[Ontbirds]HSR: Holiday Beach (04 Oct 2005) 161 Raptors

reports at hawkcount.org reports at hawkcount.org
Tue Oct 4 18:10:03 EDT 2005

Holiday Beach Migration Observatory
Ontario, Canada
Daily Raptor Counts: Oct 04, 2005

Species            Day's Count    Month Total   Season Total
------------------ ----------- -------------- --------------
Turkey Vulture              65            323            481
Osprey                       2              5             74
Bald Eagle                   2              4             44
Northern Harrier             8             22            345
Sharp-shinned Hawk          52            370           4145
Cooper's Hawk                6             26            174
Northern Goshawk             0              0              1
Red-shouldered Hawk          1              6              7
Broad-winged Hawk            4              6           7841
Red-tailed Hawk              8             27            171
Rough-legged Hawk            0              0              0
Golden Eagle                 0              0              0
American Kestrel             9             23           1312
Merlin                       1              3             72
Peregrine Falcon             3              7             26
Unknown                      0              2             10

Total:                     161            824          14703

Observation start time: 07:00:00 
Observation end   time: 15:00:00 
Total observation time: 8 hours

Official Counter: Claude Radley


A couple of groups of enthusiastic grade 6 students visited the tower and
kept me busy with their quiestions.

Another sunny, hazy day with light Southeast winds.  Temps  21 - 26 and
visibility around 4km inproving to 10km late in the watch. 

Raptor Observations:
A rather desultory raptor movement today.  Sharpies again dominated.  Four
late Broadwings and an early Red-shouldered.  Paregrines came late in the
day again with three after lunch and all three showing full crops.

Non-raptor Observations:
A steady steam of Blue Jays all morning, 34,040 were counted for the day
along with 1,070 American Gold Finches and 37 Killdeer.  The two Greater
Yellowlegs put in an appearance again today.  Near the end of the watch a
terrific hoard of Starlings was observed heading west along the highway to
the north of the observation tower. More than 20,000 blackened the sky in a
steam of birds that took more than 20 minutes to pass.      

Tomorrow's weather looks much the same as today.  The good news is that a
weak cold front should arrive late Wednesday with a second, more
pronounced, cold front coming through Thursday night.  If the latest
prognostications hold we should be looking at winds with a good Northerly
component from Thursday through Sunday.  A welcome change.
Report submitted by Claude Radley (ca at radley.ca)
Holiday Beach Migration Observatory information may be found at:

Site Description:
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). 

Directions to site:
See http://hbmo.org/directions.php

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