Friday, October 05, 2007

High Park - yet another good day

This time, for hawks. I started off the day in the vicinity of Colborne Lodge where I had so many migrants the day before but it looks like most of the birds flew through overnight. The heavy fog on Wednesday night probably held most of the birds in the park until Thursday morning when I had excellent numbers. However, Thursday night was quite clear. There were still a good number of Yellow-rumped Warblers in the area but other numbers were down significantly including Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers, Flickers, both Kinglet species, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. Though there were probably a few present, I didn't see any Blackpoll or Tennesse Warblers this morning, or American Redstart.

Due to the the lower numbers, I decided to check out the hawk count around 10:30 and I wasn't disappointed. Don Barnett and I (along with a few others) had good raptor numbers today, particularly Sharp-shinned. During certain half-hour intervals, we were seeing more than 30 Sharpies in the sky, meaning 1 or more a minute. This kept things very exciting. Later in the day, Turkey Vultures started to appear and we had 2 separate kettles of about 20 birds. One Bald Eagle also flew over as well as 3 migrating Peregrine Falcons. Once again, the local Red-tails provided some entertainment, but a few juvenile and adult birds were definitive migrants. 3 Cooper's were counted, the rest being local birds and finally, a single, late Broad-winged Hawk migrated past, well beyond the peak time for this species. Also of interest was the number of Blue Jays migrating through. Many were seen during the hawk count, but I had just as many throughout the park.

Here is my list for the day:

Double-crested Cormorant - a few migrants over Hawk Hill
Great Blue Heron - one bird at Grenadier Pond
- no Mute Swans, but I'm sure they were somewhere on Grenadier Pond
Canada Goose - no migrants, all local birds
Turkey Vulture - two groups of about 20 birds each
Bald Eagle - one adult
Northern Harrier - 2 birds
Sharp-shinned Hawk - I forget the total right now, but I believe we made it to over 100 birds. I'll have to check the Hawk Hill update on Sunday.
Cooper's Hawk - at least 3 migrants, as well as some local birds
Broad-winged Hawk - 1 late juvenile
Red-tailed Hawk - a few migrants and a few local birds (there is a local juvenile that hangs out around Hawk Hill, flying within close proximity to the hawkwatchers and providing spectacular views)
Peregrine Falcon - 3 birds, all in a row
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove - only 1 bird flying over Hawk Hill
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 1 juvenile
Downy Woodpecker - a few heard but numbers were far lower than the day before (and none landed on me this time!)
Northern Flicker - a few birds
Blue Jay - abundant, many birds migrating throughout the park and along the waterfront
Black-capped Chickadee - extremely abundant in the park right now
Red-breasted Nuthatch - fairly good numbers, but down from Thursday
White-breasted Nuthatch - only heard one singing
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 2
American Robin - abundant
European Starling - abundant
Yellow-rumped Warbler - numbers dropped significantly, but still the most abundant warbler in the park
Northern Cardinal
White-crowned Sparrow - a single bird, my first for the fall
House Finch - a few singing at the zoo within the park
American Goldfinch - a handful of migrants
House Sparrow

Total Species: 32 - my total species counts are always low because I don't specifically try for diversity and oftentimes, I'm not at the site long enough to get a decent list. On one of my days off, I'll probably see if I can get 60+ species in a day.

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