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.

Species                                                            2016         

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            

Merlin                                                                     20   

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 
in trouble.

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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