Lorette, Beaver Mines and Steeples, March 17

March 17 [Day 16] (Terry Waters, assisted by Diane Stinson, Patrick and Patricia Farley and Cliff Hansen) 0830-1900. The starting temperature was -5C, the high was 4C from 1400 to 1700 and it was 3C at 1900. Ground winds were SE and occasionally SW 10-15 km/h, gusting to 25 km/h at 1300, while ridge winds were moderate SW to 1700 after which they became strong. Cloud cover was 100% altostratus all day that gave hazy sunshine but little warmth. Raptor movement was strong with a season high total of 234 birds moving between 0915 and 1745, comprising 4 adult Bald Eagles, 5 Rough-legged Hawks of undetermined morph, a season high 224 Golden Eagles (139a, 9sa, 11j, 65u) and 1 large unidentified falcon that flew north at 1540. All the birds moved high from the northern end of the Fisher Range to Mount Lorette apart from the last 7 birds that originated in the Wasootch Creek area, and there was very little soaring flight. Twenty migrants (19 Golden Eagles) were seen in the morning and the hourly Golden Eagle counts in the afternoon were 20, 47, 52, 32, 27 and 28 (1700-1745). Other birds were scarce but included 10 American Robins and a northward bound flock of 54 Bohemian Waxwings. There were 37 visitors to the site including 29 grade 12 students and staff from Crescent Heights HS in Calgary.

10.5 hours (163.2) BAEA 4 (66), RLHA 5 (16), GOEA 224 (557), UF 1 (1) TOTAL 234 (653)

 

Beaver Mines [Day 20] (Peter Sherrington, assisted by Denise Cocciolone-Amatto) 0800-1900. The temperature was -4C at 0800 but steadily climbed to a high of 7C at 1400 where it remained to 1800 before dropping to 5C T 1900. Winds were light all day, SW-W to 1300, variably S to E to 1800 after which they were WSW. Cloud cover was a uniform blanket of 100% altostratus all day with minor amounts of superimposed altocumulus and cumulus that only thinned after 1800, and all ridges were clear all day. Movement was painfully slow with the first birds not appearing until 1108 and by 1500 only 12 migrants had been seen. The pace then picked up a little with 16 more birds moving to 1700 after which there was a strong movement of Golden Eagles and Rough-legged Hawks that soared very high over a broad front in kettles of up to 10 birds, some of which simply vanished from view against the grey stratus cloud. Forty-five of the day’s 73 raptors were seen between 1704 and 1845 including 28 Golden Eagles and 13 Rough-legged Hawks. The light and variable wind conditions produced a broad-front migration and it is probably that many birds were simply too high to see. Golden Eagles also probably moved in significant numbers along the mountain ridges to the SW where the winds were more conducive to movement. Denise watched the Livingstone Ridge at Frank for 20 minutes between 1611 and 1631 and saw 1 juvenile Bald Eagle and 22 Golden Eagles (20a, 2sa) that kettled high above the ridge before gliding to the north. The count at Beaver Mines was 5 Bald Eagles (4a, 1j), 4 adult Northern Goshawks, 1 adult dark morph calurus Red-tailed Hawk, 15 Rough-legged Hawks (14 light, 1 dark), I unidentified dark Buteo, 45 Golden Eagles (44a, 1sa) and 2u columbarius Merlins.

11 hours (152.6) BAEA 5 (125), NOGO 4 (17), RTHA 1 (6), RLHA 15 (37), UB 1 (1), GOEA 45 (528), MERL 2 (10) TOTAL 73 (737)

 

Steeples (Vance Mattson) [Day 6] 1045-1815. The temperature was 0C at the start of observation, rose to a high of 8C and was 6C at 1800. The winds were moderate E-NE and calm to light after 1430 which was conducive to soaring and flapping flight against a persistent uniform grey-white altostratus cloud cover. The final count of 147 migrants equaled the previous high site count of March 18, 2010 and comprised 12 Bald Eagles (10a, 2j), a site record 133 Golden Eagles (130a, 2sa, 1j), 1 unidentified eagle and 1 adult male columbarius Merlin that was the first bird of the day at 1121. Only 3 eagles moved before 1200, but 41, including37 Golden Eagles, were seen between 1221 and 1300, followed by 51 eagles (5 Bald and 46 Golden) during the following hour. Twenty-seven eagles (26 Golden) moved between 1400 and 1500 followed by 17 (15 Golden) between 1500 and 1600. The last 2 hours saw a further 7 migrants (6 Golden) with the last bird, a Golden Eagle, moving at 1756. Many of the eagles soared over the SE hill of Bull Mountain before moving steadily to the north above the ridge at medium to high altitudes. The largest soaring kettle was 11 eagles at 1236 although several smaller kettles of 5 to 8 birds were seen.

7.5 hours (24.5) BAEA 12 (49), GOEA 133 (203), UE 1 (3), MERL 1 (1) TOTAL 147 (257)

 

 

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (March 1 to April 22)

 

DAYS 16

HOURS 163.2

 

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 0

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 66

NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 0

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 1

COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 0

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 0

Accipiter sp. (UA) 0

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (BWHA) 0

SWAINSON’S HAWK (SWHA) 0

RED-TAILED HAWK (RTHA) 2

FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 0

ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 16

Buteo sp. (UB) 1

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 557

Eagle sp. (UE) 8

AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 0

MERLIN (MERL) 1

GYRFALCON (GYRF) 0

PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 0

PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 0

Falco sp. (UF) 1

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 0

 

TOTAL 653