From: Tim Mccarthy, with permission from Ontbirds
Want to see 3 months go by in a hurry? Go sit on Hawk Hill (in High Park) every
day from Sept. 1 to the end of November and try to pay attention to everything
that happens. Sounds like a slow drag, doesn't it? Well, what happened to me,
was that I slowed my speed down to match the passage of the seasons. A real
beautiful close to the earth kind of experience it was. If your life does not
yet allow that to happen, at least read Thoreau and come see me when you are
ready to retire.
The 2016 season for High Park for the most part was down quite a bit in numbers
from 2015. It appears that all the other observation sites along the North
Shore of Ontario and Erie suffered the same fate. So at least it wasn't
entirely due to my lack of observation ability but that is small consolation.
We can only hope this is due to a weather anomaly and that the birds are not
suffering a drastic population decline.
The numbers we tallied for this fall are as follows, listed beside the
corresponding totals from last season. The Raptor species are listed in the
order appearing on our HMANA daily checklists.
Turkey Vulture 3,664
Bald Eagle 31
Coopers Hawk 73
Northern Goshawk 2
Red Shouldered Hawk 122
Broad Winged Hawk 377
Red-Tailed Hawk 978
Rough Legged Hawk 12
Golden Eagle 6
American Kestrel 125
Peregrine Falcon 27
Strangely, the numbers of Broadwings going through Vera Cruz (the ultimate
Broadwing observation site) this season was down yet the number at Corpus
Christie (the penultimate site)was up. Broad-winged hawks have gotta be the
sneakiest birds in existence but its good to see that they don't appear to be
The 2 Resident Red-Tails in High Park raised a wonderful pair of youngsters
this year. This Red-Tail family and our other Raptor residents, the 3 Coopers
Hawks entertained us on the Hill for many hours. We were also visited by 2
families of Common Ravens off and on, the record number being 7 and at least 1
Merlin who I hope becomes a resident next year.
There were lots of Bluejays when their time came (October) but seemingly very
few other Passerines that we'd been used to seeing. A few Monarch Butterflies
came through and one mysterious Hawk Hill resident, the American Oil Beetle,
Meloides Americanus gave up some of her mysteries.
We managed to raise a few photographers to the exalted status of Hawk Watchers
(well, almost), plus a journalist or 2 and something that I'm fired up about, a
young community College student who will be able to claim her time on the Hill
as a partial course credit. Now if you ask me, that is the main reason for my
existence 3 months out of the year and I would dearly love to see an increase
in the number of students who visit the hill. Our future as well as that of all
Nature lies in their precious hands.
Many folks came out to the Hill when the northwest winds were forecast to bring
peak migration daysand I was mighty grateful for the few days that happened,
plus for the extra pairs of sharp eyes and cool heads. But I would like to say
a special thank you to the people who came out almost every day whatever the
weather and made my time go by easily, filled in when I took days off plus saw
lots of stuff that I would have missed. Thank you Hawk Hill Heroes.
An experience that I am looking forward to repeating next year starting
September 1st? The High Park Raptorwatch, of course!
See you on the Hill
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