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Mount Lorette (21 Apr 2023) 22 Raptors

Mount Lorette
Alberta, Canada

Daily Raptor Counts: Apr 21, 2023
Species Day’s Count Month Total Season Total
Turkey Vulture 0 0 0
Osprey 0 1 1
Bald Eagle 2 46 132
Northern Harrier 1 3 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk 4 13 13
Cooper’s Hawk 1 6 6
Northern Goshawk 0 9 20
Broad-winged Hawk 0 0 0
Swainson’s Hawk 0 0 0
Red-tailed Hawk 5 29 30
Ferruginous Hawk 0 0 0
Rough-legged Hawk 0 3 5
Golden Eagle 5 327 1766
American Kestrel 1 3 3
Merlin 2 6 7
Gyrfalcon 0 0 0
Peregrine Falcon 0 1 1
Prairie Falcon 0 0 0
Unknown Accipiter 1 4 6
Unknown Buteo 0 0 1
Unknown Falcon 0 1 1
Unknown Eagle 0 11 21
Unknown Raptor 0 2 2
Total: 22 465 2018
Observation start time: 06:00:00
Observation end time: 18:00:00
Total observation time: 11.75 hours
Official Counter Graeme Dunlop


The temperature at 0700 was -3C, the high was 2C at 1500 and it was -1C at 1900. Winds were light or moderate N to NE. Ridge winds looked to be light to moderate N to NW. Cloud cover was initially 100% stratus and stratocumulus throughout the morning, this began to break at 1300 and reduced to about 60% cumulus and stratocumulus through much of the afternoon and evening. Steady light and occasionally moderate snow fell continuously until about 1330. Surrounding ridges were obscured all day but there was a large patch of blue sky above the valley from early afternoon.

Raptor Observations:
By noon I was considering abandoning the count. With continuous snowfall and a strengthening northerly wind I was struggling to stay warm so decided to head back to the car and wait. I was reluctant to head home as I had seen a few smaller raptors flying through the snow. No sooner had I arrived back at the car than the snow stopped and the sky started to brighten. I decided to head to the excellent overlook on the Village Rim Trail at Kananaskis Village. This location is around 3km south of Hay meadow and provided shelter from the north wind and overlooked the sunnier part of the valley. From here I saw 5 Golden Eagles between 1415 and 1510, all flapping and gliding quite low, NE from the direction of the Wedge towards the Fisher Range. The count was 22 raptors of 8 species comprising 2 Bald Eagles (1a, 1sa), 1 adult male Northern Harrier, 4 Sharp-shinned Hawks (2a, 2u), 1 adult Coopers Hawk, 5 adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawks, 5 Golden Eagles (2a, 3u), 1 female American Kestrel, 2 female columbarius Merlins and 1 unidentified accipiter. No migrants were seen after 1530 so I ended the count at 1900. Resident birds were Northern Goshawk, twice seen carrying what appeared to be squirrels towards the nest area, and 2 pairs of Red-tailed Hawks. Shortly after arriving at the Kananaskis Village site, I saw the resident Golden Eagle soaring overhead and performing a display flight. I scanned the sky to the south to see if his display flight was a response to the presence of a neighboring pair and I did see them soaring far to the south. I often see this pair around the interestingly shaped and named ridge called Spoon Needle, SW of Galatea trailhead, and have observed this neighbouring pair and the local pair soaring together, at what is presumably their territorial boundary around Mt Kidd summit, on several occasions over the years. The 3 eagles slowly converged and flew together for a while. They were joined by a fourth eagle, which approached from the south east, and all 4 birds soared together somewhere over the south end of Kananaskis golf course before slowly drifting back the way they came. I kept my telescope on the 4th bird as he glided and displayed, heading south eastward up Evan Thomas Creek towards Fisher Peak. This is the first time I have observed what appears be the marking of a triple territorial boundary.

Non-raptor Observations:
Other birds were 9 Canada Geese, 7 Mallards, 4 Common Goldeneye, 2 Barrow’s Goldeneye, 13 Common Merganser, 1 Common Loon, 5 Sandhill Cranes, 1 Mourning Dove, 1 drumming Ruffed Grouse, 1 Downy Woodpecker, 3 Northern Flickers, 5 American Crows, 6 Common Ravens, 6 Black-capped Chickadees, 2 Mountain Chickadees, 2 Boreal Chickadees, 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches, 5 Golden-crowned Kinglets, 1 pair of Mountain Bluebirds, 100+ American Robins, 2 singing Varied Thrushes, 2 large flocks of Bohemian Waxwings (one numbering about 45 and the other with more than 60), 22 European Starlings, 3 Pine Siskins, 2 White-winged Crossbills, 1 Common Redpoll, 2 Evening Grosbeaks. I had the briefest glimpse of what I am fairly sure was 2 male Yellow-rumped Warblers. I saw some interesting birds on the drive home to Cochrane: 9 Red-tailed Hawks, 7 Bald Eagles, 2 American Kestrels, 1 Cooper’s Hawk, 2 Ospreys, 1 Prairie Falcon and 1 Gyrfalcon!

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