These migrating raptors follow the Lake Erie shoreline, since they don't like to cross large open stretches of water, and exit the province where the water is the narrowest. Hence places along the Detroit River are where the birds are eventually most concentrated.
However before the birds get to the Detroit River many pass through southern Chatham-Kent, and near the shoreline is often a good place to watch from. Winds from the NE-N-NW are typically good conditions to help the birds to move.
Yesterday, Saturday Sept 13, the winds were fairly brisk from the N-NW which is usually favourable. However the heavy overcast conditions were not the best for hawk watching, at least initially, but when the forecast indicated some clearing in the afternoon, I ventured out. But I went to a more local place. The shoreline east of Rondeau and south of Morpeth is one of the better locations. And since a rare Swainson's Hawk had been reported from the Hawk Cliff site the day before, I was hoping I could find it passing through the Rondeau area!
Initially there wasn't much movement. Almost immediately a single Sharp-shinned Hawk flew through fairly low down. I decided to get my camera ready in anticipation of more action. The raptor movement was rather sporadic, which is par for the course. From time to time, there were several birds in view, and then there were stretches of 10-15 minutes or so without a single bird to be seen.
As the sky cleared a bit, the birds got a little more active. Overall in the almost two hours I was there, I observed 34 raptors of 7 species: Sharp-shinned Hawk--14; Cooper's Hawk--1; American Kestrel--2; Broad-winged Hawk--2; Merlin--1, Bald Eagle--7; Turkey Vulture--7.
Photography wasn't the easiest, since much of the sky was still partly cloudy. And the birds were on the move, of course, and mostly quite distant. However I got a few shots.
|Bald Eagle juvenile|
|Bald Eagle adult|
Alas, I didn't see a Swainson's Hawk. But I did see this.
|Gashawk (not a raptor :-)|