Thursday, April 17, 2014

Another wonderful tribute to Frank

I just found this article while reading something else on the internet and it caught me completely by surprise as I hadn't heard anything about it prior.  I was totally unaware that our good friends across the lake in Rochester, NY had named one of their Peregrine Falcons in honour of Frank last year.  Her name is 'Rosetta'.

Please click on this link to read more,
Banding Day for the Rochester Falcons - 2013

Walter

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Blog Updated

Me again!

Nothing serious, just wanted to let everyone know that I had to reset the blog's template back down to two columns in order for it to fit on my new screen properly.  Everything is still here just rearranged a bit.  Hope everyone is well and enjoying some winter birding between storms.

Walter

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Special Post - Talking Rouge Park Birds

The Scarborough Mirror newspaper posted this article today.  It's from a seminar that was held at the Metro Zoo this past weekend.  The main focus of the meeting was about birds of Rouge Park.  The photo on the right is of our friend and fellow birder Terry (Whittam) who, at the time was pointing out the 'Patagial' marks found on the wings of Red-tailed Hawks.
 
 
As stated, this meeting was held as a replacement to the cancelled Bird Count that was to be conducted in Rouge Park.  Great job!
 
Walter
 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Special Report - Ice Storm Hits Rosetta Hard.

Probably not the smartest idea but Cori and I did a walk around Rosetta on Saturday afternoon.  It wasn't pretty, it wasn't pretty at all!  Our little park got hit hard.  It's still extremely dangerous there.  As we walked, ice and small branches were still falling all around.  Large broken-off branches will fall from the trees when either gravity or the wind takes over.  The parking lot is now closed at both ends and the park will likely be closed for quite some time.  I'll let the photos speak for themselves...

The Northeast section...


The Larch






The Southeast section...











The Southwest section...


The Willow



Frank's bench

The Birch

The Northwest section...





The old 'Driveway'...


Walter

Monday, December 09, 2013

Very Special Post - Thankyou Everyone!

Well it’s all over for another season.  The birds have been counted and the party has been celebrated.

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!
Walter

Special Post - Our Rosetta Bird List

I've just added a link entitled 'Our Rosetta Bird List' in the right-hand column under the heading 'Rosetta McClain Gardens'.  At present there are 199 birds on the list that we as a group have seen and identified over the last 10 years or so.  Happy birding everyone!

Walter

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Don't leave it too late folks...

...as there are only a few days left to reserve your seats for the 2013 Christmas Dinner at East Side Mario's.  Please 'click here' for all the details.

Here's is a list of attendees and others who have expressed interest:

Lee
Walter
Pat, Nancy and Mike
Rob and Angie
Anne
Patty
Cori
Murray and Debbie
Gunnar and Vivian
Dave
John
Phil
Peter
Berle
Bill B.

Hope to see you there!

Walter

Special Post - Updated Stats

Down the right-hand column under 'Statistics' you'll find several updated links which reflect our 2013 Hawk Watch year.  Also added is a link to all creatures big and small (Species Survey) that we saw during our time at the park.  Sorry, no Dragonflies!  I had set a goal of 125 birds 'to be identified' for the group and we only missed it by 10.  Twenty-five butterflies was 10 over what I had set at 15 for the fall.  There were a few good mammals too!

Thankyou everyone for all your work in finding, photographing, and identifying everything that moved!  Always fun when there are no hawks flying.

Walter

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 30th - One Final Bird!

Actually it was from yesterday, I just forgot to report it!  It was everybody's favourite little Accipiter, a Sharpie!

Today, I ventured down to the park one last time knowing that there would probably be no migrating hawks and likely no visitors.  I did however meet up with Betty who also was at the park just because it was the last day and we walked over to check out the new bench.  We didn't last long at the park though as the air was cold and damp.

Final Count:
Turkey Vulture - 1665 (3rd highest count!)
Osprey - 117 (3rd highest count!)
Bald Eagle - 109 (new record!)
Northern Harrier - 141
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1610
Cooper's Hawk - 53
Northern Goshawk - 6
Red-shouldered Hawk - 26
Broad-winged Hawk - 139
Red-tailed Hawk - 645
Rough-legged Hawk - 15
Golden Eagle - 7
American Kestrel - 470
Merlin - 64
Peregrine Falcon - 56
Gyrfalcon - 1 (first ever!)
Total - 5124

Records:
The Bald Eagle count of 109 beat our previous record by 36 birds!  The date of September 16th will not soon be forgotten by those who were present as we watched in amazement as 27 Baldies flew over Rosetta.  And quietly we tallied up an impressive 85 Bald Eagles in the month of September.  I guess we could also add 1 Gyrfalcon as a record as we've never counted one before.

Walter

Friday, November 29, 2013

Special Post - Frank's Memorial Bench!

It's been a long wait but the city has finally installed Frank's bench.  For those of you who don't know, it's location is in the south-west corner of the park (see the map below).  It's going to be a great spot to sit and chat and an even better place to sit and watch all the spring birdies arrive in to the park.

If I can speak for the rest of the Rosetta gang, I'd like to extend a huge THANKYOU to everyone locally and around the world who kindly donated money towards the bench and the plaque in memory of Frank.  We invite you all to please come and sit for a while!  We are also very thankful to the park employees and the City of Toronto Parks Department for allowing us this memorial bench in Rosetta McClain Gardens...Frank's beloved backyard.

Here are some great photos that both Cori and Pat sent along...

The bench
 
The Plaque
 
The view

Carol and Pat already enjoying the bench!

Map
 
At this time it has been decided that we will wait until next spring before we have a get-together and celebration at the park in memory of Frank.  The paths around the park are covered in snow and ice now.  We will announce the date and time early next year so please check the blog periodically thru the winter month's.
 
Walter
 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Special Post - 2013 Christmas Get-together!

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to announce and invite everyone to our annual End-of-the-Season/Christmas Get-together.  Lee has been kind enough to reserve a room/space for up to 25 people at East Side Mario's on Lebovic Ave. for our party.  These events have been great fun in the past and always lots of delicious food to be eaten.

Details:
Where: East Side Mario's
Address: 12 Lebovic Avenue (Warden & Eglinton)
Date: Sunday December 8th, 2013
Time: 1:00 PM - ????

Menu: Click here
Map: Click here

Please contact Lee or myself and let us know if you can make it.

We look forward to spending the afternoon sharing so many wonderful memories of this year's Hawk Watch with everyone.  Hope to see you there!

Lee/Walter