RMERF counts, October 15

Saturday, October 14 [Day 23] (Jim Davis, assisted by Ruth Morrow) 0730-1900. It was a cool day with a starting temperature of -1C, a high of 5C at 1600 and 3C at the end of observation. Ground winds were SW all day, 10-20 gusting to 32 km/h, while ridge winds were very strong all day, SW to 1000, NW to 1500 and finally W for the rest of the day. Cloud cover was 50-70% cumulus, cirrostratus and lenticular all day. The east ridges were clear but the west was 30% obscured to 1100 and after 1400 they gradually occluded to 30% again at 1900. After 4 days of indifferent migration weather today produced the second-highest combined-species and Golden Eagle counts of the season with a total of 233 birds of 8 species moving between 0909 and 1845. The count was 4 Bald Eagles (1a, 2sa, 1j), 2u Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1 juvenile Cooper’s Hawk, 2 Northern Goshawks (1a, 1u), 1 adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawk, 2 Rough-legged Hawks (1 light, 1 dark), 210 Golden Eagles (36a, 5sa, 20j, 149u) and 1 Prairie Falcon. Movement was steady all day but massively peaked in the last three hours when 157 birds were counted including single hour totals of 63 (1700-1800) and 60 (1800-1845). The high number of unaged Golden Eagles reflects the poor light conditions during this peak movement period. Only 3 birds were seen to the west, the Cooper’s Hawk flew low above the river and the rest moved on the eastern route with only a single group of 7 Golden Eagles initially located over Mount Lorette. The main flight appeared to have originated from Heart Mountain via Mount Baldy to the north of the Fisher Range. The only migrant songbirds were 5 American Robins and 3 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches, and there was a very large and very fresh pile of probable Grizzly Bear scat on the western side of the Hay Meadow early in the morning. Twenty visitors were also at the site today.

11.5 hours (259.8) BAEA 4 (57), SSHA 2 (71), COHA 1 (15), NOGO 2 (18), RTHA 1(28), RLHA 2 (18), GOEA 210 (1784), PRFA 1 (3) TOTAL 223 (2031)

 

Vicki Ridge [Day 23] (Peter Sherrington) 0900-1815 (Observation from the Waterton 61 wellsite on the western flank of the ridge). The temperature at 0900 and 1800 was 1C and the high was 4C at 1400 and 1500. Winds were strong W-WSW 40-60 gusting 80-90 km/h and cloud cover was 20% altostratus, altocumulus and lenticular to 1000, 50% at 1100 and then 70-90% altostratus, altocumulus, cumulus, cirrus and lenticular for the rest of the day. The strong winds produced a count of 60 raptors of 6 species between 0907 and 1907, 29 of which occurred before 1200 with the flow diminishing as wind velocities steady increased throughout the afternoon. The count was 2 adult Bald Eagles, 2 adult Sharp-shinned Hawks, 4 adult Red-tailed Hawks (3 calurus: 2 light, 1 dark; and 1 dark harlani), 3 Rough-legged Hawks (2 light, 1 dark), 1 unidentified dark Buteo, 49 Golden Eagles (29a, 3sa, 14j, 1u) and I adult male Peregrine Falcon. Eleven of the first 24 birds seen moved south above Kyllo Ridge to 1105, but subsequently the migration was exclusively high above Vicki Ridge. The only songbird movement was 660 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches that flew south in 4 flocks between 0923 and 1753. The wind warning remains in affect so I shall also be watching from the wellsite tomorrow.

9.25 hours (188.8) BAEA 2 (46), SSHA 2 (598), RTHA 4 (197), RLHA 3 (104), UB 1 (14), GOEA 47 (907), PEFA 1 (13) TOTAL 60 (2116)

 

Steeples [Day 17] (Vance Mattson, assisted by Gaby Zezulka and Virginia Rasch) 1100-1730. It was a cool day with an initial temperature of 7C dropping to 5C at 1400-1730. Winds were moderate to strong S, and 100% altostratus and cumulus cloud developed soon after observation started. A total of 21 migrants comprised a season-high count of 18 Bald Eagles (11a, 7j), and 3 Golden Eagles (2a, 1j), with all but one bird moving between 1325 and 1408. The last bird, an adult Golden Eagle, was seen at 1709. Non-migrant birds were an adult Bald Eagle and an adult Red-tailed Hawk.

6.5 hours (81.5) BAEA 18 (92), GOEA 3 (45) TOTAL 21 (287)

 

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (September 20 to November 15)

DAYS 23

HOURS 259.8

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 1

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 57

NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 5

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 71

COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 15

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 18

Accipiter sp. (UA) 3

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (BWHA) 1

SWAINSON’S HAWK (SWHA) 0

RED-TAILED HAWK (RTHA) 28

FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 1

ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 18

Buteo sp. (UB) 8

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 1784

Eagle sp. (UE) 3

AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 1

MERLIN (MERL) 4

GYRFALCON (GYRF) 1

PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 5

PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 3

Falco sp. (UF) 2

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 2

 

TOTAL 2031