Wind (current)

72 Raptors...4 Golden Eagles

Todays conditions were not as good as hoped for.Winds were lighter than predicted earlier in the week. That said,we had a great day anyway. About noon things started to happen. We finally got some cloud and the birds came...we dont believe we were missing many birds up to that point,though with the height of some of them its entirely possible. Mike 2 picked up a bird that led us to a small kettle of Turkey Vultures. Redtailed Hawks were circling high in the clouds. A few Red-shouldered Hawks passed among the Redtails. We saw a few Roughlegged Hawks,one which came very low above us,taking us by surprise as we struggled to locate a tundrius Peregrine Falcon Jean was watching.
2 juvenile Golden Eagles put on a lovely show,circling together above us. They seemed to interact at one point,before circling further on again. For all gathered this was a terrific sighting. Below is my shot of one of them.

Mike Zidino sent us this more close-up shot..thanks Mike 3. For Mary and Cori,this was a life bird! All 4 Golden Eagles we saw were juvenile.

Mike 3 also sent this shot of a passing Coopers Hawk.

As we thought of wrapping things up,we had a Bald Eagle...age undetermined pass over at 4pm. Walter caught it behind us already. All considered a great day,for them that hung in through a slow beginning. Our final totals were:
9-Turkey Vultures
1-Bald Eagle(4pm)
2-Northern Harrier
2-Coopers Hawk
3-Redshouldered Hawk
43-Redtailed Hawk
7-Roughlegged Hawk
4-Golden Eagle(2 juveniles 1220pm, juvenile 1255pm,juvenile 133pm)
1-Peregrine Falcon
72-Total Raptors
Also seen today were many Long-tailed Ducks on the lake,several Pine Siskins passing and perched,3 Northern Shrike and 4,first of season White-winged Crossbills. The Crossbills were another life bird for several of the watchers. Thanks to Mary,for snacks,Tim for making a coffee run and Betty for the hot chocolate. Everything keeps us going on frosty days! Thanks to everyone for their keen spotting of high birds. Contributions by everyone really add to the enjoyment of everybody gathered.

11 Raptors After The Rain

Winds were right,but the rains stopped migration of very many BOPS. Walter,myself,Cori and Bruce all showed up to see if anything was flying. While it was slow,Im sure raptors moved into an area that will bring them through tomorrow.

Juvenile Turkey Vulture(note the black head)
Today we picked up a few birds. All were low and close. The light-morph Roughlegged Hawk was a nice sighting,as were the Northern Harriers. As Bruce was leaving he hollered back to Walter and I...something about a Turkey Vulture. Walter got into a position to see if he could see anything flying by to the north,while I went up to the parkinglot to see what Bruce was calling about. There was a juvenile Turkey Vulture perched in a tree,on the north side of the parkinglot! Such as they are,a few shots are included that I got of it.Todays total was:
1-Turkey Vulture
2-Northern Harrier
3-Sharpshinne Hawk
2-Coopers Hawk
2-Redtailed Hawk
1-Roughlegged Hawk
Also seen today was a flock of geese. We are 100% sure there were 3 white-phase Snow Geese. The flock contained about 30 individuals,made no sound,was very disorganized and very high. The way they flew truely was very much the same as the flock of 39 Snow Geese we saw earlier this season,making us think its very possible that all of the geese in this flock were Snow Geese. From What Bird:"During migration the Snow Geese flies so high it can barely be seen. They form shifting curved lines and arcs as they fly." This description sounds right to Walter and I. Everyone should keep their eyes peeled for Snow Geese! Id imagine there will be a very early movement of small birds in huge numbers in the morning tomorrow,visible from first light until about 10am. Raptors are unlikely to begin flying much before 11am or even abit later. Tomorrow,conditions look great for a shot at a big raptor movement. Monday and Tuesday both look good too. I can tell you it was very cold today...I will be very well bundled tomorrow(for younger folks that has nothing to do with Bell or Rogers services and everything to do with staying warm!!).

Friday and Saturday

Friday and Saturday both have potential to be good days for raptor movement. This time of year,its the big birds that are moving,so they move on north winds. The stronger winds bother them less. They care less about inclimate weather. Those gathered were surprised to see Redtails,Roughlegs and Golden Eagles moving during the sleet and snow last week. This means as watchers,we have to suffer through such conditions if we want to see spectacular birds like Golden Eagles and Roughlegs. Saturday looks better than Friday right now weather wise,so them that are "weather fairies" should plan on Saturday. DRESS VERY WARM,it will be terribly cold with very strong North winds on either day. Dont forget your feet..they'll get cold. There are no bathrooms open any longer. Plan your day according to your personal cold tollerance. Golden Eagles are likely to appear after 2pm,having said that who knows...dont blame me if you miss them.So far we have had a fantastic count of Roughlegged Hawks and with a big day or 2,we may achieve our Redtailed Hawk record. Our best season of Golden Eagles is 11 and we have currently seen 7 so that isnt out of the question. Next week looks like there will be few if any good raptor days. This could mean the first day that there is another cold night and north element wind,we could get the big final push day. Watch for that around Nov 10th. From there on it will slow down considerably.

3 More Roughlegs and Great Goshawk Pics

As expected today was very slow,but not without a few good birds. Unexpectedly,we saw 3 dark-morph Roughlegged Hawks. 2 flew by together. Another flew by on its own later. Ann and Carol went down to the park in the afternoon and saw the "local" Goshawk go by quickly. Ever at the ready,Ann got these 2 great shots.In total we saw only 5 countable birds between 10am and 1pm.
2-Redtailed Hawk
3-Roughlegged Hawk
Keep an eye on Friday,conditions are looking great! If the rain comes Thursday and the predicted good north element winds come Friday,I expect more Redtails and some Roughlegs and Golden Eagles. Fingers crossed!

I was talking to a local resident who lives just a few houses outside Rosetta. 3 nights ago she saw an Oppossum eating seed spilled from her bird feeders. There was a Raccoon there too and when the Possum snarled at the Coon,the Coon didnt flinch and carried on eating. They ate together without incident. She described perfectly an Oppossum and said she had to look it up as she could hardly believe her eyes,and REALLY hoped that it wasnt a rat! Id never heard of Possums this far to the east of Toronto. Usually reports Ive heard have been from the west end of the city. Something else to keep any eye out for at Rosetta McClain Gardens!

High Birds High Count..More Records...287 Raptors

Today's brilliant blue skies made spotting a real challange...luckily we had determined spotters making Walter and my jobs easier. We were spotting Redtails,that were high to the north...high overhead and high over the lake. Our biggest kettle of the day was 24 Redtailed Hawks with on Sharpshinned Hawk. Our total of 251 Redtailed Hawks,broke our old one day record for Redtails of 204. 5 more Roughlegged Hawks passed by,one was a dark-morph. This puts us over our modest season record of 12 Roughlegged Hawks with 15 so far this season. 2 more Golden Eagles one at 11am(juvenile) and the 2nd at 143pm(juvenile). Things really shut down by 2pm.
Todays terrific start to November consisted of:
17-Turkey Vulture
4-Northern Harrier
1-Sharpshinned Hawk
1-Northern Goshawk
6-Redshouldered Hawk
251-Redtailed Hawk
5-Roughlegged Hawk
2-Golden Eagle
287-Day Count
For something different we saw Pine Siskins and a few Purple Finch. Right now keep your eye on Friday and Saturday for possible good conditions for a good raptor movement.

End of October Year To Date

With the end of October,things begin to wind down. There are still many Redtailed Hawks to be seen,as today was the first big flight at large sites further southwest than Rosetta. We need winds like Oct 31 to bring us birds...a strong north element in them. Roughlegged Hawk and Golden Eagles will be seen in the coming month,though not in large numbers.
We have now topped our Osprey,Bald Eagle,Sharpshinned Hawk,American Kestrel,Merlin and Peregrine Falcon season total numbers. I suspect we will easily beat our best total for Roughlegged Hawks. Our year to date totals are as follows:
Species.................Year to Date
Turkey Vulture.........1168
Bald Eagle....................72
Northern Harrier.......311
Sharpshinned Hawk.2790
Coopers Hawk.............71
Northern Goshawk.....15
Redshouldered Hawk.10
Broadwinged Hawk...190
Redtailed Hawk........370
Roughlegged Hawk.....10
Golden Eagle................5
American Kestrel......719
Peregrine Falcon........81
YTD Total...............6109
We are having an unbelievable season. When part-time counting started in 2004 I never dreamed that we would exceed 6000 birds counted,see so many species of birds and gain such acclaim among local raptor enthusiats. Lets hope for a great November to finish off a record year.

WOW...185 Raptors...4 Golden Eagles..But wait there's more!

Neither rain,nor snow,ok so dark of night shall stop the raptor watchers from looking around. The day started in sleet..progressed to snow(we actually saw a Snowbow(rainbow from snow)) before Walter,Mike 2 and I packed things in as darkness fell. Wow is all I can say!!
First,we made our milestone sighting number 6000 of the 2010 season! Onward and upward gang! Next we set our one day record for Rough-legged Hawks by spotting and IDing 9 Roughlegs. All were light phase. Ann Brokelman provided these great photos she took today out near Ajax.Whitby. While these may or not be the same birds,this is what ours looked like.

Beautiful Roughlegged Hawk

Soaring Roughleg

Northern visitors,some Roughlegs may come from as high as the Arctic.

For comparison,and future identification,here are a few shots of a dark-phase Roughlegged Hawk also seen by Ann today,while she was east of us. So far we havent seen a dark Roughie this fall at Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch.

Beautiful Bird

Soaring Roughie
All afternoon I was sure the Golden Eagles must be flying,I suggested the strong and dedicated would be rewarded and at 430pm we were. 2 juvenile Golden Eagles were spotted. They were close enough that they could be ID`d naked eye,but were seen very very well with binoculars. Just as we began to congratulate each other,at 435pm,first an adult Golden Eagle and then another juvenile Golden Eagle were spotted. Waaaay cool,4 Golden Eagles in 5minutes! Additionally we had fantastic views today of 2 of the 3 Northern Goshawks,which went by us tight to the bluffs and right at about eye level..brilliant.
Todays total of 185raptors was:
7-Northern Harrier
24-Sharpshinned Hawk
2-Coopers Hawk
3-Northern Goshawk
132-Redtailed Hawk
9-Roughlegged Hawk(new one day record)
4-Golden Eagle
4-Peregrine Falcon
6109-Year to date total
But wait there`s more! At 239pm we saw another Cave Swallow. For several this was a life bird. But wait there`s more! At 255pm there was a Sandhill Crane fly past us. But wait there`s more!! A flock of high distant geese were seen coming from the north. Eventually it came into view completely. There were 5 white-morph Snow Geese with 34 Blue morph Snow Geese. Lastly a life bird for myself and first sighting from Rosetta McClain Gardens was a Black Scoter that was on the lake. Bruce saw it fly in and I saw it while scanning below. It had no white at all on it,as would be seen on the head of a Surf Scoter and no white wing nore eye mark as a White-winged Scoter would have...species #190 for the park list. Amazing! Thousands of Redwinged Blackbirds and Robins continue to be on the move. Keep your eyes on the end of the coming week. If rain moves or the weather forcast changes there could be more terrific days! Bathrooms are now closed at Rosetta. PLEASE DRESS WARM...gloves are a must!!...wear everything you think you need and throw a few things you dont think you will need into the car. Pocket warmers are cheap and really work!!