Sep 30th - The First Half in Review

The following is a review of what's happened so far and a bit of prediction on what's to come...

Turkey Vulture (139) - So far only a few individuals and small groups have made it our way.  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs in the first two weeks of October.  Numbers should jump dramatically in the coming days.

Osprey (49) - Sadly, we are currently experiencing our worst year ever!  Peak migration over Rosetta for this species generally occurs in the first two weeks of September.  Numbers should begin to slow in the second half of October.

Bald Eagle (77) - Although it's been a few days since we last added a BE to our count, we are currently enjoying our third best year ever.  Of course, thanks in-part to our 'single day' count of 48 BEs, the new GTA Hawk-watching record!  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs in the first two weeks of September but there should still be many more to come through till the end of November.

Northern Harrier (70) - To date we've not had the numbers expected for this species.  Presently, we've tallied-up less than half of our average for this time.  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs in the last two weeks of September.  Hopefully we see more in the coming weeks.

Sharp-shinned Hawk (606) - Sadly, we are currently experiencing one of our worst ever counts for this species!  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs in the first two weeks of September.  There should still be a decent number of 'Sharpies' to come, including the adult birds which have yet to appear.

Cooper's Hawk (16) - Numbers so far would indicate that we're experiencing a below average year for this species.  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs in the first two weeks of October.  Hopefully we'll see a surge in numbers in the coming days.

Northern Goshawk (0) - Although a few birds have been counted in late September over the years, usually this species does not arrive until early October.  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs in the last two weeks of October.  An average of 15 birds are counted with a high of 24 in 2006.

Red-shouldered Hawk (0) - Only one bird has ever been counted before the first of October.  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs in the second half of October.  An average of  25 birds are counted with a high of 83 in 2014.

Broad-winged Hawk (233) - Although our number of BWs would appear very low to most hawk-watchers, it's actually our fourth best year!  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs in the middle two weeks of September.  We should still see a few late individuals heading south.

Red-tailed Hawk (26) - A few individuals have been counted to date.  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs in late October and continues in to November.  We look forward to another great count.

Rough-legged Hawk (0) - Only one bird has ever been counted before the first of October.  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs in the last half of October and continues in to November.  An average of 5-10 birds are counted with a high of 28 in 2010.

Golden Eagle (0) - Only two birds have ever been counted before the first of October.  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs in late October and continues in to November.  An average of 5-10 birds are counted with a high of 20 in 2012.

American Kestrel (175) - Numbers to date would indicate that we are missing many AKs as they head south.  It's likely that they are flying further inland and out of our viewing range.  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs throughout the month of September and in to the first week or so of October.  Numbers should climb in the coming days.

Merlin (56) - We are currently experiencing our eighth best year ever.  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs throughout September and continues well in to October.  Likely our numbers will steadily increase over the next several weeks.

Peregrine Falcon (12) - Numbers are a little low for this time.  Peak migration over Rosetta generally occurs during the last two weeks of September and continues well in to October.  Hopefully we'll see a jump in numbers over the coming weeks.

Total (1459) - We have finished the first half of our 'count' period with some not-so-great numbers unfortunately, as noted above.  The first two months of the season were filled with days of high heat, high humidity and a whole lot of wrong direction wind!  Our August count of 38 birds was by far our lowest ever.  Thankyou El Nino and La Nina!!!

Note:  A low count number does not mean that a species is in decline, it just means that we are not seeing the birds as they migrate.  Generally one of the major contributing factors is wind direction and as many of you know southern Ontario has only had a few days this season with decent northwest wind - the wind that carries the raptors down to the lakeshore and allows us hawk-watchers and hawk-counters a chance to enjoy them as they soar overhead.

Other Countable Stuff...

Species Survey - Birds (104) - Although no new species have been found as yet, the highlight so far has been the overall number of Blue Jays migrating over the park, it's been incredible to observe.  Other songbird species' numbers have been low so far.  Lots of time left for more birds!

Species Survey - Mammals (6) - Nothing overly exciting has been seen in the park so far.  Highlight has been the Eastern Cottontail rabbits.  They have been good company during our time at the park.

Species Survey - Butterflies (26) - It's been a banner season for butterflies!  Highlights include Giant Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, White Admiral, Red-spotted Purple, Great Spangled Fritillary, and Common Buckeye.  The Fiery Skipper has had an amazing stay this year, the first day seen was Aug 5 and they were still being seen as of Sep 25th!

Monarch Count (3665) - Our count number would indicate that we are slightly lower than last year, roughly 1100 butterflies.  Again, wind direction could be a huge factor in this year's migration.  Monarchs have been noted flying much further north than the park.

Monarch Tagging (839) - Terry, Betty, and all their helpers have been busy as beavers!  It's been an amazing year for Monarchs in the Gardens!  We'll look forward to lots of tag recoveries in Mexico this winter!

My thanks to everyone who has helped get us through the first half of the migration, it's not always easy when it's Hellish hot, hazy and humid and the sky is completely void of clouds and the wind is blowing in the wrong direction, etc. etc..  Let's hope for a much better second half.

See you at the park!

Walter

2 comments:

Jenn Jilks said...

Good for you for keeping stats!

Walter Fisher said...

Thanks Jenn!