Wind (current)

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!