Mount Lorette, Beaver Mines and Steeples March 11

March 11 [Day 10] (Jim Davis, assisted by Ruth Morrow) 0730-1630. The starting temperature was a rather bracing -25C but it rose to -11C at 1400 and was -12C at the end of observation. It was calm in the valley to 0900 after which ground winds were light E for the rest of the morning and NW-NNW 8-13 gusting 18 km/h in the afternoon, while ridge winds were moderate W all day. Cloud cover was 50% cumulus to noon that increased to 80% to 1400, after which it thickened to 100% altostratus and cumulus that brought snow for the last 45 minutes of observation. The eastern ridges were clear to 1500 after which they gradually clouded over to 50% and 100% at the end of observation, while the west was 20-30% occluded to 1600 and by 1700 was 100% obscured. Raptor movement was by far the strongest of the season with a total of 94 birds of 4 species migrating between 1208 and 1606. The flight comprised 17 Bald Eagles (14a, 1sa, 1j, 1u), 3 light morph Rough-legged Hawks, 1 dark morph unidentified Buteo, 68 Golden Eagles (44a, 3sa, 1j, 15u), 4 unidentified eagles and 1u columbarius Merlin that flew low to the north above the Hay Meadow. Only 3 birds moved on the western route, and to 1416 the others migrated from the northern end of the Fisher Range to Mount Lorette after which they originated in the Wasootch Creek area and moved to Lorette. Twenty-five migrants (11 Golden Eagles) were seen between 1400 and 1500, 39 (25 Golden Eagles) between 1500 and 1600 and 6 Golden Eagles between 1600 and 1606 as the snowfall became more intense. Two non-migrant adult Bald Eagles perched before flying south above the river, and other birds were 2 Northern Pygmy-Owls, 6 ravens, 1 Dark-eyed Junco and 36 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches in flocks of 30 and 6. Only 2 visitors on snowshoes braved the cold and reached the site today.

9 hours (93.42) BAEA 17 (32), RLHA 3 (4), UB 1 (1), GOEA 68 (84), UE 4 (4), MERL 1 (1) TOTAL 94 (126)

 

Beaver Mines [Day 14] (Peter Sherrington) 0750-1810. The temperature was -22C at 0700 but had risen to -18C at the start of observation, reached a high of -10C at 1200 and was -13.5C at 1810. Winds were light or calm for most of the day, W in the morning and E in the afternoon that increased to 15 km/h after 1700 bringing light snow. Cloud cover was 100% thin altostratus, cumulus and altocumulus to 1000, 70% altostratus and cumulus to 1200 and 100% stratus throughout the afternoon. The ridge was clear all day until it was finally obscured by snow at 1810 and observing conditions were generally good. The mountain ridges to the SW were clear until 1530. It was another disappointing day of migration, probably owing the very light winds, and the only migrants recorded were a light morph Rough-legged Hawk at 1419, a late subadult Bald Eagle at 1619 and an adult Bald Eagle at 1713. By way of compensation 17 other bird species were seen including 30 Canada Geese, 18 Trumpeter Swans, 1 Killdeer, and 251 European Starlings in several small flocks, all of which flew to the SW above the valley (the swans and Killdeer were first records for the year). Other birds in the yard included a Northern Shrike, 7 Dark-eyed Juncos of 3 subspecies (1 hyemalis, 2 cismontanus and 4 montanus), 50 Evening Grosbeaks and 50 Pine Siskins.

10.33 hours (88.08) BAEA 2 (27), RLHA 1 (8) TOTAL 3 (129)

 

Steeples [Day 3] (Vance Mattson) 1230-1630. Observation was from the Bull Mountain site where the temperature was 7C, conditions were calm and cloud cover was 100% stratus that covered the ridges and produced rain from 1500 to 1630. Despite the conditions 6 migrant raptors were seen: 1 adult Bald Eagle and 5 Golden Eagles (5a, 1j), and non-migrant birds were conspicuous comprising 8 Bald Eagles (6a, 1sa, 1j) and 4 Golden Eagles (2a, 2j). Seven of these birds, 6 Bald and 1 Golden Eagle, soared in a kettle over the Pickering Hills just south of Bull Mountain from 1330 to 1415. The resident Golden Eagle pair was seen once and two resident juvenile Golden Eagles, possibly siblings, were seen on a couple of occasions.

4 hours (9.5) BAEA 1 (1), GOEA 5 (5) TOTAL 6 (6)

 

 

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (March 1 to April 22)

 

DAYS 10

HOURS 93.42

 

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 0

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 32

NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 0

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 0

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) 0

FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 0

ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 4

 

Buteo sp. (UB) 1

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 84

Eagle sp. (UE) 4

AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 0

MERLIN (MERL) 1

GYRFALCON (GYRF) 0

PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 0

PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 0

Falco sp. (UF) 0

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 0

 

TOTAL 126