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Mount Lorette (25 Mar 2023) 210 Raptors

Mount Lorette
Alberta, Canada

Daily Raptor Counts: Mar 25, 2023
Species Day’s Count Month Total Season Total
Turkey Vulture 0 0 0
Osprey 0 0 0
Bald Eagle 5 58 58
Northern Harrier 0 0 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 0 0 0
Cooper’s Hawk 0 0 0
Northern Goshawk 0 10 10
Broad-winged Hawk 0 0 0
Swainson’s Hawk 0 0 0
Red-tailed Hawk 0 0 0
Ferruginous Hawk 0 0 0
Rough-legged Hawk 0 0 0
Golden Eagle 205 805 805
American Kestrel 0 0 0
Merlin 0 1 1
Gyrfalcon 0 0 0
Peregrine Falcon 0 0 0
Prairie Falcon 0 0 0
Unknown Accipiter 0 1 1
Unknown Buteo 0 0 0
Unknown Falcon 0 0 0
Unknown Eagle 0 5 5
Unknown Raptor 0 0 0
Total: 210 880 880
Observation start time: 06:45:00
Observation end time: 17:30:00
Total observation time: 11.25 hours
Official Counter Blake Weis
Observers: Lynn Macintosh

24 visitors stopped to talk, none came to watch raptors

At the beginning of the day it was -2C with light wind, the mountain ridges were mostly obscured and light snow was falling. Throughout the morning the snow slowed and the sky partially cleared. The afternoon was one of of contrasting weather as snowstorms moved through occasionally, but otherwise it was sunny and warm. The high was 3C. Ground wind direction varied from SW through NW to NE, speed was usually up to 10km/h but some gusts over 20 accompanied snowstorms. Ridge wind was from the NW, light to moderate in the morning and moderate to strong in the afternoon. The ridges were partially obscured almost all day. Around 6 PM a larger snowstorm moved in from the north bringing heavy snow and fully obscuring all ridges. The weather radar didn’t show any sign of it clearing so the count was concluded at 6:30 PM

Raptor Observations:
Migrants primarily used the western ridges, especially during peak hours, but some were popping up on the eastern ridges as well. The most common route for Golden Eagles was to fly out from between Mts. Bogart and Kidd to the south flank of Olympic Summit, then soar to gain height before continuing along the Kananaskis Range. For the first few hours of migration eagles were low and primarily flapping. In the afternoon the wind picked up and some thermals developed so birds tended to be higher, mostly soaring but a few found strong enough updrafts to kite. Despite the poor forecast a strong movement of eagles braved the weather, most of them concentrated in 2 hours in the afternoon. The peak was between 2 and 3 pm, with no less than 139 Golden Eagles (76ad, 3sa, 60u) and 1 adult Bald Eagle counted. The highlight of the day was just before 3 PM when 39 Golden Eagles were visible in the sky at once, with about 30 in a kettle over Olympic Summit and the remainder coming and going from it. The full count for the day was 205 Golden Eagles (120a, 6sa, 1j, 78u) and 5 Bald Eagles (3a, 2sa). Conditions for ageing were usually good but time was a limiting factor. Local raptors included the Golden Eagle pair displaying south of Olympic Summit, two immature Bald Eagles harassing each other north of the site, and at least one adult Northern Goshawk seen several times.

Non-raptor Observations:
Canada Goose 2 Hairy Woodpecker 1 Northern Flicker 1 Canada Jay 1 Common Raven 8 Black-capped Chickadee 4 Mountain Chickadee 1 Boreal Chickadee 1 European Starling 100 Varied Thrush 1 Bohemian Waxwing 120 Pine Grosbeak 1 Pine Siskin 5 Dark-eyed Junco (unknown ssp.) 2 Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) 1
Red Squirrel 2 Mink 2 (one chasing another early in the day, one alone later)

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Count data submitted via Dunkadoo – [Project Details]