August 16th - It Didn't Happen Today

This morning Phil and I took a quick trip out to Cranberry Marsh.  We met Doug Lockery and John Stirrat on the platform and they were talking about how lousy the day was going to be for raptor migration.  That made me feel a lot better about not being at Rosetta!  The marsh is quite pretty now because it's partly filled with Purple Loosestrife and it's in bloom.  Not a lot of bird activity there though.  Fairly quiet everywhere today it seemed.

Phil was actually photographing a Wild Turkey family
and not the Deer on Halls Road

Purple Loosestrife in bloom at Cranberry Marsh

Mr. Chickadee came to visit

Belted Kingfisher just about to dive

Too hot for this Garter Snake

Tomorrow's another day!

Walter

August 15th - 8 Birds, 6 Species

Turned out to be a not too bad kind-a day.  Best sighting of all was seeing Carol walking around the park.  She's looking fabulous and walking well!  We look forward to seeing her back at Rosetta with her binoculars in-hand real soon.  Today's 2 Red-tailed Hawks put on a spectacular aerial display way up high for Ron and myself.  Likely a pair of siblings just havin' some fun.

Today:
Osprey - 1
Broad-winged Hawk - 1
Red-tailed Hawk - 2
American Kestrel - 2
Merlin - 1
Peregrine Falcon - 1
Total - 8

To Date:
Turkey Vulture - 6
Osprey - 4
Bald Eagle - 0
Northern Harrier - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 7
Cooper's Hawk - 0
Northern Goshawk - 0
Red-shouldered Hawk - 0
Broad-winged Hawk - 4
Red-tailed Hawk - 10
Rough-legged Hawk - 0
Golden Eagle - 0
American Kestrel - 4
Merlin - 2
Peregrine Falcon - 1
Total - 39

Wow, 39 birds already, this has been our best 'first half of August' ever!

Phil, Ron, and Betty were there for some of the bird action today.

There are several days coming up that are not-so conducive to hawk migration.  Hopefully the forecaster's have got it wrong.  Stay tuned.

Walter

August 14th - 5 Birds, 2 Osprey

Lots of the northwest wind again today but the birds just weren't buying in to it.  Two Osprey sightings were the highlight of the day.  The first one Phil picked up over the trees and it headed along the Danforth Avenue corridor.  Later in the day Allison picked up the second one out over the lake.  Also today we had our first Northern Harrier.  One of my favourites...along with the other 14 species!!!

Today:
Osprey - 2
Northern Harrier - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2
Total - 5

Along with the Northern Harrier, we added House Finch and Canada Goose to our Fall Season Park List.  We're now at 52 species.  We have logged 14 species of Butterflies and 3 Mammal species to date.

I'm sure many of you will have mixed feelings about this, as I do - today the park workers cut down and removed the Pear tree.  It will soon be replaced with a Flowering Cherry tree.  It took less than 15 minutes to complete the operation.  I didn't want to see the ol' tree go but it has definitely improved our view to the north.

Pearished!!!

Today's watchers included: Terry, Leon, Gunnar, Phil, Betty, Allison, Lee, John Stirrat, and Cori.

West wind at 20 km/h tomorrow.

Walter

August 13th - 3 Broad-winged Hawks!

Today we had strong northwest wind all day but the parade of birds didn't happen as it's still alittle too early yet.  What did happen was that we saw 3 Broad-winged Hawks fly over fairly low.  We had fantastic views of each one of them.

Today:
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1
Broad-winged Hawk - 3
American Kestrel - 1
Total - 5

Swallows and Swifts were moving west most of the day.  Cormorants were grouped together out on the lake in the thousands feeding.

Here's a couple of my shots from today:

Baltimore Oriole (female)

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

Dave, Howie, Betty, Peter, Phil, Terry, Ron, and Cori were down today enjoying the park.

Tomorrow's forecast is saying NW 30 km/h with gusts up to 47 km/h.  First Eagle of the season?

Walter

August 12th - Quiet Again!

Great cloud cover this AM but after only 2 hours we felt that there just wasn't going to be anything migrating today.  Winds were very light and few birds were flying.  The threat of rain from the west said it was time to leave.  Phil and Berle were on hand today to share in all the excitement.  Terry was at Rosetta from 12 till 1 and he too saw nothing.

Tomorrow's wind is looking pretty good right now and will likely bring a few raptors down to the Lake and over our heads.

Walter

August 11th - Quiet Day!

It was just another beautiful day to be at the park but unfortunately no birds were observed.  Actually very few birds at all were seen.  It happens.

On a happier note, Lee, Betty, Richard and Mark stopped by to help search as well as a new friend John Barker.  John has been an avid hawk watcher for many years and in 1993, through his efforts, The Greater Toronto Raptor Watch was organized.  He initiated the co-ordination of the Cranberry Marsh hawk watch and the previously informal hawk watch in High Park.  John has also visited many watch sites across the province, the country and the United States.  He has birded with the likes of William S. Clark and Brian K. Wheeler.  Much of their work you've probably either read or looked at in books or on the internet.  John will be visiting us on weekends and will be helping out as much as possible while there.  He is very interesting in gathering our data from over the last 10 years and entering it in to the HMANA (Hawk Migration Association of North America) website's database.  This in-turn will put our 'little' hawk watch on the map!  It was a real pleasure to meet and talk with John today and we'll look forward to his friendship and expertise this fall season.

Our butterflying friend Susan was also at the park today but reported no new species for the day.  We are eagerly anticipating the arrival of maybe one or two Giant Swallowtail butterflies this month, please watch for them.  They are huge black and yellow butterflies with 6 inch wingspans.  Speaking of insects, John will be conducting a Dragonfly Watch as well when he's at the park.  This is something new that is being done at many hawk watch sites now.  I will be monitoring the Monarch butterfly migration this fall as their numbers have dropped off by as much as 90% recently.

As it stands right now, tomorrow afternoon will see rain but both Tuesday and Wednesday have predicted northwest wind.

Walter