What a year gang!!! First and foremost, I must thank Walter, not only for his summary of all of this seasons numbers, but his constant support and great work helping to run the watch. I couldnt do it so well without you Walter, fantastic job!!
The raptor watch gang observed so many amazing things this season, it is all a blur. August started off slow, but in the end we had our 2nd best August ever. The 28th saw our highest one day count in August ever, at 120! The following day we saw 8 Bald Eagles. Bring on September.
September saw some fantastic views of Broadwinged Hawks. While Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch doesnt see huge numbers of Broadwings, we get many amazingly close views, to make up for our lack of volume. September saw a fantastic total of 51 Peregrine Falcons, our best ever total of Peregrines and an indication that a new record for Peregrine Falcons in a season would come. By seasons end we saw an incredible 102 Peregrines!!
October brought Turkey Vultures...boy did it ever!! We saw an incredible 1750 Turkey Vultures on October 12th, a new one day record, part of a one day record of 2066 raptors that day! Everyone left that day jaw dropped. October saw us rack up Golden Eagle sightings and set us up for our best season ever. Record numbers of Red-shouldered Hawks thrilled everyone too as we crushed our season record.
November saw Golden Eagle numbers surpass any other season and finish with 20. Hurricane Sandy held things up, towards the end of October, causing a logjam of raptors, that burst in early November. By November 5th we had 4 days with over 100 raptors in November, pushing us well beyond the November record for raptors seen in the month, not to mention surpassing 7000 raptors seen in one season for the first time ever!! Our Redtail numbers were a mere 1 away from 1000 for the season when migration all but stopped, before we finally saw #1000 very late in the month.
What a fall it was!
Here are the final totals...
Turkey Vulture - 2223 (best year)
Osprey - 115 (3rd best year)
Bald Eagle - 65 (3rd best year)
Northern Harrier - 266 (4th best year)
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2208 (4th best year)
Cooper's Hawk - 110 (2nd best year)
Northern Goshawk - 23 (2nd best year)
Red-shouldered Hawk - 76 (best year)
Broad-winged Hawk - 347 (2nd best year)
Red-tailed Hawk - 1002 (best year)
Rough-legged Hawk - 5 (7th best year)
Golden Eagle - 20 (best year)
American Kestrel - 604 (4th best year)
Merlin - 101 (2nd best year)
Peregrine Falcon - 102 (best year)
Total - 7267 (best year)
Here are the new records (14 new, 1 tied)...
Turkey Vulture - Day record of 1750 birds on October 12th, Month record of 2051 birds in October, Year record of 2223 birds.
Red-shouldered Hawk - Day record of 19 on October 26th, Month record of 41 birds in October, Year record of 76 birds.
Red-tailed Hawk - Month record of 601 birds in November, Year record of 1002 birds.
Golden Eagle - Month record of 15 birds in November, Year record of 20 birds.
Merlin - (tied) Day record of 17 birds on October 21st.
Peregrine Falcon - Month record of 51 birds in September, Year record of 102 birds.
All Species - Day record of 2066 birds on October 12th, Year record of 7267 birds.
Walter and I thank everyone who came out to enjoy the spectacle that is fall raptor migration. We thank the staff at Rosetta McClain Gardens for their continued support, many kindnesses and friendships. Thanks to everyone who helped spot and count. Thanks to all of our watchers who are also incredible photographers for their contributions of photos to the blog. They make the mere numbers pop with excitement and come alive. Your contributions have helped the watch grow immensely. Thanks especially to our chore group of watchers and contributors for your support and friendships, Walter and I couldnt do this without all of you. We welcomed many new folks this season and we're glad to have you. Well done to our regulars for making the new folks feel so comfortable and welcome, and for sharing all you have learned. One thing that Walter and I get so many comments about is how friendly our watchers are and how much new people enjoy becoming part of the fun. Thanks to the various members of the press, who did stories about our watch. Increasing public awareness about the incredible birds we see can only be positive and add to our list of friends.
Non-raptor sightings were very exciting this year too of course. This fall we added several new species to our Rosetta McClain Gardens bird list, now sitting at 197 species. Very impressive! "Northern finches" added some thrills as White-winged Crossbills, Evening Grosbeaks and Bohemian Waxwings were seen.
We hope to see everyone over the winter and beyond. Next season is our 10th Anniversary, so I hope to have a few special events...even better than Pizza Days! Id like those among us who have some ability to create a logo, suitable to use on the blog and maybe even a few t-shirts. Thanks again everyone! See you at our seasons end luncheon on Dec 8th. Whoever doesnt make that I hope to see you this winter in quests for owls and other interesting winter birds. I will post from time to time over the winter. So dont forget to check back now and then!