Aug 30th - Thanks for the help everyone!

It was another day at the park with some people, some birds, and some butterflies.....other than that not much happened!  Oh, and it was hot as heck again!  I'd like to thank everyone who brought to my attention the raptors flying overhead, the birds that were photographed on previous days, and the songbirds seen in the park.  For the better part of the day I was hiding in the shade under the pergola.

Today:
Osprey - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1
Broad-winged Hawk - 1
Total - 3

To Date:
Turkey Vulture - 4
Osprey - 4
Bald Eagle - 1
Northern Harrier - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 4
Cooper's Hawk - 1
Broad-winged Hawk - 4
Red-tailed Hawk - 1
American Kestrel - 6
Merlin - 6
Peregrine Falcon - 3
Total - 35

Other Birds:
A few Warblers are starting to show up

Butterflies:
Monarch - 23 (16 tagged)

A slightly worn Eastern Comma (Walter)

Weather Prediction:
Continuing with similar heat and humidity on Wednesday.  Currently Thursday has N wind in it's forecast so we'll keep an eye on that.

Walter

Aug 29th - Only A Few Birds!

Just as I thought - only a few birds.  Hopefully the cooler temperature today is a sign of things to come.

Today:
Osprey - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1
American Kestrel - 2
Merlin - 3
Total - 7

To Date:
Turkey Vulture - 4
Osprey - 3
Bald Eagle - 1
Northern Harrier - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 3
Cooper's Hawk - 1
Broad-winged Hawk - 3
Red-tailed Hawk - 1
American Kestrel - 6
Merlin - 6
Peregrine Falcon - 3
Total - 32

Since inception our best count for the month of August occurred two years ago in 2014 when we counted 297 birds, in 2015 we counted just 75 birds, our lowest.  This year, as you can see we're only at 30 birds with only 2 days left in the month.  Trend?  I certainly hope not, just an observation by me.  Let's hope for some BIG days in September!

Other Birds:
Common Yellowthroat
American Restart
Pine Warbler
Canada Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
White-throated Sparrow

Butterflies:
Monarch - 42 (24 tagged)

People:
Hugh, Lorne, Lee, Peter, Berle, Terry, Betty, Bruce G, Carol, and Allison

Weather Prediction:
Looks like the heat and humidity returns for Tuesday and Wednesday.  Thursday shows lots of promise at present.

Walter

Aug 28th - OMG, Wind from the North!

Aug 29th, 7:30am Update:  Winds died down during the night.  Maybe only a few birds, if any.

If all holds true with the current weather forecast we may see raptors in the air tomorrow!  I'll be at the park early waiting for the birds!  See you there!

Today:
Broad-winged Hawk - 1
American Kestrel - 1
Total - 2

Walter

Aug 27th - Rosetta Goes Global!

Please click on the link just below the header of this blog to read Ron Pittaway's great article on our little hawk watch.  Ron shares his favourite hawk watch with the readers of BirdWatching magazine.  We have now been 'put on the map' as they say!  BirdWatching magazine has been published for 25 years and a few of their contributing editors include; Peter Dunne, Kenn Kaufman, and David Sibley.  What an absolute thrill this would have been for BIGFRANK to see his little backyard project shared with the world!  Thank you Ron.

Unfortunately, today with the continuing high heat and humidity there were no raptors on the move and only 8 Monarch butterflies were counted (3 tagged by Betty).  We now move on to tomorrow with hopes of better things to come.....or more heat and humidity!

With a few additions, here is where we currently stand...

Raptors:
Turkey Vulture - 4
Osprey - 2
Bald Eagle - 1
Northern Harrier - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2
Cooper's Hawk - 1
Broad-winged Hawk - 2
Red-tailed Hawk - 1
American Kestrel - 3
Merlin - 3
Peregrine Falcon - 3
Total - 23

Butterflies:
Giant Swallowtail - 4
Monarch - 467 (290 tagged)

I found and photographed this nice moth, a new one for me...

Darling Underwing (Walter)

The family of Underwing moths are actually quite striking when their wings are open.  They display bright colours of yellow, orange, or even pink on their hingwings once in flight.

See you at the park!

Walter

Aug 26th - It's One Of Ours!

This afternoon Terry read a posting on the facebook page 'Monarchs Migrating Through Ontario' asking about a tagged Monarch butterfly that had been observed and photographed on the Toronto Islands.  When he clicked on the photo and read the tag number he saw that it was one of ours from Rosetta 'WBA 550'.  This was a Monarch that Betty had tagged and released early yesterday morning.  They're on the move!

I'd like to thank Jackie R. for allowing me to use her photo on the blog.

'WBA 550' visiting the butterfly garden on the Toronto Islands (Jackie R)

Early this morning Bruce observed a Purple Martin flying with a group of swallows.  This is always a great bird for our Fall Species List.  Sadly, it's not the 'common' bird it once was in this area of the Bluffs.  Even I can remember seeing these beautiful birds in numbers when I was much younger in the park at the foot of Midland Avenue.

Back to butterflies for a moment.  Today in the main gardens around the fountain we observed 2 great species that I will add to our Fall Species List, numbers 23 and 24 since the beginning of the month.  They were the very beautiful Common Buckeye and the very elegant Spicebush Swallowtail butterflies.  Also of note today was a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth that one of the photographers got pictures of.

Common Buckeye (Walter)


Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Ed)

As far as raptors go, we saw nothing today!!!  Yesterday I had an American Kestrel fly over the center of the park heading west.  A local Red-tail and a local Vulture both made a number of fly-overs today.

Enjoy your weekend,
Walter

Aug 24th - Nothing but Orange and Black!

Another Hellish hot day at the park.  Of course, no raptors!

Today:
Monarch - 24 (20 tagged)

To Date:
Monarch - 288 (176 tagged)

Walter

Aug 22nd - 5 Birds!

As predicted the wind was blowin' for the NW early this morning but it lost a bit of  it's steam overnight.  There were no birds on the move until mid-day.  This was by far the most pleasant day to be out at the park, it was gorgeous!

Today:
Broad-winged Hawk - 1
Merlin - 1
Peregrine Falcon - 3

Total - 5

To Date:
Osprey - 2
Bald Eagle - 1
Northern Harrier - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1
Cooper's Hawk - 1
Broad-winged Hawk - 2
Red-tailed Hawk - 1
American Kestrel - 2
Merlin - 2
Peregrine Falcon - 3
Total - 16

Just beautiful! (Ann)

Other Birds:
Fairly quiet!

Butterflies:
Monarch - 59 (37 bagged and tagged)

Of note - Dragonflies suddenly filled the sky around 3pm!

Mammals:
All the usual suspects!

Mr. Curious (Walter)

People:
Allison, Terry, Peter, Carol, Betty, Hugh, Leon, Attila, and Ann

 Pirates?! (Walter)

Weather Prediction:
Warm weather returns tomorrow, enjoy it while you can!  The SW wind may bring a few birds our way.

See you at the park!
Walter

Aug 21st - Swirling Winds and Monarchs

Tomorrow we may see a few birds very early in the day with the NW element in the wind but it changes quite rapidly.  With the remnants of the tropical storm that devastated parts of Louisiana now upon us, the winds are swirling all around.  Remember, it's still a little early yet for any kind of big migration days.

Since August 15th we've been counting Monarch butterflies as they pass through the park on their migration south.  As it stands so far we've counted 162 of them.

Walter

Aug 19th - One Red-tailed Hawk

As we've had so few days of anything that would resemble a decent day I'm still trying to figure out which birds are locals and which are passing overhead never to return.  Today we had a lone Red-tail go straight over the center of the park that looked quite different than the two birds that I would say are 'locals', so I'm going to count it.  There seems to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk still hanging around the neighbourhood so for now, he's still not being counted.  The 8 Turkey Vultures that were observed kettling over the park earlier in the month will be dealt with once we get a few more views of them.  It's likely that several of them are birds that have moved away from their nesting area in what is called 'post-nesting dispersal'.  Time will tell.

Walter

Aug 18th - One Osprey

Another short one...

Today:
Osprey - 1

Butterflies:
Giant Swallowtail - 1
Monarch - 64

Walter

Aug 17th - Osprey, Bald Eagle, & Butterflies

At the time of writing it's very early in the morning so this is going to be as short as possible.

Today:
Osprey - 1
Bald Eagle - 1
Cooper's Hawk - 1
Total - 3

To Date:
Osprey - 1
Bald Eagle - 1
Northern Harrier - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1
Cooper's Hawk - 1
Broad-winged Hawk - 1
American Kestrel - 2
Merlin - 1
Total - 9

Eagle Time (EDT):
BE - 01:19pm

A young Bald Eagle (Walter)
(Not sure why it's beak appears pointed - likely the lousy photo)

Other Birds:
Mallard
Common Raven - 3
Red-winged Blackbird
House Finch

When I first saw these Ravens they were kettling with about
15 pigeons far over the east side of the park.

Butterflies:
Black Swallowtail - 1
Giant Swallowtail - 1 (briefly landed)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail - 1
Cabbage White - many
Monarch - 25 (18 netted, weighed, measured, tagged, and released)
White Admiral - 1
American Lady - 2
Red Admiral - 4
Mourning Cloak - 1
Silver-spotted Skipper - 9
Fiery Skipper - 3

White Admiral - not a common visitor to the gardens (Walter)

A female Black Swallowtail (Walter)

Tagged Monarch WBA 393 nectaring after being released (Walter)

Mammals:
American Red Squirrel

Hawkwatchers:
Allison, Ron, Carol, Terry, Betty, Berle, Vickie and Diana, and Leon.

A special thankyou goes out to our friend Sarah.  Sarah sent me a text message letting me know that she had just watched an eagle flying along the bluffs.  She wasn't aware that the Hawk Watch had already started and that I was at the park.....actually at the time I received the message I was in the main garden watching butterflies.  Luckily, myself and a few others got over to the fence just in time to see the bird soaring along just out from the bluffs.  What a beautiful sight!  Our first eagle!  Time between 'message' and 'bird' was less than two minutes!

Weather Prediction:
Sunny with the risk of a thunderstorm!  The Weather Network

Walter

Aug 15th - An Update Of What's Happened So Far

I should first remind everyone visiting the park with binoculars, cameras, and other expensive equipment to keep it all close at hand.  Yesterday it was brought to my attention that one of the photographers recently had his bag of camera equipment stolen while he was up near the rose gardens taking photos.  The thief ran out of the gate in that corner of the park and across the street to the apartement building on Glen Everest.   This is likely not the first time and likely not the last time that this will happen unfortunately!  It also could happen elsewhere throughtout the park so be careful.  And for anyone new to Rosetta McClain Gardens please do not be scared away from visiting as this beautiful garden park is filled with wonderfully kind-hearted people 99.9% of the time!

Well it should go without saying but as everyone knows it's been Hellish hot to start-off our hawk watching season so it should be no surprise to anyone that we've only seen 5 raptors so far.  My visits to the park have been few and far between and for the most part short as well.  Things should start to pick up over the next couple of weeks.

The following is what we've seen so far...

Raptor Species:
Northern Harrier (1), Broad-winged Hawk (1), American Kestrel (2), and Merlin (1)

Local Raptor Species:
Turkey Vulture (8), Sharp-shinned Hawk (1), Red-tailed Hawk (2-3), and Merlin (1)

Other Bird Species:
Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Caspian Tern, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Bank Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and Northern Cardinal

Butterfly Species:
Black Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Clouded Sulphur, Orange Sulphur, Cabbage White, Eastern Tailed Blue, Summer Azure, Monarch, White Admiral, Viceroy, Great Spangled Fritillary, American Lady, Red Admiral, Eastern Comma, Silver-spotted Skipper, Wild Indigo Duskywing, Fiery Skipper, and Peck's Skipper

Monarch Tagging:
5 Monarchs have been captured, weighed, measured, tagged, and released

Mammals:
Eastern Gray Squirrel, Eastern Chipmunk, and Eastern Cottontail

My thanks to all of those who have reported in with their sightings and experiences.

See you at the park!
Walter