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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)