RMERF counts, October 3

Tuesday, October 3 [Day 12] (Joel Duncan, assisted by Chris Hunt) 1030-1900. There was 12 cm of fresh snow on the ground and the temperature was -5C when observation began at 1030, which rose to a high at 1700 of 5C and was 0C when observation ceased at 1900. Ground winds and ridge winds were light (<11 km/h) all day, and it was cloudless except around 1600 when 10% cirrus cloud briefly developed. Only 2 migrant raptors were seen: a subadult Golden Eagle that flew low to the south against the Fisher Range at 1603, and an unaged Golden Eagle that glided very high above the Fisher Range 9 minutes later at 1612, and no resident raptors were seen. Other birds were also scarce but included 1 Northern Pygmy-Owl, 1 Pileated Woodpecker, 3 American Robins and 1 Song Sparrow. The only thing that was abundant today were visitors of which there were 93 that included 22 students and staff from Western Canada High school in Calgary and 67 from two grade 5 science classes from Langevin School also in Calgary. The dearth of birds was in strong contrast to what was happening 200 km to the south at Vicki Ridge under almost identical weather conditions (see below).

8.5 hours (140.8) GOEA 2 (291) TOTAL 2 (433)

 

Vicki Ridge [Day 13] (Peter Sherrington, assisted by Denise Cocciolone-Amatto and Raymond Toal) 0900-1800. There was 25 cm of fresh snow on the ridge which made for a strenuous ascent. The temperature at 0900 was -8C but it rose under cloudless skies to a high of 5C at 1600 and was 3C at the end of observation. Winds were WSW-W all day, generally light to 1300, but they then gradually increased and peaked at 1800 at 16-20 gusting 26 km/h. Following a complete shut-down of migration on Monday, today produced a fairly robust movement between 1124 and 1729 of 116 migrants of 9 species. The count was 4 Bald Eagles (2sa, 2j), 24 Sharp-shinned Hawks (18a, 2j, 4u), 2 Cooper’s Hawks (1a, 1u), 2 adult Northern Goshawks, 4 light morph Broad-winged Hawks (3a, 1u), 12 Red-tailed Hawks (11 adult calurus: 10 light and 1 dark; and 1 dark juvenile harlani), a season-high 66 Golden Eagles (13a, 15sa, 38j), 1 male American Kestrel and 1 adult male columbarius Merlin. Twenty birds of 8 species moved between 1200 and 1300 but the busiest hour was 1500-1600 when 43 birds were counted but only 2 species were involved: 14 Sharp-shinned Hawks and 29 Golden Eagles. To 1500 most birds moved to the west of the ridge, but subsequently they moved above the ridge with the Golden Eagles often soaring and gliding high in groups of up to 6 birds. The sight of so many juvenile birds moving overhead against an azure sky was an unforgettable experience. Not surprisingly given the snow cover other birds were scarce on the ridge but included 1 Northern Shrike, 2 Clark’s Nutcrackers, 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet, 1 American Robin, 4 Dark-eyed Juncos and 2 Pine Siskins.

9 hours (104.1) BAEA 4 (15), SSHA 24 (401), COHA 2 (53), NOGO 2 (37), BWHA 4 (19), RTHA 12 (93), GOEA 66 (182), AMKE 1 (18), MERL 1 (12) TOTAL 116 (869)

 

Steeples [Day 9] (Vance Mattson) 1300-1800. The temperature was 7C upon arrival and reached a high of 18C, and it was calm and cloudless. The conditions only produced a disappointing total of 10 migrants that comprised 8 adult Bald Eagles, 1 adult Sharp-shinned Hawk that was the last bird of the day at 1629, and 1 adult Golden Eagle. Six of the Bald Eagles moved together at 1447. Non-migrants consisted of 3 adult Bald Eagles and 1 adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawk.

5 hours (40.5) BAEA 8 (43), SSHA 1 (71), GOEA 1 (25) TOTAL 10 (213)

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (September 20 to November 15)

 

DAYS 12

HOURS 140.8

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 1

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 32

NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 3

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 50

COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 9

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 10

Accipiter sp. (UA) 1

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (BWHA) 1

SWAINSON’S HAWK (SWHA) 0

RED-TAILED HAWK (RTHA) 17

FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 0

ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 4

Buteo sp. (UB) 3

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 291

Eagle sp. (UE) 2

AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 0

MERLIN (MERL) 2

GYRFALCON (GYRF) 0

PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 3

PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 2

Falco sp. (UF) 0

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 2

 

TOTAL 433