Wind (current)

Co-operative Osprey, Perched Peregrine,Tagged Monarch...56 Raptors...YTD...1832

Today started off wet, and ended off with perfect conditions. It was a good day all around. Lee, Berle, Anne, Ron, Carol, Mike 4, Atilla, Clemons, Phil, Josh, Marissa, Mykaela, Alexis and Cori joined Walter and I today and enjoyed seeing 10 Osprey, almost all at close range. Mike 4 got a phenominal shot of one of them. One Osprey was even below us to the bluff side.  We had 2 go past us together also.

While Sharpshinned Hawks made up the bulk of todays count, a Peregrine Falcon landed in a tree in the yard at the west end of Rosetta McClain Gardens, perching for photos. Mike 4 got a terrific shot of the young male Peregrine.

We also saw a beautiful Merlin which Mike 4 sent along a shot of.
Something new and different was a Northern Harrier passing by that was attacked by a gull. It was very interesting to watch this interaction.

In total we saw 56 raptors:
1-Northern Harrier
38-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Redtailed Hawk
3-American Kestrels
1-Peregrine Falcon
56-Total Raptors

Clemons spotted and photographed first a tagged Monarch. He let Walter and I know so we went to find it on the verbena and I got photos of it. I was amazed at the amount of information they put on the tag. I have emailed the address on the tag and await information about the butterfly that we saw. We do know they are tagging them at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in Brighton but who knows where this Monarch was tagged.

71 Raptors...YTD...1776 Local Coopers Adventure

Today rain was predicted, it never came, so the birds did. Norm, Ron, Berle, Carol, Theresa, Peter, Terrry 2, Hugh, Bill, Walter and I enjoyed a number of Sharpshinned Hawks, a flurry of 3 Osprey and a smattering of Kestrels and Harriers.
  The local Coopers Hawk put on a show today, with 2 exciting adventures. We watched as an American Crow and a Coopers Hawk put the run on one another. Like 2 fighter pilots, each would make a turn and suddenly become the aggressor, the hunted would become the hunter. It was like watching a dog fight. Never a dull moment. After its attention was switched to hunting Jays, the Coopers Hawk took a run at a Blue Jay. We heard a death scream behind us and saw the Coopers with a Jay on the ground in a fight. The Jay took off, narrowly escaping with its life.  The Coopers Hawk switched perches a few times before disappearing from our view for the day.

The bird of the day was definetly Blue Jays. They just didnt stop. All marvelled at the volume of Jays. At different times they filled the sky from Kingston Rd right to the lakeshore. Jays kept moving along from 830am until 4pm when we left there wasnt much of a let up in their flight. Conservatively we estimate 20000 Blue Jays passed by Rosetta McClain Gardens today.

Also observed were thousand of American Goldfinch, a Common Nighthawk and 27 Common Loons in flight.
Common Nighthawk above and Common Loon below.
Keep an eye on Sunday and next Thursday. Tomorrow depending on when the morning rain stops may see a few birds.
Todays birds were:
6-Northern Harriers
51-Sharpshinned Hawks
8-American Kestrels
71-Total Raptors

Our year to date totals as of the last full day of summer are:
37-Turkey Vultures
42-Bald Eagles
83-Northern Harriers
765-Sharpshinned Hawks
12-Coopers Hawks
317-Broadwinged Hawks
58-Redtailed Hawks
333-American Kestrels
16-Peregrine Falcons
1776-Total Raptors

Same day last season we had 2118 raptors. The lower total is reflected in approximately 500 fewer Broadwinged Hawks . That alone makes up the difference. The mix is slightly different but for the most part everything else is moving as normal. Few NW winds meant fewer chances for Broadwings as was the case at all city sites. Phil tells us the long range forecast has a NW wind on October 1, which the last 2 years has brought record numbers of raptors past Rosetta McClain Gardens, so that is something to watch as it draws closer.

Southwest Winds Bring Peregrines...45 Raptors...YTD...1705

Today was a very blustery day. Some may think that in strong winds birds wont fly. Thats not true, infact Peregrines and Osprey as well as Northern Harriers dont mind strong winds at all. Southwest winds often bring Osprey and Peregrine Falcons this time of year.  They go right along the bluffs where they get a lift from the southwest winds blowing off the side of the bluff. Today Walter and I, along with Norm, Ron, Terry 2 and Larry(welcome Larry) saw 8 Peregrine Falcons over the course of the day. Several were adult birds, which would be from the north, as adult, city Peregrines DO NOT migrate. There were also several juvenile Peregrines, which could be northern juveniles or southern Ontario wanderers from this season.

Peregrine Falcon photos courtesy BIGFRANK

All birds were low today, including several Turkey Vultures. The photos are of 3 locals(not counted). It would appear the first of the migrating Turkey Vultures have started, leading up to the large numbers that come in around Thanksgiving. (we get a large number Oct 1).
Turkey Vulture Photos courtesy BIGFRANK

Todays final total was 45 birds, which were:
10-Turkey Vultures
1-Northern Harrier
13-Sharpshinned Hawks
7-American Kestrels
8-Peregrine Falcons
45-Total Raptors
Osprey Photo courtesy BIGFRANK
Turkey Vulture photo courtesy BIGFRANK 

Of note today we saw a flock of Red-breasted Mergansers fly over the park as well as 2 Mute Swans. Many Blue Jays were still being seen too. Tomorrow looks better than expected, Sunday and Monday are days to keep an eye on. Dont be afraid to bring some warm clothes, you can always take off a layer. Being cold at the watch is no fun. For those that drive, throw a less loved sweater in the car and just leave it there.

Good Count, Great Photo Ops 142 Raptors...YTD...1660

Today was a good day. We had a good turn out of birders, a beautiful day, a good count and some incredible photo ops. Paul, Betty, Sue, Cori, Berle, Theresa, Terry-2, Carol, Phil, Walter and I all spotted some birds. We had many high birds, but some fantastically low views of Bald Eagles and local Redtailed Hawks. 2 Bald Eagles circled together,giving all a thrill. In total we had 13 Bald Eagles, twice 3 at the same time. 5 of 9 we could age were adults, the other 4 being juveniles. We saw 2 Sharpshinned Hawks have a run at one another. We watched the "local Merlin" take up chasing a pigeon who evacuated more than the area during the chase! 

Bald Eagle pictures courtesy Rob Mueller Thanks much Rob!!

Once things had slowed down for the day, a group of local Redtailed Hawks joined us and put on an incredible show. 2 played and chased one another for awhile, before the local juvenile was left on his own. For most of 3 hours it performed for us. The young Redtail played in the wind alot, kitting all over the park at various times. Kitting is when a Redtail hangs in the breeze in one spot, like a kite. It just moves its tail to stay stationary in the wind. This young one was looking all over as he kitted. He made a few failed hunting attempts that we all watched in awe. We revelled in watching this youngersters antics as he played with sticks in his talons as he flew and offered photographic opportunities unlike any Ive ever had before.

Redtailed Hawks courtesy BIGFRANK

In total we saw 142 raptors consisting of:
18-Turkey Vulture
13-Bald Eagles (Adult 11:13am, 3-Adults 11:40am, 1-unknown 11:43am, 1 juvie-2unknown 12:13pm,adult 12:18pm, juvenile 12:22pm, 2 juveniles 12:59pm, 1unknown 1:09pm)
7-Northern Harriers
74-Sharpshinned Hawk
1-Coopers Hawk
14-Redtailed Hawks
12-American Kestrels
142-Total Raptors

 Northern Harrier and fighting Sharpshinned Hawks courtesy Rob Mueller


A Few More Birds..13 Raptors...YTD...1518

Today was predictably slow, after Walter and I left, Betty and Cori added one Sharpie to the count. We did get nice views of a Northern Harrier. Another low Osprey provided a good view for us. Blue Jays continued to move and several Kinglets were seen today. A few House Finch landed atop the Spruce trees. Todays final count was:

Osprey - 1
Northern Harrier - 2
Sharprhisned Hawk -10
 Total Raptors - 13

Theresa, Carol, Berle, Cori and sister Ann, and Betty joined in the watch today with Walter and I. Terry 2 reports that there are many Turkey Vultures staging in the north. We love to hear this and hope they come by Rosetta in early October.

The local Redtailed Hawk also gave a good view today.
Keep an eye on Wednesday and Sunday. They have a chance to be good days.


A BIG WELCOME BACK TO PAT AND NANCY!! All gathered were  very happy to see Pat and Nancy come walking along the path to our raptor watch position. Everyone rushed over to greet them. Pat was looking good and walked from the parkinglot to our spot, with aid of a cane only...and a steady arm from Nancy. They both were very happy to get back to Rosetta. Pat even  commented that the park and the raptor watch gang, his friends kept him going. That is one heck of a compliment. We look forward to future visits. On what had turned into abit of a slow day by the  time of their arrival, a few birds showed up for them!

Earlier in the morning, we had seen a little flurry of raptors around 930am. A few Sharpshinned Hawks and a Kestrel went by, along with a lone Harrier and 3 that were right  together interacting. None of us had ever seen interaction like this from Harriers. Always something new and exciting to see. I was thrilled to catch all 3 in one frame.

A Merlin hunted the park, driving a flock of Blue Jays into the trees for cover. A Northern Flicker in a different tree, screamed for its life. One of the Peregrine Falcons we saw went straight across the lake out of our view. They can make the short trip across Lake Ontario of about 20-30 miles in no time.  Merlin courtesy Mike 3.

By the end of the afternoon, our final tally was:
Osprey - 1
Northern Harrier - 4
Sharpshinned Hawk - 19
Coopers Hawk - 1
Redtailed Hawk - 2
American Kestrel - 4
Merlin - 2
Peregrine Falcon - 2
Total Raptors - 35

Other birds seen were, Blue Jays, White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos.
In attendance today were Pat and Nancy, Lorne, Berle, Mike 2, Mark, Cori, Carol, Norm, Jack, Betty, Kris and her son Alex, and Yvonne. Thanks to everyone for a good day. Thanks to Walter for the final tally and to Mike 2 for keeping score today. Its all in the expectations. We hoped for a ton yesterday and had less. Today we figured not much would come but more showed up than expected, despite a lower count. Wednesday looks like a possibility for some birds, until then rain and south winds will keep numbers down. Walter and I will be present so long as rains arent all day long.

Sept 15th...Disappointing Day 75 Raptors...YTD...1470

No way around it today was a disappointment. Folks expected so much more than what we saw. From counts elsewhere the birds flew inland and we just plain couldnt see them. Broadwinged Hawks just dont generally follow the shoreline closely enough to come within our range to the north. That said, is it really that bad a day when one sees a Bald Eagle, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon and a selection of other raptors?
     Today Gunner, Tony, Sheldon, Theresa, Theresa 2, Carol, Carol 2, Berle, Peter, Gary, Patty, Lee, Cori, Cathy, Lorne, Bob, Tom, Norm, Sam, Paul, Ray, Allison, Brad, Mikes 2,3 and 4 all joined us to impatiently wait for today's raptors which included:
1-Bald Eagle (juvenile 10:35am (4th this season at 1030am)
8-Northern Harrier
45-Sharpshinned Hawk
6-Broadwinged Hawk
5-Redtailed Hawk
8-American Kestrel
75-Total Raptors

A Peregrine Falcon went west then came back to the east. We are hoping for an ID but we may not have gotton a clear enough shot. I got just one shot and Mike 4 got a few. In them I could clearly see red coloured tape over the US Fish and Wildlife band. That means it is not Ben who we saw last Saturday. Fellow raptor watcher and Canadian Peregrine Foundation volunteer Ann Brokelman photographed a juvenile Peregrine named Panagiotis(Paul)  at Rouge Beach a few weeks back, he had blue tape,so it isnt him. The field is narrowed as this is a female Peregrine. It could be one of only 3. Candidates include Journey - Toronto Sheraton, Amora - Duncan Mills Rd(Harelquin nest) or  Aphrodite  of the18 King St nest, but further investigation will need to be done. Thanks to Mike for the images.

Sharpshinned Hawk adult
The next decent day looks like Wednesday right now.