Wind (current)

August 12th - The Gardens

With light winds today and no birds flying, I thought this might be a good time to show off the gardens. Don, Richard, and the rest of the crew have done an amazing job. This is only a small sample of their work.

Along this fence is where the Raptor Watch takes place.


August 10th and 11th - Our First Birds

On Wednesday afternoon after the rain had stopped I thought I'd seen the first bird of the season, an Osprey. It turns out that Berle had seen the first bird a couple of days earlier, it too was an Osprey. That was terrific news!

On Thursday morning a rather ragged looking American Kestrel flew by over the park and then just after lunch the first of 3 gorgeous Broad-winged Hawks flew by slow and fairly low giving Peter and I excellent views. A local Turkey Vulture was also seen today.

To Date:
Osprey - 2
Broad-Winged Hawk - 3
American Kestrel - 1
Total - 6

Also seen on Thursday: 29 species of birds including a Belted Kingfisher which flew right over Peter and I at treetop level. 12 species of butterflies including a Pearl Crescent. Cabbage White butterflies continue to dominate the gardens. During mid-afternoon the sky was filthy with 100s of Dragonflies. This makes hawk watching extremely difficult. And...the insect of the day was a Walking Stick that Charlene, a park worker, was kind enough to show Carol, Pat, Nancy, and myself.


Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch 2011

Hello and welcome to the 2011 edition of the Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch.

As many of you may know, our good friend BIGFRANK is busy pursuing other interests during this fall migration season and will try to join us a little later on in the Watch whenever possible. Frank, your passion and great friendship will sadly be missed by all and we look forward to seeing you back 'in the chair' again real soon...we wish you all the best!

With the guidance of Ann and Frank, I'll be doing the daily updates to the Blog (a new venture for me!) up until Frank's return. If you are new and don't know me, my name is Walter and I've been BIGFRANK's daily helper at the Raptor Watch for the last 3 years. He's taught me everything I know about hawks and hawk watching, so if I do anything wrong, blame him! - lol. I've committed myself, with the help of several others whenever they can, to doing the Watch on a daily basis and look forward to all your returning faces and also to welcoming lots of new watchers at the same time. It's always fun and exciting to share this great hobby with others. As many of you know, our Watch at Rosetta is not an 'official' Watch so just getting out and enjoying and sharing with others the migration of these spectacular birds is always our main goal. The number counting is almost secondary.

Some information about our Raptor Watch...

WHERE: Rosetta McClain Gardens, a small park situated on top of the Scarborough Bluffs overlooking Lake Ontario, is located in Toronto (Scarborough), Ontario, Canada at the intersection of Kingston Road and Glen Everest Road. It's one stop-light east of the main intersection of Kingston Road and Birchmount Road. The gardens are fully wheelchair accessible and have bathrooms and lots of benches. NOTE - the following ARE NOT ALLOWED in the Gardens: dogs, picnics, bicycle riding or ball playing.

WHEN: From August 15th - November 30th. Almost daily we will be present watching and counting migrating raptors. Peak migration is from mid-September to mid-October. Peak time of day is most often 10am-2pm. Optimal conditions for a large movement of birds are on days with moderate to heavy northwest winds and nice white puffy clouds, though anything can happen on any given day.

WHAT IS SEEN: On any given day, any or all of 15 species of birds of prey can be seen migrating along the shores of Lake Ontario. Some birds, if we're lucky, will land briefly in the trees in the Gardens, some will circle briefly above us, while most others will just fly past us as they continue their long journey southward. In past years, between 4000 and 6500 raptors have been seen, with our best day last year being 946 total raptors.

So if you have time and are able to get out and join us at the RMG Raptor Watch, you may see any of the following 15 species of raptors (birds of prey): Turkey Vultures, Osprey, Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, Northern Goshawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, Golden Eagles, American Kestrels, Merlins, and Peregrine Falcons.

If you have them, bring any of the following items with you: a pair of binoculars, a scope, a camera, a birding book, a snack to eat, and a small folding chair if you like.

We look forward to seeing you there!