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Mount Lorette (21 Sep 2023) 21 Raptors

Mount Lorette
Alberta, Canada

Daily Raptor Counts: Sep 21, 2023
Species Day’s Count Month Total Season Total
Turkey Vulture 0 0 0
Osprey 0 0 0
Bald Eagle 0 0 0
Northern Harrier 0 0 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3 10 10
Cooper’s Hawk 1 1 1
American Goshawk 0 0 0
Broad-winged Hawk 0 0 0
Swainson’s Hawk 0 0 0
Red-tailed Hawk 2 2 2
Ferruginous Hawk 0 0 0
Rough-legged Hawk 0 0 0
Golden Eagle 10 11 11
American Kestrel 0 0 0
Merlin 0 0 0
Gyrfalcon 0 0 0
Peregrine Falcon 0 1 1
Prairie Falcon 0 0 0
Unknown Accipiter 0 4 4
Unknown Buteo 3 3 3
Unknown Falcon 0 0 0
Unknown Eagle 0 0 0
Unknown Raptor 2 2 2
Total: 21 34 34
Observation start time: 08:00:00
Observation end time: 17:30:00
Total observation time: 9.5 hours
Official Counter Annie Finch
Observers: Emma Barry, Ethan Denton

17 people stopped by the site today to chat and ask about the eagles. We were treated to the superb company and assistance of Cedar and Larry for the early part of the afternoon. Electing to spend a bit of his birthday with us, Ethan Denton also made a special appearance which, unsurprisingly, coincided perfectly with the peak raptor movement of the day.

What a beautiful day in the valley! The morning started out calm and chilly at 2°C with a few clouds lingering at ground-level in the valley. The western ridges remained cloaked in cloud for the first few hours of the count; Mts Allan and Collembola remained obscured for the remainder of the morning. Rising from negligible in the early morning, ridge winds were steady at around 10 km/h from the S and SW between noon and 5 pm, which coincided with the majority of raptor movement. After 5 pm the winds dropped and reversed direction. Ground winds mirrored this pattern at slightly lower speeds. The sky overhead was clear blue all day. While the light never became overly harsh, the lack of clouds in the sky posed challenges for spotting and tracking birds. The temperature peaked at 15°C by 5 pm (making this the warmest day of the fall season so far), cooling slightly to 12°C when the count was concluded at 6:30 pm.

Raptor Observations:
Raptors made extensive use of both sides of the valley. No clear or preferred flight path emerged. The majority of the Golden Eagles used the east side of the valley, though the west side produced more raptors in general.
Migrant Eagles 10 Golden Eagles: 1a, 1j, 5u. While none resorted to powered flight, most made significant use of thermals to gain height. Two Golden Eagles were observed landing high on the eastern ridges; one juvenile remained perched at the very top of the Big Bump for over 30 minutes. Three GOEAs were observed in the 1 pm and 4 pm hours; at least one was observed per hour between 12 pm and 6 pm.
Migrant Raptors 3 Sharp-shinned Hawk: 1a, 2u 1 Cooper’s Hawk: 1a 2 Red-tailed Hawk: 2u 3 Undifferentiated Buteos 2 Undifferentiated Raptors
Non-migrant Raptors Just before 1 pm, an adult Bald Eagle flew north out of the valley to Mt. Lorette. At 4:30 pm a Golden Eagle appeared over the Bumps, flew north over Patrick, and disappeared into the blue.

Non-raptor Observations:
It was a great day for non-raptors as well with many species migrating south through the valley. American Pipits were the most conspicuous, both flying over and stopping to walk around the site and adjacent pathway, affording excellent views of their adorable affect. Bohemian Waxwings took to the sky as the day warmed, flycatching over the river. As we were packing up at the end of the day, an American Dipper appeared and serenaded us to the accompaniment of the burbling river.
4 Common Merganser 2 Northern Flicker 1 Canada Jay 1 Blue Jay 2 Black-billed Magpie 20 Common Raven 1 Mountain Chickadee 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 6 Golden-crowned Kinglet 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch 2 Brown Creeper 1 American Dipper 24 American Robin 40 Bohemian Waxwing 65 American Pipit 3 Pine Siskin 3 Dark-eyed Junco 6 White-crowned Sparrow 2 Savannah Sparrow 2 Lincoln’s Sparrow 1 Swamp Sparrow 2 Yellow-rumped Warbler 2 Wilson’s Warbler

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Mount Lorette information may be found at:
More information at [Site Profile] [Day Summary] [Month Summary]
Count data submitted via Dunkadoo – [Project Details]