Wind (current)

After The Rain A Few Birds Came 11 Raptors..YTD...426

Sue,Phil and Walter were down at Rosetta today after the rain stopped for a few hours. They saw 11 raptors, a good sign that birds were probably on the move and getting closer to us for tomorrow. We expect an excellent flight tomorrow,which should be steady all day.
Walter reported:
1-Northern Harrier
8-Sharpshinned Hawks
11-Total Raptors

Recently our count went over 15000 Sharpshinned Hawks since the inception of the Rosetta McClain Raptor Watch.  We expect to surpass 40000 total raptors seen in late September, another great milestone!

5 More Raptors...YTD...415 and Birch Cliff News Article

Today both Walter and I took the day off, as it was going to be very slow. A few folks did go down and reported the following
2-Sharpshinned Hawks
2-Redtailed Hawks
1-American Kestrel
Thanks to Peter, Betty,Ron,Richard and Terry for their report. Tomorrow looks like a complete washout. Sunday and Monday still look excellent.  Murrays Saturday group will be moved to Sunday, so Im not sure how many of the original 90 he had signed up, will be there. Half or less is a guess.
   The other day Penny Harbin from the Birch Cliff News interviewed me and she has done this article on the raptor watch at Rosetta McClain Gardens. Thanks to Penny for the added exposure this brings the watch and undoubtedly more new interested people to see the spectacle that is fall migration.

Hope to see alot of you on Sunday. I will be present from pretty much sunrise.

CPF BBQ Is Now On Sunday Sept 9 th!!

With rains that could have a little man with a boat collecting animals 2 by 2 on Saturday, the CPF BBQ is moved to Sunday. I hope as many of you as possible can come out, that have the invitations. If you are planning to go, please try to email me ASAP at , so there is reasonable idea of how much food Mark and Marion need to purchase. Please be at Kortright by 430pm at the latest as gates are locked after that time.
   Sunday looks beautiful and should be alot of raptors flying by Rosetta while we are there b4 the BBQ in Woodbridge. If the flight is really good I will skip the BBQ.

69 Raptors..5 Bald Eagles, YTD...410

     Today we had a good day with better than expected winds. Phil, Lee, Murray, Berle, Sheldon, Betty, Terry Walter and I spotted 68 raptors. Almost all were very high.  Sharpshinned Hawks were the most plentiful bird seen today, as expected this time of year. Although the Bald Eagles were high,they always thrill those gathered. Thanks to some excellent spotting by Phil and later by Lee and Murray, a total of 5 Bald Eagles were seen. Of those we could age, 2 were adults and one a juvenile.
     Another solid total of 7 Osprey were seen, 2 came through together.
Our final total was:
5-Bald Eagles 10:30am, an adult and a juvenile at 12pm, an adult at 1:45pm, 1:54pm
2-Northern Harriers
34-Sharpshinned Hawks
2-Coopers Hawks
10-Broadwinged Hawks
3-Redtailed Hawks
5-American Kestrels
1-Peregrine Falcon
69-Total Raptors

At the rate the weather is changing Id best not try to predict it. Suffice to say just keep checking and watching for the North element winds with Northwest being best. Since yesterday all the winds have changed and likely will again.

Slow Day ...Get Ready For Sun-Tues!! YTD...341

Today was another predictably slow day, winds,heat and humidity were against a good flight of birds. Walter and I packed it in by noon and Ann dropped in abit later spotting 2 more Sharpshinned Hawks to add to our total. Phil, Cori and Terry dropped in abit later and added 2 more Sharpies
 The final total today was:
11-Sharpshinned Hawks
12-Total Raptors

Thanks to Berle, Peter, Sheldon, Sue, Norm, Carol, Paul and Freda for joining Walter and I today. Its always a good time at Rosetta. I hope that everyone enjoyed themselves despite only a few birds to see. Thanks to those mentioned who showed up after Walter and I left for the day, who added to our count.

We did see the local Coopers Hawk. More Blue Jays seemed to be around the park today,but the migration of them enmass hasnt begun yet.
Thanks to Paul Reeves for todays photos.
We did see a large number of Cedar Waxwings again, there must be many thousands of these beautiful birds out there! More Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were seen migrating and also several more Red-breasted Nuthatches.  Long Point Bird Observatory recently noted that there is an eruption of Red-breasted Nuthatches going on. That agrees with observations at Rosetta. Walter and I have been seeing large numbers going through since week 2 of August.  I know Ron Pittaway is working on his yearly, Cone and Seed Report, which he so ably uses to predict which species may be seen in abundance this winter in southern Ontario(and which are less likely). I know I await this report every year. It seems to be incredibly accurate.

Sunday through Tuesday still look like they could be excellent days. Keep your eyes on the weather incase this changes.
 For anyone attending the Canadian Peregrine  Foundation  BBQ, keep in mind there is a rain date of Sun Sept 9th if it rains excessively Saturday, which as of typing is currently predicted. Everyone should be there by 430pm as the gate to Kortright is closed by 430pm.

Sharpshinned Hawk VS American Kestrel

     Sharpshinned Hawks and American Kestrels are the smallest of the hawk and falcon family respectively. Sharpshinned Hawks are 9-13 inches long, with a 20-26inch wingspan. American Kestrels are 8-11 inches in length, with a wingspan of 20-24inches. To tell them apart at great distance can be much easier than you think if you know what to look for.

Thanks to Paul Reeves for this shot.
     American Kestrels are actually smaller. They have pointed wings like all falcons, and when they circle, their rusty coloured tail often shows in the sun. Similarily the colour on their backs can sometimes be seen when they circle as well. Often the malar mark can be seen on their face. All  indications you are looking at an American Kestrel. In flight you may see them go after a dragonfly to eat it, another good indication its a Kestrel.
     Sharpshinned Hawks by contrast have rounded wings, and a square, often appearing notched tail. Their series of flaps and glides is very distinctive. The smallest Sharpshinned Hawk can be the size of a Kestrel, but in general they are larger. Both adults and juveniles have banded tails. Sharpshinned Hawks are aggressive, they will not only attack smaller birds or birds of equal size, but also larger birds of prey too. If there is a small bird attacking something, there is a good chance its a Sharpshinned Hawk.
     This time of year, Sharpshinned Hawks often begin to circle. When they do, watch behind, below or above them, for a 2nd or even 3rd Sharpshin. They are often circling waiting for a nestmate. In level flight, check infront of them or behind them, you may have missed a bird ahead. At our site they like to pop up over the Poplar trees along the side of the bluff. Checking there often is a good idea.
     Something that can help is that often American Kestrels fly early in the day and also late in the day. At around 10am the pre-dominate bird when the 2 species migration cycles overlap will become Sharpshinned Hawks. They will fly until the early afternoon and then more Kestrels will start to appear. Of course the time of day cant be your only criteria for which bird is which but its something to keep in mind, when you are attempting to ID birds almost instantly. In your head you can think Sharpie and look for a field marks to confirm or deny this.
      Remember noone is right 100% of the time, especially on first glance(trying to ID when birds are far away). The most important thing as Colin tells me is that you get the ID right in the end.
Here you can see the pointed wings of the American Kestrel on the right and its "Christmas Tree Lights" along the trailing edge of the wings. You can also see the smaller size, relative to the Sharpshinned Hawk. You can see the square, notched tail of the Sharpshinned Hawk  here too.  While the wings appear to be abit pointed on the Sharpshinned Hawk, they are considerably more rounded. Thanks to  Ann for this shot.
Here we can see the Sharpie and the AK in a glide. The Sharpshinned Hawk(below) clearly has much more rounded wings with "fingers" at the wingtips.  In contrast you can see the pointed wings of the American Kestrel and again its considerably smaller overall size and girth. Thanks again to Ann for this shot. Please note all 3 of these photos were taken and not made, great catches by both Paul and Ann of these 2 species virtually side by side and begging for comparison.

24 Birds...YTD...329 Good Friends Good Fun

Today was overall a very slow day. Most birds had been seen by noon and only a few Sharpies were seen after that. Today was just a really nice day to be at the park. Many visitors came despite less than ideal conditions. Joining Walter and I today were Tom, Norm, Ann and her daughter Julie, Carol, Berle, Peter, Lorne, Bruce M, Leon and old friends from High Park Terry and Elizabeth Sheils. I was interviewed by Birch Cliff News. I will post the link once the story runs.
 Our biggest excitement of the day was provided by a little Sharpshinned Hawk. It was coming along slowly taking its sweet time as they often do,when it went into a stoop. It emerged many minutes later. We were unable to tell if he had caught his lunch or not as he flew past.
Thanks to Ann for this unique photo of the Sharpshinned Hawk in its dive.
 This is a Sharpshinned Hawk Ann snapped.
 Here is an American Kestrel in a glide. Note the rusty tail. Diagnostic of it being a Kestrel rather than a similar sized Sharpshinned Hawk.
Another beautiful American Kestrel courtesy of Ann Brokelman.
Todays totals included:
16-Sharpshinned Hawks
5-American Kestrels
24-Total Raptors
(sorry again for the alignment..each day is a new adventure)
Sunday looks like a chance for a big day, watch for the N wind to blow. The next few days there is rain in the forecast. Someone may or may not be present. Any birds you see please let us know.

39 Raptors...YTD...305

It was another reasonable day for early September, with winds that werent very good. Clearly from counts elsewhere the birds went inland. Our final total was:
1-Bald Eagle(juvenile 1030am)
4-Northern Harriers
20-Sharpshinned Hawks
11-American Kestrels

I was able to get a decent shot of one of the Northern Harriers and the Bald Eagle.

Watch the weather. Our good days at the end of the week may re-appear.