October 27, 2011 – melbourne hawks

27 Oct

This afternoon I took a drive out to the Melbourne area to look for hawks.  And I found some.  There were several RED-TAILED HAWKS, a single ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (1st of the fall season for me) and a single NORTHERN HARRIER.  I took this picture of one of the TAILS.

Friday morning was spent pulling boxes out of the storage room.  Labeling boxes and staging them for the move.  Friday after lunch, I drove out to Amiens Road, parked the car and walked along the road.  This a a good country road.  Not too busy.  Trees and bushes line the road in many places.  It was partly cloudy, so a good day for walking and looking around.  In one spot I found about 5 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS.  I saw them perched on telephone wires.  They kept flying down to the ground, foraging a bit and then back up to perch on the wire.  I took some pictures.  This one of the better ones. 

One of the jobs I have to do in preparation for the move, is to remove the wiring for the hot tub.  When we got the tub, back in 2004, I built a wall (2×4’s and barn board) to separate the “tub room” from the “garage”.  The wall has to be removed before we can get the hot tub out of the garage.  I ran wiring from the “tub’s” electrical pony box located in the garage thru the 2.×4’s to power 1) an outlet 2) an electrical switch for the ceiling fan and 3) an electrical switch for a light in the garage.  All that has to come out before I can take down the 2×4’s.  (The barn board took down last week.)  So wiring removal is my plan for Monday.  Working nights this weekend.  One down, two to go.  So when I am working I don’t have much energy (or time) to do a project such as this.  That is why I’m waiting until Monday.  As soon as I get up on Monday, the wiring demolition work will begin.  That is promise, to myself.  I don’t want to put it off because a week from this coming Tuesday, I leave for Texas.  So I am running out of time.

Speaking of Texas.  I am getting pretty excited about my trip.  I leave on Tuesday, the 8th.  Bob Turner, who is going to Texas with me, wondered whether or not we should bring a hand-gun or just buy one down there.  Evidently, there is a great little store down there where we can purchase a gun.  Here is the ad for the store.

Just for the heck of it and because I can, here is Thursday’s report for the sightings at Hawk Cliff:

Hawk Cliff Hawkwatch

Port Stanley, Ontario, Canada

Daily Raptor Counts: Oct 27, 2011


Species            Day’s Count    Month Total   Season Total

—————— ———– ————– ————–

Black Vulture                0              0              0

Turkey Vulture            2073          34851          35009

Osprey                       2             45            188

Bald Eagle                  10             81            180

Northern Harrier            38            597           1083

Sharp-shinned Hawk         152           7654          12903

Cooper’s Hawk               21            333            382

Northern Goshawk             4             14             14

Red-shouldered Hawk         78            123            123

Broad-winged Hawk            0            764          73020

Red-tailed Hawk            345            675            699

Rough-legged Hawk            3              6              6

Golden Eagle                25             62             62

American Kestrel            20           2364           5086

Merlin                       3             89            147

Peregrine Falcon             0             15             38

Unknown Accipiter            0              0              0

Unknown Buteo                0              0              0

Unknown Falcon               0              0              0

Unknown Eagle                0              0              0

Unknown Raptor               0              0              0

Swainson’s Hawk              0              0              1

Total:                    2774          47673         128941


Observation start time: 08:00:00

Observation end   time: 16:00:00

Total observation time: 8 hours

Official Counter:        Colin Horstead

Observers:        Don Taylor, Eric Single, Jim Dunn, Kathy, Tom Stewart


There were just 3 visitors today…Bill and Heather Wilson (Cambridge) and Jerry Guenther (also from Cambridge) who all helped with spotting the birds today.

Thanks to Colin, Eric S., Don T., Kathy, Jim, Tom S. and Tim…great job with a busy flight day!


A really cold start this morning…just 3C and only reaching a high of 8C.

However, as hoped the rain moved through quickly overnight and by this morning the counters and visitors found skies to be cloudy but with good visiblility. Winds were also favourable… moderate to light from the NE (usually resulting in excellent flights).  The cloud cover was solid for the first 6 hours then started to breakup for the last couple of hours.

Raptor Observations:

A great flight today as the air dried pretty quickly with the humidity dropping…total birds tallied was 2,774.

The buteos finally made their first concerted push with Redtails (345) and Red-shoulders (78) and even a few Roughlegs (3 – all light morph) all passing the knoll observation site and even down near the lake. It made for an easy comparison as the kettles of buteos almost always consisted of both Redtails and Red-shoulders.

An excellent count of Golden Eagles (25)….whih were a definite highlight for the visitors and counters alike…with as many as 8 in one of the hours. A few gave decent looks and it was interesting to compare them to Bald Eagles that were passing at the same time. The observers felt that at least 4 were possible adult birds…with the rest a mix of likely juvies and sub-adult birds.

Other species put in an appearance as well with Osprey (2), Harriers (38), Sharpies (152), Cooper’s (21), Goshawks (4), Kestrels (20), Merlins (3), Bald Eagles (10) and a large flight of TV’s (2073) coming in a continuous flow from east to west. That’s 13 species for the day…not bad…only missed BW and Peregrine. In fact they had 13 species in a single hour which doesn’t happen often this late in the season.

Non-raptor Observations:

Several Loons were actually flying west today…unusual since they almost always fly directly south out over the lake. The counters also noted that passerines were passing through by the 10’s of 1000’s…with many massive flocks all headed westward.  A conservative estimate would be 50,000+…and they continued all day…even after the hawkwatch was shutdown for the day.


There are almost certainly more birds “in the pipeline” as temps continue to drop in the central and northern parts of Ontario and Quebec…and the winds continue to be predominantly northerly even into this evening.  They now are predicting some sort of northerly winds in the Hawk Cliff area and to the east…then slowly dropping into the afternoon…but hopefully another good portion of the birds will have been pushed to the lake and make for another good flight.


Report submitted by Dave Brown ( Hawk Cliff Hawkwatch information may be found at:

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