RMERF counts September 22

Friday, September 22 [Day 2] (Blake Weis) 0720-2000. The temperature was 1C at 0800, reached a high of 6C between 1600 and 1800 and was 3C at the end of observation. Ground winds were variable and light except for one NW gust of 20 km/h near the end of the day, while ridge winds were light to moderate N-NW to 1500 after which they were moderate. Cloud cover was 100% low stratus that produced light snow to 0900. It reduced to 90% stratus, cumulus and altostratus between 0900 and 1400 after which it steadily diminished to 20% at 1900. All ridges were obscured to 1000 and 90-100% obscured to 1500 after which they cleared fairly quickly and by 2000 all ridges were completely clear. The first migrant raptor of the season was an adult Northern Goshawk at 1419 and by 1812 14 birds had been counted: 1 Osprey, 3u Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1 adult Northern Goshawk, 2 adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawks, and 7 Golden Eagles (5a, 1sa, 1j). The first four birds moved on the western route or above the valley, but after 1600 all birds moved above the Fisher Range and towards the north as Mount Lorette retained its cloud cover until late in the day. Non-migratory raptors were a juvenile female Northern Harrier that hunted along the river, a male American Kestrel that hunted over the Hay Meadow as also did a Sharp-shinned Hawk and a female columbarius Merlin that concentrated on a flock of Lapland Longspurs in the meadow during the morning. A red-tailed Hawk flew low to the north and the resident pair of Golden Eagles was present with the male briefly displaying above the Fisher Range in the afternoon. There was also a fine variety of non-raptor species at the site: Canada Goose 12, Killdeer 1, Wilson’s Snipe 1, Belted Kingfisher 1, Northern Flicker 2, Pileated Woodpecker 1 that called from across the river, Common Raven 12, Boreal Chickadee 1, American Dipper 1, Golden-crowned Kinglet 2, Ruby-crowned Kinglet 11, Mountain Bluebird 24, American Robin 60, American Pipit 7, Lapland Longspur 16, Yellow-rumped Warbler 5, Wilson’s Warbler 1, Lincoln’s Sparrow 1, White-crowned Sparrow 9 (2a of the race gambelii and 7j), Dark-eyed Junco 4 and Pine Siskin 4. Twelve visitors were at the site today, and I forgot to note earlier that there were also 32 visitors on September 20 that included a school group of 26 from Lethbridge.

12.67 hours (23.67) OSPR 1, SSHA 3, NOGO 1, RTHA 2, GOEA 7 TOTAL 14

 

Vicki Ridge (Peter Sherrington) [Day 3]1230-1815. Rain and snow with low stratus cloud that obscured the ridges persisted to noon. At 1230 the top of Vicki Ridge was still draped in cloud, but as the general cloud ceiling was lifting I decided to climb to the site that was clear by 1300. Between 1310 and 1340, however, the cloud again descended upon the higher parts of the ridge while wet snow fell, but subsequently the ridge was clear for the rest of the day although snow flurries and light rain showers persisted to 1550. The temperature was 3C at 1300, rose to a high of 4C at 1600 and was 1.5C at 1800. It was calm or E-SE winds 2-4 km/h all day and cloud cover was 100% stratus to 1405 when the first small patch of blue sky appeared. By 1700 it was 80% cumulus for 50 minutes before thickening to 100% stratus again at 1800. The first raptor at 1235 was a very light grey adult female Gyrfalcon that perched on a snag at the southern end of the ridge, from where it flew off, soared high to the E of the ridge before flying high towards the SE. This is the earliest fall record for the species at any RMERF count and was a first September record for this area. Raptor movement was subsequently slow but steady with 12 more migrants moving until 1727. The final count involving 9 species was 1 Osprey, 1 adult Bald Eagle, 1 adult female Northern Harrier, 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks (1a, 1u), 2 juvenile Cooper’s Hawks, 1 adult Northern Goshawk, 2 Golden Eagles (1a, 1j) [plus 1 sighting of a resident adult], 2 American Kestrels (1female, 1male) and 1 light grey morph adult female Gyrfalcon. Soon after the first break in the clouds occurred at 1405 a raven soared high to the east of the ridge that was quickly joined by a Cooper’s Hawk and 3 minutes later a second raven soared high with a Northern Harrier. It was amazing how quickly thermals developed in the still air and showed the importance of looking closely at every soaring bird even it appears at first to be “only” a raven!

5.75 hours (16.75) OSPR 1 (1), BAEA 1 (3), NOHA 1 (1), SSHA 2 (16), COHA 2 (6), NOGO 1 (2), GOEA 2 (7), AMKE 2 (3), GYRF 1 (1) TOTAL 13 (52)

 

Steeples [Day 1] (Vance Mattson) 1300-1800. The temperature reached 10C, conditions were very calm and cloud cover was 100% altostratus and cumulus that produced a gloomy day. The ridges were initially slightly obscured but by 1400 they were entirely clear. The first migrant of the season was a subadult Golden Eagle at 1340 and subsequent movement was steady with 26 birds of 6 species seen up to 1746 with a maximum hourly count of 11 between 1500 and 1600. Because of the calm conditions flapping flight was the order of the day, and two of the Golden Eagles perched on the ridge for less than 5 minutes each before resuming their flights. The count comprised 2 juvenile Northern Harriers, 12 Sharp-shinned Hawks (5a, 2j, 5u), 1 adult Northern Goshawk, 5 Golden Eagles (3a, 1sa, 2u), 5 American Kestrels (2 females, 2 males, 1u) and 1 juvenile Peregrine Falcon. It was a good start to the year.

5 hours NOHA 2, SSHA 12, NOGO 1, GOEA 5, AMKE 5, PEFA 1 TOTAL 26

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (September 20 to November 15)

 

DAYS 2

HOURS 23.67

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 1

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 0

NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 0

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 3

COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 0

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 1

Accipiter sp. (UA) 0

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (BWHA) 0

SWAINSON’S HAWK (SWHA) 0

RED-TAILED HAWK (RTHA) 2

FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 0

ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 0

Buteo sp. (UB) 0

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 7

Eagle sp. (UE) 0

AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 0

MERLIN (MERL) 0

GYRFALCON (GYRF) 0

PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 0

PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 0

Falco sp. (UF) 0

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 0

 

TOTAL 14