The Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch has now finished for another year. What a tremendous time it has been with lots of new people met and lots of new records set!
I would like to thank everyone for all of their efforts in making this the most successful RMG Raptor Watch ever. We had many days where spotting and identifying birds were really quite difficult but we did an excellent job all working together. The countless new people that we welcomed was impressive and most of them were quick to join in and start searching for birds right away. The endless camaraderie between old friends and new was extremely entertaining. Thanks to all those who were kind enough to bring food and drink to the Watch to share with others, it was very much appreciated by all. To those who brought cameras, scopes, and other viewing aids as well as those with exceptional eyesight, I can’t thank you enough as so many birds would have gone unseen or unidentified without your help. I'd also like to say a huge thank you to the park workers for their kind assistance and consideration which allows us to conduct the hawk watch at Rosetta McClain Gardens each year.
This year’s Watch was a little different in ways to the 3 previous years that I’ve attended. For example, it’s was much warmer temperature-wise throughout the fall and the lack of north winds was unusual. On numerous days the wind seemed to be from the south or southwest. To my surprise, it didn’t stop the birds from putting on some of the best aerial acrobatics we’ve ever witnessed. The local Red-tailed Hawks kept their presence known with several fly-bys almost daily. The close fly-bys along the bluffs of some of the other species like Broad-winged and Red-shouldered Hawks was spectacular. For me the best thing that I observed this year was the kettling of so many raptors. From Turkey Vultures and Red-tailed Hawks over the park to the large columns of distant Broad-winged Hawks to the north, the views were impressive to say the least! My best moment came on October 1st when for about five minutes straight I did nothing but write down birds that everyone else were calling out. Definitely our busiest time, I barely had time to turn and look up at the passing birds. When it finally slowed down again I turned only to see a whole new set of faces looking back at me…..I think we had roughly 30 hawk watchers on hand that day.
I take away so many fantastic memories of our time together enjoying these majestic creatures. Again, thank you everyone for such a wonderful time this fall season!