RMERF counts, October 24 and 25

Tuesday, October 24 [Day 32] (Cliff Hansen, assisted by Dan Parliament) 0815-1830. The starting temperature was 6C, the high at 1700 was 14C and it was still 13C at 1830. Ground winds were SSW 5-10 gusting 20 km/h which increased to 50 km/h after mid-afternoon, while ridge winds were strong SW all day. Cloud cover was 100% altostratus in the form of a Chinook Arch that persisted to 1300 after which it slowly moved to the east leaving cirrus and altostratus cloud in its wake that was 50% at 1600 but by 1800 cloud cover was 100% cirrostratus. Locating conditions were excellent all day. There was a fairly strong raptor movement with 62 birds of 3 species seen between 0815 and 1730 that comprised 1u Sharp-shinned Hawk, 58 Golden Eagles (41a, 3sa, 4j, 10u), 1 unidentified eagle and 2 Prairie Falcons. Twenty-five of the birds were recorded between 1200 and 1400 and all moved at varying heights along the Fisher Range having been initially located at the northern end of the range. An adult Bald Eagle and 2 adult Northern Goshawks were resident or non-migrant, and other birds of note were 1 adult Northern Shrike, a flock of 40 Bohemian Waxwings, 19 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches in 2 flocks and 19 Pine Siskins. Fifteen visitors were at the site today.

10.25 hours (353.7) SSHA 1 (77), GOEA 58 (2698), UE 1 (6), PRFA 2 (6) TOTAL 62 (2998)


Vicki Ridge [Day 33] (Peter Sherrington to 1600, Gord Petersen and Raymond Toal after 1600) 0900-1800 (Observation from the Waterton 61 wellsite on the western flank of the ridge). The temperature was 8C at 0900, rose to a high of 14C at 1600 and was 10C at the end of observation. Winds were W-WSW 40-50 gusting 60-85 km/h all day, and cloud cover was 100% all day with a Chinook Arch giving gloomy conditions to 1400 when it began to move eastwards and was replaced by thin cirrostratus that gave welcome sunshine for the rest of the day. Movement was slow but persistent between 0924 and 1810 during which time 47 raptors of 7 species were counted that comprised 4 Bald Eagles (2a, 1sa, 1j), 7u Sharp-shinned Hawks, 2 adult Cooper’s Hawks, 3 adult Northern Goshawks, 12 Rough-legged Hawks (10 light, 1 dark, 1u), 18 Golden Eagles (9a, 1sa, 7j, 1u) and 1 (probable female) American Kestrel. These totals include 15 migrants (1 Bald Eagle, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 8 Rough-legged Hawks and 5 Golden Eagles) seen by Raymond between 1345 and 1715 from the west ridge of Kyllo Ridge near the Waterton 68 wellsite. Other birds of note were 1 juvenile Northern Shrike, 4 American Robins, 4 European Starlings, 300 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches migrating in 9 flocks plus 3 that fed at the site with a female House Finch, and 4 Red Crossbills.

9.33 hours (271.4) BAEA 4 (84), SSHA 7 (723), COHA 2 (87), NOGO 3 (71), RLHA 10 (282), GOEA 18 (1388), AMKE 1 (21) TOTAL 47 (3007)


Steeples [Day 25] (Vance Mattson) 1145-1745. ) The temperature rose from 6C to a high of 14C and was still 13C at 1730. It was essentially calm and cloud cover was 40% thin altostratus for the first hour and then 10-20% cumulus and altostratus for the rest of the day. Twelve migrants of 3 species were seen between 1322 and 1546 comprising 10 Bald Eagles (3a, 2sa, 5j), 1u Sharp-shinned Hawk and 1 light Rough-legged Hawk. All but the first bird, the Sharp-shinned Hawk, moved between 1519 and 1546, and included 7 of the Bald Eagles that were seen between 1526 and 1532. The migrants soared extensively providing excellent views, especially of the various plumages of the juvenile and sub-adult Bald Eagles. Non-migrants consisted of single adults of Red-tailed Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and Golden Eagle, the latter also providing great views as it soared extensively in front of the ridge.

6 hours (119) BAEA 10 (170), SSHA 1 (75), RLHA 1 (7) TOTAL 12 (415)


Wednesday, October 25 [Day 33] (Joel Duncan, assisted by Patrick Farley) 0800-1800. The temperature at 0800 was 14C which also proved to be the high of the day. The temperature gradually dropped and was 10C at 1600 but after the passage of a cold front around 1630 it dropped rapidly and was 4C at 1800. Ground winds were SW 15-25 gusting to 38 km/h to 1300 when they became light, but when the front arrived they switched to N 15-25 gusting 40 km/h for the rest of the day. Cloud cover was initially 60% cumulus and altostratus which thinned to 20% at 1000, after which it was 80-90% stratocumulus that reached 100% at 1630 and brought steady rain and sleet at 1730. The eastern ridges were clear to 1700 after which they were completely obscured, and the west was briefly 20% obscured around 1300 before also becoming 100% obscured after 1700. There was a disappointing raptor movement of 16 birds of 3 species between 0953 and 1548 comprising 1 juvenile Bald Eagle, 1 light morph Rough-legged Hawk, 13 Golden Eagles (6a, 3sa, 4u) and 1 unidentified eagle. All birds moved along the Fisher Range, some at ridge level while others glided very high above the ridge, and the maximum movement was 5 between 1500 and 1548 just ahead of the approaching front. Other birds seen included 1 displaying Ruffed Grouse, 1 female Belted Kingfisher, a flock of 25 Bohemian Waxwings, 1 Pine Grosbeak and 52 Pine Siskins, and 10 visitors made it to the site today.

10 hours (363.7) BAEA 1 (84), RLHA 1 (21), GOEA 13 (2711), UE 1 (6), TOTAL 16 (3014)


Vicki Ridge [Day 34] (Peter Sherrington, assisted by Raymond Toal) 0915-1815 (Observation from the Waterton 61 wellsite on the western flank of the ridge). The temperature was 11C at 0900, reached a high of 14C at 1500 and rapidly dropped after 1700 to 6C at the end of observation. Winds were yet again strong W-WSW 50 gusting 80 km/h to 1000 then 70-80 gusting to 110 km/h until 1400 when they moderated to 20-30 gusting 50 km/h. Around 1700 the wind shifted quickly to the ENE at 30-40 gusting 50 km/h which finally diminished to 10-20 km/h at 1800. Cloud cover was 30-80% altostratus, altocumulus and cumulus that gave sunny periods to 1430, and a light rain shower between 1030 and 1100 produced a perfect rainbow arch that formed a bridge between Kyllo Ridge and Vicki Ridge. After 1430 100% dark stratocumulus cloud quickly formed and persisted for the rest of the day and threatened rain which fortunately did not start until the end of observation. There was a remarkably high and varied raptor movement involving 114 birds of 9 species that migrated between 0942 and 1745. The count was a season-high total of 13 Bald Eagles (11a, 2sa), 12 Sharp-shinned Hawks (5a, 7u), 1u Cooper’s Hawk, 1 adult Northern Goshawk, 1 adult dark morph harlani Red-tailed Hawk, 1 adult dark morph Ferruginous Hawk that glided directly overhead at 1546, a season-high and single-day site record total of 54 Rough-legged Hawks, all of which were light morphs, 30 Golden Eagles (17a, 3sa, 6j, 4u) and 1 Prairie Falcon. The movement was initially slow and very sporadic in the strong winds and by 1300 only 16 migrants had been recorded, but the pace quickened throughout the afternoon and climaxed, after the wind-shift, at 42 between 1700 and 1745. This period saw 7 Bald Eagles and 33 Rough-legged Hawks move mainly from east to west and included prolonged soaring of up to a dozen birds at a time above Vicki Ridge. It was quite the sight! Other migrant birds were 1 adult California Gull, 21 European Starlings, 1 Bohemian Waxwing, 175 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches in 5 flocks, and 10 Red Crossbills.

9 hours (280.4) BAEA 13 (97), SSHA 12 (735), COHA 1 (88), NOGO 1 (72), RTHA 1 (224), FEHA 1 (6), RLHA 54 (336), GOEA 30 (1418), PRFA 1 (3) TOTAL 114 (3121)


Steeples [Day 26] (Vance Mattson) 1330-1530. Observation from the South Lakit site where the temperature was 12C, winds were moderate to strong S-SW and cloud cover was 100% altostratus and cumulus. The only raptor seen was a migrant adult Peregrine Falcon.

2 hours (121) PEFA 1 (2) TOTAL 2 (416)



MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (September 20 to November 15)



HOURS 363.7








Accipiter sp. (UA) 3






Butte sp. (UB) 9


Eagle sp. (UE) 6






Falco sp. (UF) 2

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 2


TOTAL 3014