Mount Lorette, Beaver Mines and Steeples March 16

March 16 [Day 15] (Cliff Hansen, assisted by Rick Robb) 0950-2020. Joel Duncan was the designated Principal Observer today but his car skidded off the highway in heavy snow near Barrier Lake as he was driving to the site. Fortunately he was not hurt but his car had to be towed to Canmore for repair. Rick arrived at the Hay Meadow at 0950 just as the heavy snowfall was moderating, and Cliff reached the site at 1430. The temperature at 1000 was -2C, reached a high of 4C at 1700 and was 0C at the end of observation. It was calm in the valley to 1200 after which light 5-10 km/h W-SW winds developed that reached 15 km/h around 1500; ridge winds were moderate W to 1700, strong to 1900 and then moderate again for the rest of the day. Heavy snow fell to 1000 after which it gradually tapered off and finally ceased around 1300. All ridges were obscured to 1200 after which the east began to clear and was free of cloud cover by 1400, while the west was 20-40% obscured for the rest of the day. The first bird of the day was the season’s first Sharp-shinned Hawk, an unaged bird, at 1225 and as the Fisher Range cleared a reasonably strong raptor movement developed with a total of 64 birds of 5 species moving before 1957. The count was 2 adult Bald Eagles, 1u Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1 juvenile rufous (“intermediate”) morph calurus Red-tailed Hawk, a season high 7 Rough-legged Hawks (3 light, 1 dark, 3u) and 52 Golden Eagles (36a, 1sa, 15u). All birds glided high from the Fisher Range to Mount Lorette to 1700 after which they were initially located over Mount Lorette having presumably originated from the Wasootch Creek area. The highest hourly count was 1600-1700 with 29 migrants of which 25 were Golden Eagles, and 18 birds (17 Golden Eagles) moved late between 1900 and 1957. Single adult resident/non-migrant Bald Eagle, Northern Goshawk and Golden Eagle were also noted. Two sparrows were present that could not be identified under the snow conditions at the time, a single Bighorn Sheep was on Olympic Summit and a herd of 13 Elk occupied the valley floor. Also notable this season has been the almost total lack of Snowshoe Hare tracks in the area.

12.5 hours (152.7) BAEA 3 (62), SSHA 1 (1), RTHA 1 (2), RLHA 7 (11), GOEA 52 (333) TOTAL 64 (419)

 

Beaver Mines [Day 19] (Peter Sherrington, assisted by Denise Cocciolone-Amatto) 0800-1900. The temperature at 0800 was 4C, reached a high of 8C at 1100 and then gradually decreased throughout the day and reached a low of 0C at 1900. Winds were mainly W-WSW all day 30-45 gusting up to 67 km/h. Cloud cover was 10-30% cumulus to 1100 after which it increased to 50-70% cumulus to 1325 and then was essentially 100% stratus for the rest of the day. Light snow fell between 1506 and 1540 and again from 1500 to 1715 that periodically briefly obscured the ridge, and persistent heavy snow started at 1815 that obscured the ridge for the rest of the observation period. It was another good day of raptor migration with a total of 153 birds of 8 species moving between 0821 and 1811. The flight comprised 18 Bald Eagles (15a, 1sa, 2j), 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks (1a, 1u), 3 adult Northern Goshawks (2 male, 1u), 1 adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawk, 4 Rough-legged Hawks (3 light, 1 dark), 120 Golden Eagles (116a, 2sa, 2u), 1 unidentified eagle, 3 columbarius Merlins (2 males, 1u) and 1 Prairie Falcon. Movement was steady to 1400 after which the pace quickened and peaked at 33 migrants between 1700 and 1800 as birds tried to cover as much distance as they could before the snow finally closed in. A total of 116 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches flew high to the north in 4 flocks, which were the first seen from the site this year.

11 hours (141.6) BAEA 18 (120), SSHA 2 (3), NOGO 3 (13), RTHA 1 (5), RLHA 4 (22), GOEA 120 (483), UE 1 (1), MERL 3 (8), PRFA 1 (3) TOTAL 153 (664)

 

Steeples (Vance Mattson) 1615-1715. The weather was rain and overcast with obscured ridges all week and only cleared today at 1430. The temperature was 7C although a moderate SE wind made it feel much cooler, cloud cover was 50% cumulus altostratus and cirrus, and the ridges were clear. Observation was from the South Lakit site where snow on the roads is still making access difficult. On arrival there were already 5 eagles soaring over Lone Peak, after which they moved to the north and the other 5 eagles followed the same pattern at 1645. There was much interaction between the migrating Bald Eagles including diving, barrel-rolling and chasing. The count was 6 Bald Eagles (4a, 2j) and 4 adult Golden Eagles. A non-migrant Turkey Vulture and a displaying resident adult Golden eagle were also present.

1 hour (17) BAEA 6 (37), GOEA 4 (70), TOTAL 10 (110)

 

 

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (March 1 to April 22)

 

DAYS 15

HOURS 152.7

 

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 0

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 62

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) 411

Buteo sp. (UB) 1

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 333

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 419