HSR: Holiday Beach (14 Sep 2003) Raptor counts (total=175)

reports at hawkcount.org reports at hawkcount.org
Sun Sep 14 07:09:55 EDT 2003

Holiday Beach Migration Observatory
Essex County, Ontario, Canada
Daily Raptor Counts: Sep 14, 2003

Species            Day's Count    Month Total   Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Turkey Vulture               0             34             34
Osprey                       2             37             37
Bald Eagle                   0             36             36
Northern Harrier             6            100            100
Sharp-shinned Hawk         127           1383           1383
Cooper's Hawk                1             38             38
Northern Goshawk             0              0              0
Red-shouldered Hawk          0              0              0
Broad-winged Hawk           12           1140           1140
Red-tailed Hawk              1             37             37
Rough-legged Hawk            0              0              0
Golden Eagle                 0              0              0
American Kestrel            20            335            335
Merlin                       6             16             16
Peregrine Falcon             0              1              1
Unknown                      0              3              3

Total:                     175           3160           3160

Observation start time: 06:00:00 
Observation end   time: 14:30:00 
Total observation time: 8.5 hours

Official Counter: Bob Hall-Brooks


I greatly enjoyed our many visitors today, especially fielding their
questions and pointing out the identification characteristics of each
species of raptor.
Visitors joined us today from Germany, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.

The day started with sunny conditions, with barely a breath of wind from
the south. It ended with a slight breeze from the ESE under increasingly
cloudy skies. Temperatures ranged from 21 to 29 degrees Celsius.
Visibility all day was hazy especially to the North restricting long range

Not a busy day but with good variety, enough to allow education and
entertainment of our many visitors to our Festival of the Hawks weekend
one.The highlights were the six Merlins and the perching Osprey who
allowed opportunities to share scopes with those visitors not so well

Blue Jay migration has started with 912 gracing us with their presence
today.Their panic dives from the sky around the Tower are always a source
of entertainment. Other notable sightings included a flock of 58 Lesser
Yellowlegs and another flock of 22 Pectoral Sandpipers. In the marsh,
Pied-billed Grebes, American Coots, Common Moorhens and Sora provided good
viewing for the public.

Rain expected tonight and if the winds turn to the North, good things can
Report submitted by Bob Hall-Brooks (bhall-brooks at cogeco.ca)
Holiday Beach Migration Observatory information may be found at:

Holiday Beach Migration Observatory

Information on southern Ontario\'s hawk migration and the Holiday Beach
Conservation Area site

Southwestern Ontario is largely an area of flat, featureless farmland. There
are only two geographic features of note in the region. One is the proximity
of the Great lakes, which influence bird migration in the area to a great
extent, The second is the shape of the province, roughly funnel-shaped with
the narrow end to the southwest. These features confine south-bound bird
migrants, especially hawks, to specific flight corridors.

Holiday Beach Conservation Area was formerly a Provincial Park, but is now
administered by the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA). It is
strategically located at the extreme southwestern tip of southern Ontario.
The park is on the eastern end of a large freshwater estuary known as Big
Creek. (Specifically the site is 1.1 miles south of the junction Highway 20
(old 18) and Essex Road 50, Town of Amherstburg).

The Holiday Beach Migration Observatory (HBMO) (founded in 1986) is a
non-profit, volunteer organization formed to promote the study and
protection of migrating birds. Activities focus primarily on fall migration
of raptors and other species. This site is in Essex County, Ontario, on the
north shore of Lake Erie near the Detroit River. In 1988, HBMO persuaded
Detroit Edison to donate a 40 foot Hawk Tower which is now at the site.

Southwestern Ontario has a funneling effect on migrating raptors due to the
geography of the nearby lakes and the reluctance of most raptors to cross
large bodies of water. Birds gain altitude over the flat farmland to the
north and east, rising easily with the thermals that such areas provide in
abundance. As the birds head south they meet Lake Erie and, reluctant to
cross it , turn west. With appropriate wind and weather conditions, birds
pile up along the lake shore and move west until they reach the narrow
crossing at the Detroit River (or island hop within the river mouth).

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