Yesterday’s year-end lunch party at East Side Mario’s was our most successful to date (thanks to Lee). With nineteen of us in attendance we shared some fond memories of our past four month’s together and enjoyed some wonderful food and drink. (Hopefully we’ll get a few photos to share on the blog)
Although we didn’t have quite as many birds as in the last few previous years, we certainly had a fantastic time seeing and counting what did come our way. It’s these variations from year to year that make hawk-watching so fun and interesting. And although numbers may have been lower on most species, I personally am not going to be too upset about seeing one hundred and nine Bald Eagles and a Gyrfalcon! We also counted bird number 50,000!
A big ‘shout-out’ to the staff of Rosetta McClain Gardens and the City of Toronto Parks Department for allowing us to continue our Hawk Watch at the park. Their help and understanding is always much appreciated. I’d also like to thank all of you for making new hawk-watchers and park goers feel so welcomed and thanks for sharing what you could with them. People are always commenting on what a friendly and knowledgeable group we have. Thank you to John for joining us this year and collecting and entering our daily counts into the HMANA database. Thank you to Murray for bringing his Meetup group to the Watch again this year, what a great day that was for everyone! As always, my thanks to all those who brought scopes and cameras to the Watch, again your equipment helped to identify so many of the birds that were way up there and others that tried to fly by at lightning speed. Thanks to those who shared their photos on the blog. It’s the photos that tell the real story of the Hawk Watch! Now that a few of us, including myself have tossed down the plastic and bought better cameras, the photos are only going to get more spectacular…..if that’s even possible! And lastly I’d like to thank every one of you for all your endless help with finding and identifying the birds. It wasn’t an easy task by any means this year with day after day of nothing but blue sky! Again, your friendship, many kindnesses and camaraderie are what really make the Hawk Watch the success that it is.
The following list I took from a nice email that our hawk watch friend Kris sent…
10 Things I learned at the Rosetta McClain Raptor Watch:
1. Just show up. Your odds of seeing a raptor in Toronto increase significantly when you enter the park.
2. It’s always colder than you expect; wear extra everything.
3. North West winds good. South East winds bad.
4. Raptors possess a magical ability to disappear into the blue – right before your eyes!
5. When everyone else is looking South, look to the North. And vice versa.
6. When you call an airplane or a pigeon (and you will), just smile and carry-on. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last.
7. You never know what else you might see. Bluebirds, Snow Buntings and Horned Larks. Tundra Swans, a Red-headed Woodpecker, and cute little Foxes. Oh my!
8. It’s never ever a good time to go home. Because as soon as you leave, 27 Bald Eagles will arrive.
9. Raptor watching is good therapy. It’s amazing how a big kettle of Turkey Vultures, 4 Golden Eagles, or even just a little Sharpie can melt all your troubles away.
10. New friends can be found in the most unlikely places.
Kris also wanted to thank everyone for making her feel so welcome this year and wishes everyone a Happy Christmas and Good Winter Birding.
In closing, as everyone knows, we lost our good friend Frank earlier this year and the Hawk Watch was just not the same without him. If I could speak on behalf of the group… Frank, this one was for you, we hope that we did you proud!