RMERF counts, April 19

Thursday, April 19 Mount Lorette [Day 45] 0655-2030 (Blake Weis, assisted by Patrick Farley). At 0700 the temperature was -5C, the high was 9C from 1600-1900 and it was 6C at 2030. Ground winds were SW all day, 0-10 km/h to 1300, then 5-10 gusting 15-30 km/h to 1900 and finished the day at 0-10 km/h again, while ridge winds were light to moderate SW to 1300 and then moderate for the rest of the day. Cloud cover was 10% cirrus to 0800 after which it was essentially cloudless all day with traces of cirrus in the morning and of altocumulus in the afternoon. Migration conditions were ideal, but the blank sky made the location of migrants challenging. There was a strong movement of 84 raptors of 5 species, which is the highest April count so far this season, with birds recorded between 0930 and 1930. The count was 4 Bald Eagles (1a, 3 undifferentiated immatures), 4u Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1 small undifferentiated Accipiter, 2 adult calurus Red-tailed Hawks (1 light, 1 dark), 72 Golden Eagles (9a, 4sa, 44j. 15u) which is the highest April count this season, and 1 male columbarius Merlin. The first 2 migrants were seen on the eastern route, but until 1540 all other birds moved on the western ridges with eagles soaring on the southern flank of Olympic Summit and gliding NW over Skogan Pass. After 1540 most birds were initially located as they glided to Mount Lorette and on to Mount McGillivray but only 4 were seen at the northern end of the Fisher Range and many may have originated from the Wasootch Creek area. Forty-one migrants occurred before noon after which movement slowed until 1800 when the final two hours of the day each yielded 11 migrating Golden Eagles. Non-migrant or resident birds were 1 juvenile Bald Eagle, 2 adult Red-tailed Hawks, the resident pair of Golden Eagles one of which displayed above Olympic Summit, and probably the same Prairie Falcon seen yesterday again hunted over Hummingbird Plume Hill. Birds seen for the first time this season were an American Coot on the river, 3 Tree Swallows and a male Brewer’s Blackbird, and other birds were 7 Canada Geese, a pair of Mallard, 1 male Common Merganser, 2 drumming Ruffed Grouse, 2 Killdeer, 6 unidentified white-headed gulls, 5 Northern Flickers, 1 Northern Shrike, 4 Grey Jays, 2 American Crows, 13 Common Ravens, 2 Black-capped Chickadees, 5 Mountain Chickadees, 1 Boreal Chickadee, 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch, 3 singing Golden-crowned Kinglets, 2 singing Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 3 Mountain Bluebirds (1 male, 2 females), 6 singing Varied Thrushes, 2 American Pipits, 40 Bohemian Waxwings, 35 Dark-eyed Juncos, 1 male Red-winged Blackbird and 8 Common Ravens. As Blake was driving across the Kananaskis Bridge on the Nakiska access road last night at 2010, a Cougar was walking across the bridge in the opposite direction. Today 3 White-tailed Deer and 2 male Elk browsed in the meadow late in the day, but there were only 3 human visitors to the site, which is a pity as it was a rather good day.

13.58 hours (514.4) BAEA 4 (177), SSHA 4 (21), UA 1 (3), RTHA 2 (26), GOEA 72 (2350), MERL 1 (2) TOTAL 84 (2655)

 

Thursday, April 19 Beaver Mines [Day 52] 0700-2015 (Peter Sherrington). The temperature at 0700 was -2C, rose to a very pleasant high of 12C at 1300 and 1400 and was still 9C at 2015. Winds were light WNW-NNW to 1100, very light at 1200 and 1300, SE-SSE 15-20 km/h to 1800 and then WSW 10-15 km/h for the rest of the day. Cloud cover was variably 30-80% cirrostratus, cirrus, altostratus and altocumulus to 1400, after which it was 70-80% cumulus that gradually dwindled to 0% at 2000. It was sunny all day and observing conditions were generally very good. Despite the often light and mainly adverse wind directions there was a fairly strong but sporadic migration of 43 raptors of 8 species between 0734 and 1856, with most birds soaring very high above the ridge before gliding to the NNW. The count was 3 subadult Bald Eagles, a season-high 8 Northern Harriers (6 males (5a, 1j), 1a female and 1u), 2u Sharp-shinned Hawks, 3 adult Northern Goshawks, 1 adult light morph Broad-winged Hawk, 6 light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawks (5a, 1j), 1 light morph Rough-legged Hawk and 19 Golden Eagles (3a, 3sa, 10j, 3u). The highest hourly count was 14 between 1800 and 1856, coincident with the switch to WSW winds. At 1137 a juvenile Golden Eagle was seen soaring very high above the ridge with a Sandhill Crane in opposing gyres. As they came together there were minor agonistic interactions and finally the eagle started to chase the crane, but not to be outdone, the crane then briefly pursued the eagle. With honours even the eagle glided to the north and the crane to the SW. Seasonal first occurrences were a flock of 7 American White Pelicans that soared high NE of the ridge at 1318 before flying high to the north and, on a smaller scale, a male Yellow-rumped [Audubon’s] Warbler that fed in aspens at 1410.

13.25 (544.2) BAEA 3 (350), NOHA 8 (18), SSHA 2 (42), NOGO 3 (27), BWHA 1 (12), RTHA 6 (149), RLHA 1 (101), GOEA 19 (1518) TOTAL 43 (2297)

 

Thursday, April 19 Steeples [Day 37] 1330-1930 (Vance Mattson). The temperature was a season high 15C, winds were calm to light SE and cloud cover was 30-50% cumulus that gave sunny conditions. A total of 14 migrants of 4 species were counted between 1620 and 1829 although 13 of the migrants moved after 1728. The count was 2 Bald Eagles (1a, 1j), 3 Sharp-shinned Hawks (1a, 2u), 1 adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawk and 8 Golden Eagles (3a, 5j). As yesterday, many eagles moved very high west of the ridges and soared at length before gliding to the north, with the later birds often having to flap in the light winds. Non-migrant Turkey Vultures were seen frequently including a kettle of 4 over Mount Bill Nye that included apparently playful stoops by some individuals on its companions. Other non-migrants were 4 Bald Eagles (2a, 2j) and 2 adult Red-tailed Hawks.

4 hours (158.5) BAEA 2 (165), SSHA 3 (9), RTHA 1 (26), GOEA 8 (602) TOTAL 14 (825)

 

 

 

SUMMARY COUNTS, SPRING 2018
MOUNT LORETTE March 1- BEAVER MINES February 25- STEEPLES     March 1-
DAYS 45 52 37
HOURS 514.4 544.2 158.5
TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0 1 12
OSPREY (OSPR) 3 3 0
BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 177 350 165
NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 1 18 0
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 21 42 9
COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 1 5 0
NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 11 27 2
Accipiter sp. (UA) 3 0 0
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (BWHA) 2 12 0
SWAINSON’S HAWK (SWHA) 0 2 0
RED-TAILED HAWK (RTHA) 26 149 26
FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 0 6 0
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 15 101 6
Buteo sp. (UB) 2 15 0
GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 2350 1518 602
Eagle sp. (UE) 24 3 0
AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 2 7 2
MERLIN (MERL) 2 14 0
GYRFALCON (GYRF) 7 9 0
PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 1 9 1
PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 2 3 0
Falco sp. (UF) 0 0 0
Unidentified Raptor (UU) 4 3 0
   
TOTALS 2655 2297 825