Wind (current)

Nov 7th - 40 Birds, 3 Rough-legged Hawks!

Today's weather was a bit of a nice surprise to me as I thought it was going to be miserable out from what I read.  It turned out to be least when the sun was shining.  Raptor-wise it was a little slow but somewhat steady.  Of course, as the weather gets colder the window of opportunity that the birds fly on gets shorter and shorter.  Most action today was mid-day.  The high point came when our 'first of the season' Rough-legged Hawk emerged from over the distant trees to the east.  Eventually it passed over the centre of the park and started to circle upward.  To the east another 'Roughie' showed.  It slowly circled over the park and met up with the lead bird.  As we were celebrating our sightings another Roughie soared directly overhead and tried to sneak by our radar.  Unfortunately that didn't work out for the bird and he was spotted and photographed as he flew over the west side of the park.  Three Rough-legged Hawks within 10 minutes!  Many of the Harriers came early in the day and the Red-tails came in the early afternoon.  Hopefully tomorrow will be similar.....or better.

I'd like to dedicate today's hawk-watching at Rosetta to Bob Whittam (Terry's brother) who passed away suddenly on November 2nd.  We as birders in Ontario have much to thank Bob for...

His career in biology started at the Long Point Bird Observatory where he was head bird bander in 1968, and included stints with provincial and national parks, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Canadian Wildlife Service where he ultimately became the chief naturalist at the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre in Midland in 1973.  Here, he spearheaded work to reintroduce the Trumpeter Swan and and ban lead shot in Ontario.  Just before the federal government cut funding to its interpretation program in 1984, including closing wildlife centres across the country, Bob helped found the non-profit Friends of Wye Marsh.  This fortuitous move allowed the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre to remain in operation and Bob to continue to mentor young naturalist staff and make wetlands and nature education accessible to thousands of visitors annually.  Former staff still comment on Bob's kind and humorous management style.

Forced to retire early due to illness, Bob's contribution to nature education was recognized through many awards including the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal (2002) and the Latornell Conservation Pioneer Award (2008) for outstanding contributions to the field of conservation in Ontario.  In 2012 Bob realized a lifelong dream when his book, The Birds of Georgian Bay, was published.

My thoughts this week and especially today are with Terry and his family.

Northern Harrier - 21
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2
Red-tailed Hawk - 14
Rough-legged Hawk - 3
Total - 40

One! (Brian)

Two!! (Brian)

Three!!! (Brian)

Red-tailed Hawk (Brian)

Other Birds (but not all):
Red-tailed Hawk (local), Merlin (local), Common Raven, Great Blue Heron, American Pipit, Horned Lark and Greater Yellowlegs.

Kris, Noam, Theresa, Brian, Arvo, Bruce, Walter, Allison, Peter and Blaine.  Many thanks to everyone!

Weather Prediction:
NW wind for tomorrow!  Hopefully there are still lots o' birds to come!

See you parkside,

1 comment: said...

Thank you Walter for dedicating the Roughie day and the kind words about my brother Bob. The family gave him a great sendoff yesterday! Thanks to Allison, Hugh, Betty and Jean who came all the way to Midland for the visitation. Jean and Sean Blaney from Sackville NS had some great birding discussions. There were naturalists and birders from all over the province, Manitoulin Island, NYC and Hong Kong, many who had worked with Bob at the Wye marsh. Thank you again. Terry