RMERF counts October 21

Saturday, October 21 [Day 29] (Jim Davis, assisted by Ruth Morrow) 0845-1845. The temperature was 1C at the start, rose to a high of 5C at noon and was 4C at the end of observation. Ground winds were W-SW all day, 15-20 gusting 30 km/h, while ridge winds were W-SW very strong to 1100 after which they were strong but diminished towards the end of the day. Cloud cover was 40% cumulus and cirrostratus for most of the day that increased to 80% during the last hour of observation. Observing conditions were excellent throughout and contributed to the second highest combined-species count of the season as 350 raptors of 6 species moved between 1014 and 1819. The count was 8 Bald Eagles (2a, 2 late subadults, 4j), 1u Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1a Northern Goshawk, 337 Golden Eagles (122a, 10sa, 45j, 160u) which is the second-highest count of the season, 2 late American Kestrels (a male and a female that perched together near the site) and 1u columbarius Merlin. Movement was continuous with the eagles moving as meandering streams sometimes using the western route then swinging overhead before flying on the eastern route for a period before returning to the west and starting the cycle again. In general, though, an increasing number of birds migrated on the Fisher Range as the day progressed, with some flying low against the face while others glided high above the ridge. The hourly counts were 13 (1014-1100), a peak count of 71 (11-1200), 26 (13-1300), 49 (13-1400), 48 (14-1500), 35 (15-1600), 35 (16-1700), 63 (17-1800) and 10 (1800-1819). Unfortunately only 12 visitors came to the site all day and only one materially assisted with the count so Jim and Ruth are to be congratulated on efficiently counting today’s broad-front and variable-height migration. Non-raptor migrants included 1 Common Loon, 13 American Robins, 480 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches in three flocks, 14 Pine Grosbeaks, 49 Pine Siskins and 3 Evening Grosbeaks. It was a busy day!

10 hours (320.9) BAEA 8 (80), SSHA 1 (72), NOGO 1 (20), GOEA 337 (2514), AMKE 2 (3), MERL 1 (5) TOTAL 350 (2797)

 

Vicki Ridge [Day 30] (Peter Sherrington, assisted by Raymond Toal) 0900-1800 (Observation from the Waterton 61 wellsite on the western flank of the ridge). The temperature was 3C to 1200, reached a brief high of 5C at 1300 and was 2C for the last 2 hours of observation. It felt much colder, however, as winds were strong W-WSW all day 40-50 gusting up to 75 km/h. Cloud cover was 60-80% altostratus, cumulus and altocumulus to 1500 that produced persistent snow flurries to 1410, which thinned to 30-40% cumulus between 1600 and 1700 and increased to 70% cumulus by the end of observation. The uncomfortable conditions were made tolerable by a fairly continuous and varied raptor migration of 106 birds of 9 species that moved between 0911 and 1752, and comprised 3 Bald Eagles (1a, 1sa, 1j), 16 Sharp-shinned Hawks (9a, 7u) 1 adult Cooper’s Hawk, 1 adult Northern Goshawk, 4 adult Red-tailed Hawks ( 2 calurus: 1 light, 1 dark; 2 dark harlani), 16 Rough-legged Hawks (12 light, 1 dark, 3u), 60 Golden Eagles (46a, 3sa, 6j, 5u), 2 Merlins (1 adult male richardsonii; 2 female (1a, 1u) columbarius and 2 Peregrine Falcons (1a female, 1 juvenile male). Peak movement was 61 between 1300 and 1500 which included 40 Golden Eagles. Other birds included 1 Northern Shrike, 16 American Robins, 325 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches that flew south in 4 flocks, 3 Pine Grosbeaks and 5 Red Crossbills.

9 hours (244.3) BAEA 3 (62), SSHA 16 (679), COHA 1 (80), NOGO 1 (64), RTHA 4 (220), RLHA 16 (218), GOEA 60 (1260), MERL 3 (20), PEFA 2 (16) TOTAL 106 (2728)

 

Steeples [Day 22] (Vance Mattson) 1100-1800. The temperature was 8C that dropped to 6C by 1800, winds were moderate to strong S all day and cloud cover was 70-100% stratus, altostratus and cumulus. There were light snow flurries between 1200 and 1300 and the prominent western peak of Bill Nye was obscured until 1530, although migrants moved below and to the west of the wall of cloud. A total of 26 migrants of 4 species moved between 1223 and 1724 that comprised 15 Bald Eagles (10a, 5j), 2u Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1 adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawk and 8 Golden Eagles (7a, 1sa). Nineteen of the 26 migrants were seen before 1445 followed by an almost two-hour gap before the migration resumed. Non-migrants consisted of an adult Golden Eagle and an adult Red-tailed Hawk that was seen on three occasions, including once perched at the site and, most impressively, a successful hunting strike against the rocky slope of the mountain ridge although Vance was not sure what the unfortunate prey was.

7 hours (104.5) BAEA 15 (130), SSHA 2 (74), RTHA 1 (44), GOEA 8 (59) TOTAL 26 (348)

 

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (September 20 to November 15)

 

DAYS 29

HOURS 320.9

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 1

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 80

NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 5

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 72

COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 16

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 20

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) 20

Butte sp. (UB) 9

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 2514

Eagle sp. (UE) 3

AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 3

MERLIN (MERL) 5

GYRFALCON (GYRF) 2

PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 6

PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 4

Falco sp. (UF) 2

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 2

 

TOTAL 2797