RMERF counts, October 27

Friday, October 27 [Day 35] (Blake Weis, assisted by Cliff Hansen) 0830-1830. The starting temperature was -2C, the high at 1600 was 11C and it was 7C at the end of observation. It was flat-calm to 1000 then 0-5 km/h for the rest of the day, and ridge winds were light NW all day. Cloud cover was 20-30% altocumulus and cirrus to 1100 then 80-90% cirrus with minor altocumulus for the rest of the day giving very good observing conditions. The calm conditions did not appear to augur well for raptor movement but to the delight of the observers a total of 113 migrants of 6 species were counted between 1024 and 1745. The count was a season high 15 Bald Eagles (103), 1 adult male Northern Harrier, 3 adult Sharp-shinned Hawks, 2 dark morph Rough-legged Hawks, 90 Golden Eagles (74a, 4sa, 3j, 9u), which is the highest count at the site since October 21, 1 juvenile Peregrine Falcon and 1 unidentified large falcon. Movement was steady throughout the afternoon with an hourly high count of 23 from 1400 to 1500 and the subsequent 2 hours each saw the passage of 22 birds. Apart from 1 Bald Eagle and 1 Golden Eagle that flew south above the valley, all birds used the eastern route and most were located at the northern end of the Fisher Range. Ten Golden Eagles that soared high above Mount Lorette were the only birds detected there, but despite their initial altitude they quickly lost height as they crossed the valley and arrived on the lower slopes of the Fisher Range. Most birds used flapping flight in the light winds and only a few moved much above ridge level. There was a good variety of other bird species that included a Northern Pygmy-Owl that briefly perched east of the river, 1 Northern Shrike, 5 Grey Jays, 1 Clark’s Nutcracker, 2 Brown Creepers, 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet, 5 Bohemian Waxwings, 1 American Tree Sparrow, 1 Dark-eyed Junco, 1 Pine Grosbeak, 1 Red Crossbill, 3 White-winged Crossbills, 102 Common Redpolls and 3 Pine Siskins. The highlight of the day, however, occurred early as Blake heard a Grey Wolf howling as he walked to the site and on arrival saw the animal, that was mainly grey with a brown back, walk slowly northwards across the Hay Meadow. There were also 7 human visitors to the site later in the day.

10 hours (383.8) BAEA 15 (103), NOHA 1 (6), SSHA 3 (80), RLHA 2 (23), GOEA 90 (2811), PEFA 1 (7), UF 1 (3) TOTAL 113 (3143)

[Correction to October 25: in the list of other bird species “52 Pine Siskins” should be “25 Common Redpolls and 27 Pine Siskins”.]

 

Vicki Ridge [Day 36] (Peter Sherrington, assisted by Connie Simmons, Phil Hazelton and Trevor Lewis after 1630) 0900-1800 (observation from the ridge top), and Gord Petersen 1450-1800 at the Waterton 68 site. After two weeks on the flank of the ridge because of almost continuous extreme high winds it was a pleasure to be back atop the ridge. The temperature was 6C at 0900, reached a high of 12C at 1500 and was still 10C at 1800. Winds were WNW 10-20 gusting 25-30 km/h to 1100 and subsequently W 20-30 km/h that increased to 30-35 gusting 44 km/h after 1600. It was cloudless to 1120 when cirrus cloud began to develop which reached 100% at 1200 and 1300, thickened to 100% altostratus at 1400 and 1500 and subsequently was a spectacular sky of thin cirrus altostratus and altocumulus for the rest of the day. Observing conditions were excellent all day. The first migrant was an adult Cooper’s Hawk at 0931, but the second migrant, a distant Golden Eagle, was not seen until 1226 and by 1400 only 5 migrants had been seen. The pace then slowly increased and peaked between 1600 and 1800 when 47 of the day’s 70 migrants were counted. The final count was 5 Bald Eagles (5a, 2j), 1 juvenile female Northern Harrier, 3 Sharp-shinned Hawks (1j, 2u), 1 adult Cooper’s Hawk, 5 adult Northern Goshawks, 4 adult Red-tailed Hawks (1 dark calurus, 3 dark harlani), 16 Rough-legged Hawks (14 light, 2 dark), 33 Golden Eagles (27a, 2sa, 2j, 2u) and 1 unidentified eagle. These totals include 27 migrants (2 Bald Eagles, 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1 Northern Goshawk, 1 calurus Red-tailed Hawk, 9 Rough-legged Hawks and 11 Golden Eagles) seen by Gord between 1450 and 1800 from the western edge of Kyllo Ridge at the Waterton 68 wellsite. An adult Harris’s Sparrow was at the site all morning (probably a first for the site), and other birds were 2 Grey Jays, 5 Clark’s Nutcrackers, 1 Black-billed Magpie, 55 Common Ravens, 10 American Robins, 12 Bohemian Waxwings, 525 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches and 44 Common Redpolls.

9 hours (298.7) BAEA 6 (107), NOHA 1 (17), SSHA 3 (744), COHA 1 (91), NOGO 5 (79), RTHA 4 (231), RLHA 16 (393), GOEA 33 (1472), UE 1 (1) TOTAL 70 (3273)

 

Steeples [Day 28] (Vance Mattson) 1130-1700. The temperature was 2C at 1130 and warmed to 7C, it was calm all day, and there was a cloud cover of 100% thin altostratus at 1130 which subsequently became 50-60% of various combinations of thin altostratus, altocumulus and cirrus. It was a painfully quiet day for migration as only a juvenile Northern Harrier was seen, at 1519. Non-migrants were also scarce with single sightings of an adult Bald Eagle and adult Red-tailed Hawk, and two sightings of an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk.

5.5 hours (131.5) NOHA 1 (10) TOTAL 1 (438)

 

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (September 20 to November 15)

 

DAYS 35

HOURS 383.8

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 1

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 103

NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 6

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 80

COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 18

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 23

Accipiter sp. (UA) 3

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (BWHA) 1

SWAINSON’S HAWK (SWHA) 0

RED-TAILED HAWK (RTHA) 29

FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 1

ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 23

Buteo sp. (UB) 10

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 2811

Eagle sp. (UE) 6

AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 3

MERLIN (MERL) 5

GYRFALCON (GYRF) 2

PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 7

PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 6

Falco sp. (UF) 3

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 2

 

TOTAL 3143