Mount Lorette, Beaver Mines and Steeples, March 31 and March summaries

March 31 [Day 30] (Blake Weis, assisted by Patrick Farley) 0715-2020. The temperature reached 9C at 1800 from a morning low of -2C and it was 7C when observation ended at 2020. It was calm in the valley to 0900 after which ground winds were SW 5-10 gusting to 20 km/h, while ridge winds were moderate SW all day. Cloud cover was 5-20% cumulus to 1400 after which 90% altostratus rapidly developed that thinned after 1500 to 50-60% altocumulus and cirrus for the rest of the day. The ridges were essentially clear all day and excellent observing conditions contributed to a count of 79 birds of 3 species that migrated between 1025 and 1940. The flight comprised 7 Bald Eagles (5a, 1sa, 1j), 3 adult calurus Red-tailed Hawks (2 light and 1 dark) and 69 Golden Eagles (41a, 3sa, 8j, 17u). With the exception of the 4 earliest migrants, 3 Red-tailed Hawks and 1 Golden Eagle that used the western route the rest of the birds moved high from the Fisher Range to Mount Lorette although some birds initially located high above Mount Lorette may have originated from Wasootch Creek. Movement was steady during the afternoon with hourly counts between 1300 and 1800 ranging from 11 to 15 birds. Resident or non-migratory raptors were 2 adult Bald Eagles, 1 adult Northern Goshawk, 1 pair of Red-tailed Hawks and 2 Golden Eagles (1a and 1sa). Other birds present near the site included 30 unidentified swans that flew high to the north over Mount Lorette around 1400, 1 Northern Pygmy-Owl, 1 Belted Kingfisher, 8 Mountain Bluebirds (3 females, 5 males), 25 American Robins (most of which were migrating to the north), 3 Varied Thrushes, 8 Dark-eyed Juncos, 1 White-winged Crossbill and 27 Common Redpolls. The 27 visitors all had good views of migrating eagles today.

13.08 hours (327.7) BAEA 7 (151), RTHA 3 (10), GOEA 69 (2014) TOTAL 79 (2227)

March summary (With variance from long-term 20 year average 1993-2016, that excludes the anomalously low counts in 2008-2010 and 2012 which are considered invalid). 30 days (+3.8%), 310.9 hours (+5.4%): BAEA 151 (+38.7% and the second highest March count after 154 in 1994), NOHA 1 (+33.3%), SSHA 2 (-20%), NOGO 10 (-11.9%), RTHA 10 (+127% and the second highest March count after 12 in 2004), RLHA 21 (+388% and the highest March count ever), UB 3 (+329%), GOEA 2014 (-18.03%), UE 9 (+309%) MERL 2 (-16.7%), GYRF 1 (+ 33.3%) and PEFA 1 (+233% and only the 7th March record for the site) (10 species).

 

Beaver Mines [Day 34] (Peter Sherrington) 0800-1915. A couple of centimetres of fresh snow had fallen overnight and the temperature at 0800 was 1C. It rose to a high of 11.5C at 1500 and was still 9C at 1915 at the end of observation. Winds were variable and generally light (<10 km/h) to 1400 after which they were SW-WSW 30-40 gusting to 50 km/h for the rest of the day. Cloud cover was 100% stratus to 0900 which rapidly cleared and between 0930 and 1400 it was mainly cloudless with up to 20% cumulus and cirrus for brief periods. After 1430 altostratus and cumulus cloud began to develop which became 80-100% after 1600. The light winds were not conducive to raptor movement; the first migrant was not seen until 1135 and by 1400 only 6 birds had passed. As soon as the SW winds picked up, however, birds started to soar and glide high to the NW or NNW and by 1844 a further 46 migrants of 8 species had been recorded, 17 of which moved between 1700 and 1800. The flight was 13 Bald Eagles (10a, 1sa, 2j), 1 adult female Northern Harrier, 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks (1a, 1u), 4 Northern Goshawks (3a, 1j), 15 light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawks (9a, 1j, 5u), 1 light morph Rough-legged Hawk, 15 Golden Eagles (11a, 2sa, 2j) and 1 adult male Prairie Falcon. The two resident pairs of Red-tailed Hawks were conspicuous between 1140 and 1811, and an adult male Northern Harrier displayed at 1521 as the day’s only female glided high overhead to the NW: she did not stop!

11.25 (298.3) BAEA 13 (231), NOHA 1 (16), SSHA 2 (23), NOGO 4 (46), RTHA 15 (101), RLHA 1 (54), GOEA 15 (949) PRFA 1 (7) TOTAL 52 (1459)

March summary (new high March counts for the site in bold). 30 days (284 hours), TUVU 1, BAEA 228, NOHA 16, SSHA 16, COHA 3, NOGO 46, SWHA 1, RTHA 101, FEHA 2, RLHA 54, UB 6, GOEA 929, UE 2, AMKE 1, MERL 11, GYRF 3, PEFA 1 and PRFA 7 TOTAL 1435 (16 species).

 

Steeples [Day 12] (Vance Mattson) 1200-1800. Observation was from the Bill Nye site where the temperature rose to 14C from a low of 3C at 1200, winds were light variably SE, S and SW becoming calm after 1600 and cloud cover was initially 90% thin altostratus, cumulus and cirrus that reduced to 40% cumulus and altostratus after 1500. There was a strong movement of large raptors with 56 birds of 3 species moving between 1232 and 1713), with plenty of interaction between the birds as they moved to the north. The flight was 3 adult Turkey Vultures, 17 Bald Eagles (4a, 1sa, 12j) and 36 Golden Eagles (20a, 16j. The high percentage of juvenile birds of both eagle species is notable. Twenty birds moved between 1300 and 1400, 16 between 1400 and 1500, 11 between 1500 and 1600 and 8 between 1600 and 1713. The high count probably results from a week of mainly overcast and wet conditions which conveniently cleared this morning. Non-migrant activity was almost continuous with 16 distinct sightings of Turkey Vultures including a kettle of 6 at 1415, many sightings of 22 Bald Eagles (9a, 1sa, 12j) several of which soared over the front peak of Bill Nye, and 6 sightings of adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawks including a hunting stoop from a hovering position.

6 hours (57) TUVU 3 (3), BAEA 17 (103), GOEA 36 (383) TOTAL 56 (501)

March summary 12 days (57 hours) TUVU 3, BAEA 103, SSHA 3, RTHA 1, RLHA 1, GOEA 383, UE 6 and MERL 1 TOTAL 501 (7 species).

 

 

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (March 1 to April 22)

 

DAYS 30

HOURS 327.7

 

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 0

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 151

NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 1

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 2

COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 0

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 10

Accipiter sp. (UA) 0

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (BWHA) 0

SWAINSON’S HAWK (SWHA) 0

RED-TAILED HAWK (RTHA) 10

FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 0

ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 21

Buteo sp. (UB) 3

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 2014

Eagle sp. (UE) 9

AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 0

MERLIN (MERL) 2

GYRFALCON (GYRF) 1

PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 1

PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 0

Falco sp. (UF) 1

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 1

 

TOTAL 2227