RMERF counts, October 6

Saturday, October 06 Mount Lorette [Day 15] 0800-1900 (Blake Weis, assisted by Ruth Morrow and Patrick Farley). The temperature was -8C at 0800, the high was 6C from 1600 to 1800 and it was -1C at 1900. Ground winds were light all day, variable 0-3 km/h to 1000, SSW 0-5 gusting 10 km/h to 1300, SSW and occasionally E to 1800 and SSW 0-5 km/h for the last hour; ridge winds were probably light to moderate SSW. It was essentially cloudless all day with only traces of cirrus and altocumulus cloud. There was another strong raptor movement again dominated by Golden Eagles with 209 birds of 7 species migrating between 1055 and 1907. The flight comprised a season-high 13 Bald Eagles (6a, 2sa, 5j), 5u Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1a Northern Goshawk, 2 small unidentified Accipiters, 1a light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawk, 1 dark morph Rough-legged Hawk, 182 Golden Eagles (91a, 6sa, 69j 16u), 1 unidentified eagle, the season’s first Gyrfalcon, a probable female grey morph that briefly harassed a juvenile Golden Eagle as it flew south, and 2 small unidentified raptors. With the exception of one Sharp-shinned Hawk, all birds were seen on the eastern route with most migrants flapping low in front of the face of the Fisher Range. Peak movement was 53 raptors between 1300 and 1400 that included 46 Golden Eagles. Non-migrants were a Sharp-shinned Hawk that hunted American Pipits along the river in the morning and a Merlin that perched near the site at 1815. Other birds near the site were 1 American Dipper, 1 Varied Thrush, 1 American Robin, 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 4 Golden-crowned Kinglets, 25 American Pipits, 5 White-winged Crossbills, 1 Lincoln’s Sparrow, 1 Song Sparrow, 1 White-crowned Sparrow of the race gambelii which was found dead, having probably perished in the recent snow storm, 7 Dark-eyed Juncos, 2 Yellow Warblers and a late migrating Common Yellowthroat. A Mountain Goat spent some time high on the ridge at the northern end of the Fisher Range, and there were 24 visitors at the site today.

11.58 hours (148.1) BAEA 13 (30), SSHA 5 (45), NOGO 1 (16), UA 2 (4), RTHA 1 (14), RLHA 1 (8), GOEA 182 (914), UE 1 (11), GYRF 1 (1), UU 2 (3) TOTAL 209 (1071)

 

Saturday, October 06 Vicki Ridge [Day 12] 0900-1730 (Peter Sherrington, assisted by Hilary Atkinson observing from the Waterton 61 wellsite). The temperature at 0900 was -2C the high at 1200 was 7C and it was 5C at 1730. Winds were light all day (< 8 km/h), variable to 1200 then E for the rest of the day, but there was probably a light westerly flow above Kyllo Ridge to the west of Vicki Ridge. Cloud cover was 0-10% cirrostratus to 1200 after which scattered cumulus developed that reached 20% at 1400 and 1500 after which it was again cloudless with trace cumulus and cirrus cloud. The only raptor seen in the morning was a female columbarius Merlin at 1013 which briefly perched on a snag on the flank of Vicki Ridge before flying low to the south. This proved to be the only bird seen on Vicki Ridge all day with the remaining 233 migrant raptors soaring high and gliding high to the south between 1223 and 1706 on a broad front between the centre of the valley and the western edge of Kyllo Ridge. The final count of a season-high 234 birds of 9 species was 6 Bald Eagles (2a, 2sa, 2j), 11u Sharp-shinned Hawks, 2 Cooper’s Hawks (1a, 1u), 2 Northern Goshawks (1a, 1u), 1u dark morph Broad-winged Hawk, 19 Red-tailed Hawks (16 calurus: 7a, 5u light morphs, 3a, 1u dark morphs; 1a dark harlani, and 2 undifferentiated dark morphs), 7 Rough-legged Hawks (5 light, 1 dark, 1u), 8 unidentified Buteos (7 dark, 1u), a season-high 175 Golden Eagles (78a, 14sa, 46j, 37u), 1 female columbarius Merlin and 2 small unidentified raptors. There was much high soaring flight with the largest kettles of Golden Eagles being 14 at 1409 and 16 at 1519. The busiest hour was 1500-1600 with 70 migrants including 63 Golden Eagles and 1400-1500 saw 60 birds move of which 46 were Golden Eagles. Other birds were scarce and included 1 male Pileated Woodpecker, 2 Blue Jays, 3 Clark’s Nutcrackers, 3 American Robins, 5 Red Crossbills and 16 Pine Siskins.

8.5 hours (106.5) BAEA 6 (34), SSHA 11 (449), COHA 2 (59), NOGO 2 (26), BWHA 1 (15), RTHA 19 (111), RLHA 7 (30), UB 8 (12), GOEA 175 (552), MERL 1 (15), UU 2 (4) TOTAL 234 (1358)

 

Saturday, October 06 Steeples [Day 14] 1200-1900 (Vance Mattson). The temperature was 9C at 1200, reached a high of 10C before dropping to 7C at 1900, winds were light to moderate N-NW and cloud cover was 20-40% cumulus which provided both sunshine and excellent observing conditions. The mountains finally cleared and there was a strong raptor movement of 104 birds of 6 species between 1229 and 1840 that comprised 14 Bald Eagles (9a, 3sa, 2j), 2 Northern Harriers (1a female, 1u), 9 Sharp-shinned Hawks (4a, 5u), 1a Northern Goshawk which was the first for the season, 3 calurus Red-tailed Hawks (2a light, 1u dark) and a season-high 75 Golden Eagles (55a, 20j). Both the total and the Golden Eagle count were site records for fall counts. The highest hourly counts were 29 (including 23 Golden Eagles) between 1400 and 1500, 24 (18 Golden Eagles 1500-1600 and 19 (18 Golden Eagles) 1700-1800. Most migrants moved close to the ridges and the flight was initially very fast but became slower as the day progressed. Resident Golden Eagles were seen on 3 occasions and 14 non-migratory Bald Eagles were seen including many that moved along the ridges towards the north.

7 hours (58.5) BAEA 14 (49), NOHA 2 (8), SSHA 9 (43), NOGO 1 (1), RTHA 3 (68), GOEA 75 (99) TOTAL 104 (287)

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY COUNTS, FALL 2018
MOUNT LORETTE September 20-November 15 VICKI RIDGE September 20-November 15 STEEPLES September 20-November 15
DAYS 15 12 14
HOURS 148.1 106.5 58.5
TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0 0 1
OSPREY (OSPR) 3 8 2
BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 30 34 49
NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 6 12 8
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 45 449 43
COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 4 59 4
NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 16 26 1
Accipiter sp. (UA) 4 3 0
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (BWHA) 1 15 3
SWAINSON’S HAWK (SWHA) 1 2 0
RED-TAILED HAWK (RTHA) 14 111 68
FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 0 3 0
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 8 30 2
Buteo sp. (UB) 1 12 0
GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 914 552 99
Eagle sp. (UE) 11 1 2
AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 0 11 3
MERLIN (MERL) 2 15 1
GYRFALCON (GYRF) 1 0 0
PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 0 7 1
PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 3 2 0
Falco sp. (UF) 1 2 0
Unidentified Raptor (UU) 3 4 0
   
TOTALS 1071 1358 287