[Ontbirds] sighting reports for raptors on Hawk Hill, Sept. 11, 2014

Tim McCarthy timmccarthy_5 at hotmail.com
Thu Sep 11 20:03:09 EDT 2014

When I sat down on Hawk Hill this morning a single Broadwinged Hawk flew low right over my head. The weather was right for broadwings, with Northwest winds and rising barometric pressure, although it was a few days early in the Broadwing seasonand there was a bit too much cloud cover. As a result, by the time the afternoon rolled around, there was a dozen of Toronto's finest birders (most but by no means all from the Toronto Ornithological Club) along with a bunch of extremely welcome newcomers anxiously awaiting the arrival of the hawks. Trouble is, the Broadies weren't buying it. A few other species came through so Ok I'll read you the day's take if you like just so I can stay on this reportsite because I think its the best one. 
1  Osprey
2  Bald Eagles
3  Northern Harriers
46 Sharpshins
3  Coopers
5  Redtails
2 American Kestrels
2  Unidentified 
1 Broadwinged Hawk
If you didn't know, you may have guessed. The weather report pretty much dictates what you will find at Hawk Hill. The fact that so many of Toronto's best birders called in sick, skipped school, cancelled their golf game, put the chicken back in the freezer - whatever, just tells you that something worth seeing was supposed to happen. And they all showed up today between 11 am and 3 pm.
What they came for in case you don't know, is the annual migration of the Broadwinged Hawks. They are the only species which fly south together in flocks of hundreds, sometimes thousands. 
The annual event is predictable, and truly one of nature's most incredible spectacles. Ok, that river in Africa where the crocodiles eat all the Wildebeest is pretty cool but it can leave you with some pretty horrific memories not including the bills. And watching the caribou trying to find a way around the pipelines is a great sport for now but its heavy going. 
But this is happening right in your own back yard. Free parking, cheap breakfast and, need I add, great company. Bring your binoculars plus a lawn chair and join us any day from now until the 3rd week in September to see the Broadwings particularly when the skies are partly cloudy, the wind is from the Northwest especially, but North and/or West is not bad. East and South winds rarely bring many birds. Hopefully my next report will have less chatter and more sightings as I hope I will be too busy recording to think.
The other species on the list above will increase in numbers as the migration season wears on and there will be some new additions  but they don't make the spectacle that Broadwings do.  I will endeavour to report sightings from good days right through November but it would be much better if you were there.
Hawk Hill is a famous hawkwatching spot in the fall. It is located adjacent to the North side of the parking lot of the Grenadier Restaurant in High Park. If you drive, be advised that the North entrance to High Park, off Bloor Street is temporarily closed. You have to go around to Parkside Drive and in the East entrance. The subway drops you off at High Park station. Walk due South from there, through the park until you get to the Grenadier Restaurant. 
Good Luck Birding
Tim Mccarthy
 and the Toronto Ornithological Club

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