RMERF counts, October 21

Sunday, October 21 Mount Lorette [Day 28] 0755-1900 (Bill Wilson, assisted by Lori Anderson, James Bannon, Theresa Cawron and Gord Petersen). The temperature was -3C at 0800, rose to a high of 12C at 1600 and was 7C at 1900. Ground winds were SW 2-12 km/h to 1400 after which they were NE 2-12 gusting up to 20 km/h; ridge winds appeared to be moderate SW all day. Cloud cover was 40-90% cirrostratus and cirrus to 1200 after which it completely cleared to 1700 when 100% thin cirrostratus again formed. Conditions were good for migration and produced 133 migrant raptors of 7 species that moved between 0830 and 1805. The count was a season-high 38 Bald Eagles (21a, 14sa, 2j and 1 undifferentiated immature bird), 5 Sharp-shinned Hawks (1j, 4u), 5 Northern Goshawks (3a, 2j), 3 Red-tailed Hawks (2 (1a, 1j) dark calurus and 1a dark harlani), 4 light morph Rough-legged Hawks, 75 Golden Eagles (46a, 4sa, 17j, 8u), 2 undifferentiated eagles and 1 large unidentified falcon. With the exception of a few Bald Eagles and the falcon all birds flew high from Mount Lorette to the Fisher Range and at one time 6 Golden Eagles soared together over Lorette. Early movement was slow and only 5 raptors were seen before 1200 but the rate steadily increased throughout the afternoon and peaked at 39 birds (14 Bald and 24 Golden Eagles) between 1400 and 1500. One adult resident Golden Eagle was seen to the west and 1 adult non-migrant Bald Eagle perched on a spruce by the river. The non-raptor bird highlight was a flock of 10 Humorous finches perched on aspens close to the site which included 3 male Cassin’s Finches and 1 female Purple Finch. Other birds recorded included 3 Ruffed Grouse, 1 Clark’s Nutcracker, 2 White-winged Crossbills, 9 American Tree Sparrows and 1 cismontanus Dark-eyed Junco. A single Mourning Cloak was the only butterfly seen. A total of 24 visitors were at the site today.

11.67 hours (294.9) BAEA 38 (133), SSHA 5 (62), NOGO 5 (29), RTHA 3 (27), RLHA 4 (29), GOEA 75 (2154), UE 2 (22), UF 1 (4) TOTAL 133 (2501)

 

Sunday, October 21 Vicki Ridge [Day 25] 0845-1745 (Peter Sherrington, observing from the Waterton 61 wellsite). The temperature at 0845 was 6C the high at 1300 was 16C which fell abruptly to 11.5C at 1400 as the winds shifted from west to east, and it was 9C at the end of observation at 1745. Winds were W-WNW 10-20 km/h to 1400 when they switched to E-SE 15-20 km/h and became light after 1700. Cloud cover was cirrostratus all day: 30-40% to 1000, 80% at 1100 and 100% throughout the afternoon that gave excellent observing conditions. Unfortunately there was only a mediocre raptor movement between 1106 and 1510 involving 63 birds of 6 species. The count was 7 Bald Eagles (6a, 1sa), 9 Sharp-shinned Hawks (2a, 7u), 5 adult Northern Goshawks, 2 Red-tailed Hawks ( 1j light calurus and 1a dark harlani), 20 Rough-legged Hawks (17 light 1 dark, 2u) and 20 Golden Eagles (13a, 4sa, 3j). The highest hourly count was 24 including 8 Golden Eagles, between 1300 and 1400. This hourly count includes 3 adult Bald Eagles and 2 Golden Eagles seen moving to the east of Vicki Ridge by Connie Simmons. No migrants were seen after 1510 as the winds became light. It is possible that westerly winds persisted longer towards the west and eagles might have been moving south above the Carbondale Ridge. Other birds seen included 1 Steller’s Jay, 9 Clark’s Nutcrackers, 240 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches that migrated to the south in 6 flocks, 14 Red Crossbills and 20 Pine Siskins, 10 of which also flew to the south. A single Mourning Cloak was the only butterfly seen.

9 hours (223.2) BAEA 7 (150), SSHA 9 (605), NOGO 5 (52), RTHA 2 (162), RLHA 20 (254), GOEA 20 (2127) TOTAL 63 (3565)

 

Sunday, October 21 Steeples [NO OBSERVATION] (Vance Mattson). Because of disappointing results at the Steeples site Vance decided to check out the Purcell Mountains to the west of the Rocky Mountain Trench, which did not lead to anything conclusive but was interesting nonetheless.  Here is his report. “At 1250, 35 km west on St. Mary’s Lake Road, I spotted an adult Bald Eagle soaring amongst 4 ravens on the north saddle of Mount Bonner; it soared for 10 minutes, before soaring south over Mount Bonner.  4 Mountain Goats were also seen grazing on the ridge of the saddle.  I then drove closer and at 1310 an adult Golden Eagle was seen soaring at the same place.  This eagle was then joined by perhaps a new adult Bald Eagle, and both soared extensively, showing no migratory behaviour.  More ravens joined in, before the eagles could no longer be seen from my vantage point.  Then, at 1339, 2 Golden Eagles were seen soaring (an adult – perhaps the same bird, and a young sub-adult with a missing secondary feather).  Again, no migratory behaviour was observed, and the eagles again could no longer be seen.  Then, an adult of each eagle species were seen (though I am assuming the Golden was again the same bird).  Lastly, an unaged Sharp-shinned Hawk was seen, soaring in the same area.  This all occurred between 1250 and 1405.  The 17 ravens that erupted over the ridge at a certain juncture gave the impression that the eagles and ravens were busy on a gut-pile.  As I was searching for a better vantage point an unidentified eagle was seen gliding south over Mount Bonner.  I drove north up the St. Mary’s Road hoping to find a vantage point of the prominent ridge of St. Mary’s Alpine Provincial Park, which however did not manifest.  It turned out the original vantage point is the most promising of the those visited today”.

 

 

 

SUMMARY COUNTS, FALL 2018
MOUNT LORETTE September 20-November 15 VICKI RIDGE September 20-November 15 STEEPLES September 20-November 15
DAYS 28 25 28
HOURS 294.9 223.2 127
TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0 0 1
OSPREY (OSPR) 3 8 2
BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 133 150 85
NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 6 14 13
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 62 605 72
COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 6 72 4
NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 29 52 6
Accipiter sp. (UA) 6 5 0
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (BWHA) 1 24 3
SWAINSON’S HAWK (SWHA) 1 2 0
RED-TAILED HAWK (RTHA) 27 162 75
FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 0 8 0
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 29 254 3
Buteo sp. (UB) 5 25 0
GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 2154 2127 141
Eagle sp. (UE) 22 3 2
AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 0 12 3
MERLIN (MERL) 3 20 2
GYRFALCON (GYRF) 2 4 1
PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 1 9 1
PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 3 3 0
Falco sp. (UF) 4 2 0
Unidentified Raptor (UU) 4 4 1
TOTALS 2501 3565 415