Nov 30th - That's It, We're Done!

With rain in the forecast for today I'm thinking we're done for the season!

The following is a review of what happened during our time at the hawk watch...

Total Raptors (5915) - Our 6th best year ever at Rosetta.  Interestingly, October was our 2nd best month ever for migrating raptors with a count of 4149 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 9th when we observed 1481 birds.

Turkey Vulture (2457) - Our 3rd best year ever for this species.  October was our 3rd best month ever for 'TVs' with a count of 2288 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 9th when we observed 1161 birds.

Osprey (59) - Our 12th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 1st when we observed 12 birds.  With all the hot humid low to no wind days that occurred during the first half of the season, it's likely that many Osprey migrated across the city further to the north and out of our viewing range.

Bald Eagle (108) - Our 2nd best year ever for this species - only 2 birds shy of a new record.  September was our 2nd best month ever for 'baldies' with a count of 76 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 1st when we observed an unbelievable 48 birds - a new 'single day' count record for hawk watch sites in the GTA!

Northern Harrier (168) - Our 8th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 22nd when we observed 36 birds.  With all the hot humid low to no wind days that occurred during the first half of the season, it's likely that many Harriers migrated across the city further to the north and out of our viewing range.

Sharp-shinned Hawk (1469) - Our 11th best count ever for this species - only 2244 birds shy of a new record - yikes!!!  Interestingly, we had a higher count for 'sharpies' in the month of October than we did in September.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 14th when we observed 177 birds.  As with other species, the hot humid low to no wind days that occurred during the first half of the season likely caused many 'sharpies' to migrate across the city further to the north and out of our viewing range.

Cooper's Hawk (70) - Our 10th best count ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 25th when we observed 11 birds.

Northern Goshawk (28) - Our best count ever for this species - breaking our old record by 4 birds!  November was our best month ever for Goshawks with a count of 16 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on November 9th when we observed 5 birds - tying our record from November 2, 2012!

Red-shouldered Hawk (54) - Our 3rd best year ever for this species.  October was our 2nd best month ever for 'shoulders' with a count of 52 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 22nd when we observed 22 birds.

Broad-winged Hawk (236) - Our 4th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 1st when we observed 127 birds.  Again, this species, like so many others was likely moving across the city further to the north and out of our viewing range during all the hot humid days of September.  Still not a bad count for our hawk watch site!

Red-tailed Hawk (843) - Our 4th best year ever for this species.  October was our best month ever for 'tails' with a count of 617 birds.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 25th when we observed 178 birds.

Rough-legged Hawk (6) - Our 7th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 25th when we observed 3 birds.

Golden Eagle (11) - Our 4th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on November 9th when we observed 3 birds.  On November 11th, a high-flying 'goldie' (and a Peregrine Falcon that was flying with it) started one of our best ever identification debates, eventually an expert was asked to look at the photos and positively identify the birds.  Great time!

American Kestrel (275) - Our 12th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on September 14th when we observed 57 birds.  Another species that likely migrated across the city further to the north and out of our viewing range during the hot humid days of September.

Merlin (87) - Our 5th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 8th when we observed 7 birds.

Peregrine Falcon (44) - Our 10th best year ever for this species.  Our highest day count for the season occurred on October 18th when we observed 7 birds.

Rarities (0)

Plus...

Species Survey - Birds (130) - Highlights included the following new species for our 'Park List' - Greater White-fronted Goose.  Our list of birds seen at Rosetta since 2001 now sits at 211 species!  Other great sightings included both White-winged and Black Scoters, Bonaparte's Gulls, an unidentified owl (Short or Long-eared) which gave us roughly 7-8 seconds of viewing time, countless views of Common Ravens, a lone Purple Martin, and likely our best ever flight of migrating Blue Jays.

Species Survey - Mammals (8) - The return of the foxes was the highlight.

Species Survey - Butterflies (26) - It's was another great season for butterflies due in part to all those hot humid low to no wind days in August and September.  Although no new species were observed, we did have a lone Spicebush Swallowtail on September 26th - a species not always seen in the Gardens.  Other sightings included White Admiral, Red-spotted Purple, Great Spangled Fritillary, and Common Buckeye.  The Fiery Skipper, a once 'rare' visitor to the park was observed on a somewhat regular basis from August 5th through to November 2nd with a high count of 9 individuals on August 9th!  The warmer than normal weather that we experienced this fall provided us with some terrific 'late date' sightings as well - two Swallowtail species, Giant and Eastern Tiger observed on October 4th, were likely the latest ever reported in the GTA and the Eastern Tiger was the 2nd latest ever reported in the province!  Other late sightings included a Monarch and a Fiery Skipper on November 2nd, a Mourning Cloak on November 5th, and a Cabbage White on November 18th - this being my own personal 'latest' butterfly sighting as well.

Monarch Butterfly Counting and Tagging (4561) - A slightly higher count than last year.  I suspect the near-complete lack of northwest wind during the month of September had a big part to play in the overall low number again this fall.  Many Monarchs likely migrated across the city further north and out of our viewing range.  On September 14th we observed an estimated 1000+ Monarchs flying westward.  Terry and Betty, with the help of many others, managed to capture, weigh, measure, tag, and release an incredible 976 Monarchs this season.  So far, this year's Rosetta tagged Monarchs have been found nectaring at flowers on the Toronto Islands (Aug 26th), at Woodbine Beach (Sep 12th), and at Ashbridge's Bay (Oct 6th).  The furthest and most interesting find without a doubt was in the St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge in Florida (Nov 5th)!  We now wait to see how many of the Rosetta tagged Monarchs are found in Mexico at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, the mountainous region where they normally spend their winters.

Walter

2 comments:

Arvo said...

Excellent work as always Walter, everyone loves the group at this hawk watch and thoroughly enjoy spotting and calling out the birds. Looking forward to the luncheon and our weekly coffee meet ups and before you know it we will all be back at the gardens doing it all over again.

Walter Fisher said...

Thanks Arvo! It's a fabulous bunch we have each year, I could never see half the birds without all the help!