Mount Lorette, Beaver Mines and Steeples, March 19

March 19 [Day 18] (Bill Wilson, assisted by Lori Anderson) 0655-2040. It was a cool day with a starting and finishing temperature of -2C and a high at 1500 and 1600 of 0C. Ground winds were SSW 3-10 gusting to 31 km/h while ridge winds were moderate to strong SW all day. Cloud cover was 70-100% stratus and cumulus all day apart from 0800 and 1900 when it was 50% and 2000 when it was 10%. The eastern ridges were clear all day while the west was 10-40% obscured apart from the first and last hours when they were clear. There was a spectacular and persistent movement of raptors with a season high total of 387 birds moving between 0822 and 1955. The count comprised a season high 23 Bald Eagles (14a, 2sa, 3j, 4u), 1 juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk and a season high 363 Golden Eagles (229a, 31sa, 7j, 96u). Most of the birds moved high to very high from the Fisher Range to Mount Lorette and only about a dozen birds used the western route (Mount Allen) after 1700. The hourly Golden Eagle counts after 1300 were 31, 57, 63, 41, 35, 39 and 37 between 1900 and 1955. Other birds of note were a flock of 80 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches and the season’s first Western Meadowlark that spent much of the day feeding on a gravel bar in the river. A Red Fox passed close to the site late in the day, and there were also 21 human visitors to the site.

Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of Des Allen and Peter Sherrington’s sighting of 103 migrating Golden Eagles that flew from the Fisher Range to Mount Lorette, which proved to be the start of the present raptor migration study. Coffee and doughnuts will be available at the site and if today’s count is anything to go by a few Golden Eagles may be passing by as well.

Hours 13.75 (184.9) BAEA 23 (96), SSHA 1 (2), GOEA 363 (974) TOTAL 387 (1104)

 

Beaver Mines [Day 22] (Peter Sherrington, assisted by Denise Cocciolone-Amatto) 0800-1830. It was finally a pleasant day with a starting temperature of 1C that reached a high of 6C from 1300 to 1600 and it was still 5C at 1830. Winds were WSW-W all day 30-50 gusting to 67 km/h and cloud cover was 20-80% altostratus, cirrus and cumulus to 1300 after which it was up to 10% cumulus and often essentially cloudless. Raptor movement was strong and fairly persistent all day with a season high total of 186 migrants of 8 species moving between 0835 and 1814. The flight comprised 20 Bald Eagles (14a, 5sa, 1j), 1 juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1 adult Cooper’s Hawk, which was the first record of the season, a season high 10 Northern Goshawks (6a, 1j, 3u), a season high 4 calurus Red-tailed Hawks (3 light morphs: 2a, 1u; 1 adult dark morph), 3 Rough-legged Hawks (2 light, 1 dark), 1 unidentified dark morph Buteo, 145 Golden Eagles (129a, 1sa, 2j, 13u) and 1 adult male columbarius Merlin. The busiest hour was 1200-1300 with 34 migrants but the following hour was the most varied with 23 raptors of 7 species seen. The second busiest hour was 1700-1800 with 32 migrants that included a kettle of 3 Bald Eagles, 7 Golden Eagles and a Northern Goshawk that soared high over the “Big Hill” for about 4 minutes.

10.5 hours (172.6) BAEA 20 (146), SSHA 1 (4), COHA 1 (1), NOGO 10 (30), RTHA 4 (10), RLHA 3 (40), UB 1 (2), GOEA 145 (698), MERL 1 (11) TOTAL 186 (952)

 

Steeples (Vance Mattson) [Day 7] 1130-1930. It was a sunny day with a temperature high of 6C, mostly moderate to strong SW winds, 20-40% cumulus cloud cover and clear ridges. The excellent migration and observing conditions produced a movement that was generally higher and faster than usual and the second highest total of the season. The count of 104 eagles was 14 Bald Eagles (10a, 2sa, 2j), 89 Golden Eagles (82a, 2sa, 5j) and 1 unidentified eagle. Two birds moved before 1200, 19 in the next hour and only 11 between 1300 and 1500, but 72 migrated after 1500 with maximum movement of 23 birds between 1600 and 1700. The last 3 Golden Eagles were seen at 1907. Non migrants were 1 adult and 1 juvenile Bald Eagle, 1 adult and 1 juvenile Golden Eagle, and 1 Turkey Vulture that patrolled the Pickering Hills to the south.

8 hours (325) BAEA 14 (63), GOEA 89 (292), UE 1 (4) TOTAL 104 (361)

 

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (March 1 to April 22)

 

DAYS 18

HOURS 184.9

 

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 0

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 96

NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 0

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 2

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) 18

Buteo sp. (UB) 1

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 974

Eagle sp. (UE) 8

AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 0

MERLIN (MERL) 1

GYRFALCON (GYRF) 1

PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 0

PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 0

Falco sp. (UF) 1

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 0

 

TOTAL 1104