Mount Lorette, Beaver Mines and Steeples, April 1

April 1 [Day 31] (Jim Davis, assisted by Chris Hunt) 0730-1930 (1600-1930 at Lusk Creek). The temperature at 0730 was 3C, the high was 9C at 1500 and it was 6C at 1930. Ground winds were SW all day, 15-26 km/h at the Hay Meadow and 20-35 km/h at Lusk Creek, while ridge winds were strong SW all day apart from 1400-1500 when they were rated as very strong. Cloud cover was 100% stratus and cumulus to 1100, reduced briefly to 50% around 1200 and was 80-90% to 1500; by pleasant contrast cloud cover at Lusk Creek was 30% cumulus. The western ridges were 100% obscured apart from 1200-1300 when it was 50% clear, and the east was 30% obscured to 0900 and 100% after 1500 when steady rain fell and prompted the move to Lusk Creek. Snow was seen to fall to the south, west and north until 1100 which obscured the summit of Mount Lorette. The first migrant was seen at 1005 and by 1100 10 birds had been counted, and 5 more followed during the following hour, but subsequently only 1 further migrant was seen from the Hay Meadow. The count at the Hay Meadow site was 16 migrants comprising 4 Bald Eagles (2a, 1j, 1u), 1u Sharp-shinned Hawk, 3 Northern Goshawks (1a, 1j, 1u), 1 adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawk, 6 Golden Eagles (4a, 2u) and 1 adult female Peregrine Falcon. The first birds seen at Lusk Creek at 1645 were 3 light morph Broad-winged Hawks (2a, 1j) that soared above the ridge in a tight group for several minutes and allowed careful observation. They were not only the first for the season but the earliest ever recorded in the area by 13 days. They were followed by 12 more migrants up to 1828 that comprised 1 adult Bald Eagle, 7 Red-tailed Hawks (6 light morph calurus (4a, 1j, 2u) and 1 bird showing the character of “Krider’s Hawk”, B.j.borealis var krideri), 1 juvenile Golden Eagle, 2 unidentified eagles and the season’s first Prairie Falcon, an adult male bird. The 8 raptor species seen was a high for the season. Other birds seen at Hay Meadow included 1 male Mountain Bluebird, 85 American Robins flying north in flocks of 35, 20, 20 and 10, that were presumably moving ahead of the deteriorating weather, 4 Varied Thrushes, 2 Dark-eyed Juncos of the race cismontanus and 50 Common Redpolls. Most of the day’s 54 visitors to the Hay Meadow site arrived too late to see the migration, but they enjoyed the day out anyway, at least until the rain began to fall.

12 hours (339.7) BAEA 5 (156), SSHA 1 (3), NOGO 3 (13), BWHA 3 (3), RTHA 8 (18), GOEA 7 (2021), UE 2 (11), PEFA 1 (2), PRFA 1 (1) TOTAL 31 (2258)

[Addition to yesterday’s March summary: TOTAL 2227 (-14.3%)]

 

Beaver Mines [Day 35] (Peter Sherrington) 0800-1830. The temperature at 0800 was 5.5C, the high at 1300-1400 was 10C and it was 6C at 1830. Winds were strong W-WSW all day, 45-60 gusting to 75 km/h to 1400 and then increasing to 60-70 gusting to 95 km/h for the rest of the observation period. Cloud cover was 100-80% altostratus, cumulus and altocumulus to 1100 and was then variable 10-60% altostratus, cumulus, altocumulus, cirrostratus and cirrus for the rest of the day which generally provided excellent viewing conditions. The day started encouragingly with the first Golden Eagle gliding high to the NNW at 0806 followed by a second at 0836, but the very strong winds proved inimical to sustained migration and of the following 13 migrants seen 4 moved between 1033 and 1122 and 8 between 1550 and 1635, which proved to be the last bird of the day. The flight comprised 15 birds of 4 species: 4 Bald Eagles (2a, 2j), 1 adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawk, 9 Golden Eagles (3a. 1sa, 4j, 1u) and 1 adult male Prairie Falcon.

In the light of Jim’s observation of 3 migrating Broad-winged Hawks at Lusk Creek (see above), it is possible that I saw the same birds yesterday (March 31). At 1431 three light Buteos glided very high to the NNW close together against a cloudless sky and I was unable to find them in my telescope. As Red-tailed Hawks were migrating at the time I ascribed them as unaged birds of that species, but all the other Red-tailed Hawks seen that day migrated singly at lower altitudes and all employed powered flight as well as gliding. I now suspect that they were light morph Broad-winged Hawks.

10.5 hours (308.8) BAEA 4 (235), RTHA 1 (102), GOEA 9 (958), PRFA 1 (8) TOTAL 15 (1474)

 

Steeples [Day 13] (Vance Mattson) 1500-1700. The ridges were obscured until 1500 when Vance arrived at the site, the temperature was 9C, winds were strong S-SW, cloud cover was 70-50% cumulus and light rain fell from 1515 to 1530. No migrant raptors were seen but resident/non-migrant birds were 1 Turkey Vulture, 2 adult Bald Eagles and 2 adult Red-tailed Hawks.

2 hours (59) TOTAL 0 (501)

 

 

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (March 1 to April 22)

 

DAYS 31

HOURS 339.7

 

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 0

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 156

NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 1

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 3

COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 0

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 13

Accipiter sp. (UA) 0

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (BWHA) 3

SWAINSON’S HAWK (SWHA) 0

RED-TAILED HAWK (RTHA) 18

FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 0

ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 21

Buteo sp. (UB) 3

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 2021

Eagle sp. (UE) 11

AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 0

MERLIN (MERL) 2

GYRFALCON (GYRF) 1

PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 2

PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 1

Falco sp. (UF) 1

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 1

 

TOTAL 2258