RMERF counts, March 31, and March summaries.

Saturday, March 31 Mount Lorette [Day 27] 0800-2015 (Jim Davis, assisted by Ruth Morrow). The starting temperature was a bone-chilling -22C but it warmed to a high of -4C at 1700 and 1800, and was -5C at the end of observation. Ground winds were variable SW-E 5-15 km/h to 1600 when they switched to NE and became light late in the day. Ridge winds were generally SSW-SW light to 1300 increasing in the afternoon becoming strong after 1700 but diminishing again to light at the end of the day. At 1800 the clouds indicated SW winds on the E ridges and moderate to strong winds on the west ridges! Cloud cover was 20-30% cumulus all day, but valley fog to the west curtailed visibility until 1000. With the exception of Mount Lorette that was obscured to 1000, the eastern ridges were clear all day, but the west was 50% obscure to 1200, 70% to 1400 after which it rapidly cleared. Following the complete shutdown yesterday, there was a strong raptor movement of 199 birds of a season-high 6 species between 1000 and 1944. The count was a season-high 16 Bald Eagles (11a, 3sa, 2j), 1 adult Northern Goshawk, 2 light morph Broad-winged Hawks (1a, 1j) that were the earliest ever seen at the site, one day earlier that the 3 birds seen last year, 5 adult calurus Red-tailed Hawks (3 light, 1 rufous and 1 dark), 2 light morph Rough-legged Hawks, 171 Golden Eagles (112a, 8sa, 12j, 39u) and 2 unidentified eagles. About 75% of the movement between 1000 and 1600 was on the western route with birds moving in-and-out of cloud from Mount Kidd over Olympic Summit and on to the NW over Skogan Pass. After 1600 movement was low along the Fisher Range to Mount Lorette with much soaring flight but after 1700 birds glided very high above the Fisher Range that resulted in most birds being unaged. Thirty-five birds were recorded between 1000 and 1100 and peak movement was 50 (1300-1400). After 1500 the pace lessened but 14 birds moved between 1919 and 1994 in a late pulse. Other birds seen were 7 Canada Geese, 1 Pileated Woodpecker, 3 Grey Jays, 11 Common Ravens, 14 American Robins in a single flock and 2 European Starlings. The 46 visitors to the site all had fantastic views of migrating raptors.

 

12.25 (307.2) BAEA 16 (125), NOGO 1 (9), BWHA 2 (2), RTHA 5 (7), RLHA 2 (9), GOEA 171 (1794), UE 2 (20) TOTAL 199 (1983)

 

March summary (With variance from the long-term 1993-2016 20 year average, that excludes the anomalously low counts in 2008-2010 and 2012 which are considered invalid). 27 days (-6.7%), 307.2 hours (-1.5%): BAEA 125 (+12.8%), SSHA 7 (+182.7%), NOGO 9 (-20.3%), RTHA 7 (+50%), RLHA 9 (+76.6%), GOEA 1794 (-26.3%, the third-lowest valid March count at the site), UE 20 (+677.8%), GYRF 7 (+ 818.8%, and the highest ever March count), PEFA 1 (+200% and only the 8th March record for the site) and 2 Prairie Falcons (+121.2%) TOTAL 1983 (-23.2%, the third-lowest valid combined species March count at the site) (10 species).

 

 

 

Saturday, March 31 Beaver Mines [Day 35] 0700-1815 (Peter Sherrington). The temperature at 0700 was -19C, the high was -8C at 1100 and 1300-1500 and it was -9C at 1815. Winds were light WSW to 0930 and again from 1600 to the end of observation, but between they were E-ESE 10-15 km/h. Cloud cover was 80-100% stratus and altocumulus to 0900, 80-20% cumulus to 1500 after which it was cloudless for the rest of the day. There was an ice crystal haze between 0700 and 1500 that thickened to a crystal fog between 1000 and 1100 that significantly reduced visibility. A total of 35 migrants of 5 species were seen between 1201 and 1801 comprising 4 adult Bald Eagles, 1 adult female Sharp-shinned Hawk, 4 adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawks, 1 adult dark morph Ferruginous Hawk and 27 Golden Eagles (23a, 1sa, 3j). Peak hourly movement was 10 birds between 1300 and 1400 and again between 1600 and 1700. At 1450 an adult Northern Shrike was seen feeding on a starling that it had just killed. After pecking at it a few times it flew up to an adjacent low branch of an aspen and perched for a couple of minutes before again flying to the starling and pecking at it. It repeated this sequence twice more, and then flew back from its perch, picked the bird up from the snow with its feet and flew low downslope with it for about 50m. Sibly gives the average mass of a shrike as 65g and that of a starling as 82g so it was somewhat surprising that the shrike could carry something significantly heavier than itself over such a distance.

 

11.25 hours (339.75) BAEA 4 (196), SSHA 1 (7), RTHA 2 (35), FEHA 1 (3), GOEA 27 (1105) TOTAL 35 (1455)

 

March summary (with variance from the 2015-2017 average in parenthesis) 31 days (+14.8%), 305.7 hours(+53.7%), BAEA 183 (+3.8%), SSHA 7 (-54.3%), COHA 2, (+50%), NOGO 14 (-66.9%), RTHA 35 (-44.4%), FEHA 3 (+12.5%), RLHA 68 (+4.6%), UB 4 (-25%), GOEA 1092 (+15.8% and the highest ever March count), UE 3 (+80%), AMKE 1 (-70%), MERL 5 (-40%), GYRF 6 (+63.6%) and PEFA 1(-40%) TOTAL 1426 (+5.1%) (12 species compared to 17 species last year). Notably absent this March was Northern Harrier (average 14) and Prairie Falcon (average 5.3).

 

 

 

Saturday, March 31 Steeples [Day 23] 1230-1800 (Vance Mattson, assisted by Virginia Rasch). The temperature was -2C at the start and rose to a high of 4C. Conditions were calm and cloud cover of 30-50% cumulus gave continuous sunshine. A total of 8 migrants, 1 juvenile Bald Eagle and 7 Golden Eagles (6a, 1j), moved, between 1407 and 1645, with 6 of the birds seen between 1407 and 1451. Non-migrants were 3 Turkey Vultures, 3 Bald Eagles (2a, 1j) and 2 Red-tailed Hawks.

 

5.5 hours (103.5) BAEA 1 (119), GOEA 7 (523) TOTAL 8 (643)

 

March summary (with variance from the 2010-2017 average in parenthesis) 23 days (+15%), 103.5 hours (+25.8%) BAEA 119 (+16.4%), NOGO 1 (-11.1%) and GOEA 523 (+86.6%, which is the highest ever March count). TOTAL 643 (+62.4%, which is the highest March combined-species count). Only 3 migrant species were seen, which is the lowest March species count ever). The number of raptors/hour was 6.21, 5.33% above average.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY COUNTS, SPRING 2018
MOUNT LORETTE March 1- BEAVER MINES   February 25- STEEPLES     March 1-
DAYS 27 35 23
HOURS 307.2 339.75 103.5
TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0 0 0
OSPREY (OSPR) 0 0 0
BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 125 196 119
NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 0 0 0
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 7 7 0
COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 0 2 0
NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 9 14 1
Accipiter sp. (UA) 0 0 0
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (BWHA) 2 0 0
SWAINSON’S HAWK (SWHA) 0 0 0
RED-TAILED HAWK (RTHA) 7 35 0
FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 0 3 0
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 9 71 0
Butte sp. (UB) 0 4 0
GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 1794 1105 523
Eagle sp. (UE) 20 3 0
AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 0 1 0
MERLIN (MERL) 0 5 0
GYRFALCON (GYRF) 7 6 0
PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 1 1 0
PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 2 0 0
Falco sp. (UF) 0 0 0
Unidentified Raptor (UU) 0 2 0
   
TOTALS 1983 1455 643