Golden Day at Holiday Beach

This morning the winds were blowing fiercely out of the north but I decided to hit Point Pelee anyway (North winds are not great for lake watching at Pelee).  I ran into Alan at the tip and he mentioned that he wasn’t seeing much – not surprising.  I figured I would just do a quick scan of the lake and head back north in the park since I did see a lot of hawks flying around.  Just before Alan left, he got me on a Woodcock he spotted flying way out over the lake.  It must have been blown out by the strong winds.  After my scans, I decided to bring the scope back to the car and head north up the West Beach footpath up to the Serengeti tree to see what was around.  On the way up, I flushed a few more Woodcocks along the trail (4 more) so I ended the day with 5 Woodcocks!  After a quick look around Sparrow Field I decided to head out to do a few things at home.

Windy Tip
Very windy tip

In the afternoon, I ran out to Holiday Beach to join Jeremy Hatt on the Hawk Tower.  It turned out to be a great decision.  My goal of the day was to try and find a Northern Goshawk – a year bird and a big one for Essex County for me.  I’ve been having a pretty good year, seeing 264 species in Essex County so far.   Not bad for working full time and with a 1 1/2 year old at home!  Goshawk would be 265 – much higher than my previous Essex best of 261.

Within a short time of being on the tower with the crazy north winds, a gorgeous Golden Eagle flew up over the trees.  This would be the first of many that I’d end up seeing.  A little while later, a call came over the radio from the Hawk Banding Station that a Juvenile Goshawk was headed in our direction.  We all trained our eyes on the skies to try and pick out the bird.  A few minutes passed and it looked like it was going to be a no-show but nope, it popped up right over the trees in front of the tower – #265 Essex bird for the year!

Juvenile Golden Eagle - Showing golden nape
Juvenile Golden Eagle – Showing golden nape

The birding was great on the tower and it was tough to leave but I still wanted to drop by the banding station before heading out.  I’m sure glad I did!  I got to witness a 2nd year Goshawk fly into the nets, get banded, and released.  What a gorgeous bird to see up close!  As the bird was being released, 3 more Golden Eagles soared over head.  A truly Golden Day at Holiday.


Slo-mo Release Video


A few other shots from the day.


2 thoughts on “Golden Day at Holiday Beach

  1. Kory, Congrats on an excellent year and a brilliant day of raptor watching. Im yet to see a Goshawk in its mature plumage.. Thanks for sharing some photos. Good birding!

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