Over The Top With 83 Raptors...5 Redshouldered Hawks

Today we set a new season high total for total number of raptors. In 2007,5844 raptors were observed going by Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch. Today we surpassed that total and got a good run at achieving 6000 this season. Our new high season total raptor count is 5924. With another month to count,we should surpass 6000 quite easily,a nice milestone to achieve.
We had 5 Red-shouldered Hawks today,a few passed very close to us,allowing for some good photos. Thanks Ann. One juvenile circled co-operatively along the bluff,giving those watching closely views of his "windows" from on top and below. A very co-operative adult circled above us for some time. Its great to see some of these threatened birds so well,especially with several newish raptor watchers present.
Another number we hit today was over 300 Northern Harriers for the season. While Harrier sightings have increased over the last 2 seasons from a low of 84 in 2008 to 122 in 2009,todays mark of 304 while significant,pales to the 2006 count of 488. Walter started the day by seeing 13 Turkey Vultures fly past. They must have spent the night close by,as Lee had messaged Walter late yesterday that 13 Vultures were near Brimley and Kingston Rd. Also of interest was 1 Broadwinged Hawk,which came at us over the lake. Some question my call,but I am very sure of this ID. The bird was dark..appreared Crow-like when in flight,all agreed looked nothing like the Red-shouldered Hawks seen today under identical wind conditions,that it was smaller than a Redtailed Hawk and had no white chest.
Redshouldered Hawk
Redshoulder In Flight

Sharpshinned Hawk

Coopers Hawk

Interestingly marked Redtailed Hawk..some checking is being done. Note there is no white chest on this bird,the streaking goes all the way to its chin.

Will report if it is something other than an Eastern Redtailed Hawk...I suspect it is.
Today saw 83 raptors in total consisting of:
14-Turkey Vultures
13-Northern Harriers
24-Sharpshinned Hawks
2-Coopers Hawks
5-Redshouldered Hawks
1-Broadwinged Hawk
21-Redtailed Hawks
Also seen today were thousands of Redwinged Blackbirds/Brown Cowbirds in huge flocks,many House Finches,Eastern Bluebirds,a small group of Yellow rumped Warblers and on the lake a few thousand Red-breasted Mergansers. No swallows were seen today at all.
The entire week to come looks quite promising. Remember that NE winds means higher birds...Northwest is best. Bathrooms are now closed for the season! Dress warm any day you come now.

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