann,Ron,Rob,Peter,Walter and I enjoyed some of the following 38 raptors:
2-Turkey Vultures
1-Bald Eagle(adult,1:54pm)
7-Sharpshinned Hawks
8-Northern Harriers
2-Coopers Hawks
2-Northern Goshawks
14-Redtailed Hawks
1-Golden Ealge(juvenile,2:10pm)
1-American Kestrel
Also seen today were 3 flocks of Eastern Bluebirds,one between 15 and 20,the other 7. Walter also saw a flock before anyone else arrived of about 20. A Swan that appeared to be migrating went over quite high,its very likely it was a Tundra Swan. It was adult and it had no wing tags(which would indicate Trumpeter). We also saw 4 Chimney Swifts today.There was a large number of Northern Juncos today as well. A few late Monarchs went by and we also saw a Mourning Cloak.
The remainder of the month doesnt look very good. If you go to the park and see any raptors,please let me know. Watch the weather for any changes. There are no longer bathrooms available on weekends and after Oct 31 bathrooms are closed for the season.

4000+ Year To Date

Today was another very slow day,we had more birders then birds. I didnt get everyones names,my appologies,but Walter and I,did greet and enjoy the company of Bruce Falls,Terry and Elizabeth Shiels,Peter,Lee,Brad,Bruce and Sue. Fortunately during the slow time,many good conversations were struck up. Time was spent today looking at smaller birds until some raptors finally showed up. Among the smaller noteworthy birds seen were at least 2 Eastern Towhees,Fox Sparrow and many Hermit Thrushes. Early in the day,Brad,Lee,Walter and I all enjoyed seeing the "local" Merlin perch several times,before hunting forrays. We saw several Common Loons fly over as well.
Todays raptors were very high and distant again for the most part. In the end we saw 19 raptors,consisting of
3-Turkey Vultures
2-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Northern Goshawk
12-Redtailed Hawks
1-Golden Eagle(220pm)
This brings the year to date total to 4013. This is ahead of last season at the same time,but last year was the lowest count of all the full years of counting at Rosetta McClain Gardens. The next several days do not look promising,with many south type winds or rain. While tomorrow shows a weak north wind,I dont expect much of a flight. We are likely to shut things down by 1pm.
Here are Lee's pictures of the perched Merlin and Eastern Towhee

These are Ann's pictures of a Hermit Thrush and a Fox Sparrow

Oct 16th...5 Hours Of My Life I Will Never Get Back

Ann's shot of a wave crashing in on the rocks below Frozetta.
Today was almost a complete waste of time. We called it at 1pm on account of so few raptors. Conditions were expected to be better,but the day was much as it was yesterday. Northeast 20kmh winds certainly werent blowing anywhere near us,as very little wind at all blew. We saw only 10 raptors,which included 8 Redtailed Hawks,a Coopers Hawk and a Sharpshinned Hawk. While the company was good,the days' hawking was not. Everyone took turns wandering around the park looking for small birds. Many Hermit Thrushes,Juncos,White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows were seen,many many American Goldfinch,Blue Jays,Black-capped Chickadees,Brown Creepers and American Crows were seen too. A few House Finches were seen. Lets hope the weekend brings more raptors our way.
Here are some shots our talented gang have taken over the past few weeks. With little to report today,a good time to share these fine shots from Lee and Ann.
Lee's Golden-crowned Kinglet(male)
Another of the same
Ann's shot of a tiny Red Squirrel(one of this years young)
Ann's shot of Pudgy the Raccoon
Ann's shot of a Red Fox trotting towards us.
Thanks to everyone for making the slow days bearable. Lets hope for better days ahead. Bathrooms open later on weekends(9 or 10am now). Raptors really arent starting up until 9am or later now. Visitors may want to wait until prime viewing hours taking into consideration the temperatures and how long they personally can last. Also a reminder that the number of species seen now begins to wain,but the chance to see a flight of Redtailed Hawks and small numbers of Golden Eagles,Roughlegged Hawks and Northern Goshawks still exists. Stragglers of other species will still go through in small numbers too. A few of any one of those will really make your day.

Oct 15th ...Winds Didnt Come..Neither Did The Birds

Redtailed Hawk from above from Lee

Walter and I thought we would have another great day and the early indications were promising. At 814am we saw a juvenile Bald Eagle fly by out over the lake abit. This was very encouraging to us. At 833am a 2nd juvenile Bald Eagle flew by. Ok we are in business..or so we thought. The promised northeast winds never materialized,so over the rest of the day(till 130pm) we saw only another 14 raptors.

Our total was 16 raptors,made up as follows:
2-Bald Eagles
1-Northern Harrier
2-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Coopers Hawk
1-Northern Goshawk
8-Redtailed Hawks
We are just short of 4000 raptors for the season,which is ahead of last season at the same time. With any sort of flight today we should surpass 4000 and by the end of the weekend surpass last seasons final total of 4172.
Today through the weekend,look like good conditions if they follow the predictions. Dress very warm if you join us.

High Count High Birds

Today was much better then we expected with a weak north wind predicted. The winds were abit stronger and birds flew! Most were very high. We were treated to kettling Turkey Vultures and Redtailed Hawks. Some Redtails were streaming(flying through one at a time along the same if on a clothes line). While our count of 383 birds was good,many birds flew by unseen to the north of us.(based on reports from elsewhere in the city). Pre 11am we saw many very high Sharpshinned Hawks. Redtailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures started to go past in numbers at noon until 3pmish. Thanks to Walter for his able assistance,some high birds were a real challange and test of IDing skills. 2 Golden Eagles were seen today,one at 1:25pm and the other at 2:10pm. Our total of 7 Red-shouldered Hawks was a good number for our watch. Thanks to Carol,Lee,Bill,Bruce and Sue for their spotting and keeping us going.
Todays final total of 383 raptors was made up of :
206-Turkey Vultures
2-Northern Harriers
56-Sharpshinned Hawks
2-Coopers Hawks
2-Northern Goshawks
7-Redshouldered Hawks
103- Redtailed Hawks
2-Golden Eagles
1-American Kestrel
2-Merlins(plus the local which landed in a tree just above the watchers)

The next few days look quite promising,though most birds will likely be degrees of high. Again if you join us dress very warmly,bring a lunch and a drink. Bathrooms are open till at least 3pm right now.

BIG DAY at Frozetta McClain Raptor Watch...555

Roughlegged Hawk

Today was great from start to finish,aside from being very ccccold. By 11am we had seen over 170 Sharpshinned Hawks,with 147 being seen from 10am-11am. We had an actual kettle of Sharpshinned Hawks as at least 12 were circling in the sky together. They were coming past high,low,north,south and overtop of us. Thanks to all our spotters today and I was very glad to have Walter back today. Berle spotted a few very high birds,which I think even surprised herself. Turkey Vultures were seen in concentrations today,most passed north of us out of our sight. We did see 101. We saw 3 Bald Eagles today. One full adult,a juvenile and what I believe was a 2nd year bird. We had our first Golden Eagle today and our first Roughlegged Hawk of the season. The 3 eagles at 4:35pm was terrific,A Golden Eagle and a juvenile Bald Eagle went past on the lake side. At the same time Walter was hollering for me to look,I was hollering about an adult Bald Eagle going through the opposite direction to what Walter and Betty were looking. It was a great day. Thanks to Walter,Berle,Carol,Bill,Betty,Lee,Bruce and Sue for all their help.
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle

Our excellent total of 555 raptors consisted of:
101-Turkey Vultures
3-Bald Eagles(2nd year at 1:18pm,Adult and Juvenile at 4:35pm)
13-Northern Harriers
383-Sharpshinned Hawks
7-Coopers Hawks
4-Redshouldered Hawks
28-Redtailed Hawks
1-Roughlegged Hawk
1-Golden Eagle(juvenile 4:35pm)
12-American Kestrels
At 1:10pm the local American Crows attacked a Common Raven. It was great for those present to see such a contrast in the size and the obvious differences in how they looked. The next several days look excellent for raptor movement. Be aware that with the NE winds birds are often much higher up. Dress very warmly...throw extra clothes in your car or wont be sorry!
This is an excellent shot showing all the field marks to look for on a Redtailed Hawk. The "belly-band"(white area at top of chest),the "commas"(the brown marks near the end of the lead edge of the wings) and its rusty tail(of an adult).

Little Wind,Few Birds...22 Raptors

With very little wind,we didnt have much to see. That said,Lee and I really enjoyed watching 2 Coopers Hawks chasing each other,at one point both sped passed us at close range. Lee captured a few very nice photos.
American Kestrel Courtesy Ann Brokelman

Lee,Sue,Bruce,Harry and myself saw at least a few raptors.

The final tally was made up of:
2-Northern Harriers
12-Sharpshinned Hawks
3-Coopers Hawks
1-Northern Goshawk
3-American Kestrels
1-Peregrine Falcon

The coming week may be very good,watch for north element winds.