Wind (current)

112 Raptors...3520...YTD...Lots of Photo Ops

     Today we had great conditions, with strong west to northwest winds all day. This kept almost all birds low. Being a Saturday, we had a good contingent of folks with cameras, who I will thank for some fantastic photos of what we saw today. Thanks to Ann Brokelman, Michel Poissant and Paul Reeves for todays brilliant pictures. All of the folks who contribute photos make this blog more enjoyable then a mere posting of sightings.
     The predominant sighting was Sharpshinned Hawks. At one stage we saw the local adult Coopers Hawk have a go with a passing Sharpshinned Hawk. Thanks to Ann for that capture.

Ann Brokelman Sharpshinned Hawk

Mike Poissant Sharpshinned Hawk

We were treated to lovely low views of Northern Harriers. Paul Reeves got this very owl-like shot of one.
Mike Poissant got this nice shot of a male Northern Harrier, which we dont spot alot of in any season. 10 males would be a large number. We speculate that males must take a different route.

Paul snapped this shot of a co-operative Osprey.
It is something abit uniquie to Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch, the number of days we see all 3 falcon species.
Mike caught this shot of an American Kestrel.

We added 6 Merlin to our count, Ann and Paul respectively got these shots.

11 more Peregrine Falcons were seen today.
Paul sent this shot along.

Ann this one, of a juvenile.

And Mike (4) this one.
Our final count was a cool 112:
29-Turkey Vultures
1-Bald Eagle(11:18am)
4-Northern Harriers
40-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Coopers Hawk
1-Redtailed Hawk
18-American Kestrels
11-Peregrine Falcons
112-Total Raptors

Other species of note.."Walter's" Cape May Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, many Palm Warblers, Black-throated Blue Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler. Red-winged Blackbird flocks were moving in the early morning. Thousands of small birds the early crew couldnt ID went past too. Tomorrow will likely be fairly slow, as winds are to be light.

80 Raptors...YTD...3408...5 More Peregrine Falcons

Today we had some decent wind, that brought 80 more raptors past Rosetta McClain Gardens. The day was mainly overcast and didnt seem as windy as promised, still the west wind provided some good views of many low birds. We had many excellent views of Sharpshinned Hawks and our local Coopers Hawk gave us several decent views for comparison. Pierre and Joanne from near Montreal enjoyed those views as well as great views of Northern Harriers and the Peregrines. We are glad they found us through the internet and hope they enjoy the remainder of their long weekend in the Toronto area. Thanks to Ron, Jean, Terry, Carol, Berle, Ann, Cori, Patty and Arvo for coming down to join Walter and I today.
  We were glad to host a group of U of T ornithology students and their prof Jason Weir. Thanks for coming down to the park and glad we saw at least a few birds. I do hope I was able to pass on some useful information and that the Rouge beach trip was eventful.

A good mix of birds was seen today, including Northern Harriers. Photos by Ann Brokelman and I.

(mine below)

We saw many Sharpshinned Hawks such as this photographed by Ann Brokelman.

I was able to catch these shots of an Osprey, a Redtail and a Peregrine Falcon too.

Our final total was 80 raptors, consisting of:
1-Turkey Vulture
4-Northern Harriers
53-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Coopers Hawk
1-Redtailed Hawk
9-American Kestrels
5-Peregrine Falcons
80-Total Raptors

Tomorrow  holds some promise for a decent count and low birds. SUNDAY THE WINDS HAVE CHANGED and it DOES NOT look very promising.  

14 Raptors...YTD...3328

On a slow day, we managed to pull 14 birds out. The weather was beautiful, too beautiful for birds to migrate past Rosetta McClain Gardens. Even small birds were not plentiful.
  Our total of 14 birds was
1-Northern Harrier
10-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Coopers Hawk
2-American Kestrels

Winds the next 3 days look promising, with Sunday looking the best so far. If rain is called for, check the amount, very likely its an insignificant amount. When it says less than a mm or a mm thats about a 10minute rain. By the time we pack up and hide, the rain is done. Strong west winds should bring some birds..if they are NW even better!

Oct 2 ...Very Slow 6 Raptors...YTD...3314

It was predictably slow today, as the winds were no good at all and all conditions in general were very poor. Tomorrow is likely to be much the same.

Walter and Lee reported:
1-Northern Harrier
2-Sharpshinned Hawks
1-Broadwinged Hawk
1-Redtailed Hawk
1-American Kestrel
6-Total Raptors

The Broadwing flew right over our heads not very high up.
Peter,Lee, Phil, Betty and Marvin, Arvo were on hand. Terry came along just in time to give me a ride home.

Turkey Vultures On The Move/Common Raven Seen..225 Raptors...YTD...3308

Today was the first decent movement of Turkey Vultures seen from Rosetta McClain Gardens. We counted 126 in all, one large kettle of almost 50 was seen getting together behind us once 2 groups had been counted.  Im sure stronger winds would have brought us more. A few of my vulture shots are below.

Small section of the kettle of TVs. 
A local displaying Coopers Hawk put on a show and confused watchers momentarily as it was flapping oddly. One of our locals landed in a tree in the park, as captured by Ann Brokelman. Thanks Ann. 
Several Redtailed Hawks and another 11 Northern Harriers were counted too.

Todays Birds were:
126-Turkey Vultures
11-Northern Harriers
55-Sharpshinned Hawks
3-Coopers Hawks
16-Redtailed Hawks
9-American Kestrels
225-Total Raptors

Another great sighting was a Common Raven flying along the lakeshore. Local American Crows had been heard calling for some time and I was convinced they were on a raptor. Eventually the Raven flew into view and as it was flying by us a local Crow patrolled to be sure the Raven left the area. That was our first "rarity" of the season. Below is my photo of the Common Raven.
We also saw Purple Finch and a few small flocks of Pine Siskins. We hope for alot more Turkey Vultures in the coming days. The next several days will be very slow, if weather forecasts are correct. My prescence may be limited a few of the days. Reports of what is seen are appreciated. The next days with chances for a decent flight are looking like Friday and Saturday, subject to change, if the winds change(and they probably will). Much thanks to those that made our 2nd Pizza Day of the season possible. Thanks to Norm and Phil for coffees and Bill for Timbits. Thanks to all the gang who helped today, with the challange of high and some distant birds.

Month End Results...YTD...3083..New Peregrine Record

This month has been very successful, despite many days with less than optimal winds. Increased attendance has probably helped to spot several birds. We set a new one month record for Peregrine Falcon sightings, with 51. Please enjoy this short video of several birds we saw this month. Excuse my shakey camera and bear with me as Ive used a new editing program, videos will improve.

  Thanks to everyone who helped with spotting, sent photos and brought coffee,donuts(Timbits too) and pizza. Thanks to everyone for the great public relations job they do, chatting with park goers and answering their questions. It reflects very well on us as people, birders and it also helps out the parks reputation as well as the watches in general. Thanks as always to the staff and management at Rosetta McClain Gardens. The staff is very supportive at Rosetta McClain Gardens and Walter and I really couldnt do it without the help and support of  Don, Richard, Gary(the big boss), Charlene, Deb, Nash and Ron. Their many kindnesses are greatly appreciated.

The final totals as at the end of September are:
TV - 153
OS - 105
BE - 47
NH - 170
SS - 1510
CH - 41
NG - 1
RS - 0
BW - 346
RT - 76
RL - 0
GE - 0
AK - 527
ML - 55
PG - 52

TL - 3083

Lets all hope the cold north winds blow in October and November and bring us plenty of Turkey Vultures and Redtailed Hawks, along with a smattering of Roughlegged Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks and Golden Eagles!!

50 Raptors...YTD...3083...First Goshawk of Season

Today more was expected again,but the winds just werent strong enough to blow much down to the lake. We did have a few highlights, seeing a Redtailed Hawk land in a nearby Spruce tree, followed by a local Coopers Hawk diving at it screaming at the Redtail. The Redtail barely flinched as its aggitated foe harrassed it.  We also saw a beautiful juvenile Northern Goshawk, our first of the season. It came low and directly at Walter,Mike 2 and I.  Thanks to everyone for their help spotting and IDing very high raptors. Today re-enforced that NE winds means HIGH birds, especially once later in the day comes.
We managed to see:
13-Turkey Vultures
4-Northern Harriers
22-Sharpshinned Hawks
2-Coopers Hawks
1-Northern Goshawk
3-Redtailed Hawks
1-American Kestrel
4-Peregrine Falcons
50-Total Raptors

Tomorrows west wind should bring some birds, but it wont be a mega day unless as sometimes happens,west winds turn into northwest winds. My suggestion is dont rush to the park, 10am or 11am is early enough to see the bulk of what may come.
  We saw House Finches today, a Common Loon on the lake and several migrating flocks of Canada Geese.

Sept 29th 59 Raptors...YTD...3033 Great Photos

Today viewing really slowed down in the afternoon, but those gathered had some good views of several birds and some fantastic photo opportunities. Several folks sent along great shots, so there are a number of them today by a number of people. We had a large group out today, Walter and I thank those that brought us coffee and donuts(Mark,Phil and Norm). We welcomed several new visitors today, Rita and Amanda among them. I applaud all of our watchers who have once again made new folks feel most welcome. Thanks to John for the above TV photo) Thanks to Mike for the Merlin leaving the tree photo. Thanks to Lee for perched Merlin shots.

  Todays excitement was a Merlin and a Redtailed Hawk that perched in a tree, as well as a Coopers Hawk. Thanks to Joe for the take-off Coopers Hawk for the perched Coopers.

Todays total of 59 included:
11-Northern Harriers
31-Sharpshinned Hawks
2-Coopers Hawks
10-American Kestrels
1-Peregrine Falcon
59-Total Raptors

Thanks to Mike4 for the Redtail leaving the tree and John for the Redtail in flight photo.

Thanks to everyone who sent photos. I feel many of the photos submitted are as good as any taken by anyone anywhere. Congratulations to you all.
If we dont get much rain to the north tomorrow(Sept 30) conditions look very good!