RMERF counts, October 29

Sunday, October 29 [Day 37] (Bill Wilson, assisted by Lori Anderson) 0755-1850. The starting and finishing temperature was 0C and the high at 1500 was 4C. Ground winds were mainly E-NE 3-10 gusting 15 km/h except around 1700 when they were briefly 5-15 gusting 30 km/h, while ridge winds were NNW all day, moderate to strong to 1200 and moderate throughout the afternoon. Cloud cover was 100% altostratus to 0900 that reduced to 10% cumulus at 1200 while the afternoon saw variable 90-40% cumulus cover that completely disappeared after 1700. The western ridges were 10-20% obscured to 0900 but otherwise the mountains were clear all day. A total of 55 migrant raptors of 4 species were seen between 0940 and 1806 comprising a season-high count of 22 Bald Eagles (13a, 3sa, 3j, 3u), 3 adult Northern Goshawks, 2 dark morph Rough-legged Hawks and 28 Golden Eagles (13a, 2sa, 8j, 5u). Movement was steady throughout the day and peaked at 11 between 1600 and 1700 after which only 3 more migrants were recorded. With the exception of single birds that moved on the western route and over the centre of the valley all the Golden Eagles moved along the Fisher Range at various heights with very little soaring. Many of these birds were initially located above Mount Lorette. The Bald Eagles moved on a broader path between the centre of the valley and the Fisher Range. Other birds included a flock of 13 swans (12 Tundra, 1 Trumpeter) and another of 19 unidentified swans, 130 Canada Geese migrating in several flocks, a flock of 8 migrating Common Loons and 1 high-flying silhouetted gull, while closer to earth songbirds included 1 juvenile Harris’s Sparrow, 3 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches, 5 Pine Grosbeaks and 20 undifferentiated flying redpolls/siskins. There were 9 visitors to the site today. The weather forecast for all three sites show a northern front arriving on the evening of October 31 (Halloween!) that will bring 4 to 5 days of low temperatures and snow. This has already “pushed” high numbers of migrants ahead of it and it will be interesting to see what numbers are seen in the next couple of days.

10.92 hours (404.9) BAEA 22 (142), NOGO 3 (27), RLHA 2 (26), GOEA 28 (3126) TOTAL 55 (3508)

 

Vicki Ridge [Day 38] (Peter Sherrington) 0930-1800 (Observation from the Waterton 61 wellsite on the western flank of the ridge). It was a cool day with a temperature of 2C to 1300 and again at 1800 with a high of 3C the rest of the time. Winds were mainly light N-NNE all day and cloud cover was 100% stratus to 1500 when it began to break up and reduced to 30% cumulus at 1700 before thickening again to 80% at 1800. Despite the light northerly winds there was a persistent raptor movement between 1006 and 1704 that involved 95 birds of 6 species. The count was 21 Bald Eagles (13a, 1sa, 7j), 1 adult female Northern Harrier, 2 Cooper’s Hawks (1a, 1u), 4 Northern Goshawks (1a, 3u), 26 Rough-legged Hawks (20 light, 3 dark, 3u), 40 Golden Eagles (27a, 3sa, 4j, 6u) and 1u dark morph Gyrfalcon. The highest hourly count was 18 from 1400 to 1500 and all other hours between 1000 and 1600 produced double-digit counts. The migration shut down early, however and only one Rough-legged Hawk was seen after 1650. There was also good movement of non-raptor species including 8 Trumpeter Swans that flew west at 0957, 385 Canada Geese in 13 flocks that mainly flew to the west as did 130 high-flying unidentified ducks; migrant passerines were 90 Bohemian Waxwings, 50 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches, 2 Pine Grosbeaks, 4 Red Crossbills and 23 Common Redpolls.

8.5 hours (316.1) BAEA 21 (162), NOHA 1 (18), COHA 2 (94), NOGO 4 (91), RLHA 26 (482), GOEA 40 (1721), GYRF 1 (3) TOTAL 95 (3699)

 

Steeples [Day 30] (Vance Mattson) 1345-1815. The valley was socked-in and light rain fell until 1330 when things began to clear. The heavy overcast conditions dispersed by 1430, leaving sunny conditions for the rest of the day with a 40-50% cumulus cloud cover.           The ridges, however, remained partially obscured until 1700. The temperature was 2C, rising to 10C which, combined with calm conditions, produced another beautiful day marked by slow and low moving birds, many of which soared extensively in front of the ridge and moved in and out of the low cloud. The final tally of 52 migrants of 7 species is the second highest daily count this fall and comprised 1 Osprey, 22 Bald Eagles (12a, 1sa, 9j), 1 juvenile Northern Harrier, 3 Northern Goshawks (2a, 1j), 2 calurus Red-tailed Hawks (1 intermediate juvenile, 1 dark adult), 2 light morph Rough-legged Hawks and a season high total of 21 Golden Eagles (18a, 1sa, 1j, 1u). The first migrant was an adult Bald Eagle that flapped south through the rain at 1355, and 5 birds moved between 1400 and 1500. The next hour saw 13 birds, and the peak was reached between 1600 and 1700 with 21 migrants.           12 migrants were counted after 1700, with the last, a juvenile Bald Eagle, at 1735. The only non-migrants seen were an adult of each eagle species.

4.5 hours (141.3) OSPR 1 (6), BAEA 22 (204), NOHA 1 (13), NOGO 3 (12), RTHA 2 (50), RLHA 2 (9), GOEA 21 (104) TOTAL 52 (497)

 

 

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (September 20 to November 15)

 

DAYS 37

HOURS 404.9

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 2

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 142

NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 6

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 81

COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 18

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 27

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) 26

Buteo sp. (UB) 10

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 3126

Eagle sp. (UE) 6

AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 3

MERLIN (MERL) 5

GYRFALCON (GYRF) 4

PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 7

PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 6

Falco sp. (UF) 3

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 2

 

TOTAL 3508