Nov 27th - 2 Reports, 2 Birds!

Unfortunately today life got in the way and I couldn't make down to the park to do any hawkwatching.  Luckily we had two folks that did spend some time there and they each had a countable hawk fly by.  First, Allison had a Northern Harrier at 10:30AM and then later in the day Bruce had a Northern Goshawk go by at 1:50PM.  Excellent news, thankyou both.

Walter

Special Post - Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk

On Sunday November 23rd Phil and I were out on another one of our legendary birding trips, this time it was in and around the Oakville/Burlington area.  Although it rained lightly off and on the whole morning we did manage to find a number of great birds including American Pipit, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Common Raven, Fox Sparrow, Snowy Owl, and an adult Bald Eagle.  As we returned home along the 401 we were commenting and looking at all the Red-tailed Hawks that lined both sides of the highway.  Suddenly we noticed a big white bird sitting in a tree on the opposite side of the road, I immediately thought it was a Snowy Owl, Phil on the other hand thought it looked more like an albino Red-tail.  We discussed what we had observed and thought it was worth getting off the highway, turning around and heading back down the other side.  As everyone knows, the 401, even on the best of days is as dangerous as Hell and not a safe place to stop anywhere on, especially with it's narrow shoulders.  Anyway, upon returning to the site where we spotted the bird, Phil put the blinkers on and we pulled off the road for a couple of quick photos out the window before we sped off again to merge back in to the traffic - whew!!!  The bird turned out to be a leucistic Red-tailed Hawk!  Nice call Phil!!!  Just as we were pulling away it flew a short distance to another tree and we could see that it had a few darker feathers out towards it's wing tips.  How cool, what a way to finish a great day!


Walter

Nov 21st - Birds!!!

Finally a decent day for raptor watching!  I get the feeling with what was observed across the GTA today, there must still be more raptors to come.  Let's hope we get a few more NW wind days in before the end of the month.

Today:
Northern Harrier - 7  (4 adult males)
Cooper's Hawk - 2
Red-tailed Hawk - 11
Rough-legged Hawk - 5  (2 dark, 3 light)
Total - 25

To Date:
Black Vulture - 1
Turkey Vulture - 3306
Osprey - 140
Bald Eagle - 106
Northern Harrier - 277
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 3711
Cooper's Hawk - 116
Northern Goshawk - 18
Red-shouldered Hawk - 83
Broad-winged Hawk - 1418
Red-tailed Hawk - 1015
Rough-legged Hawk - 13
Golden Eagle - 12
American Kestrel - 697
Merlin - 128
Peregrine Falcon - 80
Total - 11121

Here are a few photos from the day courtesy of Kris...

a nice adult Cooper's Hawk
(thankyou Ron for the correct ID)

a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk

one of several Red-tailed Hawks

Non-raptor highlights included several small flocks of finches and waxwings, a late Eastern Phoebe, 2 Great Blue Herons, and a flock of small geese which may have been Brant (very high flying).

Great Blue Heron (Kris)

Enjoying the sunshine and braving the cold today were John, Kris, Terry, Arvo, Betty, and Bruce.

Fingers crossed for another day of raptor watching!

Walter

Nov 15th - Red-tail Record Broken!

Tonight I received an email from our fellow hawk-watching friend Dave (the guy who shows up on the bike).  He was at the park for just over 3 hours today.  Not sure if he knew it at the time or not but his 6 Red-tailed Hawks set a new 'Year' record for that species at our hawk watch.  Way to go Dave!

Today:
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2
Red-tailed Hawk - 6
Golden Eagle - 1
Total - 9

To Date:
Black Vulture - 1
Turkey Vulture - 3306
Osprey - 140
Bald Eagle - 106
Northern Harrier - 270
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 3711
Cooper's Hawk - 114
Northern Goshawk - 18
Red-shouldered Hawk - 83
Broad-winged Hawk - 1418
Red-tailed Hawk - 1004
Rough-legged Hawk - 8
Golden Eagle - 12
American Kestrel - 697
Merlin - 128
Peregrine Falcon - 80
Total - 11096

Eagle Time (EST):
02:00 PM - GE

Also at the park today were John and Betty.  Great to know that others are there to fill-in when I can't be at the park.  Thankyou!

Walter

Nov 14th - A Cold But Beautiful Day.

With a light NW wind blowing when Gunnar and I arrived at the park this morning, it didn't take long before our first bird came along, and a good one it was - a Golden Eagle!  What a way to start the day!  With a mix of sun and cloud all day we had great views of most birds.  Later in the afternoon and with few people still braving the cold, we got our second Golden Eagle.  This one was flying much lower but was out over the lake when first spotted.  It got to a point where it was over the lake directly out from the park, did several circles, and then made it's way back to a point well beyond the top of the apple tree from our vantage point.  It then came along and flew right over top of us providing a spectacular view.  Not too long after that we were rewarded with a Rough-legged Hawk which also flew low over the center of the park.  By the end of the day we had added another 63 Red-tailed Hawks to our 2014 count leaving us only 5 short of a new 'Year' record.  As Ron had pointed out today, many of the Red-tails were juveniles suggesting that there could still be many to come including the adults.

Today:
Turkey Vulture - 3
Bald Eagle - 1
Northern Harrier - 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 6
Cooper's Hawk - 3
Red-shouldered Hawk - 4
Red-tailed Hawk - 63
Rough-legged Hawk - 1
Golden Eagle - 2
Total - 87

To Date:
Black Vulture - 1
Turkey Vulture - 3306
Osprey - 140
Bald Eagle - 106
Northern Harrier - 270
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 3709
Cooper's Hawk - 114
Northern Goshawk - 18
Red-shouldered Hawk - 83
Broad-winged Hawk - 1418
Red-tailed Hawk - 998
Rough-legged Hawk - 8
Golden Eagle - 11
American Kestrel - 697
Merlin - 128
Peregrine Falcon - 80
Total - 11087

Eagle Time (EST):
09:52 AM - GE
12:35 PM - BE
01:55 PM - GE

 juvenile Golden Eagle (Walter)

light morph Rough-legged Hawk (Walter)

Red-tailed Hawk (Mike D)

Red-tailed Hawk (Mike D)

Non-raptor highlights today included 2 Loons and what appeared to be a small flock of Tundra Swans.

possible Tundra Swans (Mike D)

My thanks to Gunnar, Pat & Nancy, Carol, Mike D, Peter, Berle, Ron, Lynn, Betty, Manfred, Hugh, and Manny.

Walter

Nov 12th - Nuttin'

This morning I met-up with Kris and eventually Betty at the Hawk Watch and the three of us enjoyed nothing but cold wind, overcast skies, a few flocks of finches and waxwings, a local TV and Red-tail, and each other's company.  Of course, not necessarily in that order.

Keep an eye on Friday's forecast, looking fairly good at present.

Walter

2014 Christmas Luncheon

Once again this year Lee has been kind enough to set up a place, date and time for our annual year-ending Christmas Luncheon.

PLACEEast Side Mario's
12 Lebovic Avenue (Eglinton Ave E & Warden Ave)
In the Eglinton Town Centre
DATE:  Sunday December 14th
TIME:  1:00 PM

Please let either Lee or myself know if you will be attending.

Confirmed:
Ron
Gunnar & Vivian
Angie & Rob
John
Lee
Walter

Hope to see you there!

Walter / Lee

Nov 7th - 11,000th Raptor Counted!!!

Amazing!  Who would've ever imagined counting 11,000 birds of prey during a single season at our little hawkwatch?  Certainly not me!  I cannot stress enough how grateful I am for all your help spotting, photographing and identifying hawks as they've passed overhead.  The high count this fall is a true testament to all of your hard work.  Today was yet another one of those somewhat difficult days with heavy cloud-cover making many distant birds appear very dark through both binoculars and cameras.

Highlights today included sightings of both eagle species, a few Red-shouldereds, a couple of Goshawks and a couple of Roughies.  We ended-up seeing 12 of the 15 regularly seen species.

Today:
Turkey Vulture - 2
Bald Eagle - 1
Northern Harrier - 8
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 7
Cooper's Hawk - 2
Northern Goshawk - 2
Red-shouldered Hawk - 6
Red-tailed Hawk - 80
Rough-legged Hawk - 2
Golden Eagle - 2
Merlin - 1
Peregrine Falcon - 1
Total - 114

To Date:
Black Vulture - 1
Turkey Vulture - 3303
Osprey - 140
Bald Eagle - 105
Northern Harrier - 266
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 3703
Cooper's Hawk - 111
Northern Goshawk - 18
Red-shouldered Hawk - 79
Broad-winged Hawk - 1418
Red-tailed Hawk - 935
Rough-legged Hawk - 7
Golden Eagle - 9
American Kestrel - 697
Merlin - 128
Peregrine Falcon - 80
Total - 11000

Eagle Time (EST):
12:16 PM - GE
01:30 PM - GE
01:53 PM - BE

Another wonderful collection of photos...

(Mike D)

(Ann)

(Mike D)

(Mike D)

(Mike D)

(Mike D)

the above 7 photos are of Red-tailed Hawks (Mike D)

Northern Goshawk (Ann)

Northern Goshawk (Mike D)

a high-flying and distant juvenile Golden Eagle (Mike D)

an adult Red-shouldered Hawk (Ann)

another adult Red-shouldered Hawk (Mike D)

a light morph Rough-legged Hawk (Mike D)

Some of today's non-raptor highlights included - Hermit Thrushes, Fox Sparrows, Eastern Bluebirds, an Eastern Phoebe and 31 migrating Loons.

migrating Cedar Waxwings (Mike D)

a friendly Eastern Phoebe (Mike D)

Here's a great photo of most of today's motley crew...

(Ann)

A huge thankyou to Mike D, Kris, Terry, Don, Berle, Peter, Betty, Pat & Nancy, Lee, Ron, Matt, Manny, Ann, John, Howie, Lynn, Trudy and anyone I missed.

Saturday's forecast for light rain all day will likely keep me away from the park.

Walter

Nov 3rd thru 6th - Quiet Time!

Not much to report over the last four days from the Hawk Watch, inclement weather and lack of N element winds are to blame.  Tomorrow's NW wind should bring joy and happiness to us all.....please remember, I said "should".  You just never know at this time of the season.

Nov 3rd:
Cooper's Hawk - 1

Nov 5th:
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1

To Date:
Black Vulture - 1
Turkey Vulture - 3301
Osprey - 140
Bald Eagle - 104
Northern Harrier - 258
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 3696
Cooper's Hawk - 109
Northern Goshawk - 16
Red-shouldered Hawk - 73
Broad-winged Hawk - 1418
Red-tailed Hawk - 855
Rough-legged Hawk - 5
Golden Eagle - 7
American Kestrel - 697
Merlin - 127
Peregrine Falcon - 79
Total - 10886

We now need only 114 birds to reach the '11000 Raptors Counted' mark.  Hopefully tomorrow we'll see that number reached with a good steady stream of Red-tails.

As mentioned, NW wind on Friday!  Fingers crossed!

Walter

Rosetta McClain Gardens Video

Our friend Andre Tardif has completed his short movie on Rosetta McClain Gardens.  If you remember the 'preview' post that I did back in early October, I mentioned that it was filmed with high-definition Go Pro camera that was attached to a drone, or quadcopter.  It's a beautiful piece of work that covers the best of the park.  Please find the video in the right-hand column of this blog or go directly to the YouTube page.  Best viewed in full screen.  Thankyou Andre!

Nov 2nd - Another Excellent Day!

Although there were no eagles or roughies to be had today, it turned out to be another excellent day all the same.  The all-blue sky made things challenging again but with so many great pairs of eyes, I don't think much got by us.  Although it can never be proven that they're all the same birds, we only missed 2 of the 170 Red-tailed Hawks that Cranberry Marsh counted. - LOL.

Today:
Turkey Vulture - 29
Northern Harrier - 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2
Cooper's Hawk - 1
Northern Goshawk - 3
Red-shouldered Hawk - 10
Red-tailed Hawk - 168
Merlin - 1
Total - 216

To Date:
Black Vulture - 1
Turkey Vulture - 3301
Osprey - 140
Bald Eagle - 104
Northern Harrier - 258
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 3695
Cooper's Hawk - 108
Northern Goshawk - 16
Red-shouldered Hawk - 73
Broad-winged Hawk - 1418
Red-tailed Hawk - 855
Rough-legged Hawk - 5
Golden Eagle - 7
American Kestrel - 697
Merlin - 127
Peregrine Falcon - 79
Total - 10884

Wonderful photos by wonderful people...

Red-tailed Hawk (Ann)

a beautifully marked young Red-tail (Mike D)

Red-tailed Hawk (Ann)

Red-tailed Hawk (Mike D)

Turkey Vulture (Mike D)

Turkey Vulture (Ann)

Cooper's Hawk (Mike D)

Northern Harrier (Ann)

a young Red-shouldered Hawk (Ann)

an adult Red-shouldered Hawk (Mike D)

Northern Goshawk (Ann)

Today's non-raptor sightings included an unknown bird that was flying low out over the water having a real go with a couple of gulls.  The chasing seemed to be about 50/50 between the two species.  The only things that were noted about the mystery bird were that it was smaller than the gulls and that it was brown on the upperside and very light-coloured on the underside.  Another interesting sighting was of a pair of Snow Buntings that a few of us heard and saw before they quickly disappeared.

Today's crowd included Trudy, Phil, Mark, Ron, Bruce, Mike D, Peter, Pat & Nancy, Ann, Matt, Lee, Ann, Dave, Arvo, Rosemary, Gary & Wei Li, Betty, Joyce, Mike & Leslie, Hugh, Berle, Tim, Gunnar, Sue, John, Cori and whoever I missed.  I thank you all for your help and friendship.

Here's a great photo of just some of the folks gathered today...

(Ann)

Walter

Nov 1st - Lots of Good Stuff!

A really nice mix of raptors flying today including both Bald and Golden Eagles, Red-Shouldered Hawks and Northern Goshawks to name a few.  Also three different species of geese, Canada, Snow and Brant.

Today:
Turkey Vulture - 1
Bald Eagle - 2
Northern Harrier - 13
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 3
Northern Goshawk - 3
Red-shouldered Hawk - 5
Red-tailed Hawk - 74
Gold Eagle - 5
Merlin - 1
Total - 107

To Date:
Black Vulture - 1
Turkey Vulture - 3272
Osprey - 140
Bald Eagle - 104
Northern Harrier - 256
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 3693
Cooper's Hawk - 107
Northern Goshawk - 13
Red-shouldered Hawk - 63
Broad-winged Hawk - 1418
Red-tailed Hawk - 687
Rough-legged Hawk - 5
Golden Eagle - 7
American Kestrel - 697
Merlin - 126
Peregrine Falcon - 79
Total - 10668

Eagle Time (EDT):
01:45 PM - GE
01:55 PM - GE
03:27 PM - BE
03:58 PM - GE x2
04:05 PM - BE
04:?? PM - GE

Another great gallery of photos...

a young Golden Eagle (Mike D)

 Turkey Vulture (Lee)

same Vulture as above (Mike D)

 an adult Red-shouldered Hawk (Mike D)

a young Red-shouldered Hawk (Mike D)

 another view (Mike D)

a young Northern Harrier (Lee)

a young Sharp-shinned Hawk (Mike D)

a young Red-tailed Hawk (Lee)

an adult Red-tailed Hawk (Lee)

a fast flying Northern Goshawk (Mike D)

Non-raptor excitement today included 5 flocks of Brant ranging in size from 7 to 27 flying towards Niagara just ahead of the snow storm.  Also, a large flock of 107 Snow Geese, including at least 3 whites heading due south.

 Snow Geese flying overhead (Walter)

My thanks to Lee, Betty, Mike D, Phil, Dave, Peter, Mark, Berle and Cori...plus anyone I forgot.

By the look of things, the washrooms are now closed for the season.  The nearest washrooms are located in Coffee Dome at the top of the hill on Kingston Road just east of the park.  Within the next two blocks of Cliffside Village are a Tim Horton's and a Country Style.

Expect more of the same wind conditions tomorrow but under much sunnier skies.

Walter