Wind (current)

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.

Another Big Day...Too Many Choices...295 Raptors

Striatus Comin At Us

Today Lee and Ann made it tough for decide which great photos to use. As U will see I am indecisive! The day started abit slow,and I wondered if indeed a good day would materialize. By 10am EST I had my answer,when the winds picked up and Turkey Vultures started to appear. With the holiday weekend,helpers were in short supply,I was glad to have Ann,Lee,Ron and Berle to help with spotting and ID. I was missing my right hand man,Walter,who had a great day of his own(more later). We had a good mix of very close birds and more distant ones,many gave watchers a real thrill. As I left my post briefly to answer the call of nature,I heard local Crows going goofy,alarm calling. I stopped and got in a spot where I could see what they were doing. They were harrassing a hawk,that was coming right over to where I was. It was a lovely Red-shouldered Hawk which circled just over me. Lee got some terrific shots of it.
Many Turkey Vultures came by low.
One of Lee's

Note the different colours of the adult and juvenile's heads.
Adult of Ann's

Juvenile of Ann's
Northern Harrier Ann

Redtailed Hawk

Walter had quite a day,right in his own backyard. He had stayed home to do some work on the garage,but ended up watching a flight of raptors over his home,which is only about 2blocks east of our location at the park and a short block north. Im wondering how many times he smacked his fingers with the hammer,while watching Turkey Vultures? I include this to show what happens when raptors decide to tack(fly sideways into the prevailing wind..they sort of shear forward) into the winds. The birds he saw didnt make it to Rosetta.
Walter saw 138 raptors including:
127-Turkey Vultures
6-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Coopers Hawk
3-Redtailed Hawks
1-American Kestrel
Not a bad days work! errr raptor watching from the yard?
Over at Rosetta we saw 295 Raptors:
77-Turkey Vultures
1-Bald Eagle(11:10am Juvenile)
4-Northern Harriers
124-Sharpshinned Hawks
2-Coopers Hawks
1-Redshouldered Hawk(first of season)
1-Broadwinged Hawk
50-Redtailed Hawks
31-American Kestrels
1-Peregrine Falcon
In all a fantastic day. Tomorrow will be much slower I suspect. Tuesday may be good?