Wind (current)

Almost There!!...252 Raptors...YTD...6915...New Seaon Golden Eagle Record

(Thanks to Mike Poissant for the Redtail photo)
Today as expected there was another excellent count. While most birds were much higher up than expected, all gathered had a great day. 5 Golden Eagles brought another record for the season. The old best year we had 12 and that is now 15 and counting. 2 juvenile Golden Eagles went by almost together with a 3rd very nearby. The 2 circled with a Redtailed Hawk allowing a great size comparison.
    On the heals of that sighting, we saw 2 young Bald Eagles circle together. A 7 eagle day WOW!
     A few Red-shouldered Hawks came low and close, always beautiful to see. Northern Goshawks made a good showing again with 4 more Goshawks being seen. The one that appears to be local again made several close passes of those gathered. At one point there was a chase involving American Crows and the young Goshawk at close range. This was a real thrill to watch.
Thanks to Paul Reeves for this shot. 
Thanks to Mike Poissant for this one.
     A couple of Roughlegged Hawks were seen. I managed a photo, such as it is.
     The bird of the day was of course the Redtailed Hawk. Redtails were all over the sky, from right above us, to over the lake to far more inland. Everyone enjoyed many great views of the Redtails. Seeing many of the colour variations of the Redtails has been very interesting.

Thanks to Ann Brokelman for the above photos and to Paul Reeves for the photos below. 

We certainly enjoyed many different views. Much thanks to our friends for capturing the many looks of the Redtailed Hawks.

Todays Sightings Included
4-Turkey Vultures
2-Bald Eagles(3:15pm)
2-Northern Harriers
12-Sharpshinned Hawks
3-Coopers Hawks
4-Northern Goshawks
12-Redshouldered Hawks
205-Redtailed Hawks
2-Roughlegged Hawks
5-Golden Eagles(11:33am, 2:27pm, 3@2:45pm)
1-American Kestrel
252-Total Raptors

What an incredible day. Thanks to everyone who helped spot, brought Timbits, coffees and hot chocolate. Thanks to my Canadian Peregrine Foundation friends Zoey, Paul, Harry and Toivo for coming out, it was good to see all of you. Walter,Cori and I particularily enjoyed meeting the Coca Family, Elise(also a budding photographer), Elliot(a birding good luck charm) and parents Karen and Maurilio. We are very glad you joined us for the day and look  forward to seeing you all again. It was great to  see such enthusiasm and appreciation from such young nature fans.   Much thanks to Paul,Ann, and  Mike 4 for their photographic contributions as always.  We had quite a crowd, my appologies if I missed anyone. We were glad to host Tony, Paul, Ron, Jean, Carol. Phil(thanks for the ride down), Cori(thanks for the ride home), Mark, Matty, Gunnar, Bruce 4, Norm, Frieda, Mikes 3 and 4, Alex, Janice, Arvo, Chris and those mentioned above. Everyone contributed to spotting and a very enjoyable experience.
  Other species seen were Red-headed Woodpecker, our first Snow Buntings of the season, White-winged Crossbills, Evening Grosbeaks, several Common Loons and at least 10 Red-throated Loons( I admit to losing track as so many hawks were moving) and a Red-bellied Woodpecker. Kinglets, Hermit Thrush and Fox Sparrow were also spotted.
Ann Brokelman caught these shots of the Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Tomorrow's weather looks great for another large movement of raptors. We hope you can join us.  Monday winds appear to have lightened so fewer raptors will be seen. This coming Thursday also looks great for another big push of birds...stay tuned.

Record Breaking Day...Onward to 7000!

 Today we got what we had hoped for a post storm big day. We tallied 156 raptors, which brought us well over our previous seasons best of 6626 to 6663 and counting. Thanks to everyone(names to be added later) for your contributions to a great day. Ive been sent many great photos to chose from.
  We had 5 Golden Eagles today with great views of 4 of the 5. One of the Golden Eagles started well out over the lake. It was being attacked by 2 what we thought to be gulls, but on reflection its entirely possible they were Jaegers. I have no way to prove that, so lets just say it was a very interesting sighting.  I was able to get several good shots of the Golden Eagles today.

  There were a few what appeared to us to be oddly coloured Redtailed Hawks, maybe it was just the lighting? Paul Reeves got this shot of one of the Redtailed Hawks like this.
  Lee got a nice shot of a Merlin as it left its perch. My shot shows it perched. I recorded that as our local.

 We had 5 Northern Goshawks with one that seems to be staying as it made at least 4 or 5 passes of the park at very close range. A real surprise came at 455pm when an Osprey flew past along their typical close route. A smattering of Red-shouldered Hawks as well as Turkey Vultures and Sharpshinned Hawks kept things interesting.
Our total included:
4-Turkey Vultures
5-Northern Harriers
8-Sharpshinned Hawks
6-Coopers Hawks
5-Northern Goshawks
6-Red-shouldered Hawks
116-Redtailed Hawks
5-Golden Eagles (11:30am, 11:36am, 11:44am, 1:44pm, 4:35pm)
156-Total Raptors

A good set of comparison photos were submitted today. Paul got a nice shot of  a Sharpshinned Hawk. Lee provided the Northern Goshawk photo. Note the shape of the tails, where the eyes are in the head of the Sharpie and markings on the Goshawk(completely covering the body and right to its chin, and strong and dark). And just how thick the Goshawk is!
Sharpie above
Northern Goshawk above

   Paul sent along this shot of a passing flock of Evening Grosbeaks. I took the liberty of cropping it abit to show them closer up in the 2nd photo.

Also today we had a great day for passerines. Early in the morning, many thousands of Robins, mixed flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds, Cowbirds and Grackles, some Eastern Bluebirds, Pine Siskins and White-winged Crossbills filled the sky over Rosetta. Our best birds of the day were at least 100 Evening Grosbeaks. Towards the end of the night a small group of about 5-10 landed in a Maple Tree along the main path briefly. Pine Siskins and White-winged Crossbills also landed in the park. Flying over the park were several Common Loons and 20+ Red-throated Loons, a Northern Shrike, a Red-headed Woodpecker and a Pileated Woodpecker. In all an incredible day!!
  Thanks to Terry 2,Ron, Bruce 4, Mike 3, Paul, Nellie, Patty,Norm, Murray, Arvo,Phil, Hugh, Lee, Bill2 , Mark and Carol our pizza delivery girl ;-) thanks Carol, you warmed our hands and bellies.

Tomorrow looks like another great day for migration. Dress very warm!! Bathrooms MAY be open. I expect we will see large movements of small birds in the morning and also an upflight of raptors which overnighted near by. Things will probably take awhile to get going otherwise so if you cant hack the cold, I suggest 10am or even 1030 am as a start time for you. Hope to see you there!

******Peregrine #100******

While today was wet and not terribly productive, Berle and I did see Peregrine Falcon number 100. That is quite a milestone!! As most of you know I am very involved with the activities of the Canadian Peregrine Foundation. For me its an amazing achievement to see 100 Peregrine Falcons in migration. 40 years ago some people could only dream of seeing a Peregrine Falcon in their lifetime. While a number of these birds are northern migrants, just from band numbers we have recovered at the watch over the years, we know we are seeing not only local juveniles but birds from other parts of North America(several US states). While this shows a strong recovery by the species as does the yearly increasing number of nests that The Canadian Peregrine Foundation monitors, its not time to consider the job finished. On going monitoring of the health of the Peregrine population and education about what has happened in the past as well as informing people of new threats is still a very important job. I invite everyone to check out CPFs website to see whats going on currently and whats to come. On facebook there is a site devouted to CPFs educational birds.(search Canadian Peregrine Foundation on facebook). I hope more of the Rosetta McClain Raptor Watchers will take part in the Fledge Watches in 2013. The Peregrines need your help!

Fantastic Season So Far...Year To Date Total...6506

While the storm at the end of the month slowed down migration, we are still having our best season ever so far. We have set multiple site records including new season high totals of Turkey Vultures at 2204, Red-shouldered Hawks at 41 and Peregrine Falcons at 99. Our tally thus far is 6506, which sets us up to set a record for how many total raptors we count, needing just 121 more. We are well within reach of 7000 raptors and its not out of the question for us to count another 826 to hit 45000 raptors counted since the counts inception. I never dreamed that myself and friends would ever see such numbers when the count began back in 2004.
     Our current numbers as of October 31st are:
Turkery Vulture - 2204
Osprey - 114
Bald Eagle - 59
Northern Harrier - 255
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2175
Cooper's Hawk - 92
Northern Goshawk - 10
Red-shouldered Hawk - 41
Broad-winged Hawk - 347
Red-tailed Hawk - 401
Rough-legged Hawk - 3
Golden Eagle - 5
American Kestrel - 601
Merlin - 100
Peregrine Falcon - 99
Total  Raptors- 6506

With much thanks to Walter without whom I couldnt do this all day so many days!! Thanks to all of the rest of the Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch gang for your help, friendships and many kindnesses. We got a month to should start off with a bang as the weather for the next several days looks excellent for migration. I wont be shocked if by early next week all of the above mentioned milestones are achieved. Lets start the march towards 50000.
  I was shocked to get an email today from Betty that she has had a bad fall and injured herself quite badly. I know many of us got the same email and have already joined me in wishing her a speedy recovery and offering any help we can be at all. Everyone be careful!!!

9 Raptors..YTD..6506...Some Storm Damage

The morning after the night before, brought a nice sunrise and to the relief of many the "Frankenstorm" really wasnt much of anything locally. Sadly it did damage some trees the parks Screech Owls often used. (FYI none have been seen so far this fall)

We all knew more rain was on the way, but couldnt resist seeing what hawks may come by or small birds or birds over/on the lake. Ron, Colin, Carol, Peter, Walter and I had varying degrees of success.
By the end of the day(around 2pm for Walter and I) we had seen 9 raptors:
1-Turkey Vulture
2-Northern Harriers
1-Sharpshinned Hawk
2-Redshouldered Hawks(now 41 on the season)
3-Redtailed Hawks
9-Total Raptors

White-winged Crossbills again landed briefly in the park.
Im determined to get a decent picture of one...this wasnt it.
Thursday through Saturday are good days to watch the weather, as it looks like it will be right for migration. This time of year the more inclimate the weather the more likely to see the big northern birds. DRESS VERY WARM!!  Tomorrow there shouldnt be much in the way of rain, but the winds seem wrong. I will be present to see what goes by...there could be some surprises.

29 Raptors...YTD...6497...Bald and Golden Eagles

Sandy shamndy...todays cold strong winds didnt bring rain until after 1pm. By then we had seen 29 raptors. Myself, Cori, Hugh, Peter and Terry2 were teeth chatteringly present to enjoy some good birds.
  Among 9 Northern Harriers was one beautiful adult male. 2 Northern Goshawks were seen today too. Several Redtailed Hawks, of which at least 4 different birds landed in a bluffside Poplar tree.

At 9:55am, endurance had its reward, a juvenile Golden Eagle. It circled briefly before continuing on its way. At 11:42am, Cori and I were treated to an immature Bald Eagle.

Todays final total was a cool 29
1-Bald Eagle(11:42am juv)
9-Northern Harriers
3-Sharpshinned Hawks
2-Northern Goshawks
12-Redtailed Hawks
1-Golden Eagle
1-Merlin(#100 on the season)
29- Total Raptors

House Finches(above) and Purple Finch(below) 
Pine Siskin(below)
We saw many small birds migrating too, including Pine Siskins, House Finch, Purple Finch and a few more White-winged Crossbills.
A very special treat was 4 White-tailed Deer that went through the park. They couldnt figure out at first how to exit the park, but some quick thinking lady who saw the deer heading for the Kingston Rd exit sort of steered them towards the southeast corner of the park instead, where they were able to easily jump the fence and continue along the top of the bluffs without the danger of traffic.
3 Deer and a bum. 
Beautiful White-tailed Deer 
Young Deer
Everyone tie on to something heavy...Im available at a price!! Batten down the hatches and keep flashlights handy, its gonna be a bumpy ride for a day at least. Remember to check on friends who could need a hand and most of all my friends stay safe and dry!!  See you when the rain stops. Continue to watch Friday!!

Special Update: Change In Party Date..Sat Dec 8th

All other info stays as per the posting a few days ago. The date has been changed on the posting already.  Hope this works for people.

13 Raptors Plus one..YTD...6468... White-winged Crossbills In Park

Before the rain came we saw a small movement of rapors. Most were likely close by to start the day.
  Walter, Ron, Jean, Mike 3, Phil and I saw a few good birds. We had 4 Red-shouldered Hawks to add to our record number this season. 2 Roughlegged Hawks were seen. Mike sent confirmation photos of one which we werent sure of and another at a different time. Consensus is there are more Roughies and Shoulders to come if we get a good stretch of weather. A Northern Goshawk went by low and close for Phil and Ron. In all we had 13 raptors today and one to add which was errantly not recorded. A Peregrine seen on Friday went unrecorded though we have photo proof(thanks Patty) that one went by. Ive added it today.
Todays total of 13 com 14 birds was:
1-Northern Harrier
1-Coopers Hawk
1-Northern Goshawk
4-Redshouldered Hawks
4-Redtailed Hawks
2-Roughlegged Hawk
1-Peregrine Falcon(owed from Friday)
14-Total Birds

Ive added a couple of my poor shots just to show that the White-winged Crossbills really did land in the park. In total we had about 200 go by, with several flocks landing briefly in the parks many coniferous trees. A Common Redpoll was seen today, the first of the season at Rosetta. A number of Common Loons flew over the park, as well as a tight group of 5 Loons that flew by in formation, which we couldnt get an ID on unfortunately. Many kinglets and Northern Juncos as well as Chickadees were on the move too. We hope for a few breaks in the rain in the coming week to see a few birds. Keep an eye on Friday, right now there is no rain scheduled and a good healthy NW wind. If there are birds close enough, it could be a big day. Again at this stage other than to see migration of small birds, there is no reason to rush to the park, the migrating raptors are unlikely to start up until 10am ish. Remember it will be very cold most days now, especially standing/sitting around at the bluffs for hours...DRESS REALLY WARM!! If there are reasonable periods of time without rain in the coming days we will likely give it a go for the duration of the dry weather.