For online updates, follow Hawkcount on Twitter or "like" Golden Gate Raptor Observatory on Facebook, or call the Hawkwatch Hotline (415) 561-3030, ext 2500.

Subscribe to our RSS Feed and see our report summaries.


Sunday, December 06, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Elan

Rain and fog closed out the 2015 GGRO Hawkwatch season, but the Sunday II team had a merry time all together! After filling up on delicious food in the office and recalling some amazing hawk sightings on the Hill, we decided to brave the conditions on the top of the Hill for a final goodbye. The team caught a group shot in the North quadrant just as the fog and drizzle really started to come in. We are thankful for all of the wonderful hawks and laughs shared together on the Hill and look forward to meeting up again at the banquet. Happy end of 2015, Sunday II team signing out for the season!

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, December 05, 2015  
Posted by: Elan and Laura

For a frigid day on the Hill, with temperatures in the low- to mid-50s, an 8 mph east wind, and steely clouds, it was a pretty good hawk watch. Saturday II redeemed themselves in their last outing, logging two hovering American Kestrels and two close-soaring juvenile Ferruginous Hawks to make up for earlier fog out days. A highlight of the day included looks at a juvenile Northern Harrier, a juvenile Ferruginous Hawk, and an adult Red-tailed Hawk all in a single binocular field. These good views, alongside an impressive feast, made for a thoroughly enjoyable last day of the season.

BEYOND BIRDING: Lots of chilly minutes standing in our respective quadrants left us time for history lessons in the geology of the Bay. Did you know that the Bay as we know it is only tens of thousands of years old? Prior to being flooded at the end of the last ice age, Native Americans walked all the way to the Farallones, about 30 miles away.



Total Sightings: 134
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 22.33
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 79
Northern Harrier: 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 2
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 37
Ferruginous Hawk: 2
American Kestrel: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1
Buteo: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, December 04, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole

Although the numbers were low, spirits were high and the birds put on a good show for the final Friday II Hawkwatch. We enjoyed our potluck while being entertained by close flying adult Peregrine Falcons, abundant adult Red-tailed Hawks, and one sub-adult Bald Eagle! The eagle flew right over us with a raven in hot pursuit, allowing us to get a look at its very ragged-looking molt. Weather was very pleasant with light winds and temperatures in the low 60's, making it a lovely day for human and canine Hawkwatchers alike.

Total Sightings: 106
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 17.67
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 45
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 7
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 42
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 6

Unidentified...
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, December 03, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Steph

Rained out... The interns were sad they did not get enjoy a final potluck of celery sticks and jujubes with the Thursday II team.

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015  
Posted by: Allen

A great last day for the Wednesday II team was punctuated by ONE Peregrine Falcon, ONE Northern Harrier, and ONE American Kestrel. Home-made goodies helped us stave off the cold on this somewhat slow hawk watch. Thanks for a great year, Wednesday II!

Total Sightings: 77
Hours Counted: 4.83
HPH: 15.94
Total Species: 6

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 39
Northern Harrier: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 27
American Kestrel: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Buteo: 2
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Natasha and Steph

The Tuesday II team's Hawkwatch began with much anticipation for a final day feast on top of the hill. However, we didn't anticipate the day starting off with a very close female adult Peregrine Falcon greeting us as we began setting up. She was soon joined by another adult, and the pair (likely the Kirby Cove residents) defended their turf against intruders, including a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk and a migrating adult Peregrine Falcon. Between munching on chili, salad, homemade hummus, lemon bars, and our Rough-legged award-winning pizza, we spotted three juvenile Ferruginous Hawks and an extremely dark morph adult Red-tailed Hawk. Our season finished dramatically as a juvenile Bald Eagle appeared at 3:32, just two minutes late to be included in the official count. It was nevertheless an exciting finale for the last day on the hill.

Today, temperatures were consistently in the 50's, with moderate winds fluctuating between the north and east.


Total Sightings: 276
Hours Counted: 5.75
HPH: 48
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 95
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 3
Cooper's Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 149
Ferruginous Hawk: 3
American Kestrel: 4
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 6

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, November 30, 2015  
Posted by: Steph

The day began with light rain, and cloudy cold weather persisted throughout Monday II's final Hawkwatch. We kept warm with hot chocolate and coffee along with a bounty of homemade treats. While the winds blew predominantly from the north and northwest, they did not carry many migrating raptors our way. We mostly counted Turkey Vultures and Red-tailed Hawks, but did get some very nice looks at adult Peregrine Falcons flying right above the Hill. We were especially entertained by the antics of Hawk Hill's resident Ravens, White-crowned Sparrows, and Wrentit as they tried to sneak up to our potluck spread and steal crumbs. We left the Hill at 1:00 once the rain began again and the flow of birds seemed to have completely dried up. While Monday II's season went out with a fizzle in the drizzle, we enjoyed each other's company and our tasty snacks and look forward to reuniting at the banquet in January!

Total Sightings: 115
Hours Counted: 3.5
HPH: 32.86
Total Species: 6

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 66
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 2
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 42
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Buteo: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, November 29, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Natasha

The entertainment came in waves today, as did the birds. We started the day off right with an adult Peregrine Falcon circling over the platform. Raptor number climbed steadily throughout the day, peaking in the early afternoon. Today, the Common Ravens were fiercely defending their territory harassing a sub-adult Golden Eagle from low in Kirby Cove all the way to Mount Tamalpais. They also relentlessly pursued a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk that hid in the bushes in the south quadrant for five minutes before booking it across the San Francisco Bay. On the non-bird front, a large wedding party and a large choir induced traffic jams on the Hill and in the parking lot. The Hawkwatchers kept warm by munching on cheese and crackers and drinking coffee as the temperatures ranged from the high- 40s to low-50s. Sunday I is thankful for another great season!

Total Sightings: 273
Hours Counted: 5.75
HPH: 47.48
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 133
Northern Harrier: 9
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 3
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 109
Golden Eagle: 3
American Kestrel: 3
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 3

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, November 28, 2015  
Posted by: Elan

The Saturday I team ended their season strong! Gusts of frigid wind from the East kept Hawk Hill a consistent 50 degrees, but provided for excellent visibility throughout the day. Enduring this extremely chilly weather earned great looks at adult Peregrine Falcons, most soaring around and above the Hill for several minutes and a pair diving repeatedly at an adult Red-tailed Hawk. Buteos were also out and about despite the strong winds, and we sighted a handful of gorgeous dark-morph Red-tailed Hawks in addition to a most interesting raptor that we all wished had come closer: an adult rufous-morph Ferruginous Hawk. Saturday I was grateful to have such a lovely last day among incredible raptors and looks forward to next year!

Total Sightings: 121
Hours Counted: 4.5
HPH: 26.89
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 33
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 67
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 9

Unidentified...
Buteo: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, November 27, 2015  
Posted by: Natasha

What a glorious ending to the Hawkwatch season for Friday I! The day started out with strong winds and temperatures in the high 40s, but the birds did not take fright. Early in the 10 o'clock hour, Hawkwatchers were surprised to see a very late season Osprey over Wolfback Ridge. This sighting lifted our spirits as the frigid winds froze us to the bone. However, the Osprey was not the most exciting bird of the day. At around 10:45am, a scream boomed from the East, “I think everyone needs to look up!” Holly's call caused everyone to turn around and see the pointy accipitrine wings and the long tail of a Northern Goshawk soaring right above the east quadrant. As the day continued temperatures went up and the wind died down and we were blessed with three Ferruginous Hawks, including one adult, eight Peregrine Falcons and another Osprey. Along with great hawk sightings, 445 visitors joined us on the Hill today(that's 74.2 people per hour)! All in all, today's the count was not extremely high, but it was definitely one of the most memorable this year! We certainly have a lot to be thankful for on Friday I.

Total Sightings: 250
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 41.67
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 84
Osprey: 2
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 10
Cooper's Hawk: 5
Northern Goshawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 115
Ferruginous Hawk: 3
American Kestrel: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 8

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1
Buteo: 7
Falcon: 4
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, November 26, 2015  
Posted by: Laura and Steph

Our lovely Thanksgiving Hawkwatch started off blustery and cold, with temperatures in the low-50s and high 40s. The chilly winds blew predominantly from the north, with shifts between northwest and northeast. We began the day right with a close-up sighting of a White-Tailed Kite. Although the usual suspects showed up in lower numbers (Red-tailed Hawks, Turkey Vultures, and Accipiters), we had enough variety to keep us interested, including three long, luxurious looks at Ferruginous Hawks. Add Ann's delicious pumpkin pie, along with a variety of other tasty treats, into the mix, and we couldn't have asked for a nicer Thanksgiving!

Total Sightings: 207
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 34.5
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 71
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 6
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 5
Cooper's Hawk: 2
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 111
Ferruginous Hawk: 3
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015  
Posted by: Steph and Laura and the Wednesday II Team

Today was a good full day (no rain-out) with clear views for our final Hawkwatch! The weather alternated between cold and fairly warm with temperatures in the mid-50's and winds from several directions. We saw several Peregrines, including one that went after a Ferruginous Hawk. The thrill of the day was seeing a juvenile Northern Goshawk released by Hawk blind!

GGRO Goshawk Fact: This is only the 6th goshawk that has been banded in the history of the program! Banders and Hawkwatchers alike were delighted to experience this rare visitor to the Headlands.

Total Sightings: 123
Hours Counted: 5.92
HPH: 20.78
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 63
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 3
Cooper's Hawk: 2
Northern Goshawk: 1
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 36
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 8

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015  
Posted by: Laura and Nicole and Natasha

Our last day with Tuesday I had an auspicious beginning, with a delightful potluck held in 1064's big room which kept us out of the rain. Today's temperatures remained in the mid-50s throughout the day. The winds on the Hill did not prove quite as cold or harsh as we feared and brought us some excellent looks at Peregrine Falcons and truly spectacular looks at our trusty Red-tailed Hawks, including George who was close enough for us to read his expression through the scope. But the bird of the day was a Prairie Falcon which popped up in the west to demonstrate its hover hunting skills before zooming off. A great way to end our season!

Total Sightings: 107
Hours Counted: 3
HPH: 35.67
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 37
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 55
American Kestrel: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 4
Prairie Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, November 23, 2015  
Posted by: Natasha and Steph

The Monday I fog curse endured for our final Hawkwatch day of the season. While we never got to official Hawkwatching, we still made the most of our last day. We started off in the GGRO office with a cool presentation by Allen about Harlan's Hawks. Afterward we went to Rodeo Lagoon to do some birdwatching: we saw lots of American Wigeons with a few Eurasian Wigeons mixed in, as well as Northern Shovelers, Goldeneyes, a few grebe species, a Bufflehead, and a Wilson's Snipe. Next we went on a walk on the Miwok trail, where we saw several Red-tailed Hawks, a female American Kestrel, and some more waterfowl. After waiting in the cold fog at the Annex and hoping the Hill would clear off, we ended up hiking up the hill one last time to warm up with some exercise and enjoy a potluck to celebrate our Monday I team. We warmed up with hot chili, pizza bread, salad, and delicious baked goods, including pumpkin pie. Thanks for a great season, everyone!

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, November 22, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Natasha

It was a beautiful and clear day with high clouds and moderate wind. Due to the previous day's count, the team was psyched to scan for hawks. Though today's count was not as hefty, we made up for it with great company and incredible mammalian sightings. Multiple porpoises swam though the Golden Gate, three whales were spotted beyond Point Bonita, and large flocks of Homo sapien touristi were seen on the summit of Hawk Hill. Throughout the day, many Red-tailed Hawks flew extremely close to the Hawkwatchers. When the day's count started to dwindle at 2:00, a Ferruginous Hawk surprised us in the North Quadrant. Although Thanksgiving is this Thursday, the Sunday II team is looking forward to a delicious banquet on our and GGRO's last Hawkwatch day of the season.

Total Sightings: 188
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 31.33
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 89
Northern Harrier: 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 13
Cooper's Hawk: 4
Red-tailed Hawk: 68
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 3

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, November 21, 2015  
Posted by: Natasha and Elan and Laura

We were surprised to step out of our cars on the way to the Hill this morning and to nearly be blown over! Despite balmy breezes at 1064, we found ourselves in 15 to 20 mph winds until the early afternoon, after which they calmed. Fortunately, temperatures were consistently in the mid-60s, which kept us comfortable. Overall, the conditions may have helped us along to the highest count since November 4. Our tally consisted primarily of Red-tailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures, peppered with the occasional look at rarer birds, including a juvenile Bald Eagle and several American Kestrels.



Total Sightings: 448
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 74.67
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 170
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 20
Cooper's Hawk: 5
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 228
American Kestrel: 5
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 5
Buteo: 2
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, November 20, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Elan

Weather that felt more like spring than late November meant a beautiful day on the hill for today's Hawkwatchers, with clear skies and temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s. Although the counting was slow at times, lots of variety was observed, with 10 total species sighted. Highlights included a close look at a subadult Golden Eagle, a first for this team this season, and “yet another” juvenile Ferruginous Hawk. Peregrine Falcons were also flying close by today, giving Hawkwatchers great looks at both adult and juvenile plumages.

Total Sightings: 224
Hours Counted: 5.83
HPH: 38.42
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 89
Northern Harrier: 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 8
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 106
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 5

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 3
Buteo: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, November 19, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Elan and Steph

“Where are all the birds?” That question was frequently asked today up on the Hill as the Hawkwatchers endured a “too warm for late November” day. Although the count wasn't too high, the Thursday II crew still managed to spot 10 species including three White-tailed Kites and four adult Cooper's Hawks. A number of birds demonstrated proper migration technique, catching thermals right above the platform before zooming south towards The City. A Merlin also passed close overhead and, based on its uneven tail feathers, we could tell it was an adult that had molted. In the second to last hour, Hawkwatchers were treated to a dark-morph juvenile Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk.

Total Sightings: 216
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 36
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 80
White-tailed Kite: 3
Northern Harrier: 8
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 7
Cooper's Hawk: 8
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 97
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 2

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Laura

A hot first hour on the Hill was mitigated by a cooling breeze from a low fog layer that stuck with us for most of the day—we had temperatures from the mid-60s to the low 70s and gentle winds that shifted southwest in the afternoon. Although our number of raptors counted was relatively low, we compensated with an interesting distribution of species: more Northern Harriers than either Sharp-shinned or Cooper's Hawks, as well as sightings of a Bald Eagle, a Ferruginous Hawk, and several very cooperative Merlins.

BALD EAGLE (SOUND)BYTE: Did you know that the Bald Eagle has a far from impressive call? Take a listen here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/bald_eagle/sounds


Total Sightings: 265
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 44.17
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 131
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 20
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 9
Cooper's Hawk: 4
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Red-tailed Hawk: 84
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 4

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Steph and Natasha

“Pizza, pizza, pizza!” chanted the interns as they entered the office at the end of a wonderful day. They weren't just hungry; they spotted the first Rough-legged Hawk of the season and guaranteed the Tuesday II team pizza for the next cycle. In addition to the first Rough-legged Hawk, we also completed the fuzzy leg trifecta with an adult Golden Eagle and a juvenile Ferruginous Hawk. Other highlights of the day included a light blue-gray female Peregrine Falcon, two White-tailed Kites and a 360-degree virtual reality experience. You may question what we mean by this, well we are baffled by the same question. Upon arrival at Hawk Hill, Hawkwatchers were greeted by a student film crew equipped with an amplifier, camera equipment, and dancers on the center platform. We started our count at 10:00am to give them an opportunity to shoot some footage. Cheers to an unusual but exciting 13 species day!

Total Sightings: 283
Hours Counted: 5.5
HPH: 51.45
Total Species: 13

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 98
White-tailed Kite: 2
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 22
Cooper's Hawk: 10
Red-shouldered Hawk: 10
Red-tailed Hawk: 118
Ferruginous Hawk: 2
Rough-legged Hawk: 1
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 4
Buteo: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, November 16, 2015  
Posted by: Steph and Elan

Today was another blustery day, and the strong winds seemed to discourage hawks from flying. The wind gusted up to about 10 mph and predominantly blew from the north and northwest, bringing chilly temperatures to Hawk Hill. Although the thermometer read in the mid-50's for most of the day, warming up to the low-60's in the afternoon, the wind-chill made us feel much colder. Visibility was amazing, however, as we had great views all the way to San Jose. We mostly counted Red-tailed Hawks today, split evenly between about 35 juveniles and 35 adults. While the long-awaited Rough-legged Hawk was still nowhere to be seen and we were also not visited by any Ferruginous Hawks, we were treated to two White-tailed Kites and 13 American Kestrel sightings. We also got some great views of Peregrine Falcons over the city and swooping up onto the Golden Gate Bridge.

Total Sightings: 240
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 40
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 93
White-tailed Kite: 2
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 13
Cooper's Hawk: 6
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 87
American Kestrel: 13
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 5

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 6
Raptor: 6

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, November 15, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Natasha

The morning rain and the predicted gale force winds didn't deter the Sunday I team from making it up to the Hill for their second to last Hawkwatch of the season. However, these predictions proved to be false when winds never reached above 25 mph (at the edge of the North Quadrant). Bird activity varied throughout the day with the largest amount of birds seen from 10-11am. There was heavy Peregrine Falcon activity between 2-3pm, with 7 total seen throughout the day. A juvenile Bald Eagle provided some excitement in the early afternoon. First believed to be a distant Turkey Vulture, it eventually rose up in the West Quadrant and revealed its large size in comparison to the stooping Red-tailed Hawk.

Total Sightings: 239
Hours Counted: 5.92
HPH: 40.37
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 105
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 7
Cooper's Hawk: 4
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 103
American Kestrel: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 7

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 3
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, November 14, 2015  
Posted by: Elan

Hawkwatchers' identification skills were challenged by poor visibility today, as a purple–hued haze obscured a significant portion of the Bay and seemed to intensify the glare of the sun on the water. The weather was pleasant despite the odd air quality, with temperatures in the mid-60s and low 70s and very light, variable winds, practically nonexistent until a mild West wind kicked up in the afternoon. As small kettles of Red-tailed Hawks, Turkey Vultures, and Ravens formed and dissipated throughout the day, our vigilant Hawkwatchers kept an eye out for unusual raptors. Much to our luck, an Osprey and a White-tailed Kite were spotted at a close distance, in addition to several nearby Northern Harriers. The three typical falcon species also graced the Hill with their presence today, including a gorgeous male American Kestrel who enthralled us as he circled over our heads. The Rough-legged Hawks spotted at Pt. Reyes may not have decided to move Southward today, but we'll be ready for them when they do!

Total Sightings: 270
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 45
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 77
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 10
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 21
Cooper's Hawk: 5
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 135
American Kestrel: 3
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 3

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, November 13, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole

High numbers of Red-tailed Hawks kept our counters on their toes today, testing our ability to pass birds between the quadrants. Eleven of the 252 Red-tail sightings today were of dark morph birds, making it a little more exciting to see the migrating Buteos. Speaking of exciting Buteos, one solitary Swainson's Hawk was seen today, a rare sighting for this time of year in the Headlands. Most of these birds have already moved on from the Central Valley to South America. Hopefully this loner makes it in time to meet up with its family for Thanksgiving in Argentina!

Total Sightings: 436
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 72.67
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 102
Northern Harrier: 19
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 30
Cooper's Hawk: 9
Red-shouldered Hawk: 6
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 252
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 2

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, November 12, 2015  
Posted by: Elan and Steph and Laura

FOUR FALCON THURSDAY: For a relatively slow day on the Hill, we had some special moments, including a Prairie Falcon that flew directly over top of our hawkwatchers, bringing the count to four falcons for the day! We had minimal winds primarily out of the north and west and temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s. The precipitous drop in accipiters was obvious today: in total, we spotted only 23 Sharp-shinned Hawks and 6 Cooper's Hawks. Given that the bulk of our count consisted of Red-tailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures, we were happy for spurts of variety, including several Merlins, a handful of Red-shouldered Hawks, a blackish dark morph Red-tailed Hawk, and an adult female Northern Harrier.

Total Sightings: 305
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 50.83
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 103
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 23
Cooper's Hawk: 6
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Red-tailed Hawk: 141
American Kestrel: 7
Merlin: 5
Peregrine Falcon: 1
Prairie Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 4
Buteo: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Anna

Beautiful weather finally blessed the Wednesday I Hawkwatch team, allowing them their first full day on the hill after being cursed by rain and fog earlier this season. Although numbers were low, we did have nine Northern Harrier sightings and a beautiful view of a juvenile Ferruginous Hawk silhouetted against the Golden Gate Bridge. An extremely low-flying plane kicked up the adrenaline level and made our team question whether or not to duck out of the way. Thanks to some high-powered optics, we were able to get the registration number off of the plane and call it into the parks dispatch.

Total Sightings: 198
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 33
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 89
Northern Harrier: 9
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 12
Cooper's Hawk: 6
Red-shouldered Hawk: 4
Red-tailed Hawk: 70
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 3
Merlin: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015  
Posted by: Natasha and Nicole and Laura

Clear skies and sunshine made for a pleasant, if chilly, day on the hill, with temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s and variable wind. We were treated to many great looks at adult Peregrine Falcons, including a very pale individual that may have been from the Tundrius subspecies. One Peregrine even obliged us with a flyby near enough for some close-up photos. Northern Harrier juveniles were the other highlight of the day—we saw six juveniles and one adult male.

PONDERING PEREGRINES: Peregrine Falcons, or Falco peregrinus, include many subspecies (up to 19 have been accepted by bird guides). Of these, we see three. The Tundrius subspecies was first described by C.M. White in 1968 and is paler than our other subspecies.


Total Sightings: 249
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 41.5
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 107
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 10
Cooper's Hawk: 5
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 103
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 8

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, November 08, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole

No Hawkwatch was conducted today due to rain.

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, November 09, 2015  
Posted by: Steph and Natasha

After being away at the Raptor Research Foundation Conference for five days, the interns were excited to jump back into Hawkwatching, but sadly this was not to be. Thunderstorms and lighting boomed throughout Rodeo Valley, causing Hawkwatch to be cancelled. While we were disappointed about missing Hawkwatch, we are glad that much-needed rain has come to the region.

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, November 07, 2015  
Posted by: Sat II Team and Natasha and Steph

It was a beautiful, clear, sunny day, but there was not quite enough wind to bring in a lot of birds. A few highlights include a Tundra Peregrine Falcon and a potential Harlan's Hawk. We spotted Merlins and dark morph Red-tailed Hawks all day, mostly juveniles and some adults. At the end of the Watch, a family of four coyotes picturesquely sat on Rocky Ridge.


Total Sightings: 389
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 64.83
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 128
Northern Harrier: 10
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 33
Cooper's Hawk: 9
Red-shouldered Hawk: 7
Red-tailed Hawk: 181
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 10
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 4
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, November 06, 2015  
Posted by: Friday II Team and Natasha and Steph

It was a great day on the Hill- clear and sunny, with a bit of cool. The team was energetic and had hopes to see the first Rough-legged Hawk, but alas, no luck. We instead got great looks at Merlins, Ferruginous Hawks, and a juvenile Bald Eagle. Yippee! We saw flurries of birds forming kettles mixed with quieter times throughout the day. We also saw several dark morph Red-tailed Hawks, a Harlan's Hawk, and a Short-eared Owl for good measure.

Total Sightings: 438
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 73
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 154
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 18
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 30
Cooper's Hawk: 15
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 195
Ferruginous Hawk: 2
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 10

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, November 05, 2015  
Posted by: Thurs II Team and Steph and Natasha

Tails, Tails and more Tails! Today was a chilly November day with a mix of sun and clouds. There were light winds in the morning and a stronger breeze as the day ended. It was a big day for Red-tailed Hawks and a strong Northern Harrier showing with a mix of juveniles and adults. We missed our intrepid Dayleader and our interns, but we soldiered on under the expert guidance of George and additional help from some drop-in's.

Total Sightings: 494
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 82.33
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 124
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 19
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 33
Cooper's Hawk: 15
Red-shouldered Hawk: 9
Red-tailed Hawk: 267
American Kestrel: 8
Merlin: 7
Peregrine Falcon: 2

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015  
Posted by: Weds II Team and Steph and Natasha

It was a beautiful sunny day with unlimited visibility. The morning started out "knock-you-down windy," with winds from the north and a constant flow of birds to go with it. When the winds died down in the afternoon, the birds got scarcer. Temperatures were in the 50s in the morning and the 60s in the afternoon. It was big day for Red-tailed Hawks with 270 sighted, including 11 dark morph juveniles and two dark morph adults. Also exciting was having a Double-Eagle day! We had two Bald Eagles, one juvenile and one adult, and one adult Golden Eagle. Even though we were missing our Dayleader, Allen, we had a great time on the hill. The only negative was spotting a drone in the air over Hill 88. Headlands visitors should remember, it is illegal to fly drones in all National Parks, so please find a more suitable location to fly your devices.

Total Sightings: 500
Hours Counted: 5.75
HPH: 86.96
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 106
Bald Eagle: 2
Northern Harrier: 6
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 53
Cooper's Hawk: 28
Red-shouldered Hawk: 11
Red-tailed Hawk: 270
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 5
Buteo: 9
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Steph

After the rains that cancelled yesterday's Hawkwatch, today's counters were treated to beautiful, clear skies. Temperatures ranged in the sixties and the slight wind consistently blew from the west-south-west throughout the day. While the number of raptors remained fairly low, today was a great day for spotting a wide variety of species. During the morning meeting, this team reminisced about this day one year ago when 15 species were spotted. While we only reached 11, we did spot the very first Bald Eagle of the season. This bird appeared in the Northeast, and was identified as a juvenile by its brown breast and belly and white wing-pits. Another exciting moment of the day was when an adult Peregrine Falcon chased a juvenile right over Hawk Hill, giving amazing views of these beautiful birds and great photo opportunities. At the end of the day, Dayleader Mary's wish to see a White-tailed Kite finally came true, as this team spotted one in the West quadrant for Tuesday II's first time this season. This was a great last day before the interns leave for the Raptor Research Foundation Conference in Sacramento. The blog will pick back up on Monday, when we return to the Headlands!

Total Sightings: 262
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 43.67
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 71
White-tailed Kite: 1
Bald Eagle: 1
Northern Harrier: 10
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 22
Cooper's Hawk: 9
Red-shouldered Hawk: 7
Red-tailed Hawk: 125
American Kestrel: 5
Merlin: 7
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, November 01, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Natasha

Fog, fog, fog, sun, fog, fog, fog. Throughout the day, the sun battled the fog, but ultimately it surrendered. We started out the day at the Annex and moved to Hawk Hill at 10:30. However, the Annex gave us a better show than the hill. While Hawkwatchers watched an American Kestrel in Kirby Cove, a Peregrine Falcon appeared behind it. Though it did not bother the Kestrel, the Peregrine Falcon decided to complete a series of dives on the resident adult Red-tailed Hawk pair. Once we made it up to the hill, the day was very slow with only 27 sightings and three species.

Total Sightings: 27
Hours Counted: 2
HPH: 13.5
Total Species: 3

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 10
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 14

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, October 31, 2015  
Posted by: Elan and Laura

This morning started out warm on the Hill, with some lingering fog that blew in and out throughout the day. Luckily, a westerly wind blew in during the early afternoon, cooling us all down from temperatures in the mid-70s to high 60s and bringing the highest number of birds we've seen in a few days. These included excellent looks at close-flying Accipiters, especially adults. Other highlights included many Red-tailed Hawks and several Northern Harriers showing off their pumpkin bellies, just in time for Halloween!

TRICK OR TAIL? Did you know that the GGRO experiences a second peak of Red-tailed Hawks, typically in early November? Look out for those extra beauties as they fly over Hawk Hill!


Total Sightings: 443
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 73.83
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 87
White-tailed Kite: 2
Northern Harrier: 16
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 79
Cooper's Hawk: 34
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Red-tailed Hawk: 191
American Kestrel: 5
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 9
Buteo: 5
Raptor: 6

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, October 30, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Natasha

Warmer weather and clear skies brought more birds to our Hawkwatchers today, with high numbers of Accipiters and Red-tailed Hawks keeping the counters busy. Our Accipiter proportions were similar to our peak counts were, with approximately three times as many Sharp-shinned Hawks as Cooper's Hawks. Many of these Sharp-shinned Hawks were heading directly south across the Golden Gate, leading to lots of “undocumented” age class birds. With the bright light reflecting off the water in the east and south, it was difficult to make out the plumage to distinguish juveniles from adults. A dozen Merlin sightings added excitement to the day, as did multiple adult female Northern Harrier sightings. A juvenile Golden Eagle was sighted in the afternoon, answering the team's morning wish for “an eagle, any eagle!”

Total Sightings: 413
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 68.83
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 92
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 93
Cooper's Hawk: 33
Red-shouldered Hawk: 15
Red-tailed Hawk: 138
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 12
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 14
Falcon: 2
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, October 29, 2015  
Posted by: Elan and Steph and Laura

The beautiful weather today was a welcome reprieve from the fog, rain and wind of the last few days. Temperatures ranged from the low sixties to mid-seventies, with clear skies throughout the day. The wind began in the northeast and east in the morning and later shifted to more westerly directions. This weather brought greater numbers of both individual birds and species than had been seen recently. Today was a great day for falcon-viewing, as we saw lots of American Kestrels, Merlins, and Peregrine Falcons, many flying close by over the hill. We saw both adult and juvenile dark morph Red-tailed Hawks, along with a likely Harlan's Hawk. Unfortunately, this bird with unusual plumage did not give us a good enough look to be certain if it was this rarer type. Intern Elan introduced a number of school groups to Hawk Hill, and the hawks treated the students to some awesome close views.

Total Sightings: 418
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 69.67
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 125
White-tailed Kite: 3
Northern Harrier: 9
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 46
Cooper's Hawk: 23
Red-shouldered Hawk: 10
Red-tailed Hawk: 170
American Kestrel: 7
Merlin: 12
Peregrine Falcon: 5

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 7
Falcon: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Nicole

Today was a day for variable weather, with thick fog obscuring most of the Headlands on and off throughout the day, temperatures in the 60s, and minimal winds from the west. The team closed up early after two hours of counting; despite vigilantly scanning the sky for raptors, Turkey Vultures were the most prominent players on the data sheet. Undoubtedly, the highlights of the day were the glowing rainbows.

Total Sightings: 41
Hours Counted: 1.75
HPH: 23.43
Total Species: 4

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 34
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 5
American Kestrel: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015  
Posted by: Laura and Natasha and Nicole

The blow of a relative lack of birds was softened somewhat by beautiful colors and formations in the skies. Layers of green, purple, orange and blue coated the South Bay, accompanied by temperatures in the 60s and variable winds. Visibility was exceptional: throughout the day, we could see the Farallone Islands with the naked eye. Otherwise, we were happy to see an adult Peregrine Falcon diving on an adult Red-tailed Hawk, a handful of Northern Harriers and two male American Kestrels.

Total Sightings: 96
Hours Counted: 5.5
HPH: 17.45
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 53
Northern Harrier: 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 28
American Kestrel: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 1

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, October 26, 2015  
Posted by: Steph and Natasha

The day started out at the Annex because of the fog capping Hawk Hill. While waiting, we got a great look at an adult Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree. As the fog began to burn off, we ventured up the hill to find sunny skies and no wind. Throughout the day, the wind never picked up and temperatures remained in the mid-70s to low-80s. Wind direction predominated from the east, but changed occasionally to the south. These unfavorable weather conditions limited the number of hawks we observed. While we mostly saw Turkey Vultures and Red-tailed Hawks, we were excited to see a Ferruginous Hawk after a weekend lacking these majestic raptors. Other notable sightings were several Peregrine Falcons and a perched Merlin.

Total Sightings: 234
Hours Counted: 5
HPH: 46.8
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 72
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 34
Cooper's Hawk: 16
Red-shouldered Hawk: 6
Red-tailed Hawk: 88
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 7
Buteo: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, October 25, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Natasha

It was a long day up on the hill with few birds and a lot of fog. Temperatures danced around the 60s and wind speeds varied from O to 10mph. The fog threatened to shut down the count on more than one occasion, but the Hawkwatchers remained positive in moments of zero visibility. Though Accipiter counts were low, there was an equal amount of adults and juveniles seen.

Total Sightings: 268
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 44.67
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 107
Northern Harrier: 8
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 37
Cooper's Hawk: 14
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 79
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 6
Peregrine Falcon: 1

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, October 24, 2015  
Posted by: Elan and Natasha and Laura

It was a hazy day up on the Hill with temperatures fluctuating from the high 50s to low 80s and variable winds that shifted north in the afternoon. We had moderate numbers with eight species for most of the day until the last two hours, when two White-tailed Kites, a Peregrine Falcon and a male American Kestrel appeared in the north quadrant. Red-tailed Hawks were the heavy hitters of the day, with 142 sightings, including a beautiful, very light juvenile male who gave a lovely show during the banding demo. The light markings on his back and some black breast feathers led Hawkwatchers to discuss whether he might just be an intergrade between a typical Red-tailed Hawk and a Harlan's Hawk, a Red-tailed Hawk subspecies.

HARLAN'S HISTORY: Formerly considered a separate species, the Harlan's Hawk was reclassified in 1973 as a subspecies of the Red-tailed Hawk. It is characterized by a lack of rufous coloration and more black feathers on the upperparts, as well as barring on the outer primaries in juveniles. There is a stable zone of intergrade between Harlan's Hawks and typical western Red-tailed Hawks.


Total Sightings: 324
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 54.33
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 77
White-tailed Kite: 2
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 44
Cooper's Hawk: 34
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 142
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 8
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, October 23, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Elan

Fog kept the team off the hill in the morning, but we made the most of our time by looking for the vagrant White Wagtail at Rodeo Lagoon. Unfortunately we weren't able to spot this Eurasian species, but we did see some visiting fall ducks and had a nice walk before heading up to check out the visibility up top. Fog still shrouded the peak of Hawk Hill so we spent some time waiting at the Annex by the roundabout, where we were able to spot some raptors down in Kirby Cove and along Slacker Ridge. As soon as the hill cleared at a quarter to one we were on our way, and managed to spot seven species of raptors during the official count time. Highlights included a few Northern Harriers, zooming Merlins, and a lovely adult Red-shouldered Hawk.

Total Sightings: 70
Hours Counted: 2.67
HPH: 26.22
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 18
Northern Harrier: 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 8
Cooper's Hawk: 8
Red-shouldered Hawk: 4
Red-tailed Hawk: 21
Merlin: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 4

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, October 22, 2015  
Posted by: Steph and Anna

One tail, two tail,
Red tail, brown tail,
Dark tail, light tail,
Adult tail, juv. tail.

This poem, inspired by the illustrious Dr. Seuss, describes one of our most abundant raptor species of the day. While raptor activity overall was relatively low, we spotted 122 Red-tailed Hawks, second in numbers only to Turkey Vultures, as usual. Two dark-morph adult Red-tails were spotted in the afternoon. We were shocked and dismayed when the “daily Ferrug” failed to appear, and also missed the Golden Eagles that had been appearing often in the last week. We did get to see an Osprey and a White-tailed Kite, species that were a little more common earlier in the season but hadn't been seen as often lately. We were entertained by the appearance of a Raven with two large feathers sticking out at odd angles; this bird could clearly use some practice in proper preening technique.

AND NOW, THE WEATHER: Today was sunny with only a few clouds, but hazy in the distance over the city. The haze and strong light made visibility poor when viewing far-off birds. Wind began in the northeast and east and shifted later in the day towards the west.


Total Sightings: 371
Hours Counted: 5.83
HPH: 63.64
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 148
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 10
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 50
Cooper's Hawk: 13
Red-shouldered Hawk: 4
Broad-winged Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 122
American Kestrel: 6
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 7
Buteo: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015  
Posted by: Laura and Anna

We had a sunny, clear day flush with Merlins on the Hill, with temperatures in the low 70s and generally northerly breezes that shifted from east to west over the course of the afternoon. Our first sighting of the day was a Merlin that ushered in a pleasant flow of birds, bringing us to about 100 raptors per hour from 11 am to 1 pm. A fairly high number of Red-shouldered Hawks (11 in total) showed off their crescents for us, while our life blood—Red-tailed Hawks—kept us busy throughout. Not to be forgotten, our “daily Ferruginous Hawk” arrived between 2 and 3 for the requisite admiration of the Hawkwatch.

Total Sightings: 349
Hours Counted: 5.75
HPH: 60.7
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 85
Northern Harrier: 9
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 54
Cooper's Hawk: 22
Red-shouldered Hawk: 11
Red-tailed Hawk: 135
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 5
Merlin: 9
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 8
Buteo: 2
Raptor: 7

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Natasha and Steph

The day began with a case of déjà vu. The day began with a case of déjà vu… A familiar looking raptor appeared over Slacker Ridge and the Hawkwatchers took notice. What initially appeared to be a strange Red-tailed Hawk was later recognized as a dark morph Swainson's Hawk. Perhaps, this was the same individual spotted on yesterday's watch. In the afternoon, a distant Golden Eagle was spotted in the North Saddle. While there was much debate over the age when looking through scopes, a photograph taken by one of our Hawkwatchers cleared up the matter. This individual showed both juvenile and adult feathers, indicating a second-year bird beginning its long transition into adult plumage. Along with these interesting sightings, we also observed the daily Ferruginous Hawk, the Golden Gate Bridge Peregrine Falcon and four American Kestrels.

Today's Weather Report: Temperatures slowly increased from the high-60s to the mid-70s around noon. A shift from eastern to western winds cooled us down in the afternoon.

Fun Fact: The opposite of déjà vu is jamais vu, or the sensation of having never seen a familiar word before.


Total Sightings: 329
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 54.83
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 58
Northern Harrier: 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 60
Cooper's Hawk: 49
Red-shouldered Hawk: 11
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 117
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 4
Merlin: 5
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 14
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, October 19, 2015  
Posted by: Elan and Steph

Merlin Madness! A total of 23 Merlins were spotted today as they zipped by the Hill, moving south in a hurry! The day started slowly, with winds from the south and east, bringing some interesting birds into south quadrant (but not much elsewhere). Temperatures ranged in the comfortable high 60s and low 70s throughout the day. Around noon, the wind shifted to the southwest and, surprisingly, numbers began to pick up and a slew of uncommon and unique birds flew by the Hill. Our daily Ferruginous Hawk appeared around this time, continuing the surprising streak of sightings throughout the season. Hawkwatchers applied the weekly intern presentation on aging Golden Eagles to not one, but two, Golden Eagles that were seen today! As the 2:00 hour began, everything became a blur as the sky filled with falcons and Red-tailed Hawks. As two Peregrine Falcons locked talons, a leucistic adult Red-tailed Hawk soared above. This bird had completely white upperwing coverts, while the flight feathers and tail showed normal plumage. A bird that first appeared to be a dark-morph Red-tailed Hawk was then discovered to be a dark-morph Swainson's Hawk, one of only a few this season. The day ended with the glorious release of our second telemetry bird this year, a male juvenile Red-tailed Hawk dubbed "Gypsy". We look forward to following Gypsy's travels for the next week or so and wish him luck! You too can follow his flights at www.ggrotelemetry.blogspot.com.



Total Sightings: 343
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 57.2
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 118
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 31
Cooper's Hawk: 45
Red-shouldered Hawk: 13
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 87
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
Golden Eagle: 2
American Kestrel: 3
Merlin: 23
Peregrine Falcon: 6

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, October 18, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Natasha

It was quite eventful up on the Hill today, with lower numbers of Accipiters but still a good amount of diversity seen. Turkey Vultures, Red-tailed Hawks, and swirling winds! White-tailed Kites, Peregrine Falcons, and Golden Eagles! Not to deviate from the current trend, a juvenile Ferruginous Hawk flew by in the afternoon. A Peregrine Falcon also gave the Hawkwatchers a good show, repeatedly stooping on a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk. Adding to the drama, a small plane practically skimmed the platform in the morning and in the afternoon two drones appeared high in the skies, including one that fell and crashed into the hillside.

Total Sightings: 397
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 66.17
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 132
White-tailed Kite: 2
Northern Harrier: 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 24
Cooper's Hawk: 20
Red-shouldered Hawk: 14
Red-tailed Hawk: 149
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
Golden Eagle: 2
Merlin: 6
Peregrine Falcon: 10

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 20
Buteo: 1
Falcon: 3
Raptor: 8

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, October 17, 2015  
Posted by: Laura and Elan

A generally overcast sky in the morning gave us false hope that things would clear out for a nice afternoon Hawkwatch, especially because we had winds out of the W and NW and moderate temperatures in the low 60s. We had just enough time to count several representatives of our common species and two Northern Harriers. Unfortunately, a dense fog rolled in at 12:30, prompting us to leave the Turkey Vulture tally for another day. Hawkwatchers enjoyed watching the banding demo, given by docent Randy Breaux, before heading off the Hill.

GULL GUFFAW: Why don't you see seagulls flying over the Bay? Because then, they would be Bay-Gulls!

Total Sightings: 97
Hours Counted: 3.25
HPH: 29.85
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 69
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 3
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 12
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Buteo: 3
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, October 16, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Natasha

Cooler temperatures and breezy weather made for a pleasant day on Hawkwatch. The ”Year of the Ferruginous Hawk” continued today, with four more sightings of these big, white Buteos. This brings our total number of sightings for the year up to 46 birds, over twice what we see in an average year! A good flow of adult Accipiters continued today, and large numbers of Red-tailed Hawks were recorded as well.

Total Sightings: 475
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 79.2
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 142
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 99
Cooper's Hawk: 46
Red-shouldered Hawk: 11
Red-tailed Hawk: 154
Ferruginous Hawk: 4
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 9
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, October 15, 2015  
Posted by: Elan and Steph and Laura

Variable conditions throughout the day kept us guessing while up on the Hill, including a generally westerly wind and temperatures in the low to high 60s. We saw weather appropriate for seemingly every month of the migration, from late summer to early winter. One minute, raptors were flying, while the next minute, we were covered in fog (and even a few stray raindrops)! Highlights of the day included two Ferruginous Hawks and a very pale-headed Red-tailed Hawk that made some of our Hawkwatchers do a double-take.

RAPTOR RHYMES: The weather today was confusing, but not as frigid as the snow storm described in the hawk-inspired poem below. Can you name the author?

“No hawk hangs over in this air:
The urgent snow is everywhere.
The wing adroiter than a sail
Must lean away from such a gale,
Abandoning its straight intent,
Or else expose tough ligament
And tender flesh to what before
Meant dampened feathers, nothing more…”


Total Sightings: 349
Hours Counted: 5.83
HPH: 59.86
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 124
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 53
Cooper's Hawk: 40
Red-shouldered Hawk: 11
Red-tailed Hawk: 87
Ferruginous Hawk: 2
American Kestrel: 5
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 18
Buteo: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Anna

Light winds and low fog offered a nice reprieve from the past few scorchers. It was an overall pleasant day with increasing sightings of adult Accipiters and another great look at a juvenile Ferruginous Hawk that did a slow pass past the platform before heading to The City. There was an interesting sighting of a dark morph juvenile Red-tailed Hawk that was very light colored on the dorsal side. A juvenile Northern Harrier provided a nice send-off to the Hawkwatchers, popping up just below Fish Rock during the final minutes of the count.

Total Sightings: 310
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 51.67
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 72
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 83
Cooper's Hawk: 33
Red-shouldered Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 88
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 5
Merlin: 6
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 9
Buteo: 5
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015  
Posted by: Natasha and Nicole and Laura

Similar to yesterday's weather, Hawk Hill suffered from intense heat in the early part of the day. Yet this did not inhibit Hawkwatchers from seeing some wonderful raptors. The first half-hour only had five sightings, but an adult Peregrine Falcon and a juvenile Northern Harrier gave us hope for improvement. That hope was met (and exceeded) when Natasha spotted a large, dark, non-Red-tailed Hawk….wait! It's a dark morph Ferruginous Hawk! Many agreed that this could be the best bird of the season, and all were satisfied when it gave us a lingering close-up before heading towards the Bridge.

DARK MORPH DATUM: Of the species seen at Hawk Hill, all of the Buteos except for Red-shouldered Hawks show multiple color morphs, but only three percent are dark morphs.


Total Sightings: 278
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 46.33
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 93
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 42
Cooper's Hawk: 25
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Red-tailed Hawk: 88
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 3
Merlin: 7
Peregrine Falcon: 4

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, October 12, 2015  
Posted by: Steph and Natasha

With little wind and scorching temperatures, not many raptors were spotted today. Yet, our songbird count reached 176.3 individuals per hour as large flocks of Band-tailed Pigeons and Violet-green Swallows swarmed around the hill. Though the raptor hourly counts were low, a large variety of species were seen. This made the heat a little more bearable. During the second hour of the day, nine species were counted including a late-season Osprey and the two Golden Gate Bridge dwelling Peregrine Falcons. Along with these two species, ten juvenile Northern Harriers flew through the north quadrant throughout the day. Here's hoping for more wind and more raptors tomorrow.

Total Sightings: 220
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 36.67
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 87
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 10
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 42
Cooper's Hawk: 25
Red-shouldered Hawk: 12
Red-tailed Hawk: 33
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, October 11, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Natasha and Elan

Despite a thick layer of fog blanketing the ocean and San Francisco, we had clear skies and great views of many amazing raptors and planes for the last day of Fleet Week. Our dependable flow of Red-tailed Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and Cooper's Hawks came with a consistent Northwest wind that kicked up mid-morning. Later in the afternoon, warmer temperatures generated thermals for large kettles of Turkey Vultures. We may have seen many juvenile Ferruginous Hawks in the past few weeks, but few sightings have been as spectacular as today's individual, who circumnavigated the entire Hawk Hill summit! An adult female Northern Harrier also visited the Hill, illustrating complex hunting patterns.

Total Sightings: 333
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 55.5
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 133
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 63
Cooper's Hawk: 30
Red-shouldered Hawk: 11
Red-tailed Hawk: 68
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 3
Merlin: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 17
Falcon: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, October 10, 2015  
Posted by: Laura and Natasha and Elan

Fleet Week performances made Hawk Hill this Saturday II a popular destination and offered some extra spectacle for Hawkwatchers on a somewhat slow day. The morning started with dense fog, but it rolled out for great visibility in the afternoon. We started our count off right with close-up views of a White-tailed Kite and a Broad-winged Hawk, both displaying their classic field marks. Our trusty Red-tailed Hawks and Accipiters ruled the day thereafter, and Hawkwatchers got in some field entomology practice, spotting approximately 40 butterflies. We also enjoyed a visit from young UC Santa Cruz ornithologists and several Audubon groups. Once the Blue Angels got going, we had several seemingly surprised birds fleeing the scene and (happily) increasing our total species numbers, including a Merlin and an Osprey!

Total Sightings: 302
Hours Counted: 5.25
HPH: 57.52
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 123
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 56
Cooper's Hawk: 23
Red-shouldered Hawk: 10
Broad-winged Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 72
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 2

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, October 09, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole

Although the day was hot and got off to a slow start, the birds, whales, ships, and planes put on a good show for the Hawkwatchers. Fleet Week festivities kept the south quadrant interesting as the parade of ships passed under the bridge in the morning, and a pair of gray whales could be seen feeding in the middle of the lineup. Two adult Peregrine Falcons and one juvenile sped by the south platform, reminding everyone that there were birds to be counted too. Lots of Accipiters kept the Hawkwatchers on their toes, as did several raptor ID studies from the banders at Hawk Blind. Large kettles of Red-shouldered Hawks tested everyone's scope skills from the far north, and our daily dose of Ferruginous Hawk appeared right in front of our eyes as we were working the distant birds. The afternoon concluded with the Blue Angels jets flying close enough overhead to wave to the pilots, and the team left slightly sunburned but in good spirits.

Total Sightings: 329
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 54.83
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 101
Northern Harrier: 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 68
Cooper's Hawk: 55
Red-shouldered Hawk: 22
Broad-winged Hawk: 6
Red-tailed Hawk: 47
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 16
Buteo: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, October 08, 2015  
Posted by: Steph and Elan

Today the skies were filled with interesting flying non-raptor objects, as Fleet Week kicked off with Blue Angels' practice flights. Raptor activity overall was low, but two pairs of adult Peregrine Falcons, two Ferruginous Hawks, and eight juvenile Northern Harriers kept us glued to the sky. The lack of activity may have been related to the still air and warm temperatures felt in the morning, but things picked up later in the day. The peak for adult Accipiters may be approaching, as both Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper's Hawk adults were spotted in proportions much higher than before. A nocturnal raptor species seen today was a Great Horned Owl, oddly enough, perched on a telephone pole in the South Quadrant at 3 PM. We anticipate more planes and raptors in the coming weekend!

Total Sightings: 314
Hours Counted: 5.92
HPH: 53.04
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 44
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 8
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 111
Cooper's Hawk: 53
Red-shouldered Hawk: 13
Red-tailed Hawk: 58
Ferruginous Hawk: 2
American Kestrel: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 5

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 16
Buteo: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Laura

A hazy day on the hill gave way to increasing winds in the afternoon. The hawks were flying and giving great views with a nice midday peak of Sharp-shinned Hawks and Red-shouldered Hawks, including a few adults thrown in the mix. The highest species diversity and count occurred during the 12 o'clock hour, including a distant White-tailed Kite, a few Merlins, and the trusty Golden Gate Bridge adult Peregrine. We had a lovely visit from the kindergarteners of Marin Horizon School, whose teacher, Kathleen Hazelton-Leech, has been bringing her “Red-tailed Hawks” for a visit on the Hill for 30 years. Thanks for coming out to visit the hawks!

Total Sightings: 476
Hours Counted: 5.83
HPH: 81.65
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 91
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 185
Cooper's Hawk: 64
Red-shouldered Hawk: 31
Red-tailed Hawk: 75
Ferruginous Hawk: 3
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 10
Buteo: 4

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015  
Posted by: Natasha and Nicole and Steph

What's better than a Golden Eagle? Two Golden Eagles! After two cycles of extreme weather, almost 100 degree heat and cold winds, Tuesday II finally had excellent hawk watching weather which brought in some terrific raptors. The close head-on view of a Broad-winged Hawk kicked off the day's excitement. Around noon, the cry of “Ferruuugg!” could be heard across the platform. Everyone turned to the north to see a Ferruginous Hawk hovering nearby. However, the real excitement occurred when two juvenile Golden Eagles were spotted over Angel Island. What an excellent way to celebrate Pat's four score birthday and Molly and Nick's last days on Hawkwatch. Happy Birthday (UNHHH)!

Total Sightings: 605
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 100.83
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 218
Northern Harrier: 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 102
Cooper's Hawk: 74
Red-shouldered Hawk: 32
Broad-winged Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 129
Ferruginous Hawk: 2
Golden Eagle: 2
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 21
Buteo: 4
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, October 05, 2015  
Posted by: Stephanie and Elan

Today was a warm and busy day on Hawk Hill, with the Accipiter migration continuing to flow steadily. After two cycles of extremely hot weather, the Monday II Team was grateful for pleasant winds and a moderate temperature. We were joined by another Audubon birdwatching group eager to observe the migration and spot some unique hawks. They were rewarded with the sight of a few juvenile Broad-winged Hawks, one of which was a dark morph. Later in the day, we also were haunted by a “Gray Ghost”, an adult male Northern Harrier, followed by an amazing head-on view of a Ferruginous Hawk. The Hawaiian Chieftain, a gorgeous tall ship, heralded the end of the day with cannon fire as she entered the bay.

Total Sightings: 687
Hours Counted: 5.75
HPH: 119.48
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 155
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 134
Cooper's Hawk: 146
Red-shouldered Hawk: 21
Broad-winged Hawk: 5
Red-tailed Hawk: 172
Ferruginous Hawk: 2
American Kestrel: 1
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 32
Buteo: 6
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, October 04, 2015  
Posted by: Natasha and Anna

A hazy day on the hill did not prevent the Hawkwatchers from tallying up 845 sightings of hawks. Accipiters were flying left and right and Red-tailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures accumulated in massive kettles throughout the day. Throw in some Merlins and Broad-winged Hawks and we had ourselves a raptor party. As the wind increased into the afternoon, our unidentified Accipiter count increased as well. Along with great sightings of hawks, many visitors came to the hill throughout the day. We had an excellent group of inquisitive guests at our Hawk Talk and Banding Demonstration. Overall, it was a wonderful day to spend on the hill.

Total Sightings: 845
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 140.83
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 155
Osprey: 2
Northern Harrier: 9
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 149
Cooper's Hawk: 94
Red-shouldered Hawk: 29
Broad-winged Hawk: 36
Red-tailed Hawk: 273
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 6
Merlin: 6
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 63
Buteo: 9
Raptor: 10

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, October 03, 2015  
Posted by: Laura and Elan

What a crazy day! The morning started off slowly, with thin fog moving in and out of the Headlands and obscuring most of the birds. The day ended with winds strong enough to blow over the strongest of Hawkwatchers! Nevertheless, we had a strong finish with over 500 raptors counted in what was really a 3 hour (rather than a true 6 hour) day. The falcon game was intense today, with multiple overhead views of Merlins and Peregrine Falcons. We even got to practice “birding by the tail” with several male American Kestrels. We continued to build on a larger-than-average year for Ferruginous Hawks, with three close-up sightings. Glad we got off Hawk Hill before we started losing volunteers to the wind. Thanks Saturday I and see you in two weeks!

TAIL TALES: For many raptors, the outer tail feathers, technically called the 6th retrices, are a different size or color than the rest of the tail feathers. One excellent example from today on the Hill was the male American Kestrel, whose 6th retrices are white with black spots, in contrast to the rest of the tail (mostly rufous, with a large black subterminal band and a white terminal band).


Total Sightings: 506
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 84.33
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 89
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 140
Cooper's Hawk: 78
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Broad-winged Hawk: 7
Red-tailed Hawk: 115
Ferruginous Hawk: 3
American Kestrel: 8
Merlin: 8
Peregrine Falcon: 6

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 39
Buteo: 5
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, October 02, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Natasha

Hopes were high for a good day on the Hill, and the Hill did not disappoint! Early in the morning as the count began, Hawkwatchers were treated to the sight of a Short-eared Owl that flew close enough to see clearly without binoculars right by the West and North quadrants. This excitement was followed by a steady flow of Accipiters, Red-shouldered Hawks, and Broad-winged Hawks, the latter of which provided some great views as they formed a kettle right overhead in the fifth quadrant. Fair weather brought past and present Hawkwatchers and their friends from all teams to the Hill today, crowding the North and East quadrants with scopes and hundreds of cumulative years of Hawkwatching experience. The South and West quadrants didn't feel left out, as they were entertained by humpback whales feeding and spouting off of Point Bonita.

Total Sightings: 674
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 112.33
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 171
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 176
Cooper's Hawk: 138
Red-shouldered Hawk: 31
Broad-winged Hawk: 15
Red-tailed Hawk: 79
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 4

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 38
Buteo: 6
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, October 01, 2015  
Posted by: Steph and Elan and Laura

This morning on the Hill was cloudy with intermittent fog, but cleared for an idyllic day, pleasant and sunny. The pace of activity seemed evenly spread today, with raptors graciously timing their migration to suit our identification needs! We had three glorious looks at Ferruginous Hawks, all showing off their three points of light (tail and wing windows). Northern Harriers charmed us with four chances to check out their white rump patches and pumpkin orange bellies. It was also a decent Merlin day, with four swift looks that were made better by occurring almost directly overhead. We were joined by a new team member, Caryl Carr, and got the news that our wonderful Christine Lamphear will be leaving us for new beginnings in Reno, NV. We wish her the best of luck, and welcome the very experienced Caryl to the team!

BROAD-WING BROADCAST: We would be remiss if we didn't mention our excellent, close-up views of Broad-winged Hawks today on the Hill. Broad-wings are eastern migrants that, for many years, were not believed to occur in California. We've catalogued their travels over Hawk Hill for an average of about 200 sightings per season.


Total Sightings: 703
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 117.17
Total Species: 13

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 128
Osprey: 2
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 177
Cooper's Hawk: 167
Red-shouldered Hawk: 17
Broad-winged Hawk: 18
Red-tailed Hawk: 135
Ferruginous Hawk: 3
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 37
Buteo: 2
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Anna

After a wet and windy morning, the intrepid Wednesday 1 Hawkwatchers were finally treated to a good couple of hours on the hill. After retreating under the south platform during the morning rains, we were pulled out by the sight of a Broad-winged Hawk flying up the valley. The birds just kept coming after this sighting, with Ferruginous Hawks, Accipiters, and more Broad-wings putting on a show. Although the day had a slow start, the afternoon made the wait worthwhile.

Total Sightings: 200
Hours Counted: 5.75
HPH: 34.78
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 109
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 24
Cooper's Hawk: 17
Red-shouldered Hawk: 3
Broad-winged Hawk: 5
Red-tailed Hawk: 28
Ferruginous Hawk: 2
American Kestrel: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 1

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Natasha and Laura

Although today's count didn't have the huge numbers of raptors that we've been seeing lately, it made up for it with diversity and exciting sightings. A total of 12 species were seen, including one White-tailed Kite and a Golden Eagle. We witnessed a dramatic confrontation between two adult Peregrine Falcons and one juvenile right in front of the north platform-the adults took turns dive bombing the juvenile and calling loudly to chase it from their territory. At least two Humpback Whales entertained the east and south quadrants in the afternoon by feeding and diving right in the mouth of the Bay, giving everyone a great look at tails and spouts.

Total Sightings: 386
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 64.33
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 115
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 63
Cooper's Hawk: 54
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Broad-winged Hawk: 9
Red-tailed Hawk: 93
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 6
Merlin: 5
Peregrine Falcon: 7

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 23
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, September 28, 2015  
Posted by: Steph

The day started off at the Annex as we waited for fog to clear off the top of Hawk Hill. Monday I seems to have a weather curse, as we were fogged out last cycle and 3 of our 4 days so far have been foggy! We did get a nice look at a Kestrel perched in a tree as well as some Accipiter action. Once on the Hill the fog hung close by and didn't clear until the very last hour of the day. Despite this, we were still able to see 381 raptors representing 10 different species. The special bird of the day was a dark-morph juvenile Broad-winged Hawk that flew by several times. We also had some nice looks at Merlins and juvenile Northern Harriers (pumpkin spice season is starting, after all!). At the end of the day we were treated to a pair of Peregrine Falcons chasing Ravens and showing off some spectacular stoops. While the weather was cold and windy and the HPH was lower than it has been of late, we still had a nice day and enjoyed watching the raptors we could see through the fog.

Total Sightings: 381
Hours Counted: 5.25
HPH: 72.6
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 68
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 107
Cooper's Hawk: 66
Red-shouldered Hawk: 6
Broad-winged Hawk: 11
Red-tailed Hawk: 77
American Kestrel: 5
Merlin: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 29
Buteo: 1
Falcon: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, September 27, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Natasha and Elan

The day began with a nice stroll along the lagoon as the Hawkwatchers waited for the fog to lift. Lagoon sightings included: three river otters, Greater Yellowlegs, Eared Grebes, and a daring deer that walked through the middle of the lagoon. Once we got onto the Hill around 11, activity picked up with flurries of accipiters, kettles of Broad-winged Hawks, and crowds of excited birders on the platform hoping to catch a glimpse. The highlight of the day was the five Merlin sightings in one half hour. We retreated at the day as the wind and fog continued to persist; hopefully it clears for the Super/Blood/Harvest Moon eclipse tonight!

Total Sightings: 363
Hours Counted: 4.5
HPH: 80.67
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 114
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 100
Cooper's Hawk: 51
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Broad-winged Hawk: 20
Red-tailed Hawk: 46
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 6

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 18
Buteo: 1
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, September 26, 2015  
Posted by: elan and laura and steph

The weather in the morning on Hawk Hill looked bleak, with dense fog rolling over us from every direction. Mercifully, the weather improved significantly and cleared completely by noon, making for a great day of Hawkwatch. Since this group has been fogged out twice, Hawkwatchers were thrown into peak and faired amazingly well, especially with those tough accipiter calls. Along with our excellent view of accipiters, we were lucky to see two Peregrine Falcons in the final hour; one diving on an unfortunate Sharp-shinned Hawk. And we were joined on the Hill by a posse of aspiring Hawkwatchers, all under age twelve. Their enthusiasm (and accurate birding) gave us hope for the future of GGRO. Look out for Eddie's forthcoming book of hawk photography and ID techniques, hitting stores in 2030.

FUN FERRUGINOUS FACT: In the past ten years, GGRO has counted an average of 23 Ferruginous Hawks per year. This year to date, we've already seen 16. Our data shows the peak Ferruginous Hawk day typically falls on September 27th, so we are hoping to have a far better than average year for this species.


Total Sightings: 644
Hours Counted: 4.5
HPH: 143.1
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 107
Osprey: 2
Northern Harrier: 8
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 191
Cooper's Hawk: 143
Red-shouldered Hawk: 12
Broad-winged Hawk: 22
Red-tailed Hawk: 109
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 36
Buteo: 6
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, September 25, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Elan

Sharpies ruled the day today on Hawk Hill with 226 total sightings. Volunteers were entertained as they shot from the West quadrant across the walkway, giving everyone a great view on their way into the city. Highlights of the day included a photo-shoot of a juvenile Ferruginous hawk, close passes by a Merlin, and an adrenaline-filled pursuit by a juvenile Northern Harrier by the banders at Hawk Blind. (The banders didn't get this one, but Hawkwatch got a great show!) Stray Broad-winged Hawks continued their southern migration, mixing into large kettles with Red-tailed Hawks and Red-shouldered Hawks for some Buteo identification practice. All in all a fun and busy blustery day!

Total Sightings: 686
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 114.33
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 116
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 8
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 226
Cooper's Hawk: 107
Red-shouldered Hawk: 6
Broad-winged Hawk: 18
Red-tailed Hawk: 100
Ferruginous Hawk: 4
American Kestrel: 4
Merlin: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 83
Buteo: 3
Raptor: 8

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, September 24, 2015  
Posted by: Elan and Steph and Anna

The craziness of yesterday did not carry over into today, possibly because of the increased heat and lack of wind. The total number of raptors dropped from >1000 to ~700. Despite the decreased number of hawks we still had great looks at a few Ferruginous Hawks and a fair number of Broad-winged Hawks. Osprey numbers were high, with one juvenile Osprey flying down Rodeo Valley towards the beach, capping off a hot day on the Hill.

Total Sightings: 713
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 118.8
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 186
Osprey: 6
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 171
Cooper's Hawk: 137
Red-shouldered Hawk: 8
Broad-winged Hawk: 25
Red-tailed Hawk: 119
Ferruginous Hawk: 4
American Kestrel: 6
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 40
Buteo: 2
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Laura

JAILBREAK, WE NEED BACK UP! The hawks were flying fast and furious today up on the Hill. The weather, for a change, was neither scorching nor freezing. As the Hawkwatchers crested the platform in the morning, kettles of Broad-winged Hawks began rising from multiple directions, inciting a mad scramble to set up scopes, get on binos, and assemble in quadrants. Both Accipiters were flying en masse, providing good identification practice for all. The quadrant system communication relays were tested as hawks flew every which way, including beautiful overhead views of a Merlin, adult and juvenile Broad-winged Hawks, a juvenile Peregrine Falcon, and many Red-shouldered Hawks. We also had a lovely, long look at a Prairie Falcon. But nothing could beat the luxurious flight of a Ferruginous Hawk (flashing its famed “three points of light” in the near-ideal viewing conditions) who, having enthralled the entire Hawkwatch, conjured a partner. Both of them flew onwards towards the Golden Gate, the Hawkwatch looking on in awe. Many thanks to the helpful guests who joined the team to keep our tally up to speed; we're happy to report that the data sheet looks the worse for wear!

NUTTY NUMBERS: Today was the third highest one-day count in GGRO's history, after September 25, 1999 (1,283 sightings; 206 HPH) and September 21, 1984 (2,833 sightings; 404 HPH)!

Total Sightings: 1093
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 182.17
Total Species: 15

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 130
Osprey: 3
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 385
Cooper's Hawk: 229
Red-shouldered Hawk: 24
Broad-winged Hawk: 103
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 166
Ferruginous Hawk: 3
American Kestrel: 4
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 3
Prairie Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 25
Buteo: 8
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Natasha and Steph

Whale, whale, whale the last three days were scorching, but look who rolled back into town: our good friend Karl the Fog. Though we didn't see many birds today, we saw a glorious whale. While yesterday's heat drove in great diversity of species, today's cold and windy weather seemed to discourage raptors from flying. Some individuals braved the harsh conditions and were blown in circuits around the hill giving all quadrants a look. The few birds we had allowed Hawkwatchers to practice passing off raptors from one quadrant to the next and hone their identification skills.

Whale, we are going to blow your mind with this cool whale fact:
In 2011, Varvara, a Gray Whale, swam 14,000 miles from Russian to Mexico and broke the record for the longest mammalian migration.

To read more about Varvara, check out this link: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/150414-gray-whale-pacific-migration-endangered-ocean-animal-science/

Total Sightings: 221
Hours Counted: 5
HPH: 44.2
Total Species: 6

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 44
Osprey: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 54
Cooper's Hawk: 26
Red-tailed Hawk: 71
American Kestrel: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 22
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, September 21, 2015  
Posted by: Elan and Steph

Today Hawkwatch broke this season's species record by sighting 13 different species on the Hill! Notable birds included two close-flying Ferruginous Hawks, a Golden Eagle, and almost 20 Broad-winged Hawks. Continuing the trend of the last week, Accipiter numbers remained high, and the greatest challenge of the day for newer Hawkwatchers was differentiating between Cooper's Hawks and Sharp-shinned Hawks. Non-raptor sightings included 487 Vaux's Swifts and 8 fighter jets performing aerial stunts over the Headlands. The great number and variety of raptors seen today made braving the high temperatures worth it, and Hawkwatchers were rewarded with a cool breeze at the end of the day.

Total Sightings: 598
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 99.67
Total Species: 13

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 80
Osprey: 2
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 160
Cooper's Hawk: 98
Red-shouldered Hawk: 7
Broad-winged Hawk: 18
Red-tailed Hawk: 191
Ferruginous Hawk: 2
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 3
Merlin: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 28
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, September 20, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Natasha

As the temperature reached above 95 degrees, one Hawkwatcher said, “It's getting hot up here, so we should leave Hawk Hill.” Though the stifling weather caused us to vacate the platform early, we were able to see many species and individuals throughout the day, including an adult Broad-winged Hawk and multiple juveniles, a few juvenile Northern Harriers, and nine Red-shouldered Hawks. Also flying in the sky were flurries of dragonflies and butterflies. Sadly, they didn't lure a Merlin into our viewshed. Throughout most of the day, the raptors chose to fly extremely high and in kettles, making hawk watching even more challenging.

Total Sightings: 459
Hours Counted: 4.5
HPH: 102
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 141
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 75
Cooper's Hawk: 64
Red-shouldered Hawk: 9
Broad-winged Hawk: 5
Red-tailed Hawk: 132
American Kestrel: 3
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 21
Buteo: 3
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, September 19, 2015  
Posted by: Elan and Laura

For our second day of peak migration, we saw an accordingly high number of raptors and species for a spectacular and exciting (but HOT) day! Numbers of Sharp-shinned Hawks overcame those of Cooper's Hawks, though our two Accipiters are still neck-and-neck for the season. We saw a high number of Red-shouldered Hawks–including two adults–likely because of the still, warm conditions. Hawk watchers were ecstatic to see eight Broad-winged Hawks, two Ferruginous Hawks, and the first Swainson's Hawk of the season all in one day! With numbers like these, we're looking forward to more peak days.

SWAINSON'S SECRET: Though we only see an average of six Swainson's Hawks per year at the GGRO, they are far more plentiful in flooded agricultural fields around Davis, CA, just an hour and a half's drive inland (depending on traffic!). But don't wait long to check ‘em out–they're headed to Argentina for the winter!


Total Sightings: 628
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 104.67
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 204
Osprey: 3
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 131
Cooper's Hawk: 113
Red-shouldered Hawk: 14
Broad-winged Hawk: 8
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 99
Ferruginous Hawk: 2
American Kestrel: 5
Merlin: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 30
Buteo: 3
Falcon: 1
Raptor: 10

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, September 18, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Natasha and Elan

Today got off to a quick start with a fast flow of Accipiters in the morning. Hawkwatchers were kept on their toes identifying large numbers of Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks, which were often flying in kettles containing both species. Perhaps the most exciting sightings of the day were several photo-worthy views of juvenile Broad-winged Hawks, giving the team our closest look of these little Buteos so far this season. Migration is definitely ramping up at Hawk Hill!

Total Sightings: 646
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 107.67
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 139
Osprey: 3
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 185
Cooper's Hawk: 129
Red-shouldered Hawk: 4
Broad-winged Hawk: 4
Red-tailed Hawk: 132
American Kestrel: 4
Merlin: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 27
Buteo: 13
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, September 17, 2015  
Posted by: Steph and Elan and Laura

This morning started out overcast and chilly on the Hill, but things cleared up through the day to give us an exciting hawk watch! Nevertheless, our slow start failed to discourage us thanks to the cheering presence of dayleader Josh Haiman's new Siberian Husky puppy, Helena (so much CUTE!). Our Accipiter numbers have been building: today we saw 48 Sharp-shinned Hawks and 49 Cooper's Hawks. Other highlights of the day included the first eagle of the season, a juvenile Golden Eagle, which graced us with its presence in the final minutes of the count (it appeared on the scene over the FM towers at approximately 3:25 pm)! Below the Golden Eagle, Josh spotted the only Broad-winged of the day, making for an exciting end to the afternoon.

WING WITTICISM: Did you know that both airplane wings and boat sails are modeled after bird wings? The curve of the wing creates differential pressure above and below the wing (or sail), creating lift or forward movement. We enjoyed watching this principle come to life in the form of an intense regatta playing out below Hawk Hill.





Total Sightings: 303
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 50.5
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 104
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 48
Cooper's Hawk: 49
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Broad-winged Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 77
Golden Eagle: 1
American Kestrel: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 10
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Nicole

After an early morning flurry of Accipiter activity, dark clouds and rain slowed the raptor flight to a trickle and Hawkwatch left the hill at 1:00. Luckily, spirits were lifted shortly before this early end by a pair of whales displaying just west of the Golden Gate. Everyone got a look at the tail slapping in their scopes and binoculars, and whale-savvy Hawkwatchers determined them to be a mother and calf humpback whale pair. Despite the rain, the Wednesday 1 team left the hill with high spirits and plenty of practice differentiating Sharp-shinned Hawks from Cooper's Hawks.

Total Sightings: 91
Hours Counted: 3.5
HPH: 26
Total Species: 6

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 56
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 7
Cooper's Hawk: 2
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 17
Peregrine Falcon: 2

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015  
Posted by: Laura and Nicole and Natasha

Merlins and Ospreys and Sharp-shinned Hawks, oh my! After three days of fog, Hawkwatchers finally made it up to the hill for a full day of counting. We were rewarded with high numbers of Accipiters, ten Ospreys, and ten Merlins, as well as a couple of Broad-winged Hawks. Hopefully the predicted rain will move through quickly and blow more hawks our way later this week.

Total Sightings: 251
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 41.83
Total Species: 11

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 80
Osprey: 10
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 28
Cooper's Hawk: 35
Red-shouldered Hawk: 5
Broad-winged Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 72
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 10
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2
Falcon: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, September 14, 2015  
Posted by: Steph and Natasha

“They see me rollin', they hatin'.” -@KarltheFog

Karl the Fog's ingenious tweet sums up the mentality of today's Hawkwatch team. The fog rolled in and never left Hawk Hill. Hawkwatchers only saw two Turkey Vultures from the Annex while waiting in the cold, windy mist before returning to 1064. Better luck tomorrow.


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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, September 13, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Natasha and Elan

Good half day on the Hill! We had a great time spotting many non-raptor species and three river otters in the Rodeo Valley Lagoon while waiting for the fog to clear. Ever hopeful, we hiked up to the Hill at noon and had a wonderful hour and a half of Hawkwatch and Outreach programs before being enveloped in the fog again. Even for such a short observation time, numbers of Sharp-shinned Hawks seem to finally be increasing! A juvenile Northern Harrier also gave us and the Hawk Talk participants an amazing view of both the signature white rump patch and pumpkin orange breast before flapping away into the fog. Thanks Sunday II for a fun mini day of Hawkwatch!

Total Sightings: 14
Hours Counted: 1.25
HPH: 11.2
Total Species: 5

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 2
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 7
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, September 12, 2015  
Posted by: Natasha and Laura and Elan

FOG DAY

The day started off with a patchy and shifting fog layer, so Hawkwatchers remained optimistic and made the trek up to Hawk Hill. However, howling winds and thickening fog forced us to retreat to the valley floor, where we were treated to the sight of an American Kestrel and a Great Horned Owl. Despite the inability to see any raptors on Hawk Hill, a mini Hawk Talk was enjoyed by a few brave, shivering participants at the base of the Hill. Come mid-afternoon, the winds at the top were still strong enough to blow away small children and the visibility was down to ten feet, so the Saturday II team decided to call it a day and try again in a fortnight. We look forward to a clear and busy peak day in the near future!


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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, September 11, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Elan

The day started off with Hawk Hill appearing as an island above a foggy expanse, San Francisco and the Golden Gate nowhere to be seen. However, Hawkwatchers soon shed their many layers as the fog burned off. Raptor activity and weather up on the hill today were moderate; the wind kept the heat off of our diligent Hawkwatchers but didn't blow us off the hill, and the raptors kept us entertained but didn't overwhelm us. The highlights of the day included an early morning Merlin zooming through the fog, pausing only to catch an insect midair, as well as a few Northern Harriers giving us some prime examples of their unique silhouette and flight pattern. Overall, it was a pleasant day for the Friday II Hawkwatch, and we look forward to returning in two weeks for the migration peak!

Total Sightings: 188
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 31.33
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 75
Osprey: 2
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 8
Cooper's Hawk: 6
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 85
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1
Raptor: 4

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, September 10, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Steph and Elan

The morning started off HOT with low fog blanketing the South quadrant and sneaking through the Golden Gate. Raptor activity was low and the Hawkwatchers occupied their time counting songbirds and flies of the dragon and butter variety. Thankfully, around midday a breeze picked up, cooling off the hill and the raptors started to appear. Notable sightings included a female American Kestrel, a few Osprey, and a female Northern Harrier. As the wind picked up in the afternoon the team was treated to a stilling color banded Red-tailed Hawk hanging out between the West and North quadrants. This individual returned at the end of the day to see the Thursday II team off the hill.

Total Sightings: 209
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 34.8
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 89
Osprey: 3
Northern Harrier: 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 8
Cooper's Hawk: 22
Red-tailed Hawk: 77
American Kestrel: 1

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Laura

It was a hot Wednesday on the Hill, but early temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s were relieved in the afternoon by a welcome breeze out of the northwest. Although our count started slow, things picked up with beautiful views of an Osprey making its way from the rifle range to the Golden Gate, as well as of a stunningly pumpkin orange-breasted juvenile Northern Harrier. Thanks to the stellar spotting skills of Christine Steck, the team also got an excellent look at a Prairie Falcon! Other highlights included the appearance of 18 Black Swifts over the course of the day. Anna Fryjoff-Hung, one of our research interns, kept everyone hydrated with Top of the Hour Toasts, during which all were encouraged to take a swig of water.

Total Sightings: 178
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 29.67
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 75
Osprey: 2
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 7
Cooper's Hawk: 14
Red-tailed Hawk: 74
American Kestrel: 1
Prairie Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Natasha and Steph

Today was one of the hottest days on Hawk Hill in recent memory, with temperatures reaching 100 degrees. The heat seemed to discourage the raptors from flying in the early afternoon, as our sightings steadily declined before our team called it a day an hour early at 2:30. Early morning highlights included Osprey, some Cooper's Hawks, and a couple of Sharp-shinned Hawks. Visitors to Hawk Hill this week should be prepared for high temperatures with lots of ice water, hats, and a source of shade, and should consider an early morning trip instead of an afternoon one.

Total Sightings: 263
Hours Counted: 5
HPH: 52.6
Total Species: 6

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 161
Osprey: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 13
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 80

Unidentified...
Buteo: 1
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, September 07, 2015  
Posted by: Steph and Elan

Today was one of the hottest days experienced up on the hill thus far, but our valiant Hawkwatchers stuck through to the very end! Even the Turkey Vultures and Red-tailed Hawks vacated the hill as temperatures climbed into the mid-nineties with no wind for relief. The "5th Quadrant" (the sky directly above the site) was especially busy today with many birds taking advantage of the thermals available. This gave Hawkwatchers good practice in distinguishing individuals in a kettle of different raptor species. Although warm weather is expected for the rest of the week, both Hawkwatchers and hawks are hoping for some cool winds in the coming days!



Total Sightings: 354
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 59
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 187
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 4
Cooper's Hawk: 18
Red-shouldered Hawk: 6
Red-tailed Hawk: 124
American Kestrel: 6

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 5
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, September 06, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Natasha

It was a hot, sunny, visitor-filled day on the hill with temps reaching 90 degrees and minimal wind. Hawkwatchers were cautious of overheating; lots of sunscreen and water were applied. A squawk from the banders over the radio alerted those on the hill to the presence of a Broad-winged Hawk, the first of the season, flying high in the sky. The call was seconded as High-Visibility Herb, recognized by his bright bike attire, summited the platform. However, after the Broad-winged Hawk, raptor activity began to dwindle. Turkey Vulture numbers continued to climb steadily throughout the day and there was a flurry of accipiter activity in the final hour.

Total Sightings: 354
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 59
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 128
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 1
Cooper's Hawk: 49
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Broad-winged Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 142
American Kestrel: 6

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 16
Buteo: 4
Raptor: 6

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, September 05, 2015  
Posted by: Laura and Elan

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful, clear day on the Hill for the first day of Hawk Talks and Banding Demonstrations. It was also the best day so far for total number of raptors counted, with a slightly higher total than yesterday's count. Highlights of the day included a beautiful overhead view of a Northern Harrier, an uptick in Cooper's Hawks, and a very cooperative Merlin who gave our newcomers a lingering look! In non-raptor news, three rare black swifts made a rare appearance above the south platform; we added three species each of butterflies and dragonflies to our bug sheet; and we were excited to witness a praying mantis pass us by.

HOLY HARRIER! Harriers are one of the few species we see on the Hill for which we distinguish adult males, adult females, and juveniles. Juveniles have a famously orange breast, typically described as "pumpkin" in tone. Females are comparatively streaky in the breast, which is unusual for an adult raptor (usually, juveniles are "streaky," while adults are "barred"). Males wear the nickname "The Grey Ghost" for their pale undersides, light grey wings, ghostly grey head, and supernatural yellow eyes.



Total Sightings: 368
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 61.33
Total Species: 10

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 169
Osprey: 2
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 30
Red-shouldered Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 139
American Kestrel: 5
Merlin: 2

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, September 04, 2015  
Posted by: Natasha and Nicole

The best way to summarize today's hawkwatch is slow, but steady. Over the course of the day, we saw nine different species and 356 individuals with 59.3 hawks per hour. Even when the hawks were not present, it was lovely to be on the hill with mellow winds and clear skies all day. With sightings of juvenile and adult Peregrine Falcons, apprentices and interns had a great opportunity to compare the different plumages. Other highlights included a Northern Harrier in the last five seconds of Hawkwatch and an Osprey with very conspicuous molt.

Total Sightings: 356
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 59.33
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 144
Osprey: 2
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 3
Cooper's Hawk: 28
Red-shouldered Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 156
American Kestrel: 9
Peregrine Falcon: 3

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, September 03, 2015  
Posted by: Laura and Steph and Elan

It was a gorgeous early September day on the Hill with gusty winds and lots of sunshine. The more unusual species were scattered throughout the day to keep us on our toes, starting with three morning Osprey who got the day off to a bright start. We caught great views of a Prairie Falcon, who obliged us by flying almost directly overhead before peeling away towards San Francisco. Two raptor identification study birds sent to us by Hawk Blind gave us a chance to sharpen our Accipiter identification skills, and a late-showing White-tailed Kite, called excitedly in by the west quadrant, left us feeling satisfied with our tenth species of the day.

ARCHAIC ENGLISH FACT: We misspelled "bird" today and learned something new--according to the University of Michigan's Middle English dictionary, "brid" (also "brede," "berd," "burd," and "bord") is Middle English for the young of a bird. Who knew?

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

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 88
Osprey: 3
White-tailed Kite: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 15
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 157
American Kestrel: 6
Peregrine Falcon: 1
Prairie Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Buteo: 4
Raptor: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Anna

Despite pervasive fog in the morning, the intrepid Wednesday 1 hawkwatchers made their way up to the hill to begin counting before 10:00. Although we had a relatively slow hourly sighting rate, we did have some interesting raptors, including an adult Red-shouldered Hawk and a juvenile Northern Harrier, before being pushed off the hill by fog at 1:00. Spirits were high even though the fog was low, and Wednesday 1 looks forward to clear skies in the future.

Total Sightings: 69
Hours Counted: 3.17
HPH: 21.77
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 27
Osprey: 1
Northern Harrier: 1
Cooper's Hawk: 2
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 36
American Kestrel: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Natasha and Laura

No new species for the season were counted today after the excitement of yesterday's Ferruginous Hawk and Prairie Falcon sightings. However, Tuesday 1 observed a variety of raptor species spread throughout the day, including an Osprey, an American Kestrel, and a Peregrine Falcon. Hawk Hill frequent fliers (Red-tailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures) were also present. Although today was relatively slow in terms of raptor activity, the hawk watchers had a reason to celebrate: Allen Fish, GGRO's beloved director, celebrated his 30th anniversary with the program today! Treats were provided and the volunteers got to hear Allen's favorite memories since he started working here in 1985. Congratulations, Allen!

Total Sightings: 104
Hours Counted: 5
HPH: 20.8
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 56
Osprey: 1
Cooper's Hawk: 2
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 41
American Kestrel: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, August 31, 2015  
Posted by: Natasha and Steph

Today started off slow but ended up setting a record for the total number of species, with several species seen for the first time of the season. The first few hours, Hawkwatchers felt stuck in the doldrums, and the interns in the west quadrant counted only three Turkey Vultures in a whole hour. The day became more exciting when “Ouch!”, a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk recently outfitted with a GSM transmitter, appeared in the north quadrant and gave us a good look at her transmitter. San Franciscans, look out for Ouch! travelling over the city. A little while later, Hawkwatchers spotted an interesting Turkey Vulture that had white marks on its shoulders rather than a solid black back. Things started to heat up in the one o'clock hour, as new species besides our usual customers began to appear. The stars of the show were a beautiful juvenile Ferruginous Hawk and a Prairie Falcon that flew past us from Hill 88. These sightings were the first of the season for these two species! Other species of note were a White-tailed Kite, Red-shouldered Hawk, Northern Harrier, and multiple Sharp-shinned Hawks and American Kestrels. After spotting the leucistic Red-tailed Hawk last cycle, it seems like Monday I is continuing our streak of spotting awesome raptors!

Total Sightings: 220
Hours Counted: 6
HPH: 36.67
Total Species: 12

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 94
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 5
Cooper's Hawk: 2
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 100
Ferruginous Hawk: 1
American Kestrel: 9
Peregrine Falcon: 1
Prairie Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Buteo: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, August 30, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Natasha and Elan

Sunday 2 up on Hawk Hill was pleasantly sunny and windy, with a moderate amount of raptor activity. The wonderful weather and views brought many visitors to the hill who were quite curious and enthused to learn what we were looking at and yelling about. Today, we spotted many of our signature Turkey Vultures and juvenile Red-tailed Hawks, with a noticeable abundance of adult Red-tailed Hawks. To spice things up in the late afternoon, a handful of Cooper's Hawks, Ospreys, and a singular adult Red-shouldered Hawk blew by the hill. Overall, it was a good first day for the Sunday 2 team, and we look forward to seeing many more species on the hill as the migration season continues!

HAWK FACT: Californian Red-shouldered Hawks were previously called Red-bellied Hawks due to their vibrant orange chest and belly. These hawks are most often found in oak woodlands and near rivers, but are also common in urban areas where eucalyptus groves are present.


Total Sightings: 193
Hours Counted: 4.08
HPH: 47.3
Total Species: 6

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 122
Osprey: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 3
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 60
American Kestrel: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, August 29, 2015  
Posted by: Laura and Elan and Natasha

Today was an uneventful day on Hawkwatch. The fog rolled into Rodeo Valley yesterday at 3:30pm and never left. After the morning meeting, we were hopeful and headed up to the annex. However, we could not even see Kirby Cove. We returned to the valley for some small bird sightings before calling it a day.

FOG FACT: Carl Sandburg wrote a six line poem about the San Francisco fog.

"The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on."

Today, you can follow the SF fog on Twitter at @KarlTheFog.

Here is a sampling of today's tweets:
"I'm dewing a lot already."
"I run this town."



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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, August 28, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Elan

Today was a hot and clear day on the hill. We started off our counting at noon with a healthy dose of Red-tailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures, followed quickly by a male American Kestrel that was an identification study bird from the banders at Hawk Blind. This early action was followed by some good Accipiter practice for the team as we had a good fly-by by a juvenile Cooper's Hawk. The weather stayed hot until the breeze picked up and began to blow the fog in as we left the hill, and we were treated to the sight of a wedding taking place over Kirby Cove! The Friday 2 team had a positive first day on the hill and we look forward to more birds next time around.

Total Sightings: 103
Hours Counted: 3.5
HPH: 29.43
Total Species: 4

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 48
Cooper's Hawk: 3
Red-tailed Hawk: 48
American Kestrel: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, August 27, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Elan and Steph

It was a dark and stormy night. Actually, it was the exact opposite: the brightest, sunniest day we've had on Hawk Hill so far. The clear day allowed us to spot a bounty of raptors, and by the end of the day we totaled 9 different species. Hawkwatchers were excited to spot the first Merlin of the year far off over the Golden Gate Bridge, identified in a spotting scope. It was a good day for watching Northern Harriers, as four individuals offered great views of their white rump patches and brilliant orange juvenile plumages. The day also stood out in the number of American Kestrels seen, often in male-female pairs. The quadrant system worked especially effectively today when a number of individual raptors flew around the entire hill and each quadrant passed the bird on to the next. Thursday II looks forward to continuing this great teamwork and counting many more raptors this season!

LITERARY FUN FACT: In T.H. White's novel The Once and Future King, the wizard Merlin turns a young King Arthur into a Merlin to learn lessons from the hawks in the castle's mews. A second fun fact: T.H. White himself experimented with falconry and wrote a book about his experience titled The Goshawk.


Total Sightings: 149
Hours Counted: 4
HPH: 37.25
Total Species: 9

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 68
Osprey: 5
Northern Harrier: 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 3
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 54
American Kestrel: 8
Merlin: 1

Unidentified...
Buteo: 2

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Laura

It was a beautiful sunny day up on Hawk Hill today. Although only four species of raptors were seen, there were many highlights. A few dark morph Red-tailed Hawks were seen; allowing our hawkwatchers to get some good long looks in as the circled the hill. An adult Peregrine Falcon put on a show in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, stooping multiple times on a juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk. And a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk required a double take as it had a few adult central tail feathers.

Total Sightings: 126
Hours Counted: 3.5
HPH: 36
Total Species: 4

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 63
Red-tailed Hawk: 55
American Kestrel: 4
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 2
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015  
Posted by: Steph and Natasha and Nicole

The streak of good weather continued with another clear and sunny day. The good weather brought some great sightings of seven different species of raptors. We completed three different ID studies and the last bird, a Red-tailed Hawk, gave us an excellent view. After its release, it decided to perch on the rock right in front of the north quadrant (we were even able to read part of its color band). The new apprentices were blessed with excellent sightings of two Osprey, a juvenile and an adult Peregrine Falcon, and a Red-shouldered Hawk. Towards the end of the day, the wind and fog began to roll in along with a pack of six Turkey Vultures, one of which was packing a rotten lunch. After holding on tight to this hunk of meat for several minutes, its prize was snatched away by a sneaky Raven. This dramatic exchange wrapped up a lovely day on the hill.

Total Sightings: 120
Hours Counted: 3.75
HPH: 32
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 63
Osprey: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 49
American Kestrel: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 2

Unidentified...
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, August 24, 2015  
Posted by: Elan and Steph

Monday II was blessed with the best weather since the season began: warm (but not hot) temperatures, good visibility aside from some haze, and, most importantly, no fog! The great conditions brought in a bounty of raptor species. Along with the usual Red-tailed Hawks, Turkey Vultures, and Cooper's Hawks, we spotted Osprey, White-tailed Kites, Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, and a Red-shouldered Hawk for a grand total of eight species. This team also enthusiastically counted butterflies and dragonflies, and was able to identify 8 different species, including a few not included on our insect count form. On a team half-filled with first-year apprentice Hawkwatchers, returning members enjoyed training these newer volunteers. Monday II looks forward to an awesome season of Hawkwatching!

Total Sightings: 165
Hours Counted: 4.25
HPH: 38.82
Total Species: 8

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 58
Osprey: 2
White-tailed Kite: 2
Northern Harrier: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 5
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 84
American Kestrel: 6

Unidentified...
Buteo: 2
Raptor: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Sunday, August 23, 2015  
Posted by: Anna and Natasha

A great partially sunny Sunday up on the hill. Even though the team only got 3.75hrs of counting, they saw 7 species and some great interspecies interactions! Some highlights included a stooping and calling adult Red-tailed Hawk very close to our counters, a White-tailed Kite (although at a distance), and an adult Peregrine Falcon appearing in the South quadrant before circling around to pick on the lone Northern Harrier in the North quadrant.

Total Sightings: 223
Hours Counted: 3.75
HPH: 59.47
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 95
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 1
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 122
American Kestrel: 1
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Saturday, August 22, 2015  
Posted by: Laura and Elan

Today was an eventful day on the Hill. We had a nice, sunny start with a Peregrine Falcon and two juvenile Turkey Vultures, as well as the first Northern Harrier and Red-shouldered Hawk of the season! We spotted two Ospreys and an assortment of Redtails and Turkey Vultures in the early afternoon before the fog rolled in. Dayleader Bob Power's singing kept the group entertained throughout the afternoon. A big thanks to Eli Gross for joining us today before he leaves to count raptors 7 days a week in Kiptopeke, Virginia. Have fun, Eli!

Total Sightings: 112
Hours Counted: 4
HPH: 28
Total Species: 7

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 56
Osprey: 3
Northern Harrier: 1
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-shouldered Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 45
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Unidentified...
Raptor: 4

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Friday, August 21, 2015  
Posted by: Natasha and Nicole

Upon arriving at the office, all of the Marin Headlands was trapped in fog. The day did not look promising for Hawk Watch. After a fun meeting, we decided to wait and see if the fog would dissipate. While stalling, we took a stroll up the Miwok Trail into Gerbode Valley in search of some birds. We spotted two Red-tailed Hawks, a Great Blue Heron, and a few passerines. At 1:00pm, we looked up to Hawk Hill for signs of clearing fog, but it remained immersed. Sadly, no count was completed today. The Friday I team looks forward to our first true Hawk Watch day!

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Thursday, August 20, 2015  
Posted by: Laura Booth Stephanie Szarmach Elan Carnahan

The first Thursday of the migration season was chilly up on the Hill, with dense fog early in the day that cleared for better visibility in the later afternoon. Hawk counting picked up over the course of the day to accompany increasing winds, with 34 of our 81 hawks (42 percent!) appearing between 1 and 2 pm. We mostly saw Red-tailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures, but were graced by the presence of 3 Peregrine Falcons and 1 quick-flying Cooper's Hawk for a rate of 23 hawks per hour.

Hill Highlights: Volunteers on the north side of the Hill enjoyed watching a coyote stalk prey through their spotting scopes. And when a Peregrine Falcon briefly faced off with a Red-tailed Hawk, everyone on the Hill gasped in unison.


Total Sightings: 81
Hours Counted: 3.5
HPH: 23.14
Total Species: 4

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 36
Cooper's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 41
Peregrine Falcon: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Anna

Today was a great first day of the season on the hill for Wednesday I. After a raptor slideshow refresher the crew headed up to Hawk Hill just in time for the raptors to start flying (Tim B. reported that nothing had been coming by until we arrived). Apprentices and interns were teamed up with veteran Hawkwatchers and everyone got to work in their quadrants. It was cloudy, but warm, and the birds were flying. Some highlights included a fast flying falcon that was kind enough to circle around for a positive ID as a male American Kestrel and a last minute accipiter that turned out to be a juvenile Cooper's Hawk. Currently 1 for 1 on the Hawk ID study (juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk) for this team.

Total Sightings: 111
Hours Counted: 3.5
HPH: 31.71
Total Species: 5

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 72
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 1
Cooper's Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 29
American Kestrel: 2

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

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015  
Posted by: Nicole and Natasha

Today was a foggy day up on the hill, but we were able to see a wide variety of raptor species. The most notable sightings happened in the second hour of the count, when we saw an Osprey fly from the north quadrant to the west, followed by another an hour later (Neither of them were packing a lunch yet). In a hawk ID study, our team successfully identified a juvenile Cooper's Hawk that was released by the banders in Hawk Blind at the end of our count. Everyone on the Tuesday 1 team is excited for what's to come!

Total Sightings: 61
Hours Counted: 4.25
HPH: 14.35
Total Species: 5

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 23
Osprey: 2
Cooper's Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 31
American Kestrel: 1

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 1
Raptor: 1

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.

Monday, August 17, 2015  
Posted by: Natasha and Steph

Today was a foggy but eventful first day of the Hawkwatch season! After arriving to a hill full of fog, pockets slowly started to open up after 11:30am. Many juvenile Red-tailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures flew through the skies, allowing the new apprentices and interns to practice identifying some of our site’s most common raptors. The monotony of continuous Turkey Vultures and Red-tailed Hawks was broken by sightings of two beautiful American Kestrels, male and female, and five accipiters which challenged the ID skills of all on the hill. Then off in the distant fog, a group of juvenile Red-tailed Hawks soared over the southern hillside, but one bird was not like the others. The pale, white color of the bird was initially explained by the poor visibility in the southern quadrant. However, as the bird traveled into the clearer east quadrant, volunteers realized it was a partially leucistic Red-tailed Hawk! This individual had a completely white upper side, while the underside displayed typical juvenile plumage. Hawkwatchers were flush with excitement upon viewing this rare individual in flight. Though much of the day was foggy and windy, this incredible bird was the perfect kick-off to Hawkwatch. Perhaps this bird was an auspicious sign of a unique 2015 season.

INTERDISCIPLINARY FUN FACT: In ancient Roman times, priests interpreted the flight of birds to determine the favor of the gods, a practice known as Augury. The eagle was a symbol of Zeus, king of the gods.


Total Sightings: 98
Hours Counted: 3.7
HPH: 26.5
Total Species: 4

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 28
Cooper's Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 63
American Kestrel: 2

Unidentified...
Accipiter: 3

Data have not been entirely checked — contact Chris Briggs at cbriggs@parksconservancy.org for final results and for permission to use.


Contact Information

Hawkwatch Hotline
(415) 561-3030 (ext. 2500)