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Sunday, December 03, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist

Howdy readers!

Today the Sunday 2 team enjoyed one final beautiful day on the Hill. Temperatures remained in the fifties all day with winds coming from the northeast and southeast. With a spread of all sorts of goodies from the hawkwatchers, our team was ready to count!

Most of our activity today came from Redtails, TVs, and Harriers. The occasional accipiter and falcon would pay us a visit, but the Redtails stole the show. One of them in particular kept us entertained throughout the day—a juvenile Redtail that the GGRO banded back on September 14th! We could spot his unique color band as he perched in trees, on Fish Rock, and hovered suspiciously close to our snacks. At one point he flew so close over the north quadrant that the hawkwatchers ducked!

Overall, the Sunday 2 team felt extremely lucky for the great season we had and the amazing raptors we saw.

From all the interns here at the GGRO, we want to thank the volunteers for all the passion, effort, and enthusiasm that they bring to the Hill. It's been a pleasure to learn from our teams and take part in an amazing program that supports the preservation of the raptors we love so much. From sights routine as seeing a TV over Slacker Hill to exciting as watching a Ferrug soar effortlessly over the Headlands, every moment was a special one. Thank you for sharing them with us!

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 279
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 46.5
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 96
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 23
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 144
American Kestrel: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1
Falcon: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, December 02, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Danielle Husband

We can't believe it's already the second to last day of the season! Just like the raptors, time has flown by. Today was a hazy day with temperatures ranging from the low fifties to the low seventies and light wind coming from the north. It started as a sunny day but by the afternoon the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped.

Raptor activity was overall low, but the day was punctuated with some exciting sights! A juvenile Bald Eagle was spotted in the south quadrant and made it's way around the Hill and through the west quadrant to rise above Mt. Tam! After an overall good eagle season, this sighting broke the tie between Bald and Golden Eagle sightings with Balds now leading 17-16. Go Balds! There was a lull in the day after the eagle until a male Kestrel was spotted. He flew close in front of the hawkwatchers in the west quadrant and gave them a great look of this falcon that has recently become a less common sight.

Saturday II has been a fun team full of laughs and smiles throughout the season. As interns, it has been a pleasure to be on this team! This is also our last day of hawkwatch of the season so we would like to thank all of the volunteers who we have worked with for their guidance, knowledge, and company. We will miss you all and hope to see you on the Hill in the future!




Total Sightings: 216
Hours Counted: 5.75
HPH: 37.57
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 100
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 8
Cooper's Hawk: 4
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 89
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Buteo: 3
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, December 01, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Ashley Santiago

Hello hawk fanatics!

It was a sunny, but hazy day with temperatures hovering around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and winds from the southeast. The weather was on our side until the end of the day when there was a significant decrease in raptor activity around 1 PM. But early in the day there were raptors everywhere!

Quadrants were busy with high-flying Redtails and Sharpies and low-flying Harriers – even an adult male Harrier made an appearance! A few adult Peregrines were also seen harassing Redtails (as they do) and putting on a show. The team was delighted to see another falcon as an adult male Kestrel flew overhead sparking debates about which raptor species is the cutest (Kestrels, obviously).

Although the end of the day was slow in terms of raptors, the potluck fueled our hawkwatchers to continue on. As always, we had a great day with our Friday II team and would like to thank them for a wonderful season!


Total Sightings: 224
Hours Counted: 5.5
HPH: 40.73
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 66
Northern Harrier: 10
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 13
Cooper's Hawk: 7
Red-shouldered Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 115
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1
Buteo: 2
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, November 30, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Laura Echavez

Hello raptor aficionados!

A wonderful end to a great team - PIZZA BIRD! On this gorgeous and clear fall day, we saw the first Rough-legged Hawk of the migration season, which calls for volunteers ordering pizza and enjoying the wondrous sight of the day. This brought our total to a respectable eleven species for a day this late in the migration!

The Roughie came from far out over the ocean around Rodeo Beach and into the north quadrant. It disguised itself as a Ferruginous Hawk, but when it hovered in front of the team, it showed its distinct carpal patches and cheers erupted from the Hill! After lingering for a couple of minutes, it made its way across the Golden Gate, but we hope it makes more appearances in the coming days so look out!

Besides the many Redtails and Turkey Vultures seen, other notable sightings include two White-tailed Kites, one juvenile Ferrug, and one adult female Northern Harrier. The smallest North American falcons were also seen from the Hill today. Overall, a very exciting and eventful day!

Thank you Thursday II team for a wonderful season! Hawkwatch on and out!

Total Sightings: 237
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 39.50
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 66
White-tailed Kite: 2
Northern Harrier: 15
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 27
Cooper's Hawk: 10
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 101
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
Rough-legged Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 4
Buteo: 6
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Ashley Santiago

Hello raptor people!

Today was a beautiful and clear day up on the Hill with temperatures in the fifties and low sixties. Winds mostly came from the east. With binoculars and snacks at the ready, the Wednesday 2 team was ready to count one last time this season.

Our most active hours were from 10am to 1pm with sightings mostly comprised of Redtails and TVs but with dash of accipiters. Some notable sightings include three Peregrines high in the sky battling it out with Redtails. Later in the day we spotted three dark morph adults and two juvenile Redtails. One of our adult sightings was a beautiful rufous morph.

We also had some fun non-raptor sightings, which included coyotes and one displaying Anna's Hummingbird. This tiny dancer would periodically rise up and then dramatically dive in hopes to either impress a lady or intimidate its opponents. Either way, we were impressed. Hats off to you little guy!

Overall, the Wednesday 2 team was grateful to finally have one gorgeous sunny day on the Hill. Thanks for the great season!

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 200
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 33.33
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 75
Northern Harrier: 13
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 14
Cooper's Hawk: 6
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 82
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

That's a wrap for the Tuesday II team! On this beautiful, clear fall day, we finished with 348 raptor sightings - not a bad number during the last cycle. The temperatures were mostly in the mid-60s and the wind was barely there, nevertheless, raptor activity picked up after our second hour on the Hill.

Some very interesting raptors were seen from Hawk Hill today. A total of five Red-shouldered Hawks (one adult and four juveniles) flew around the team. One of the Redshoulders was seen being chased by a couple of ravens around Mt. Tam! Another highlight of the day was seeing a Prairie Falcon, making today a four falcon day! The rest of the sightings consisted of the typical suspects - lots of Redtails, Turkey Vultures, and accipiters.

Thank you Tuesday II team for a great season and the feast we enjoyed on the Hill today. With birds still on the horizon, let's hope for more good days as the season comes to a close.

Total Sightings: 348
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 58
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 91
Northern Harrier: 24
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 36
Cooper's Hawk: 9
Red-shouldered Hawk: 6
Red-tailed Hawk: 154
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 5
Prairie Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 10
Buteo: 2
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 6

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, November 27, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Ashley Santiago

Monday II had a beautiful day on the Hill to start off the last week of the season! The temperatures stayed in the mid-sixties all day with minimal wind and high visibility. As expected towards the end of the season, there was low raptor activity but that didn't stop the Monday II team from finding all there was to be found!


Our usual suspects of Redtails and Turkey Vultures dominated the skies but some of our most interesting and exciting sightings were not of the raptorial variety. In the south quadrant, a raft floating from the Golden Gate with a rag-tag crew of gulls was seen sailing out to sea. We aptly named the vessel the S.S. Bay Gull. Not to be outdone, the north quadrant spotted a beautiful coyote relaxing in a rock garden. All scopes were pointed at the coyote as we observed it sleeping, rolling around in the gravel, and being an all-around cutie.


Thank you to our Monday II team for the snacks, laughs, and good times throughout the season! Hope the rest of the week brings clear skies and raptor flybys!



Total Sightings: 210
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 35
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 87
Northern Harrier: 15
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 10
Cooper's Hawk: 4
Red-shouldered Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 87
American Kestrel: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, November 26, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Danielle Husband

Hello readers!

Unfortunately, we were unable to count today due to rain and fog. We stayed at the office and monitored conditions while enjoying the snacks and good company that Sunday 1 had to offer.

Stay dry out there!

Hawkwatch out.

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, November 25, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

Despite the overcast skies, today's visibility was one of the best the Saturday I team has seen this season. We could see over sixty miles into the north and the Farallon Islands were in view during the entire count. It was windy on the Hill - wind speeds reached over 14 mph - and many birds took advantage of the currents to take flight.

While surrounded by giant soap bubbles, our time on the Hill resulted in 274 raptor sightings - a great total for this late in the migration season! Turkey Vultures, Redtails, and accipiters dominated today's flight. Many Sharp-shinned Hawks circled above the Hill and gave us wonderful views of both their adult and juvenile plumages. A checkered, rufousy dark morph juvenile Redtail also flew very close to the team while showing off its chocolaty tones. Due to the end of the season festivities, lots of actual chocolate was eaten atop Hawk Hill today! Our volunteers enjoyed a nice flow of raptors and visitors while celebrating a great season and the wonderful company of fellow hawkwatchers!

Thank you Saturday I for the spectacular hawkwatching this season! Hawkwatch on!


Total Sightings: 274
Hours Counted: 5
HPH: 54.8
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 109
Northern Harrier: 16
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 29
Cooper's Hawk: 10
Red-tailed Hawk: 89
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 8
Buteo: 2
Falcon: 3
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, November 24, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

With a cloudy and chilly start to the day we did not expect much raptor activity. However, temperatures rose to the mid-70s and the sun peaked through the clouds most of the afternoon, creating a nice glow on the city and the hills throughout the Headlands. On the other hand, this light also made it a bit difficult to distinguish plumage coloration on the accipiters seen from Hawk Hill. Nevertheless, we had an eventful day that resulted in over 300 raptor sightings of ten species.

The most exciting moments of the day were the multiple sightings of White-tailed Kites – this is the first time the Friday 1 team has seen this species from the Hill this season! The north quadrant had a period of heavy raptor activity early in the day. At one point, while looking towards Mt. Tam, a large kettle of eleven Turkey Vultures was spotted rising in the sky. Later on, an adult Red-shouldered Hawk was seen making its way across the Golden Gate, its red coloration standing out against the blue sky!

The Hill was not just full of birds today. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, many visitors came to the Hill to enjoy some time off with their loved ones! It was nice to see people taking advantage of the beautiful outdoors available to them on their day off. As we reach the end of the raptor migration season, we hope you join us (or consider joining us for the next season).

Hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 306
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 51
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 84
White-tailed Kite: 8
Northern Harrier: 21
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 45
Cooper's Hawk: 27
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 102
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 8
Raptor: 4

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, November 23, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Ashley Santiago

Happy Thanksgiving hawk lovers!

On this lovely Thanksgiving Day it appeared that all the raptors were preoccupied and unavailable for counting. Our first bird of the day was a juvenile Harrier, which was appropriately nicknamed a “lil' slice of pumpkin pie” just like the one so kindly shared on the Hill by our hawkwatchers. Can't wait for more slices of pie later this afternoon! Strangely, on this Turkey Day we saw zero Turkey Vultures - the domesticated kind will have to do!

So our hawkwatchers could spend more time with their loved ones, we ended the count at 12:30. During these three hours we had a total of 11 raptor sightings. This is potentially a new record for least amount of birds seen while on the Hill. However, we are thankful for our wonderful volunteers and the magnificent raptors that migrate through the Headlands!

Happy Thanksgiving! Hawkwatch out (for dinner)!

Total Sightings: 11
Hours Counted: 3
HPH: 3.67
Total Species: 3

Species Counts:
Northern Harrier: 3
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 6

Unidentified...
Falcon: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Lara Elmquist

Greetings readers!

We celebrated our final Wednesday 1 Hawkwatch day of the season through a count fueled by muffins and other tasty goods! It was mostly cloudy throughout the day with temperatures in the low to mid-sixties. Winds were solidly out of the north and northeast and picked up in the afternoon.

Most of our notable raptor sightings occurred in the morning. We saw two Merlins and one adult Peregrine within thirty minutes of the count. The Coop reportedly visiting multiple Hawkwatch teams the past few weeks was seen perched on Fish Rock once again. Besides those sightings, the usual assemblage of Turkey Vultures, accipiters, and Redtails were present mainly in the morning as well.

To end our day, southwestern clouds made a beautiful sunset color display-a bittersweet ending for this awesome team. It was a pleasure counting with Wednesday 1!

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 269
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 44.83
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 93
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 11
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 24
Cooper's Hawk: 17
Red-tailed Hawk: 104
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 7
Raptor: 7

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Laura Echavez

The Tuesday I team enjoyed lovely sunny weather and temperatures in the sixties, perfect for the food and festivities that marked the end of the migration season. It was a fairly windy day with wind speeds between 10-15 mph. We were greeted by an adult Peregrine waiting for us at the top of the Hill. Throughout the rest of the day we were visited by many Sharpies and Redtails making their way around the Headlands.

After lunch an unusual bird was spotted rising up from Kirby Cove. Shouts rang out from the Hill and interns jumped with joy. We watched this vision of beauty proceed towards the blinds and could not believe our eyes. ON THIS GLORIOUS TUESDAY WE WITNESSED HISTORY AS OUR PHENOMENAL BANDERS CAUGHT A FERRUGINOUS HAWK! This is the third Ferruginous ever banded at GGRO – an adult no less - and we could not be more excited and in awe!

We cannot think of a better way for this team to end the season and are so thankful to share exciting moments like this with our wonderful volunteers!

Check out our Ferruginous Hawk by following the link below!

https://flic.kr/p/21Fsi5Y


Total Sightings: 278
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 46.33
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 69
Northern Harrier: 19
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 43
Cooper's Hawk: 20
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Red-tailed Hawk: 115
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, November 20, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Danielle Husband

Happy last cycle hawkwatchers! Sadly, it is the beginning of the end of the season but we are still searching the skies for the last migrating raptors. It was overall a slow day with cloudy skies and temperatures in the high fifties to the mid-sixties throughout the day. Winds were mild and out of the southwest and brought light rain in the middle of the day. The cloudy skies created mesmerizing light around the Hill with patches of sunlight peeking through.

We saw a lot of perched raptors today in every quadrant – mostly Redtails and one Kestrel. We think this may have been due to the weather. Of the flying raptors, we mostly saw Redtails, Turkey Vultures, and Harriers. The most interesting sighting of the day was a distant juvenile dark morph Redtail that was completely dark on its underside.

Even with the low raptor activity, we enjoyed the company of the Monday I team during their last scheduled visit to the Hill of the season! We hope the skies stay dry in the days to come. Hawkwatch on!




Total Sightings: 122
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 20.33
Total Species: 6

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 32
Northern Harrier: 24
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 10
Cooper's Hawk: 10
Red-tailed Hawk: 41
American Kestrel: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 4

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, November 19, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist

Howdy readers!

Today marked another day in paradise up on the Hill. Temperatures remained in the fifties throughout the day and we enjoyed a nice southerly breeze. Conditions were clear and the hawkwatchers were ready to count!

The first five hours were marked by a steady stream of raptor sightings. Our highest count was between 11am to 12pm when we had 123 sightings. Accipiters were zooming left and right through our views as shouts of “Juv Sharpie coming your way!” and “Is that an adult Coop?” filled the air. Additionally, kettles of Redtails appeared seemingly out of nowhere and flooded the sky. At one point the hawkwatchers observed two adult Peregrines taking turns diving on a trespassing Redtail.

Then, as one hawkwatcher put it, “somebody turned off the raptor hose.” Our southerly wind died around 2pm and our sightings dropped. In our last 30 minutes of the count we only had three juvenile Harrier sightings; however, our team reminisced about the start of the season when even seeing one Harrier was exciting and new! We did use our last hour for good, however, as Hawkwatch became Baywatch and called in a stranded paddle boarder who was later picked up by the Coast Guard. Our hawkwatchers don't only look out for raptors up on the Hill!

Some exciting non-raptor sightings included a deer spending a good amount of time eating lichen off of Fish Rock. Later a raven perched there and our desperate hawkwatchers spent five minutes discussing what exactly it was eating. In the last 30 minutes we watched as a distant coyote took a snooze in the sunlight.

Overall, the day was great and the company even better. Now we begin the last cycle of Hawkwatch for the season and remain excited for the sightings yet to come.

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 416
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 69.33
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 87
Northern Harrier: 24
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 71
Cooper's Hawk: 43
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 171
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 6

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 5
Buteo: 2
Falcon: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, November 18, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Danielle Husband

Another beautiful day up on the Hill! The visibility was to the Farallons and beyond with temperatures staying around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. We had a good amount of wind coming from the northeast for most of the day. Raptor activity was high throughout the day except for a big slow down during the last hour of counting when the sun receded behind some clouds and the wind died down.

Today was another eleven species day, so it was a great day to see some amazing raptors! We were even greeted in the parking lot by a Peregrine Falcon flying close-in. Even though that is a pretty good way to start the day, things got even better. In the first hour of counting we had already seen nine species, including a Bald Eagle and a Golden Eagle! Even though the Golden Eagle was distant, we got a really good look at the juvenile Bald Eagle that started above Hill 88 then made its way around south quadrant and continued its migration south. It stayed in view for a significant period of time, allowing all of the hawkwatchers to admire it. Similar to yesterday, Sharpies seemed to be flying the same line through the valley, rising above rifle range, flying close in front of the hawkwatchers in north quadrant, and continuing their journey south toward the Golden Gate Bridge. We also got some good looks at some blue-backed raptors – adult male Merlins and adult accipiters. We saw three falcon species again today and continued to have higher accipiter numbers than the previous few days.

Hope the raptor flights continue to be abundant and diverse! Keep your eyes to the sky, there are raptors to watch! Hawkwatch on.


Total Sightings: 444
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 74
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 98
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 23
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 57
Cooper's Hawk: 36
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 180
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 4
Merlin: 9
Peregrine Falcon: 5

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 15
Buteo: 9
Falcon: 2
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, November 17, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Ashley Santiago

What a beautiful day on the Hill! It's hard to believe that just yesterday it was rainy and foggy but clouds were a rarity in the sky today! It was so clear that buildings could be made out on the Farallon Islands. The winds were finally coming from the north and the temperatures hovered around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The winds seemed to push the raptors to the ocean, forcing them to make their way inland on a line from Rodeo Beach to north quadrant. West quadrant enjoyed a nice parade of juvenile Redtails and Sharpies during the afternoon!

Even though today was abundant in Redtail sightings, it did not lack in diversity. We ended the day having seen 11 species! We saw both types of eagles (although distant looks), a plethora of accipiters, and three types of falcons. The Redtails themselves had some diversity too! We spotted a very dark adult Redtail that flew close-in to the Hill, a tiger-striped tailed adult, and a dark speckle-bellied juvenile. Unfortunately, we didn't see any Roughlegs but it did cause us to pay closer attention to the Redtails we were seeing and appreciate their individuality as well as their beauty. Today also marked the return of the juvenile Cooper's Hawk that frequents Fish Rock and supports us. She visits Fish Rock so often that she is starting to feel like part of our team!

Hope everyone enjoys that sunny days before the rains return! Happy Hawkwatching!




Total Sightings: 421
Hours Counted: 5.92
HPH: 71.11
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 68
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 29
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 49
Cooper's Hawk: 21
Red-shouldered Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 213
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 11
Buteo: 6
Raptor: 12

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, November 16, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Laura Echavez

Rain, rain, rain – that is all we saw today!

Unfortunately, the fog and drench levels kept us from the Hill and the general outdoors. Better forecast is on the horizon for the next couple of days, so let's hope we can get out and counting again; maybe we will finally see the much anticipated Rough-legged Hawk!

Cross your fingers and hope for clearer, drier skies. For now, hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Ashley Santiago

Greetings raptor enthusiasts!

It was a tad chilly and windy up on the Hill today. Although this proved to be a better outcome than expected, for we thought rain would keep us from counting.

Activity was rather low with a major drop off in numbers around 1pm. There was one raptor that helped us through the day and provided emotional support as we scanned helplessly for hawks. A juvenile Coop visited each quadrant as we tracked her perch to perch. This suspected lady sat on Fish Rock multiple times and gave us a good show. At one point the ravens chased her from her throne but she came back after a while (and after stooping on them a couple of times) and reigned supreme.

The Wednesday 2 team left the Hill dreaming of hot cocoa and warm baths but happy that the day proved better than expected.

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 125
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 20.83
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 25
Northern Harrier: 9
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 16
Cooper's Hawk: 9
Red-tailed Hawk: 51
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 5

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 3
Buteo: 2
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Kaitlin McGee

Howdy, readers!

One of the prettiest days on the Hill lately! Temperatures ranged from the mid-fifties to high-sixties with winds from the W, NE, and SW. Visibility was far-reaching, which was very helpful in tracking far-reaching raptors!

We saw some awesome raptors today! A few memorable sightings include, an adult Bald Eagle over the south platform, high in the sky; six Merlin sightings throughout the day; a Red-shouldered Hawk shooting down like an arrow into Kirby Cove; and one White-tailed Kite seen flying through east quadrant coasting north. As per usual, we saw the same slew of Redtails, but with a gorgeous rufous-morph sighting from north quadrant in the 11am to 12pm hour. Overall, we saw a total of 11 species!

The skies were clear, the raptors were beautiful (no surprise there!), and we were in good company. Safe to say we enjoyed our day on the Hill!



Total Sightings: 241
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 40.17
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 62
White-tailed Kite: 1
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 20
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 21
Cooper's Hawk: 12
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 106
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 6
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, November 13, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Ashley Santiago

Hello hawkwatchers!

Though our day was cut short by the rains at 1:15 PM, we were able to observe some thoroughly entertaining bird behavior. We were greeted on the Hill by a young female Cooper's Hawk who flew right over our heads and landed on the railing past the south platform. This Coop hung around for quite some time and eventually migrated to Fish Rock where she perched and posed for the hawkwatchers to admire. At one point, this spunky bird attempted to steal a mouse from a passing raven! She made multiple stoops, but ultimately the raven kept his snack to himself. Trouble seemed to follow the Coop as a juvenile Harrier chased her around south quadrant.

After the shenanigans were over, we mostly saw Redtails and Turkey Vultures. We watched the clouds approach with unease and prepared ourselves for the possibility of rain. Once it started sprinkling, we headed down as we did not want to get caught in a downpour.

It would seem the rainy season is upon us. Stay dry out there folks! Hawkwatch out!

Total Sightings: 128
Hours Counted: 3.75
HPH: 34.13
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 36
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 8
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 3
Cooper's Hawk: 5
Red-tailed Hawk: 64
American Kestrel: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2
Buteo: 3
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, November 12, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Lara Elmquist

Hi readers!

Today started off with clouds down at home base. As we arrived on the Hill, we were greeted with sunny, mostly clear skies. Temperatures were in the low to mid-sixties all day, with low highly variable winds.

Raptor activity was relatively steady throughout the day. Notable sightings include a total of six White-tailed Kite, two juvenile Bald Eagle, and one juvenile Ferruginous. One of the Bald Eagles flew in close by west quadrant and joined a Redtail circling out in the valley. Hawkwatchers were mesmerized by the size difference between these two raptors; the Eagle dwarfed our favorite buteo. We ran into a familiar Kestrel perched on the telephone poll by the Rifle Range as well. The Ferrug rose up in front of north quadrant and steadily made its way into the clouds. Three of our six White-tailed Kite sightings flew right over the Hill one after the other. Like ducks in a row!

What a beautiful, diverse raptor species day on the Hill! Thank you, Sunday 1 for a great day.


Total Sightings: 339
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 56.5
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 87
White-tailed Kite: 6
Bald Eagle: 2
Northern Harrier: 16
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 34
Cooper's Hawk: 9
Red-shouldered Hawk: 8
Red-tailed Hawk: 152
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 4
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 5

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 8
Buteo: 3
Falcon: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, November 11, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

Today was a beautiful day up on the Hill! Light fog graced the Hill when we arrived but it quickly dispersed to reveal sunny, partly cloudy skies. The temperatures were in the mid-sixties to start and warmed to the mid-seventies towards the end of the day. There was very light wind that was mostly coming from the east.

There was a nice raptor flight today dominated by Redtails and Turkey Vultures. We also saw quite a few Northern Harriers! A couple of unusual species were spotted today, including White-tailed Kites and American Kestrels. These small falcons have been regularly seen perching on the telephone pole next to the building on the rifle range and on the telephone wires! Some of the Kestrels seen today were hover-hunting on the hillsides without much success but providing a great view of this common behavior for this species.

Today was a total turnaround from yesterday and hopefully there are more days like today to come! Hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 372
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 62
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 94
White-tailed Kite: 2
Northern Harrier: 34
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 16
Cooper's Hawk: 10
Red-tailed Hawk: 197
American Kestrel: 7
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 3
Buteo: 4
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, November 10, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

What a strange day on Hawk Hill! Although we arrived at the same time as usual, after about thirty minutes we were driven off the Hill to seek shelter from the sudden rain. During our short time of counting, we spotted a total of eighteen raptors and we hoped to start the count again and spot some more. While waiting out the rain, the fog rolled in, taking away the possibility of any counting for the day.

Friday 1 team did not give us so easily though! We hoped the rain and the fog would pass through quickly as we watched raptor videos in the comfort of the office. However, we were not blessed with such luck! Later, we made a trip to the Annex for a final visibility check and realized that neither nemesis would recede.

The raptors are still making their way through the Headlands, so we are hoping to catch sight of them again soon – especially the sought after Rough-legged Hawk! Hopefully the fog and rain subside in the days to come so hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 18
Hours Counted: 0.5
HPH: 36
Total Species: 5

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 3
Northern Harrier: 1
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 11
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Buteo: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, November 09, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Lara Elmquist

Back by popular demand (just kidding, we were just fogged out), the interns have written another smash hit. Enjoy!

All Star - Intern Edition

Somebody once told me the hawks are gonna roll through
We have the sharpest eyes on the hill
We were looking at some sharpies or maybe at a coop for the shape of their tails and their wing beats

Well, the hawks start coming and we don't stop counting
Fall to the winter and we hit the ground running
Didn't make sense not to count for fun
Your brain gets smart but your neck gets numb
So much to count so much to see
So what's up with those wing beats
You'll never know if you don't check
It could be an eagle if you don't inspect

Hey now! You're a hawkwatcher get your binocs, go scan!
Hey now! You're a birder get the count on, get pumped!
And all that flitters are birds
Counting all these hawks is our goal

It's a foggy place and they say it gets foggier
You're bundled up now wait till it gets colder
Though the hawkwatchers may shiver
Cursing at the weather and the satellite picture
The raptor count is getting pretty slim
But the hawks are still coming through so we never give in
We don't tire, how about more?
That's the way the birds fly and we never get bored!

...Hawkwatch out!

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Lara Elmquist

Howdy readers!

Today was a cold and blustery fall day on the Hill. Temperatures were in the fifties and winds were from the south and southeast. Rain was viewable in the distance from both north and south quadrants and it sprinkled on us for a spell.

Raptor activity was low with 147 sightings. We hypothesized that this was due to the coming rain. Most activity was from Redtails, Harriers, and TVs.

Besides raptors, we saw Humpbacks in the Bay! Additionally, we spotted large amounts of Brown Pelicans and Common Murres feasting by the Gate.

Wednesday 1 persevered through the cold and saw some good sights on a slow day!

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 147
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 24.5
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 32
Northern Harrier: 13
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 5
Cooper's Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 85
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Buteo: 3
Falcon: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Laura Echavez and Lara Elmquist

It was another sunny and cool day up on Hawk Hill. The winds were coming from the Northeast, and the temperatures hovered around sixty degrees Fahrenheit. There was also a strong glare on the water coming from the shining sun, yet we were able to spot some playful Humpbacks surfacing by the Bay's entrance.

With a couple of Harlan's Redtails seen in the last few days, we were on the hunt and hoping to spot some. No such luck! Nevertheless, we spotted five dark morph juvenile Redtails and one very light adult that peaked our interest! Our special buteo sightings did not stop there. We saw an adult Ferruginous rise up from the west, showing off its beautiful rufous tones along its back. Towards the end of the day, we spotted another large bird – it was a Swainie! All on the Hill were excited and thankful for the close looks at both incredibly cool species.

Hawkwatch on and out!

Total Sightings: 326
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 54.33
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 80
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 21
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 25
Cooper's Hawk: 18
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 159
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 4
Merlin: 7
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 3
Buteo: 3
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, November 06, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Kaitlin McGee

Greetings readers!

It was a fair, sunny day on the Hill. Temperatures never broke 70 degrees Fahrenheit and winds never gusted past 5 mph until the afternoon. We saw western and northwestern winds appear after one pm. All in all, conditions were awesome for our hawkwatch team.

As far as raptor sightings are concerned, it was yet again Redtail central in the skies. Not to mention “neck-craning” central, as we all scoured the fifth quadrant “cloud castle” for raptors on the move. Besides our friendly Redtail visitors, including a few dark morph birds, the typical accipiter selection of Sharpies and Coops were far fewer than the past few Hawkwatch days-a sign of a final Redtail-dominant migratory push. Today was a nice Northern Harrier day, as we spotted juveniles left and right moving through the Hills or across the skies. Our day would not be complete without a few notable falcon sightings, including Peregrines and Merlins on the move!

Thanks to Monday 1 for another fun day on the Hill! Hawkwatch on.


Total Sightings: 276
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 46
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 55
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 24
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 10
Cooper's Hawk: 14
Red-tailed Hawk: 157
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 5

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 3
Buteo: 3
Falcon: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, November 05, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist

Howdy readers!

Today was a beautiful and clear day for the Sunday 2 team! After getting an extra hour of sleep, we were all ready to get up on the Hill to count. We had a slightly chilly morning with temps in the low fifties. Winds were fairly slow and mostly coming from the northwest.

Our morning began with high Peregrine activity; a total of five were spotted before 11am and our total for the day was ten. Falcon activity continued to peak our interest, with fourteen Merlin and two male Kestrel sightings total.

Other notable highlights for the day included one juvenile Ferrug that flew over our heads and showed us its white belly. We also saw a juvenile Harlan's Redtail fly overhead; its coloration was a beautiful coal black. ‘Tis the season of high Redtail activity; in total we had 243 sightings. To end our day, an adult male Harrier hunted the hillside in front of north quadrant.

Some exciting non-raptor sightings included Humpback Whales and porpoises in the Bay! Overall, the Sunday 2 team had another great day on the Hill.

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 446
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 74.33
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 100
Northern Harrier: 23
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 14
Cooper's Hawk: 18
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 243
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 14
Peregrine Falcon: 10

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 11
Buteo: 6
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, November 04, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Danielle Husband

The day started off with the Hill encapsulated in fog and temperatures in the mid-50s. Even though the fog lifted around 10 AM, there was minimal raptor activity. When the sun started shining, the raptors started flying. The day seemed to lull until someone from the west quadrant yelled “We have a Ferrug over here!” (the easiest way to wake up any hawkwatcher). The Ferruginous Hawk was circling low over the Rifle Range and gave us a great view of its “three points of light.” After that, the day seemed to pick up as we started seeing more raptors and more species. We saw many Harriers and Redtails but there was a surprisingly low amount of accipiter and vulture sightings. By the end of the day, the hills were peppered with Redtails, putting our hawkwatchers' tracking and passing skills to the test.

The highlight of the day was seeing two Bald Eagles, one adult and one subadult. Even though the adult was a far sighting over Alcatraz, the subadult flew closer to the Hill making its way through north quadrant. Along with the Ferrug, the other exciting species we got a close view of were Peregrines and Merlins. A pair of adult Peregrines rose up close to us on the north platform, giving us a show, and quite a few Merlins flew right over us.

We were glad the weather turned around and we had a productive day counting raptors! Hawkwatch on!




Total Sightings: 274
Hours Counted: 5.25
HPH: 52.19
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 34
Bald Eagle: 2
Northern Harrier: 21
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 13
Cooper's Hawk: 13
Red-tailed Hawk: 175
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
Merlin: 5
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 5
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, November 03, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Ashley Santiago

Hello there hawk admirers!

We ventured up the Hill today hoping to count some raptors before getting rained out. Clouds rolled in from beyond Mt. Tam, but then passed over us without a drop. Instead of rain, we were cut short by heavy fog a little before 3 PM. It seems the hawks also anticipated inclement weather and perhaps hunkered down instead of flying by the Hill for us to count them. Our raptor sightings were lower than the past few days, giving us time to intermittently whale watch. What appeared to be an animated Humpback Whale entertained us by half breaching out of the water in a dramatic fashion.

We were primarily visited by Redtails and Turkey Vultures, a few of which decided to hang out with us for quite some time. In fact, one young Redtail stilled in over the south platform for most of the day. A pair of Turkey Vultures also decided to take a break to preen on a nearby rock in west quadrant.

Thank you to our visitors from the VA who kept us company and talked raptors with us this morning! We always appreciate the added enthusiasm and curiosity!

Stay dry this weekend and hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 181
Hours Counted: 5
HPH: 36.2
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 71
White-tailed Kite: 2
Northern Harrier: 14
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 5
Cooper's Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 84
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, November 02, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Laura Echavez

An amazing day for the Thursday II hawkwatch team! Although the forecast predicted a foggy day, we had beautiful and clear skies atop the Hill with temperatures reaching the high 60s! The winds were not too strong but they brought us many wonderful sightings nonethelesss.

The magical hour was between one and two in the afternoon. The hour started off with a breathtaking view of a White-tailed Kite that arose from Mt. Tam and circled above us before making its way across the Bay! Soon after, a large and dark bird flew past Angel Island and towards Slacker Hill - it was a subadult Bald Eagle! Just when we thought the day could not get any more exciting, two more sightings filled our eyes with joy. An adult Swainie joined a kettle of Redtails and Turkey Vultures along Slacker Hill. Last, but not least, an adult Harlan's Redtail was spotted by the north quadrant! Luckily, we had reviewed the unusual morph during our morning meeting and were euphoric that our lesson reinforced our skills that allowed us to properly identify it!

The days are getting shorter and colder, but we are excited for the increasing diversity still to come! Hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 408
Hours Counted: 5.83
HPH: 69.98
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 119
White-tailed Kite: 1
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 17
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 38
Cooper's Hawk: 23
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 190
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 6
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 4
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Lara Elmquist

Hello enraptured readers!

Today was a sunny day with ominous fog threatening to invade the Headlands. We were worried our day might be cut short, but the weather was on our side (for once!). The north wind pushed the encroaching fog south to the city, leaving our views clear. Temperatures remained in the pleasant mid-sixties and there was a slight breeze throughout the day.

Today was another great falcon day with a total of three male Kestrel, twelve Merlin, and six Peregrine sightings! Our banders picked up a suspected Peale's Peregrine that perched in front of north quadrant for the hawkwatchers to admire. The skies were alive with the flight of Merlins! These tiny tyrants harassed all raptors in their path.

It seems as though Redtail activity is increasing as we approach our second Redtail peak. In total, there were 175 sightings, including four dark morphs. Several large kettles of Redtails formed and then reformed in west quadrant at different points in the day.

Our Wednesday II team was incredibly grateful for the retreat of the fog and the stellar raptor activity today! Happy hawkwatching!


Total Sightings: 348
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 58
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 56
Northern Harrier: 10
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 53
Cooper's Hawk: 28
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 175
American Kestrel: 3
Merlin: 12
Peregrine Falcon: 6

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez and Danielle Husband

This is hawkwatch Tuesday II team reporting from Hawk Hill on a sunny Halloween day!

We had a spooky start to our day as we spotted a "Grey Ghost" haunting the hills! Ghosts were not the only things seen on the Hill - we had many pumpkins floating past our heads as juvenile Northern Harriers made their way south and across the Golden Gate Bridge. In addition, not unlike bats, many Merlins dashed across the skies with pointed wings and determination throughout the day. A flash of gold also caught our sight as a Golden Eagle appeared and disappeared behind Mt. Tam mid-afternoon. Another mystical apparition glossed through the north quadrant when a White-tailed Kite was carried by the westerly winds.

The hawkwatchers were in a Halloween spirit and showed up in costume! A ladybug, a White-tailed Kite, a Bald Eagle, a Freudian slip, a Star Trek crew woman, and the Marin Headlands infamous five-minute tunnel all made an appearance! Overall, a fun time on the Hill. We remain hopeful to be the first team to spot a Rough-legged Hawk, but for now, Happy Halloween and hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 401
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 66.83
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 133
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 20
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 51
Cooper's Hawk: 33
Red-shouldered Hawk: 4
Red-tailed Hawk: 133
Golden Eagle: 1
Merlin: 11
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 4
Buteo: 1
Falcon: 2
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, October 30, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Ashley Santiago

When arriving at the Hill in the morning, hawkwatchers bundled up in all of the layers they brought, hoping that it was enough to keep them warm. The temperature started in the mid-50s and warmed up into the mid-60s by the end of the day, but it was the wind that concerning. We were lucky we weren't blown off the Hill with gusts over thirty miles per hour, but hawkwatchers weren't the only ones struggling to stay upright! Sharpies were being blown backwards... or were they showing us their best in-flight moon walk? Who's to say?

Unlike the hawkwatchers, the falcons seemed to love the wind. The day was dominated by zooming Merlins and circling Peregrines, which concluded with a 2-on-1 Peregrine Falcon battle royale between two adults and a juvenile above south platform. We could even hear their fierce battle squeaks! The other excitement of the day was buteo in nature. We spotted two Ferruginous Hawks which graced us with their presence. The first one was a juvenile that performed a victory lap over our heads and around the Hill. The second Ferruginous Hawk stayed at a distance around Slacker Hill and showed rufous tones in its tail, indicating that it was an adult! In other buteo news, we saw the darkest of dark morph Redtails. This juvenile was such a solid chocolatey brown that it almost looked black like a Turkey Vulture.

It was worth braving the powerful winds on the Hill to see some amazing raptors! Hawkwatch on!



Total Sightings: 369
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 61.5
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 59
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 13
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 60
Cooper's Hawk: 32
Red-tailed Hawk: 170
Ferruginous Hawk: 2
American Kestrel: 3
Merlin: 7
Peregrine Falcon: 11

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 7
Raptor: 4

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, October 29, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist

Howdy readers!

The Sunday 1 team was dismayed to see fog as they arrived in the Marin Headlands this morning. We walked around the Lagoon, part of the Miwok Trail and stopped by the Visitor Center. We saw a juvenile Redtail perched on a telephone pole outside of the Visitor Center. As we watched the raptor through our binoculars, it devoured a small rodent bit by bit. How appetizing! Later, it was chased off by a couple of particularly upset crows.

At the Lagoon we saw a variety of water birds, such as Western Grebes, Ring-necked Ducks, Eared Grebes, American Wigeons, Surf Scoters, and more!

On our walk along the Miwok we watched a female Kestrel hover hunt but besides this brave sole there was little raptor activity.

We then traveled to the Annex in hopes that the Hill would clear. However, the fog continued to sock us in and we called it a day. Hoping for some better luck next cycle!

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, October 28, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

Today we were welcomed on the Hill by a very dense fog inversion layer. With barely the tip of the North tower on the Golden Gate Bridge visible and a couple of delays due to the fog, we started our count a bit later than usual.

Although we only had 139 sightings, we got to see some raptors up close. One of the first sightings of the day was an adult Peregrine that flew right across our north and east quadrants and headed towards the City. Throughout our short time on the Hill, we also experienced a small flurry of Sharpies, some of which were adults!

After battling the fog for visibility all day, it eventually enveloped the Hill, abruptly ending our count for the day. However, before leaving, we spotted a young couple on a picnic overlooking the Golden Gate that ended in a proposal! As the young woman said yes, shouts of joy and a standing ovation greeted the couple and they parted from the Hill. In the same spot a couple of hours earlier, a talented violinists was recording her music, filling our ears with joy. Overall, an exciting, yet strange, day on Hawk Hill!

Hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 139
Hours Counted: 3.5
HPH: 39.71
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 26
Northern Harrier: 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 37
Cooper's Hawk: 21
Red-tailed Hawk: 27
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 6
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 10
Buteo: 2
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, October 27, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

Another warm day on Hawk Hill. Although the temperatures were predicted to cool down from the last couple of days, we reached 89 degrees Farenheit during the hottest hour. The wind did not join us on our count today; still, some raptors were seen by the Friday I team!

Despite the slow raptor traffic (even the Turkey Vultures were absent for the first half of the day), we had a few interesting sightings on the Hill. We spotted fourteen falcons throughout the day, all making a speedy trek across the Headlands. We were also joined by two school groups who were learning about raptors through our Migratory Story Program in partnership with the Crissy Field Center - both fifth graders and high school students alike were delighted to catch a glimpse of the migrating raptors flying overhead.

Towards the end of the day, a rare individual was spotted by the north quadrant. A male Northern Harrier, a.k.a. a Grey Ghost, was hugging the ground while hunting! Unlike the juvenile and the female Harriers, the males have a striking grey plumage both on their backs and across the bellies, thus their nickname.

In other news, we saw 2,755 Band-tailed Pigeons! Although peak migration is nearing its end, many raptors are still being spotted. We await the coming of the next round of Redtails and more adult raptors migrating through!

Hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 229
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 38.17
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 60
Northern Harrier: 6
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 56
Cooper's Hawk: 33
Broad-winged Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 44
American Kestrel: 3
Merlin: 7
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 11
Buteo: 1
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, October 26, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Lara Elmquist

Hello raptor enthusiasts!

The high morning winds continued and once again we were welcomed to the Hill by our two adult Peregrines! The heat also persisted with temperatures in the eighties and winds consistently coming from the northeast.

Rising up from the Golden Gate was a picturesque Osprey that made its way to Hawk Hill and flew right over south quadrant! This wasn't the only bird to strain our necks in the fifth quadrant today. We were joined on the Hill by some close flying Redtails, Coops, Sharpies, Merlins, some playful Peregrines, and a lovely White-tailed kite. The close-up details were worth the neck pain! Not only did we see our fair share of juvenile Harriers, but we also spotted the whole family – an adult female and an adult male Harrier!

Another spectacular sight appeared from just beyond the Golden Gate in the afternoon. Hundreds of Band-tailed Pigeons formed a spiraling pigeon tornado several stories high! It was quite a breathtaking sight to see!

Late in the afternoon as the flow of raptor sightings began to slow down, a dark morph Broadwing circled above the north tower of the Golden Gate. This chocolate chunk caused quite a stir on the Hill as it is a little late in the season for Broadwings. We didn't mind the surprise straggler one bit!

It was a busy late season day on the Hill and we couldn't be happier!

Hawkwatch out!


Total Sightings: 470
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 78.3
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 146
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 5
Northern Harrier: 21
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 68
Cooper's Hawk: 29
Red-shouldered Hawk: 6
Broad-winged Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 151
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 11
Peregrine Falcon: 13

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 9
Falcon: 3
Raptor: 4

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Lara Elmquist

Greetings!

Today was a hot day on the Hill with temperatures reaching 86 degrees Fahrenheit by 1pm. Winds were out of the northeast, but not gusty for very long, if at all. Visibility was good. The Farallon Islands were seen during the latter half of the day.

Here are some memorable moments among our 417 raptor-sightings!

-A beautiful juvenile Golden Eagle spotted by intern, Lara, under the Golden Gate! You could clearly see the three points of light (two on either wing, one on the tail).
-Dark morph Redtails, two juveniles and one adult spotted today. Can never forget a “chocolate” bird!
-A nice Merlin flyby overhead with accompanying sightings at greater distances later on.


Here are some additional memorable moments from our 2,813 passerine -sightings!

-A whopping 2,625 Band-tailed Pigeons! Enough said.
- One-hundred and twenty Cackling Geese doing some serious cackling under the Gate this morning! HA!

Overall, it was a warm, but productive Hawkwatch day!

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 417
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 69.5
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 136
Northern Harrier: 11
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 69
Cooper's Hawk: 27
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Red-tailed Hawk: 149
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 11
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017  
Posted by: Laura Echavez and Lara Elmquist and Ashley Santiago

Howdy, readers!

Today was a very windy day on the Hill, with gusts in the high 20s - pushing our hawkwatchers and hawks alike all around the Hill, setting them off to a great day of counting. Not unlike recent days, we were greeted by a pair of adult Peregrines. Falcons excel in high winds like these-- by the end of the day we saw four Merlins and one male Kestrel.

As the day went on, the winds died down and the temperatures heated up to the mid 80s. However, this did not stop the raptor sightings. Today was filled with adult accipiters; we saw a total of twenty-six individuals. Other highlights included one juvenile Swainie that rose up and gave a delightful suprise to those in the north quadrant and a White-tailed Kite that flew by close. A lot of Northern Harriers have been making their way over to the Hill and today was no exception! We saw a total of eleven individuals.

Birds weren't the only thing kiting today, for we saw ballooning spiders sailing with the wind and reaching great heights! A fun fact about these spiders is that their flight can take them up to Mt. Everest, a feat which few people can accomplish!

Overall, a successful day was had by all on the Tuesday 1 team. Hoping for more fun days to come.

Hawkwatch on.

Total Sightings: 357
Hours Counted: 5.92
HPH: 60.3
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 114
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 11
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 68
Cooper's Hawk: 23
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 114
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 7

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 12

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, October 23, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Danielle Husband

Today was another beautiful day on the Hill! In the morning, the wind was blustery and reached up to 18 miles per hour. The sun was shining bright all day so after the wind died down it started to heat up, eventually reaching a high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Visibility was exceptionally clear and there wasn't a cloud in the sky, perfect for spotting raptors.

Today's notable sightings included many adult accipiters and juvenile Harriers. We even saw a juvenile Sharpie and an adult Sharpie flying together – perfect for comparing the plumage differences of the two! If you are on the Hill, make sure to look out for the blue back and orange barring on the belly of those adult accipiters. Orange can also be spotted on juvenile Harriers that have solid orange underparts. Throughout the day, they were combing the hillsides for a tasty snack! Additionally, two Merlins flew over the Hill together in the afternoon, giving hawkwatchers a close look at these fast falcons.

Looking forward to more beautiful days to come!

Hawkwatch on.




Total Sightings: 261
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 43.5
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 70
Northern Harrier: 12
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 36
Cooper's Hawk: 34
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 92
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 4
Buteo: 3
Eagle: 1
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, October 22, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist

Howdy readers!

There wasn't a cloud in the sky today on the Hill! Conditions were fairly still, with wind coming from the North and temperatures in the sixties. The Sunday 2 team was excited to see some raptors and with snacks in tow we were ready to count.

We had two great views of Peregrines today. One adult flew right over our heads and we got a great look at its muttonchops. Later in the day, a juvenile Peregrine made several dives right in front of the north quadrant. While on the topic of falcons, we also saw three Merlins today! One of these speedy falcons zoomed up from the west quadrant and raced through our view.

Other great sights today included two White-tailed Kites and one Ferrug. The Kite fluttered up from Slacker Hill while the juvenile Ferrug rose up before our eyes in the west and north quadrants.

All in all, another great Sunday! Our banding docent gave a wonderful talk and showed a female Coop to a large crowd of visitors. Next weekend is the last Hawk Talk and Raptor Release of the season so make sure to stop by the Hill!

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 345
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 57.5
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 136
White-tailed Kite: 2
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 27
Cooper's Hawk: 30
Red-shouldered Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 121
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 6
Buteo: 3
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, October 21, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Kaitlin McGee

Greetings readers!

It was a fair day on the Hill to count raptors! The weather was literally the best we have had in a while - no joke! The temperature reached 71.1 degrees Fahrenheit at 3pm with light winds mainly from the north and southeast. The sun was shining with blue skies about-quite a contrast from our smoky and foggy days recently!

We saw 317 raptor individuals from the Hill today. Early on, east quadrant spotted an adult Red-shouldered Hawk coasting down the hill towards Kirby Cove. What a sight it was! We could clearly see the russet red shoulders, beautiful checkboard wings, and striped tail. After several moments of awe over the beauty that is Red-shoulder Hawks, we happened upon our usual assemblage of Turkey Vultures, accipiters, and Red-tailed Hawks. An interesting note of the day was seeing all three subspecies (Prairie, Taiga, Black) of Merlin from the Hill. If you get a chance, have a look at those plumage color differences between the three. Seeing a Black Merlin was a great sight as we generally see more Prairie and Taiga around.

A humorous moment on the Hill occurred in the late afternoon with a silly juvenile Redtail. This individual picked up what appeared to be a snake right beyond Fish Rock. After further study, the snake turned out to be a stick! A really snake-like stick, if we might add. Funny moment!

This is the second of the last week of Hawktalks and Raptor Release programs on the Hill. Come check out our final programs of this season tomorrow, next weekend, or both! Today there was a class from the Golden Gate Audubon to enjoy our programs and see hawks. Happy to have you all out!

Hawkwatch on.


Total Sightings: 315
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 52.83
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 87
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 29
Cooper's Hawk: 42
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Red-tailed Hawk: 133
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 4

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, October 20, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Kaitlin McGee

Hello fellow bird nerds!

On this lovely Friday we were greeted by thick fog on the Hill that made it difficult to see north from south quadrant. This delayed our start time by forty minutes, but the conditions quickly shifted to quite clear views and mild temperatures in the sixties. As the fog was rolling out, we noticed an upwelling of bugs from the ground in east quadrant. Termites took flight and twinkled in the light streaming through the clouds, providing an astounding view (or horrifying depending on your feelings about insect swarms) in front the Golden Gate. After some time, their wings fell off and ants could be seen hauling the wings away into their homes. The termites also were a tasty snack for swooping White-throated Swifts. Anyway, let's talk raptors.

The first hour was dominated by Harriers, Peregrines, and, of course, Turkey Vultures (those wobbly rascals)! Shout out to south quadrant for spotting some of our more exciting views of the day, including a Peregrine in hot pursuit of a juvenile Harrier! This Peregrine met up with their partner in crime (their mate) above the platform in south quadrant and hung out while hawkwatchers looked on in awe. We were also revisited by our color-banded juvenile Redtail that is frequently seen hovering incredibly close to hawkwatchers on the Hill. We were able to read the band and identify this bird as the same one that enjoys playing with sticks. This time he was joined by another color-banded juvenile Redtail with matching lavender legwear.

We have some lovely weather in the forecast this week, so why not join us and the birds on Hawk Hill?


Total Sightings: 217
Hours Counted: 5.33
HPH: 40.71
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 76
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 13
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 14
Cooper's Hawk: 23
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 75
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 8

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, October 19, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist

Howdy readers!

Today we were unable to count do to the fog but we did welcome the much needed moisture in the air. The Thursday 2 team started the morning with a walk along the Miwok Trail where we saw Redtails, a juvenile Harrier, and two juvenile Coops.

We then ventured up to the Annex where we observed some interesting raptor interactions. We watched as two adult Retails chase off other hawks, including Redtails and one Redshoulder. One of the chased off Redtails was then stooped on by a Sharpie. What a bad day for that fella! Additionally, we got to see a juvenile Harrier hunting the hillside right before our eyes. A few accipiters flew through, including an adult Sharpie. We could see its rufous belly even in the fog.

Although we wished we could get up to the Hill, the Thursday 2 team managed to see some exciting birds today!

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Lara Elmquist

Greetings raptor fans!

After the toasty conditions of late we were “happy” to see our old pal Karl the Fog. We decided to go up to the Hill, but we soon discovered the fog had consumed all quadrants save one patch of blue in the 5th quadrant above our heads. The team hunkered down and shared bird tales while we waited for improved visibility. The fog came in and out much like the tides on the shore, taunting us with momentary blue skies and views of the headlands. Due to the strange conditions we were only able to count for 3.75 hours before we were completely socked in.

During these clear windows of time we were able to get up to ten species in our short day of counting! Shout out to the Wednesday II team for sticking it out in the cold fog and keeping their eyes on the prize (the prize being some good looking birds). And what stunning birds we had!

As we had our binoculars locked on a Coop, out of the fog appeared a feisty Merlin who pounced on the unsuspecting accipiter. The Merlin fled the scene and disappeared back from whence it came. Intern Lara observed, “the Merlin made a stoopy stoop on that Coopy Coop.” So true, Lara, so true.

Before the fog overtook us, we saw one final handsome bird. Out above the rifle range the team noticed an unusual buteo. We observed the darkness of the flight feathers and pointed wing shape. After the oohs and ahs subsided, we added one juvenile Swainson's Hawk to our list!

Although we did not count for the full six hours, the Wednesday II team managed to pull together a pretty great list of raptor species. Go team!

Hawkwatch out!


Total Sightings: 45
Hours Counted: 3.75
HPH: 12
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 12
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 14
Cooper's Hawk: 2
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 5
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband

Greetings readers!

The day started out hazy, as a lack of wind kept the smoke layer low. Temperatures reached the low 80's and high 70's throughout the morning and early afternoon. Visibility was low in all quadrants for the duration of our half-day count. Yet again, the smoke levels reached a point of no return, ending our day around 1:30pm.

Today, we witnessed both hazy, far away and close-by raptor sightings. The usual assemblage of Turkey Vultures, Red-tailed Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper's Hawk were seen. All of our common raptorial stars had lower counts than usual. We saw a number of Harriers showing off juvenile pumpkin belly plumage. A White-tailed Kite was seen flying through north quadrant around noon, which was a great sight as well. On the falcon front, one Merlin and one Peregrine Falcon were spotted. The true bird stars of the day (emphasis on the plural of stars!) are the mighty Band-tailed Pigeon totaling 1,908 individuals. Go pigeons!

On a different note, leaving the Hill early is a bummer, as it usually is due to conditions beyond our humanly control. On days like today, I find myself feeling extremely thankful for our amazing Hawkwatch teams, with such dedication and obvious excitement for counting raptors, as well as the countless raptor views during fall migration.

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 146
Hours Counted: 3.75
HPH: 38.93
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 37
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 11
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 46
Cooper's Hawk: 14
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 24
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 9

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, October 16, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Kaitlin McGee

When we first made it up to the Hill we thought it was going to be another blustery day in which we would have to keep a sharp eye on our scopes lest they topple off the Hill. But boy, were we wrong. By the afternoon the winds completely dropped off and it got toasty on the Hill with temperatures reaching 81 degrees Fahrenheit. We went from trying to keep our binoculars steady to trying to keep them from getting sweaty!

We were greeted in the morning by two adult Peregrines that were uncharacteristically hanging out above our heads (instead of the usual acrobatic diving on other birds in the distance). We were also treated to some great looks of adult Coops and Sharpies who were showing off their blue-gray backs and rufous bellies. Two Redshoulders playfully flew past the Hill and their wing crescents matched the smiles of the hawkwatchers admiring their presence. The raptor activity in the afternoon slowed down, but the mystical afternoon Merlin we spotted sure didn't.

We were happy to be up on the Hill today and hope that conditions continue to improve. Keep your eyes to the sky because the raptors are flying high!


Total Sightings: 281
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 46.83
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 114
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 6
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 37
Cooper's Hawk: 27
Red-shouldered Hawk: 6
Red-tailed Hawk: 75
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 5

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2
Buteo: 1
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, October 15, 2017  
Posted by: Lara El

The Sunday 1 team was delighted to be able to go up on the Hill today. The winds were fierce as we walked up but conditions were clear throughout the day. Gusts were nearly 30 mph as the day started but slowed down as the count went on.

The first sights of the day were two adult Peregrines braving the wind. They looked as if they were flying backwards as they fought to stay afloat. Around noon everyone had their eyes on a juvenile Golden Eagle that steadily made its way through the west and north quadrants. Around this time we also saw two White-tailed Kites soar across the sky. Today was also a good day for dark morphs; we saw two adult and two juvenile Redtails.

Various songbirds are also migrating through the Headlands. Our Band-tailed Pigeon count got up to 631 and we spotted other migratory passerines such as Yellow-rumped Warblers, Cedar Waxwings, and Lesser Goldfinches.
We are all happy that the smoke subsided today and are still sending good thoughts to those affected by the fires.

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 399
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 66.5
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 146
White-tailed Kite: 3
Northern Harrier: 13
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 35
Cooper's Hawk: 40
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Broad-winged Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 121
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 5

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 19
Buteo: 2
Falcon: 2
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, October 14, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

Another day under Unhealthy air conditions due to the Sonoma/Napa fires, according to the EPA. As a result, we are still on shutdown and hawkwatching activities are cancelled for the day.

Stay safe and try to stay indoors while the conditions last. We hope the situation improves as we continue to keep those affected by the fires in our thoughts.

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, October 13, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee

The hawkwatch count is still shut down due to low air quality. All outdoor volunteer activities in the GGNRA lands affected by the smoke have been cancelled through Saturday. We will be reassessing the situation on Sunday and may be resuming the count then.

In the meantime, we are staying indoors as much as possible and keeping all those affected by the fire in our thoughts.

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, October 12, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago

The air quality was too poor to risk putting volunteers out in the field today. We are continuing to monitor the air quality closely and will resume counts as soon as it is safe for our staff and volunteers.

Please stay safe and avoid prolonged exposure to this smoky air. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the fires.

Hawkwatch out.

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017  
Posted by: Allen Fish

Regarding North Bay fires and smoke:
Changing winds from NE yesterday to NW today pushed much of the smoke from the Marin Headlands today, allowing us to do a hawk count. Given the changing winds and continued actively burning areas, smoke conditions, and air health will be a daily decision for GGRO staff and volunteers for the coming days and perhaps weeks. Visitors should make their own decisions about the constantly changing air conditions also weighing in their own vulnerability to smoke. Please do not call the GGRO for conditions. Conditions are highly variable on a micro-geographic level.

The hawk flight was high up and diverse in species today. Some of the best counts and views of Northern Harriers this season. A close-up juvenile Ferruginous Hawk soaring just above some 30 juv Turkey Vultures was particularly impressive. Six Merlins, 4 kites, two Brodies, and two Swainies rounded out the unusual species.

Sending good thoughts to all our raptor colleagues in the North Bay.

Total Sightings: 393
Hours Counted: 5.25
HPH: 74.86
Total Species: 13

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 139
White-tailed Kite: 4
Northern Harrier: 17
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 68
Cooper's Hawk: 53
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Broad-winged Hawk: 2
Swainson's Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 80
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 6
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 11
Buteo: 2
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Ashley Santiago

Today the National Parks Service notified us of the bad air quality so to ensure the health and safety of our volunteers and staff we were unable to count today.

We are all keeping those affected by the fires in our thoughts and thanking both the firefighters and everyone who has helped those in need. We will continue to monitor air quality in the Headlands and resume our count as soon as it is safe.

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, October 09, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Danielle Husband

Today was a strange smoky day on the Hill. The day started off with a particularly orange sunrise and campfire air due to multiple wildfires up north. When we first made it to the Hill there was low visibility but nothing could stop our Saturday I team as we all dawned facemasks and grabbed our binoculars. When the wind picked up later in the day it began to clear and the air quality improved! The sun was also shining causing the temperatures to rise to a high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit at 2:00 PM. But even with all the haze we were still able to spot raptors!

Some notable sightings from today were three close-by adult Peregrines that circled the Hill and a White-tailed Kite that almost passed overhead. We also spotted a few juvenile Redshoulders and Harriers. Other than that, we mostly saw the usual accipiters, Redtails, and Turkey Vultures with most of the raptor activity occurring from 10am-2pm with a slow down at the end of the day.

The raptors are still migrating, so we're still watching! Hawkwatch on!



Total Sightings: 244
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 40.67
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 84
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 35
Cooper's Hawk: 35
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 69
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 8
Buteo: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, October 08, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist

Hello readers! Happy Fleet Week! Today was a clear, sunny, and beautiful day up on the Hill. Temperatures were in the high 70s with little wind coming mostly from the North. Overall today was a fabulous day with thirteen species and a lot of exciting sights.

Besides various planes to keep us busy, we had a good flow of raptors today with 89 HPH. We saw three White-tailed Kites today, all of which flew in close and looked incredibly angelic. Another highlight of the day was a juvenile Ferrug that flew in from the Lagoon and crossed all the way to the tip of Slacker Hill. Everyone was in awe over our favorite big white buteo.

West quadrant spotted a buteo take off from its perch and immediately clash with a Redtail. After further inspection, this mysterious buteo turned out to be a juvenile Swainson's! It showed us its pointed, long wings and dark flight feathers and then we knew. Today also gifted us with a lot of Harriers; we ended the day with a total of twenty-six, including one adult female. Another fun (and adorable) sight of the day was a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher getting chased by a Vanessa butterfly.

Although no planes unearthed any Short-eared Owls like they did on Thursday 2, we had a great and exciting day on the Hill.

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 539
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 89.83
Total Species: 13

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 107
White-tailed Kite: 3
Northern Harrier: 26
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 87
Cooper's Hawk: 88
Red-shouldered Hawk: 8
Broad-winged Hawk: 11
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 153
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 10
Merlin: 5
Peregrine Falcon: 5

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 19
Buteo: 6
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 8

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, October 07, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Danielle Husband

Today was a slow day but we saw some amazing raptors and planes! The day started off with little to no wind and a temperature of 83 degrees. We were preparing for another very hot day, but fortunately the wind picked up from the west around 1:00 PM to cool us off and send some raptors our way! Unfortunately, there wasn't a high amount of raptor activity but we did see eleven species and witness some fun occurrences.

One occurrence happened while watching a perched Cooper's Hawk. It took flight and chased after a rabbit! We didn't see the outcome of this encounter, but it was exciting to see anyway! We also came across a pesky scrub-jay that swiped a cookie from the hawkwatch snack cache behind our backs. It sure looked cute munching on an owl-shaped cookie! And lastly, we saw almost 600 Band-tailed Pigeons migrating across the sky in flocks.

Similar to yesterday, military planes were flying over our heads in celebration of Fleet Week! But surprisingly, we weren't joined by the mass number of onlookers that have shown up on this day in the past. Nonetheless, we enjoyed each other's company on a day full of hawkwatching fun!



Total Sightings: 291
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 48.5
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 96
Northern Harrier: 11
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 46
Cooper's Hawk: 55
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Broad-winged Hawk: 4
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 59
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 11
Buteo: 1
Falcon: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, October 06, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Ashley Santiago

What a beautiful day! The sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in sight! The temperature slowly climbed to about 87 degrees Fahrenheit with only a slight breeze to cool us off a bit. The birds were feeling the heat too as the flight picked up later in the day. The highlight of the day was the appearance of three Golden Eagles! We spotted two juveniles and one adult throughout the day. The juveniles were bright and shiny with their young brown and white feathers and the adult was chocolatey brown, all showing off their namesake golden napes. We also saw White-tailed Kites sail across the south quadrant on their way to the city! Later in the day, the hawkwatchers were treated to a new kind of bird in the sky - the super-fast blue and yellow type. The Blue Angels showed us their best Merlin impression with their quick and coordinated maneuvers! But even with all the excitement, there were still raptors to be seen.

Overall, this toasty day produced some great hawkwatching and thrilling views. Happy Fleet Week and keep your eyes to the skies for raptors and planes!


Total Sightings: 340
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 56.67
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 84
White-tailed Kite: 2
Northern Harrier: 22
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 62
Cooper's Hawk: 65
Red-shouldered Hawk: 8
Broad-winged Hawk: 4
Red-tailed Hawk: 62
Golden Eagle: 3
Merlin: 6

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 13
Buteo: 2
Raptor: 7

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, October 05, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Laura Echavez

What a slow start to the day! For the first three hours up on the Hill we barely counted 120 raptors. The sun was beating down on us and there was no relief from the heat due to the nonexistent winds - but we remained resilient. After noon, activity picked up a bit, and aside from the usual suspects we also observed some Redshoulders, Broadwings, Kestrels, and Harriers.

The last thirty minutes of the count provided some especially interesting sightings! Things were still relatively slow until one of our hawkwatchers shouted, "Ferrug!" It was a juvenile Ferruginous Hawk, and soon enough, everyone was taking turns on the scopes, hoping to get a good look at its fun array of rusty grey and white colors! Soon after, three juvenile Harriers were spotted, one of which was playing with its food, dropping it and swooping down to catch it again! Did its parents not teach it that you should not play with your food? Nevertheless, it was very entertaining!

We're hoping more accipiters are still on their way and there will be many more fun days to come. Hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 318
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 53
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 116
Northern Harrier: 12
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 49
Cooper's Hawk: 58
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Broad-winged Hawk: 6
Red-tailed Hawk: 56
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 9
Buteo: 3
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Ashley Santiago

After getting fogged out three cycles in a row, our Wednesday II team was ecstatic to be up on the Hill! Though we spent the last count days at the annex below the fog, today we were above it with an inverted fog layer rolling in around two. In the morning we were greeted with clear skies and temperatures in the sixties.

A major highlight of the day was seeing a few adult accipiters. These mature birds showed off their blue-gray backs and rufous bellies to our excited hawkwatchers. This is the time of year that we start to see more adults on the Hill and we are delighted by their arrival. Other than accipiters, we also saw an adult female Harrier! This lovely lady flew over west quadrant and showed off her beautiful streaked belly.

Enjoy these lovely Hawktober days everyone! Hawkwatch out!


Total Sightings: 370
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 61.67
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 91
Northern Harrier: 14
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 51
Cooper's Hawk: 78
Red-shouldered Hawk: 9
Broad-winged Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 95
American Kestrel: 5
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 14
Falcon: 4
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez and Danielle Husband

Another fantastic day on the Hill! The sun was shining and winds were blowing mostly from the west — good conditions for the hawks to take to the skies and head south.

We saw a variety of species, with a total of fourteen for the day! While the majority of the birds were the usual suspects (Redtails, accipiters, and Turkey Vultures), we caught sight of more rare individuals. Our first treat was a nice look at a subadult Bald Eagle — it had some noticeable white markings along its back and belly. Then, the more elusive of the falcons — the Prairie Falcon — made its way across the north quadrant before heading towards the Golden Gate. Later, a large, light buteo emerged from that same quadrant and flew along Slacker ridge as we all rejoiced at seeing the seventh Ferruginous Hawk of the season! Last, but not least, a distant Swainie was spotted along Angel Island, hanging out with a group of Turkey Vultures.

All in all, a day filled with wonderful and exciting sightings! Looking forward to seeing those adult raptors everyone keeps talking about, so stay tuned and hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 490
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 81.67
Total Species: 14

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 138
Osprey: 1
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 9
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 70
Cooper's Hawk: 74
Red-shouldered Hawk: 4
Broad-winged Hawk: 1
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 152
Ferruginous Hawk: 2
American Kestrel: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 3
Prairie Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 22
Buteo: 5
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, October 02, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlyn McGee and Ashley Santiago

Welcome to Hawktober!

Lovely weather on the Hill today with temperatures in the low seventies and a slight wind starting from the east and moving from the west in the afternoon. Though slow to start, the raptor activity picked up around 11:00 AM.

During day two of Hawktoberfest we saw some exciting sightings (or as we like to call them exsightings). We were graced by the presence of a White-tailed Kite rising up from the lagoon and then flying over to visit San Francisco. Also seen in the west quadrant was a magnificent juvenile Ferruginous Hawk that flew right over our heads! Hawkwatchers rejoiced, merriment ensued, interns danced, the Hill was alive with the sound of happy hawkwatchers!

When the day started to slow down, we were still entertained by an interesting young Redtail. This whippersnapper broke off a stick from a nearby bush and chewed on the bark and moss while stilling just beyond west quadrant. The Redtail would drop the stick from up high and then dive down to catch it! This behavior was repeated multiple times to the delight of everyone on the Hill. The bird was close enough that we noticed some jewelry (AKA bands) on its legs that we can use to gather data about where the bird has been!

Happy hawkwatching!


Total Sightings: 442
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 73.67
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 107
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 11
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 101
Cooper's Hawk: 96
Red-shouldered Hawk: 6
Broad-winged Hawk: 10
Red-tailed Hawk: 90
Ferruginous Hawk: 3
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 10
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, October 01, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Lara Elmquist

Today was a sunny day, with temperatures in the mid-seventies and winds variable throughout. While the wind made our hawkwatchers happy, this caused flurries of raptors throughout the day. We had a busy day with 93 raptors per hour, but we never felt like we were drowning in raptor activity! That's not to say that we didn't see amazing raptors on the Hill!

Here are a few highlights:

-A White-tailed Kite graced us with its presence as it flew across Angel Island. And what an angel it was!

-Amongst the 24 Broad-winged Hawks we saw today, two were dark morph juveniles. One gave the Hawk Talk goers a show!

-The north and west quadrants spotted an adult female Peregrine falcon. She showed off her cool black helmet (or mutton chops!) as she flew over the Hill.

-Lara gave a rousing Hawktalk to a group of 30 or so visitors to the Hill. Our lovely banding docents and former interns, Carmen and Lynn, showed all a beautiful Cooper's Hawk at 1pm too. If you were a visitor on the Hill today, you got a healthy dose of GGRO information and hospitality! Thanks for coming out!

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 560
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 93.33
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 120
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 6
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 118
Cooper's Hawk: 104
Red-shouldered Hawk: 3
Broad-winged Hawk: 24
Red-tailed Hawk: 141
American Kestrel: 6
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 24
Buteo: 3
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, September 30, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

The sun was brightly shining as hawkwatchers walked up the trail to Hawk Hill, full of hope for a busy day of counting ahead. The elusive Ferruginous Hawk was present in everyone's minds as the anticipated first sighting of the season had not occurred… yet. It was past noon, and the day was going well — almost 250 birds had been counted already — when it happened. While scanning the skies for the typical suspects, someone cried, “Ferrug! Very far in the distance!” and all hawkwatchers turned to the north quadrant, where said bird soared high in the blue. With the first one spotted, everyone was excited to get a closer look — and about an hour later, they all got their wish! Not just one more… but TWO Ferrugs came close to the Hill, resulting in celebratory dancing from apprentices, interns, and veteran hawkwatchers alike.

Another elusive raptor made a grandiose appearance in significant numbers. Six White-tailed Kites were seen on the Hill! They were spotted mostly in pairs, and one individual even flew above the hawkwatchers, providing a great view of their carpal patches and smooth flight. An even earlier treat for the people on the Hill occurred in the morning when a kettle of eleven Broadwings formed above the Golden Gate Bridge — with two dark morphs in the mix!

The rest of the day did not disappoint, as a good number of species flew over the Hill in great numbers! Overall, it was a fantastic day for the Saturday 1 team! Let's hope peak migration continues to make its way over Hawk Hill so hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 575
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 95.83
Total Species: 13

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 169
Osprey: 2
White-tailed Kite: 6
Northern Harrier: 16
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 131
Cooper's Hawk: 52
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Broad-winged Hawk: 48
Red-tailed Hawk: 100
Ferruginous Hawk: 3
American Kestrel: 10
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 9
Buteo: 5
Falcon: 4
Raptor: 9

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, September 29, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

What a day on the Hill! With wind speeds reaching over twenty-seven miles per hour, it felt like the birds were not the only ones being blown off the hills. Despite the cloudiness that loomed over our heads most of the day, we had a good number of birds passing through the Headlands today. Peak migration seems to be going through some ups and downs, and today was definitely an in-between. We saw almost sixty Sharpies and 135 Redtails but only twenty-seven Coops. However, dark morphs are moving, and we got to see some nice individuals — an adult Redtail and a Broadwing!

After the fog receded later in the day, we were hoping to finish up with beautiful, clear, blue skies, but there were other plans in store. Around three o'clock, the fog rolled back in, enveloping all quadrants but the East and forcing hawkwatchers to retreat from the Hill. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful day and remain hopeful that the weather will bring some interesting species in the coming days… say, maybe a Ferrug!

Have a birdy-ful weekend and hawkwatch on!


Total Sightings: 378
Hours Counted: 5.75
HPH: 65.74
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 95
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 59
Cooper's Hawk: 27
Broad-winged Hawk: 26
Red-tailed Hawk: 135
American Kestrel: 3
Merlin: 7
Peregrine Falcon: 7

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 7
Buteo: 3
Falcon: 2
Raptor: 4

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, September 28, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Lara Elmquist

“I got sunshine on a foggy day” sang Bob Power, our wonderful volunteer. Truer lyrics have never been sung, as we experienced a stunning display of fog inversion on Hawk Hill today. It felt as though the hawkwatchers were on top of Mount Olympus looking down upon the fog covered bay from our sunny perch. As temperatures increased, the fog rolled out and we enjoyed clear views for the rest of the day.

We were delighted to see thirty-six Broadwings, one of which was a dark morph or, as our banding manager Teresa would call them, “little chocolate chunks.”

Much like love, the skies were a battlefield. The west quadrant witnessed two juvenile Harriers duel it out in the valley. Towards the end of the day two juvenile Redtails dive bombed each other right in front of the north platform. A raven flew after one Redtail who then promptly turned the tables and chased off the raven.

Overall, another stellar day for Thursday 1! Hawkwatch out!


Total Sightings: 360
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 60
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 84
Northern Harrier: 6
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 73
Cooper's Hawk: 67
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Broad-winged Hawk: 36
Red-tailed Hawk: 68
American Kestrel: 6
Merlin: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 6
Buteo: 3
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist

Hello readers! Today marked another very successful day up on the Hill! The Wednesday 1 team was greeted with clear skies and an easterly wind in the morning. Temperatures got up to the high 80s and our cooling breeze died down for a few hours before coming back strong for our last hour of counting.

There was a good flow of raptors throughout the day, marked by some heavy bursts of raptor traffic. Some notable sights included a great flight of a dark morph adult Redtail that put on a show for the photographers on the Hill. Additionally, we saw a juvenile Golden Eagle fly up right into the sky overhead; it displayed its pure white wing patches on its outer wings and on its tail. My personal favorite sight of the day was a dark morph Broadwing that came from the north quadrant and flew over us to the east quadrant. It had a beautiful, deep chocolate brown coloration and everyone was in awe.

Overall, Wednesday 1 had a great day with some stellar views of migrating raptors! We're excited for more hawks to come.

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 534
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 89
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 165
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 78
Cooper's Hawk: 70
Red-shouldered Hawk: 6
Broad-winged Hawk: 30
Red-tailed Hawk: 142
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 6
Merlin: 10
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 11
Buteo: 1
Falcon: 3
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Laura Echavez and Ashley Santiago

Who said peak was not here yet? Over 100 raptors per hour were seen today! We were not only rich in numbers, but in species as well. They were everywhere! Over fifth quadrant, over the lagoon, in front of our faces, far in the distance… there was a constant stream of raptors all day. Besides our typical stream of accipiters, we had a generous sprinkle of unusual species.

Some of these exciting sightings included a Swainson's feasting on a dragonfly in flight. Throughout the day, many a Broadwing flew directly overhead, giving us a good look at their lackluster field marks. In addition, we had three Golden Eagles in sight — one of which circled around us and was then harassed by a small accipiter. We also had some good views of multiple Merlins, Redshoulders, and Ospreys!

Overall, it was quite a warm day but filled with a lot of activity and excitement! Stay cool in the coming days and hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 613
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 102.17
Total Species: 13

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 121
Osprey: 6
Northern Harrier: 25
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 115
Cooper's Hawk: 100
Red-shouldered Hawk: 8
Broad-winged Hawk: 42
Swainson's Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 142
Golden Eagle: 3
American Kestrel: 8
Merlin: 7
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 23
Buteo: 2
Raptor: 4

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, September 25, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Kaitlin McGee

Today was a clear, sunny day with little wind to speak of. The air temperatures reached 87 degrees Fahrenheit by 3pm. Overall, there was low Raptor activity. Yet, at many points of the day we were surprised by groups of raptors in the sky!

A few exciting points include: a long view of a White-tailed Kite flying low through the east and north quadrants, and Broadwings everywhere! Particularly in the 5th quadrant found high up in the sky! Pro tip—don't look into the giant glowing sun ball, even if a tempting bird is nearby! We saw all falcons but Prairie falcons on the Hill today. Additionally, a juvenile Northern Harrier flew so close to us in the north quadrant that we could see its facial disk!

So, despite the warm weather, we were treated to some special raptors after all! Don't forget your sunscreen and wide-brimmed hat for the sunny days to come!


Total Sightings: 324
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 54
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 64
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 66
Cooper's Hawk: 53
Red-shouldered Hawk: 4
Broad-winged Hawk: 16
Red-tailed Hawk: 83
American Kestrel: 5
Merlin: 10
Peregrine Falcon: 5

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 11
Falcon: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, September 24, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist

Howdy readers! Today Sunday 2 had an extremely successful and fun day. The skies were clear the entire day with temperatures in the low 70s. A northwest wind helped us see some very interesting birds. We beat the previous record of most species seen this season by 1, having seen a total of 14 species today.

Early in the day, the west quadrant spotted a rare visitor—an adult male Harrier! Its pale gray coloration made it stand out against the blue sky. All quadrants got a spectacular view of a Prairie Falcon that zoomed through the north quadrant and gave us good flashes of its dark wingpits. Cheers were had by all once the Merlins were seen, adding to the previously seen Kestrels and Peregrines, and making this a four falcon day!

Later, the team also saw a few Broad-winged Hawks, one of which flew directly overhead. Around the same time the north quadrant spotted some far out Golden Eagles. A White-tailed Kite was also seen by some of our team members, bringing our species total up to fourteen. Additionally, we had some good flights of both Band-tailed Pigeons (246) and Vaux's Swifts (401).

What an exciting day! Good work Sunday 2.

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 433
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 72.17
Total Species: 14

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 106
Osprey: 9
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 87
Cooper's Hawk: 63
Red-shouldered Hawk: 9
Broad-winged Hawk: 4
Red-tailed Hawk: 115
Golden Eagle: 3
American Kestrel: 9
Merlin: 7
Peregrine Falcon: 3
Prairie Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 11
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, September 23, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Kaitlin McGee

Howdy, readers!

Today was a beautiful, clear day! Such a clear day that the Farallon Islands were visible all day! The temperature remained in the mid-seventies and the wind was blowing from the NW. It was an overall slow day in terms of raptor activity, but it was supplemented by a large number of visitors on the Hill and boats on the Bay enjoying the beautiful day! As with every weekend, we were delighted to share more information about the GGRO and the amazing raptors we observe with the visitors of Hawk Hill with our Hawk Talk and Raptor Release. These occur every weekend in September and October at noon and 1 PM, respectively — come and visit us!

Although there weren't as many raptors as expected today, there were some interesting peak migration sightings! We saw a lot of juvenile accipiters, a Redtail and Redshoulder flying together, and falcons in both the Kestrel and Peregrine variety. We also spotted couple of Osprey! Most of the raptors today were seen far overhead or in the distance but we did get a few close looks at some accipiters.

The raptors are coming and we are ready to see them so Hawkwatch on!


Total Sightings: 350
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 58.33
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 128
Osprey: 2
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 44
Cooper's Hawk: 37
Red-shouldered Hawk: 4
Broad-winged Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 100
American Kestrel: 6
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 11
Buteo: 3
Raptor: 6

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, September 22, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Ashley Santiago

Our Friday II team was delighted to finally get up to the Hill after being fogged out for the first two cycles. And what a day it was! The weather was ideal with clear skies, temperatures in the mid-sixties, and a westerly wind. The day started out slow, but was rich in terms of species by the end of the day. Our wish for an up close look at a Broadwing was granted when one approached the Hill from a distance and circled over our heads!

We thought it couldn't get any better after we saw a close up sub-adult Bald Eagle in the west quadrant, but to our surprise we witnessed two more Bald Eagles — all with distinctive plumage! One eagle was a dark brown juvenile, while the other appeared to be a late sub-adult that could almost be mistaken for an adult due to the mottled white feathers on its head and tail. The eagle bonanza continued when out of the north quadrant appeared a juvenile Golden Eagle! The handsome eagle circled the quadrant for quite a while and everyone got a good look as a Redtail gave chase! As one our volunteers put it, the Redtail looked like a pigeon compared to the eagle!

Cheers to an amazing day on the Hill and many more to come!


Total Sightings: 253
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 42.17
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 76
Osprey: 3
Bald Eagle: 3
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 39
Cooper's Hawk: 14
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Broad-winged Hawk: 7
Red-tailed Hawk: 90
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 3
Buteo: 3
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, September 21, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Laura Echavez

What an exciting first day out for our Thursday 2 team! Although we were fogged out the past couple of times, we beat the record for the most number of species counted on the Hill this season — 13! Today was a beautiful and clear day, with temperatures in the high 60s. The wind was not very strong, but many birds roamed the skies.

The main highlights of the day included very good looks at unusual birds. Three juvenile dark morph Redtails displayed their chocolaty plumage, and later, we were all amazed by a very light morph Swainson's Hawk who came in from the beach. Towards the end of the day, a juvenile Bald Eagle steadily approached the Hill, converting four quadrants into one as it flew over our heads and all binoculars focused on its majestic soar.

Let's continue breaking records and hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 387
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 64.5
Total Species: 13

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 89
Osprey: 1
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 6
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 33
Cooper's Hawk: 20
Red-shouldered Hawk: 13
Broad-winged Hawk: 1
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 201
American Kestrel: 3
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 6

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 4
Buteo: 4
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Ashley Santiago

Wouldn't It Be Nice [Hawk Hill Remix] by The Beach Interns

Wouldn't it be nice if it were clearer
Then we wouldn't have to wait it out
And wouldn't it be nice to count together
Up on the Hill where we belong

You know it's gonna make it that much better
When we can shout Ferrug and Broadwing

Wouldn't it be nice if we could walk up
In the morning when the day is bright
And after having spent the day together
Talk about the hawks that flew on through

Happy times together we've been counting
I wish that every sight was never-ending
Wouldn't it be nice?

You know it seems the more we blog about it
This fog we could really live without it
But let us dream a bit
Wouldn't it be nice?

…Wouldn't it be nice to be able to count? Sure would! But sadly we couldn't today. We're hoping for some clear skies and good counts in the days to come.

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

Another wonderful day for our Tuesday 2 Team! The weather was sunny and clear, with good visibility and temperatures in the high 70s. There was a slight breeze out of the east that fluctuated in strength throughout the day. Additional volunteers joined us for the count in anticipation of the glory that is peak raptor migration, as well as people interested in learning about the GGRO! They were treated to a close look at a Redtail and a stoop by a Peregrine.

Although the raptor traffic was not as congested as expected for this time of year, we spotted the first Broad-winged Hawks of the season — 3 Broadwings hanging out with a Redtail above the ridgeline in the north quadrant! Other than Redtails, we mostly saw accipiters with the occasional Kestrel, Peregrine, Merlin, and Harrier. In other (song bird) news, we saw a total of 66 Vaux's Swifts today that arrived in groups of 20.

Overall a wonderful day with wonderful people! Hope there are more Broadwing sightings to come so hawkwatch on!


Total Sightings: 272
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 45.33
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 105
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 16
Cooper's Hawk: 15
Red-shouldered Hawk: 4
Broad-winged Hawk: 7
Red-tailed Hawk: 106
American Kestrel: 6
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 5
Buteo: 3
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, September 18, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Ashley Santiago

Hello, hawkwatchers!

We were halfway through writing our blog after an incredibly foggy day at the Annex, when the sky unexpectedly opened up around 2 PM! Even though most of the team had called it for the day, we rushed up to the Hill to count what we could with a crew of five. We were delighted to have former interns Eric and Mark joining our ranks! The complete turnaround from not being able to see Kirby Cove from the Annex to being able to see the Farallon Islands from the Hill was astounding! It truly went from the foggiest to the clearest of days within an hour.

The birds seen were as astounding as the weather! A Peregrine flew close overhead as we hiked up the hill and a handful of other Peregrines made appearances after we were set up. The sky was filled with high-flying accipiters and close-flying Redtails. We even spotted a Prairie Falcon rising up from a nearby hill in the north quadrant! We watched in awe as the falcon zoomed towards Berkeley and out of our sights.

In all the excitement, we did not finish the latest hawk remix of your favorite hits. The song release will be pushed back to our next foggy day. Until then, enjoy the beautiful weather!

Hawkwatch out!


Total Sightings: 75
Hours Counted: 1.75
HPH: 42.86
Total Species: 6

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 8
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 17
Cooper's Hawk: 10
Red-tailed Hawk: 33
Peregrine Falcon: 4
Prairie Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, September 17, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Lara Elmquist

Greetings readers, and happy peak!

Today was truly a “peak” migration day by the total individuals seen (474!). Red-tailed Hawks (112) took the “most seen” prize but not without Sharp-shinned Hawks close behind (103). The accipiters are here! Not to mention some beautiful falcons like Merlins, Peregrines and Kestrels. We were fortunate to have a female Merlin at our weekend raptor release today. A large crowd gathered around for Lara's weekend HawkTalk and stuck around for the release.

Another interesting raptor interaction seen was between a Peregrine, Redtail and Sharpie. The Peregrine did a full stoop on the latter two birds to chase them off. Quite an exciting dive! What do you get when a Peregrine stoops on two other birds? A raptor sandwich!

All jokes aside, the day was extremely kind to us overall. There was slight fog cover in the morning hours with afternoon sun and breezes up to 4 MPH from the west by the end of the day. The highest temperature recorded was at 3 pm at 66 degrees Fahrenheit. A very pleasant day, raptors and all!


Total Sightings: 474
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 79
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 88
Osprey: 3
Northern Harrier: 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 138
Cooper's Hawk: 31
Red-shouldered Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 178
American Kestrel: 4
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 10
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 5

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, September 16, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

Another great day for our hawkwatchers! Although the sun remained hidden for most of the day, the hawks could not hide from us. In addition to our usual species, we saw a few interesting individuals. The first highlight of the day was a visit from an Osprey that flew very close to where we were standing. Then, the most exciting thing happened. A Redtail was being harassed by not one… not two… but THREE Peregrine Falcons — two of which were adults and one was a juvenile. One of the adults was putting up a show, making steep and measured dives at the Redtail — what a roller coaster! The excitement lasted for quite a while, and we were able to identify key differences between the adults and the juvenile.

We were not the only group enjoying the day on Hawk Hill. Whether it was for hawkwatching or just to take in the beautiful scenery, almost 200 people visited the Hill. Those that stuck around during the Hawk Talk and Raptor Release enjoyed seeing a young Sharpie take flight as it was released from the hands of GGRO Director, Allen Fish! If you missed it, there will be another tomorrow (weather permitting), so make sure to come out!

Enjoy the weekend and hawkwatch on!


Total Sightings: 370
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 61.67
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 124
Osprey: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 62
Cooper's Hawk: 19
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 125
American Kestrel: 9
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 5

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 11
Buteo: 4
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 5

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, September 15, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

Minimal clouds, a western breeze, and moderate temperatures - finally a perfect hawkwatching day for the Friday 1 Team! Not only was there a constant stream of people visiting Hawk Hill, the accipiters also arrived in great numbers. On Hawk Hill you could hear hawkwatchers yelling, “Accipiter!” “Is it a Coop?” “Is it a Sharpie?” “Wait, look again!” as friendly disputes would ensue over the fast flapping suspects. Safe to say we were able to work on our accipiter identification skills all day! The most exciting sightings of the day, however, were the close encounters we had with not one… not two… not even three, but FOUR Merlins! Overall, we had an eleven-species day, which included a very distant Bald Eagle, a Harrier, numerous Ospreys, Kestrels, and a handful of Redshoulders.

We're looking forward for what peak migration will bring! Who knows, hopefully we'll get to see a Broadwing, a Ferruginous Hawk, or maybe even a Prairie Falcon in the coming days!

Total Sightings: 448
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 74.67
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 133
Osprey: 5
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 78
Cooper's Hawk: 25
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Red-tailed Hawk: 176
American Kestrel: 8
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 6
Buteo: 1
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, September 14, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Ashley Santiago

After the past couple of days of rain and fog, the Thursday 1 team was very excited to make it up to the Hill today. It started out cold and windy with temperatures in the high 50s. As the temperature increased during the day so did the number of hawks.

We had a total of eight Osprey today, many of which flew right overhead and gave us some nice views. There were some flashy and handsome male Kestrels flying close by as well. The banders caught both a female and a male Sharp-shinned Hawk, which gave our team a good opportunity to test our accipiter identification skills. We also saw a Merlin zoom in the distance from the north quadrant. After we finished counting for the day we spotted a juvenile and an adult Peregrine battling it out right before our very eyes. With all the birds around today it was hard to tell if we were the hawkwatchers or the hawkwatched!

Major shout out to the Thursday 1 team for getting up on the Hill every cycle this season! Let's keep the streak going.

Hawkwatch out.


Total Sightings: 280
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 46.67
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 88
Osprey: 8
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 12
Cooper's Hawk: 7
Red-tailed Hawk: 142
American Kestrel: 9
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 3
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Danielle Husband

There was no singing in the rain today as the Wednesday I hawkwatch team arrived in the Headlands. The day was foggy and rained mist intermittently much to our disappointment. Our lagoon trip was a successful time. We spotted a Sabine's Gull grounded on the bank. On our walk we came upon Townsend's Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, and Yellow Warblers. We also got some good views of both Pacific-slope and Willow Flycatchers on the trail. We ended the day with a raptor skins showing in anticipation of the (hopefully) upcoming Broad-winged and Ferruginous Hawk migration. Although we did not get up to the Hill, we had a great and informative time at GGRO headquarters.

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Laura Echavez and Lara Elmquist

After a string of hot days, our hawkwatchers basked in the lovely weather on the Hill. We got our binoculars on some great views of Kestrels, Harriers, and Coops that all appeared to be enjoying the day just as much as we were! This all changed when the fog rolled in at 1:00pm. First, it took out the south quadrant. Our team held their ground hoping for the best. The fog slowly but surely encased the Hill and our hawkwatchers were surrounded. We remained on the hill for 45 minutes, hoping to wait out the siege, but ultimately surrendered to the fog.

Thank you to our brave and determined hawkwatchers for their hard work and optimism!

Total Sightings: 179
Hours Counted: 4.08
HPH: 43.87
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 59
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 5
Cooper's Hawk: 9
Red-shouldered Hawk: 8
Red-tailed Hawk: 80
American Kestrel: 9
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 3
Buteo: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, September 11, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Kaitlin McGee

While cloudy morning conditions were promising for a cool day, alas it was not. The sun came out around 11am and it heated up to around 93 degrees Fahrenheit by 12:30pm. The Hawkwatchers called it a day and left the Hill to seek refuge down at 1064.

Despite warm conditions, we did see some raptors! We counted a few Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawk and Kestrels of all flavors. But overall, the raptors were not navigating the Headlands either as there was low raptor activity. We are feeling a little bit like Goldilocks because we only want just the right amount of sun and wind. Perhaps next time!

Stay cool out there!

Total Sightings: 88
Hours Counted: 3
HPH: 29.33
Total Species: 6

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 31
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 5
Cooper's Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 41
American Kestrel: 6

Unidentified...
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, September 10, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist

The Sunday 2 team was excited when they arrived in the Marin today because the heavy fog earlier in the morning dissipated and a nice clear day began. We got up to the Hill in time to begin counting at 9:30 but the wind was slow and the hawks even slower.

An adult Redtail was perched on a telephone pole in the south quadrant for almost three hours if that gives any indication to how the skies were looking. Things picked up around noon when we saw the season's first Merlin!

Then the sun began beating down on us and the Hill reached 90 degrees. We retreated at 2:30 due to slow skies and overheated hawkwatchers.

Stay cool out there,
Sunday 2


Total Sightings: 190
Hours Counted: 5
HPH: 38
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 74
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 3
Cooper's Hawk: 6
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Red-tailed Hawk: 86
American Kestrel: 7
Merlin: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2
Buteo: 3
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, September 09, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Danielle Husband

We got fogged out again and even though we hope to see the last of the fog, here are some tips to lighten up your day!

Saturday II's Guide on How to Remain Positive on a Foggy Day on Hawk Hill:

1. Connect with your hawkwatch team and enjoy their presence. Swap bird stories, share some cookies, and bring humor to your present situation.
2. Take a walk around the beautiful (although foggy) Marin Headlands and brush up on your non-raptor bird identification. You might even spot a raptor!
3. Bring a great lunch with lots of snacks because you deserve it, you dedicated volunteer you.
4. If you happen to test the visibility on the Hill on a foggy weekend and luck is on your side, you could see a Hawk Talk or a Raptor Release. Enjoy the beauty of seeing a live raptor in hand and appreciate the raptorial knowledge shared by our docents.
5. Leave the Marin Headlands accepting the present fog, but with thoughts of clear skies.

Hoping for clearer skies in the weeks ahead!


Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, September 08, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Ashley Santiago

Hello All!

Seeing as we were fogged out once again, it's time for an edition of … RAPTOR FACT FRIDAY!

1. Some species of raptors, such as Kestrels, are able to see in the UV spectrum! Because of this, they can follow the urine trails of their prey!

2. Bald Eagles are considered scavenging kleptoparasites. This just means that they primarily scavenge or steal their food. Bald Eagles have been seen stealing fish from waterfowl, Osprey, otters, fisherman, and each other!

3. Swainson's Hawks switch to an insectivore diet in their non-breeding season in Argentina, where they will feast upon mostly dragonflies and grasshoppers!

4. If you hear a Bald Eagle in a movie or perhaps the falcon from Mulan, don't be fooled! Hollywood has a habit of using Red-tailed Hawk calls in place of most raptor calls.

5. Hollywood isn't the only one using Red-tailed Hawk calls! Steller's Jays have been heard mimicking Redtail calls as well!

Thanks for tuning in, folks!

Happy hawkwatching!

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, September 07, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Laura Echavez

Another day under the fog. Another day around the Rodeo Lagoon. Great things were seen. Many Yellowthroats and Song Sparrows tumbled about. Two hawkwatchers spotted a Redtail as it caught a mouse and dove into the bushes to enjoy its meal under the safety of the foliage. It even had a purple color band on its right leg - meaning it was banded by us this season! As we retreated to the office, an Osprey flew over our heads (in full Gull disguise), but someone quickly realized its true identity! We decided to have lunch at the Annex in hopes that the fog would lift... but it did not. Although we saw a young Coop, nothing else was flying under the fog, hinting at us to abandon the fort.

Shout out to the Great Blue Heron in the Lagoon who savored many a fish for lunch today!

Hope we have better luck next cycle and hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Lara Elmquist

PART OF YOUR WORLD: The Little Intern Edition

Look at these birds
Aren't they neat?
Wouldn't you think my hawkwatch's complete?
Wouldn't you think I'm the intern
The intern who's seen everything?

I've got Redtails and vultures a-plenty
I've got Cooper's and Kestrels galore
You want eagles?
I've got two!

But who cares?
No big deal
I need more!

I wanna be where the hawks are
I wanna see, wanna see them soaring
Flying around on those — what do you call ‘em?
Oh — thermals!

Up where they glide, up where they fly
Up where they stay all day in the sky
Migrating free — wish I could see
Part of your world

When's it my turn?
Wouldn't I love, love to see the birds up above?
Out of the fog
Wish I could blog
Part of your world

…We were fogged out, but we're dreaming of better days and more birds to come!

Happy hawkwatching!


Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

The radio crackles... It's Step's excited voice exclaiming, "there is a BIG bird over Fort Cronkhite!" The message quickly makes its way around the team, and all binoculars turn towards the Lagoon. Some of the team members spot a large chocolate-y brown bird circling the Marine Mammal Center with its wings spread out very flat. Amid gasps from hawkwatchers with their eyes on the bird, others anxiously ask "Where is it?" as they realize it must be something special. Soon enough, a voice shouts, "It's an eagle! It's a Bald Eagle!" The hawkwatchers soak in a marvelous sight as the second juvenile Bald of the season circles the Lagoon before it disappears into the Bay.

The fun did not stop there! A few minutes later, as the team watched two Redtails around Point Bonita, an Osprey arose in the distance! Around lunch time, when a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk showed off its wing crescents as it flew over our heads, the team got a preview of the weeks to come during peak migration - trying to keep track of the numerous Redtails, Turkey Vultures and novel species that are starting to make their way south for the winter.

Not a shabby day for Tuesday 2 team!

Total Sightings: 254
Hours Counted: 5.5
HPH: 46.18
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 93
Osprey: 1
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 1
Cooper's Hawk: 4
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 147
American Kestrel: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Buteo: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, September 04, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee

After shining down on our hawkwatchers for the last couple of days, the sun decided to take a break and hide behind the clouds for the day. Temperatures ranged from the mid-60s to 70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the day with strong western winds reaching up to 20 miles per hour! To top off the drastic shift in weather, hawkwatchers felt raindrops starting at 1:30 PM with a more steady rainfall at 2:30 PM.

Visibility was low due to hazy skies so we saw more people than hawks today. However, we did manage to spot two female Kestrels buzzing the Hill, two Peregrines hanging out on the bridge, and two Harriers cruising through the valley. Other than that we saw the usual Redtails and Turkey Vultures.

If you plan on visiting the Hill, make sure to bring layers and be prepared for any weather because as the past few days goes to show, it has a mind of its own!


Total Sightings: 115
Hours Counted: 5
HPH: 23
Total Species: 5

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 71
Northern Harrier: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 38
American Kestrel: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Buteo: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, September 03, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Lara Elmquist

Howdy readers!

We are happy to report that the hot conditions from previous days have dissipated. Our warmest hour was from 3-4pm at 88 degrees F. A steady breeze from the west kept raptors aloft for most of the day.

With these more favorable conditions, we recorded 247 raptors in all, ranging from our familiar friend, the Turkey Vulture, to two lanky Northern Harrier juveniles. Our most notable sighting was a beautiful, chocolate-brown dark morph Red-tailed Hawk. A juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk was recorded as well! Also, we saw an adult Peregrine Falcon making its way across the hills in front of the north quadrant.

Besides raptors, we spotted a number of Humpback Whales from the Hill. Very thankful for favorable conditions and a full day of data collected!

Total Sightings: 247
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 41.17
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 126
Northern Harrier: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 103
American Kestrel: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 6

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, September 02, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

What "Fun in the sun with Saturday 1" exclaimed our dayleader Bob Power as we left the Hill for the day.

It was another hot one, with temperatures reaching 100F, causing the team to call it a day by 12:30pm. We saw the usual suspects circling around - many Redtails, Turkey Vultures, a beautiful female Kestrel, a Coop, and a Harrier! Although the number of raptors surpassed the degrees Farenheight, not many songbirds or people were seen at the Hill. We found them all hanging out by the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Rodeo Lagoon!

Nevertheless, a few people were able to witness our first HawkTalk of the season, led by our own outreach intern, Kaitlin! These will be held every weekend (weather permitting) in September and October at noon followed by a Raptor Release at 1:00pm, so don't miss them!

Don't forget to stay cool and hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 109
Hours Counted: 3
HPH: 36.33
Total Species: 5

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 58
Northern Harrier: 1
Cooper's Hawk: 4
Red-tailed Hawk: 45
American Kestrel: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, September 01, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

Fogust is OVER! Hottember is here!

The hawkwatchers embraced a new obstacle today as we were faced by the hottest weather on the Hill yet. The raptors felt the heat too, for they avoided paying us visits throughout the day. We did have some nice sightings though. Early on, we caught sight of an Osprey approaching from the lagoon and then a male Kestrel flashed its colors our way.

Due to some far away Northern fires, it was hazy in all directions - causing our visibility to be very poor. After countless swifts, dragonflies, and butterflies, the heat drove us away from the Hill, and we had to abandon our positions around 1:00pm.

Stay cool out there and have a great Labor Day Weekend, everybody!

Total Sightings: 76
Hours Counted: 3.5
HPH: 21.71
Total Species: 5

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 37
Osprey: 1
Red-shouldered Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 34
American Kestrel: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, August 31, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Lara Elmquist

What's black and white and red all over?
...an Osprey with a sunburn!

And we were also sunburnt as temperatures reached a blistering 90 degrees today up at the Hill. The heat must have made the Redtails lay low because it took until 1:00 to see a decent number of them. As much as the hawkwatchers yearned for a Prairie Falcon, there were none in sight. We did, however, catch some great views of Red-shouldered Hawks and a dark morph juvenile Redtail!

Our non-raptor datasheet was filled out pretty nicely with large numbers of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (sixty-six!!) and all three migrating Swifts (Black, Vaux's, and White-throated). We also honed our dragonfly identification skills today when the raptors were too hot and tired to fly.

Remember your sunscreen and happy Labor Day weekend everyone!

Thursday 1


Total Sightings: 126
Hours Counted: 5.83
HPH: 21.61
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 43
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 1
Cooper's Hawk: 4
Red-shouldered Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 69
American Kestrel: 4

Unidentified...
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband

Hello readers!

We were greeted by fog at home base, on the annex, and peering up to the Hill. Clearly "Fogust" is not backing down until the last moment. We all know that the fog will totally vacate on September 1!

Although we never made it to the Hill, raptors were flying around the annex viewpoint. We spotted a few adult and juvenile Redtails, a Cooper's Hawk, and Turkey Vultures. We watched a raven couple flop around the annex too. Seeing one crack open a pistachio was a major highlight. It was really cute sight, but not nearly as cute (and awesome!) as seeing the Wednesday 1 Hawkwatch team up counting raptors from the Hill.

Hoping for better luck next Wednesday 1!

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Laura Echavez and Lara Elmquist

Imagine [The Hawks Reprise]

Imagine there's no fog days
It's easy if you try
No fog below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the raptors soaring high today

Imagine there's no Fogust
It isn't hard to do
No visits to the Annex
Nor to the Lagoon
Imagine all the raptors flying past the Hill,

You may say I'm at Hawkwatch
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And on the Hill we'll be as one

... As you can tell by our melancholic tunes, we got fogged out today, but we remain hopeful and imagine clear skies in the days to come! Stay tuned and Hawkwatch on!

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, August 28, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Danielle Husband

Welcome to the beginning of the second cycle of the season! Monday I was happy to be mostly out of the fog and stretch their legs on the Hill. The day started with clear sky above and fog below with little to no breeze. The wind began to pick up around 12-1 PM from the NW and the birds took flight. Some highlights of the day were two Red-shouldered Hawks, ten Kestrels, and a few Humpback Whales.

But the real excitement happened around 3:15 PM after mostly a slow, sunny day...A raptor emerges through the fog in the West quadrant moving right. All the Hawkwatchers get the bird in their binoculars as a last hurrah. After a good look, someone yells "PRAIRIE FALCON!" and everyone becomes transfixed. Dayleader Keith makes his way through the team after the bird disappears from view making sure everyone got a chance to see it and thankfully, most everyone on the team did!

We also encountered another bit of luck as a visitor of Hawk Hill with a camera was able to get some pictures of the beautiful falcon and send them to us!

Quite a turn-around from the fog last Monday I!

Total Sightings: 100
Hours Counted: 5.75
HPH: 17.39
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 29
Osprey: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 6
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 43
American Kestrel: 10
Prairie Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2
Buteo: 2
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, August 27, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist

It was another scorcher up on the Hill today with temperatures reaching into the 80s. Along with the heat came some interesting birds, such as Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Vaux's Swifts. There was not a breeze in the sky at the beginning of our count and Karl the fog was lying low under the Golden Gate. We didn't even see a single Turkey Vulture the first hour we were there!

As the breeze picked up, more hawks flew into view. We got some spectacular views of accipiters today, including both an adult Coop and Sharpie! We also saw a juvenile Northern Harrier, its pumpkin belly glowing in the sunlight, circle around the quadrants and an Osprey flying over the fog without a worry in the world.

Sunday 2 had a great first day! That's a wrap cycle 1.

Sunburnt but happy,
Lara


Total Sightings: 167
Hours Counted: 5
HPH: 33.4
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 53
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 4
Cooper's Hawk: 12
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 74
American Kestrel: 13

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2
Buteo: 3
Eagle: 1
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, August 26, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Kaitlin McGee

Afternoon readers!

We have had quite a day on the Hill. It started off as a warm one (reaching 89.5 degrees Fahrenheit!) with little to no breeze. The fog was still alive and well, covering up most of our south quadrant. Due to this, our butterfly and dragonfly counts soared! The raptors were hiding out somewhere else.

Things began to pick up around noon as the hawks finally took to the skies with a little encouraging wind. We saw some notable species including a dozen Black Swifts, adult Sharp-shinned Hawk, adult and juvenile Peregrine, and a close fly-bye by two juvenile Northern Harriers.

It just goes to show a slow day on the Hill can turn around at any moment. Go Saturday 2!

Total Sightings: 125
Hours Counted: 5
HPH: 25
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 32
Osprey: 2
Northern Harrier: 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 5
Cooper's Hawk: 6
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 60
American Kestrel: 5
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 3
Raptor: 4

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, August 25, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Ashley Santiago

Hello All!

Another foggy day on the Bay for our hawkwatchers. Though we did not get up to the Hill, we witnessed a trifecta in the sky as a Redtail, Cooper's Hawk, and a Peregrine all flew through our field of vision at once! The rest of the afternoon was spent looking at little birds flitting around the bushes and Redtails joshing around in the distance. The fog came in waves, bringing hope to the hawkwatchers and then crushing it.

Sending sunny vibes to our weekend hawkwatchers!

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, August 24, 2017  
Posted by: Lara Elmquist and Laura Echavez

It was another foggy day on the Hill —
The wind whistled,
But there was no chirp to be heard.
As we stood hopeful at the Annex
For Karl to be carried out,
Hints of blue skies were seen through the clouds.
Alas, a Cooper's Hawk from the Gate appeared
And gave us a good look of its flight and its rear.
We climbed to the Hill with one final hope
That we would see some birds surrounding the slopes.
The day came to an end with only three Redtails seen
Karl won today but tomorrow we will gleam.


Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Lara Elmquist

Fogust strikes again! On our way to the annex we pulled over to watch an Osprey fly overhead. Upon our arrival, the Wednesday II team was met with plenty of fog and cold winds. We spotted an adult Redtail perched in a eucalyptus and watched its movements most of the day. Turkey Vultures teetered past and the team tested their accipiter ID skills when two Cooper's Hawks sped by. Despite the fog, the adult Redtail and a Raven were able to snatch some yummy looking snakes for lunch.

Hoping to have better luck next cycle!!

-Wednesday II

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle Husband and Laura Echavez and Kaitlin McGee

Tuesday II takes the cake! Literally, Maureen and dayleader Mary brought us cakes (in many forms and with many thanks!). We achieved the highest Hawkwatch count of the season so far (160 birds!) thanks to the sunny skies on the Hill. Some of our highlights include seeing Northern Harriers, Sharpies, and a couple of Coops. Step spotted our first White-tailed Kite flying oh so mysteriously into the fog… hmmm. Tim, Herb, and Ron joined us in our count as well. Quite a charismatic and fun crew!

Go Tuesday II!


Total Sightings: 160
Hours Counted: 4.5
HPH: 35.56
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 39
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 4
Red-tailed Hawk: 98
American Kestrel: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Buteo: 2
Raptor: 5

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, August 21, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Kaitlin McGee

How does the moon cut the sun's hair?
...Eclipse it!

That joke was courtesy of Allen Fish at the Hawkwatch meeting this morning. Here are a few more in case you need more cringe-worthy jokes…

How do you organize a solar eclipse party?
...You planet!

Why didn't the sun go to college?
...It already had like a million degrees!

Anyway, happy eclipse day everyone! We hope you stayed safe and protected your peepers! Monday II Team went out to the annex (due to fog) decked out in some sweet eclipse shades. Our eye gear became more of a fashion statement as the fog eclipsed the eclipse. We did a loop around the lagoon and watched some Great Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets. The interns also stared at a Pied-billed Grebe for an excessive amount of time before having to catch up with the rest of the team.

Alright, one more joke!

What did the sun say when it reappeared after an eclipse?
...Pleased to heat you again!

Hopefully the weather heats up and the fog clears out tomorrow for our Tuesday II Hawkwatchers!


Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, August 20, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle and Lara

Good afternoon hawkwatch readers and welcome back to the Sunday 1 team! We made our way to the Hill and stopped briefly at the annex to arrange carpools when we saw two adult Peregrines gliding overhead. Too bad we didn't see them when our count started but it was a great sight nonetheless!

When we made it up to the Hill we were greeted by a layer of fog. But after an hour the skies cleared up pretty nicely and Redtails and Turkey Vultures started flying past. There were plenty of visitors up on the Hill today and were able to see juvenile Redtails hovering right in front of the west and north quadrants. The season's first Red-shouldered Hawk, its wing crescents illuminated by the fog, was seen flying over Angel Island.

Thanks to the Sunday 1 team for another good day on the Hill and we're excited for many more to come,

Lara and Danielle


Total Sightings: 124
Hours Counted: 4
HPH: 31
Total Species: 4

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 55
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 64

Unidentified...
Buteo: 2
Falcon: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, August 19, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

We were completely fogged out today! However, the day did not end without some excitement first. We walked around the lagoon, where we saw a small orange orb that turned out to be a female Kestrel perched on a tree - hanging out next to a woodpecker. We then followed the Miwok Trail for a while and worked on our Turkey Vulture identification skills.

Later on we made our way to the rifle range, where we shared our best raptor jokes (if you have any good ones, please, please share). As we were munching on our lunches, we spotted a couple of Redtails, one perched on a cypress and another making its way across the valley. The highlight of the day was a visit from a juvenile Cooper's Hawk that stuck around long enough for all of us to get a good look. After watching a coyote eat some moles and many Bluebirds scavenge for insects, we decided to make our way up to Hawk Hill.

Oddly enough, up at the Hill there were not too many birds or people thanks to the fog, so were not able to count anything for the day. However, the team's morale is still high and we can't wait for the coming weeks. 'Til next time, raptor aficionados!

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, August 18, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Laura Echavez

The past couple of days were met with sunshine and lots of birds, so we hoped for the pattern to continue... but unfortunately, Karl the Fog had other plans. Although the fog was low and persistent, it couldn't keep us away from the Hill!

After getting a good look at some perched Cooper's Hawks and Redtails from the Annex, we headed up to Hawk Hill with high hopes of spotting more. However, after a couple of hours we had only caught a glimpse of some Redtails and Turkey Vultures swirling in the fog. Much fun was had getting to know the team, and we can only hope for better luck in the next coming days!

Happy birding!

Total Sightings: 28
Hours Counted: 2
HPH: 14
Total Species: 2

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 11
Red-tailed Hawk: 16

Unidentified...
Buteo: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, August 17, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago and Lara Elmquist

Today was another sunny and, should I say, “birdiful” day up at Hawk Hill! Based on yesterday's numbers, the Thursday I team was eager to dust off their binoculars and hit the hill. The day started off quickly with two female American Kestrels zooming by the south quadrant and Redtails stilling all around us.

A highlight of the day was a yell from Step to “come check out this bird!” In our sights was the first Peregrine Falcon of the season! The juvenile falcon was being harassed (or was it doing the harassing?) by two Redtails while we watched with glee. Bob Power managed to excite the interns with a shout of “whirly bird,” but to everyone else this just meant a helicopter. Good one, Bob!

Overall, Thursday I started the season with a strong first day and with two wonderful new dayleaders, Natasha and Laura. Thanks to our fellow hawkwatchers for a wonderful day.

Keep up the good work,
Ashley and Lara


Total Sightings: 126
Hours Counted: 3.5
HPH: 36
Total Species: 5

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 44
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 71
American Kestrel: 6
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017  
Posted by: Danielle and Lara

Greetings! Today was a stellar day out on Hawk Hill. It was sunny and 65 degrees, not a complaint was heard! Quite a stark contrast from the cold, windy foggy Monday and Tuesday.

Besides breaking the potential record for the most birds seen so early in the season (147!!), here are some of our day's highlights:

--Tim and Christina saw a bald eagle
--We spotted a GGRO recently color banded juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.
--Humpback whale party under the Golden Gate Bridge!

We could not have asked for a more gorgeous day! Go Wednesday 1!

Feeling blessed,
Lara and Danielle



Total Sightings: 147
Hours Counted: 4.8
HPH: 30.64
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 49
Osprey: 2
Bald Eagle: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 1
Cooper's Hawk: 8
Red-tailed Hawk: 80
American Kestrel: 4

Unidentified...
Buteo: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017  
Posted by: Ashley Santiago

The Tuesday 1 Team was thrilled to be reunited for the season and welcomed their new members enthusiastically! Hawk Hill was ominously shrouded in fog, so the team moved to the annex. Two adult Red-tailed Hawks were immediately scoped out perched directly in front of the lookout. Some suspected that the two might be a local mated pair. The fog persisted and both the Redtails and the Hawkwatchers left the hill. Stay tuned, Folks!

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, August 14, 2017  
Posted by: Kaitlin McGee and Danielle Husband

It was a bittersweeet start to the season as we remembered Lewis Cooper, the long-time dayleader of the Monday 1 hawkwatch team. We watched a short memorial video of Lewis's life and shared stories from over the years. Thank you to Jim H. and Tim B. for coming to remember this great hawkwatcher and celebrate his contribution to the GGRO and beyond.

Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the Hill today due to pesky fog but we braved Conzelman Rd. and fought for a parking spot at the annex. From this view point, we spotted a few redtails and turkey vultures. We hope the sun will shine on the Hill by next Monday 1, but for our fellow hawkwatchers later this week, we hope sooner!

We would like to end this blog post and start the season with a Lewis Cooper original haiku titled "Red-tailed Hawk." To see Lewis orate his haikus on video, please visit this link: https://vimeo.com/37234971

Through the gate, soft blown fog cloaks the Bay.
Against the wind she hangs.
Waiting.

Total Sightings: 0
Hours Counted: 0
HPH: 0
Total Species: 0

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Step Wilson at swilson@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.


Contact Information

Hawkwatch Hotline
(415) 561-3030 (ext. 2500)