Year 10 begins...

Hello and welcome to the 2013 edition of the Rosetta McClain Gardens Raptor Watch.  This year we are celebrating our 10th anniversary of hawk (raptor) watching in the park.

If you are new and don't know me, my name is Walter.  I’ve been an avid hawk watcher since 2008, the year that I first met BIGFRANK.  In that first year Frank taught me almost everything he knew about hawks and what to look for to help me identify them.  I was easily hooked!  I was Frank’s daily helper at the Watch 4 out of the last 5 years.  In 2011, I had the opportunity to conduct the Watch in Frank’s absence.  I was not alone though that year, I had an amazing group of watcher’s that pulled together to give me a hand.  What a time we had!  Frank was back at it in 2012 to watch and count a record breaking 7267 ‘birds of prey’ that flew over the park.
This year I've committed myself, with the help of many others, to doing the Watch once again.  We look forward to seeing all those who will be returning and also to welcoming many new folks who will be attending for the first time.  As many of you know, our Watch at Rosetta is not an 'official' Watch so just getting out and enjoying the migration of these spectacular birds has always been the goal.  Frank’s passion right from the beginning was to share with others what he was seeing.  The number counting has almost become secondary.

Some information about our Raptor Watch...
WHERE: Rosetta McClain Gardens, a small park situated on top of the Scarborough Bluffs overlooking Lake Ontario. It is located in Toronto (Scarborough), Ontario, at the intersection of Kingston Road and Glen Everest Road.  It's one stoplight east of the main intersection of Kingston Road and Birchmount Road.  The gardens are fully wheelchair accessible and have bathrooms and lots of benches. NOTE - the following ARE NOT ALLOWED in the Gardens: dogs, picnics, bicycle riding or ball playing.
WHEN: From August 15th - November 30th. Almost daily we will be present watching and counting migrating raptors.  Peak migration is from mid-September to mid-October. Peak time of day is most often 10am-2pm.  Optimal conditions for a large movement of birds are on days with moderate to heavy northwest winds and nice white puffy clouds, though anything can happen.
WHAT IS SEEN: Any or all of 15 species of birds of prey can be seen migrating along the north shore of Lake Ontario. Some birds, if we're lucky, will land briefly in the trees in the Gardens, some will circle briefly above us, while most others will just fly past us as they continue their long journey southward. In past years, between 4000 and 7000 raptors have been seen.  On our best day last year, and best day ever, we counted over 2000 birds!  Of these, 1750 were Turkey Vultures.  Incredible!
So if you have time and are able to get out and join us at the Watch, you may see any of the following 15 species of raptors (hawks, birds of prey): Turkey Vultures, Osprey, Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, Northern Goshawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, Golden Eagles, American Kestrels, Merlins, and Peregrine Falcons.
If you have them, bring any of the following items with you: a pair of binoculars, a scope, a camera, and also a birding book, a snack to eat, and a small folding chair if you like.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Walter

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