Mount Lorette, Beaver Mines and Steeples, March 20

March 20 [Day 19] (Jim Davis, assisted by Chris Hunt and many others) 0800-2000. The temperature at 0800 was -13C, reached a high of 1C at 1500 and again at 1700 and was 0C at 2000 when observation ceased. It was calm or very light W winds to noon after which it was NE-ENE 5-11 gusting to 22 km/h for the rest of the day, while ridge winds were ENE all day, light to to 1500 and then moderate. It was essentially cloudless until 1500 after which up to 20% cumulus cloud developed, but aircraft con-trails greatly assisted in the location of the very high-flying eagles. Despite the persistent ENE winds there was another strong movement of Golden Eagles most of which were high over the western peaks. A total of 331 birds of 5 species migrated between 0955 and 1912 comprising 3 adult Bald Eagles, 1 adult Northern Goshawk, which was the first migrant of the year, 1 adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawk, 2 Rough-legged Hawks (1 light, 1 dark), 323 Golden Eagles (120a, 1sa, 12j, 190u) and 1 unidentified eagle. The birds flew higher and farther to the west as the day progress resulting in a high number of unidentified birds and a probable undercounting of subadult birds. Towards the end of the day 10 eagles flew high overhead to Mount Lorette and the last 20 birds of the day were located over Mount Lorette and probably originated from the northern end of the Fisher Range or from Wasootch Creek. Movement was sustained after 1100 with 230 of the birds moving after 1500. The busiest hour was 68 migrants between 1600 and 1700 and 64 were seen during the following hour. Two Trumpeter Swans flew low overhead in the company of 2 Canada Geese and other birds seen included 1 Northern Shrike, 2 American Robins and 51 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches. Grey Wolf scat was on the trail to the site. There were a total of 27 members, supporters and visitors at the site to celebrate the 25th anniversary of finding the first 103 migrant Golden Eagles there on March 20, 1992, and the multiple eyes on the skies ensured that few if any of the very high flying eagles passed unnoticed. It was a very good day!

12 hours (196.9) BAEA 3 (99), NOGO 1 (1), RTHA 1 (3), RLHA 2 (20), GOEA 323 (1297), UE 1 (9), TOTAL 331 (1435)

 

Beaver Mines [Day 23] (Denise Cocciolone-Amatto, assisted by Pat Lucas, Nel Van Kamer and Merilyn Liddell) 0750-1730. The temperature at 0750 was -6C, rose to a high of 4C at 1400 and was 3C when observation stopped at 1730. Winds were variable but mainly E-ESE 15-25 gusting 35 km/h, and cloud cover was 0% at 0800 but 30-70% cirrus and stratus for the rest of the day. There was a disappointing movement of only 20 raptors of 4 species between 0934 and 1718 that comprised 2 juvenile Bald Eagles, 1 adult male Northern Harrier, 1 adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawk, 1 unidentified Buteo and 15 Golden Eagles (13a, 1sa, 1j). Birds moved slowly and all soared over the “Big Hill” before gliding to the NW. The highest hourly count was 4 birds between 1400 and1500. The highlight of the day, however, was a flock of 6 Greater Sandhill Cranes flying high to the NNW at 0958: the first for the year.

9.67 hours (182.3) BAEA 2 (148), NOHA 1 (2), RTHA 1 (11), UB 1 (3), GOEA 15 (713) TOTAL 20 (972)

 

Steeples (Vance Mattson) [Day 8] 1630-1730. Vance observed for 1 hour close to the Bill Nye site (snow-clogged roads still prevents access to the site itself), but saw no migrants. The temperature was 6C, it was calm with a 40% thin altostratus cloud cover that gave sunny conditions. The resident Golden Eagle pair soared extensively over the ridge and perched briefly at 1710 but were harassed by ravens that compelled them to take flight again. The last of the pair disappeared behind the ridge at 1730.

I hour (33.5) TOTAL 0 (361)

 

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (March 1 to April 22)

 

DAYS 19

HOURS 196.9

 

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 0

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 99

NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 0

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 2

COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 0

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 1

Accipiter sp. (UA) 0

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (BWHA) 0

SWAINSON’S HAWK (SWHA) 0

RED-TAILED HAWK (RTHA) 3

FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 0

ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 20

Buteo sp. (UB) 1

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 1297

Eagle sp. (UE) 9

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 1435