Mount Lorette and Beaver Mines, April 12 and 13

April 12 [No observation possible] (Joel Duncan, assisted by Caroline Lambert) 0900-1700. The temperature was -1C at 0900, reached a high of 2C between 1100 and 1600 and was 1C at 1700. Ground winds were NE 5-15 gusting to 26 km/h and ridge winds were probably also moderate NE. Cloud cover was 100% stratus and cumulus all day except for a 20 minute small patch of blue sky that appeared over the centre of the valley in mid-afternoon that brought a brief but unfulfilled expectation of improvement. There was 3 cm of fresh snow on the ground at the start and light to moderate snow fell all day which completely obscured all the peaks and ridges. A move to Lusk Creek at 1600 found the same conditions and the day was abandoned at 1700 with no migrant or resident raptors having been seen. Other birds recorded included pairs of American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal and Barrow’s Goldeneye, and 1 singing Northern Pygmy-Owl at Lorette Ponds, and 5 Mountain Bluebirds (4m and 1f), 4 American Robins, 4 Song Sparrows, 107 Dark-eyed Juncos, 30 Grey-crowned Rosy-Finches and 1 Common Redpoll around the Hay Meadow site. Snowshoe Hare tracks were common in the fresh snow and one set of Grey Wolf tracks heading to the north indicated that the animal had passed through the previous night.

 

Beaver Mines [Day 45] (Peter Sherrington) 0745-1030. The temperature at 0745 was -1C and was 2C at 1030. Winds were SSE-E 5-8 km/h and cloud cover was 100% stratus but the ridges were clear until 0945 when steady light snow moved from the SW, and continued to fall all day. I abandoned the count for the day at 1030 having seen no migrating raptors.

2.75 hours (408.3) TOTAL 0 (1692)

 

Steeples (Vance Mattson) No observation.

 

April 13 [Day 42] (Blake Weis, assisted by Rick Robb) 0650-2005. The starting temperature was 0C, the high was 4C at 1700 and it was 3C at the end of observation. Ground winds were N-NW all day, calm to 5 km/h to 0900 and then 5-10 gusting to 20 km/h for the rest of the day; ridge winds were probably variable and light to moderate. Cloud cover was 100% stratus to 1300 after which it thinned to 80-90% mainly stratus and cumulus for the rest of the day. There was 3 cm of fresh snow on the ground at the start and heavy snow fell to 0800 which became moderate to light to 0900 after which there were snow flurries and light rain showers for the rest of the day which became steady moderate rain after 1930. The ridges were mainly obscured all day, with the east becoming 60-90% obscured between 1700 and 1900 and in the west the lower part of Mount Allan and Hummingbird Plume Hill became visible after 1300. An adult intermediate morph harlani Red-tailed Hawk was seen low over the meadow at 1205 and 4 birds, 1 adult Bald Eagle, 1 undifferentiated female/juvenile Northern Harrier, 1 dark morph Rough-legged Hawk and 1 juvenile Golden Eagle, were seen moving low from Mount Allan to Hummingbird Plume Hill and over Skogan Pass between 1339 and 1427. The last migrant of the day was an unidentified large falcon (either peregrine or prairie) that flew to the NW into cloud between Hummingbird Plume Hill and Mount Lorette at 1734. Resident or non-migrant raptors were an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk hunting juncos in the Hay Meadow at 1030, a Northern Goshawk calling from a probable nest site near the parking area, a Red-tailed Hawk displaying over Hummingbird Plume Hill and a subadult Golden Eagle. Other birds recorded in the area included an unidentified swan flying to the north over the meadow, 3 Ruffed Grouse, 2 Belted Kingfishers, 3 Pileated Woodpeckers (a resident pair chasing out an interloper), 2 Golden-crowned Kinglets, 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 17 American Robins, 2 singing Varied Thrushes, 1 Song Sparrow, 98 Dark-eyed Juncos, 1 female Red-winged Blackbird and 25 Common Redpolls. A great Blue Heron flying low near Lorette Ponds late in the day was a first for the season. A herd of 35 Elk crossed the Kananaskis River towards the NE as the observers left the site.

13.25 hours (481.8) BAEA 1 (206), NOHA 1 (3), RTHA 1 (34), RLHA 1 (22), GOEA 1 (2144), UF 1 (2) TOTAL 6 (2469)

 

Beaver Mines [Day 46] (Peter Sherrington) 1450-2010. Rain continued to fall all morning and stopped around noon and winds were light to around 1430. The temperature at 1450 when I started counting was 12C from where it gradually dropped to 6C at 2010. Winds were W-WSW 20-30, gusting up to 40 km/h at the end of the day and cloud cover was 100% stratus and cumulus that briefly thinned to 80% around 1600. After a day and a half of poor weather there was an entertaining movement of 17 raptors of 9 species between 1522 and 1950, 8 of which were seen between 1700 and 1800 and 4 between 1909 and 1950. The count comprised 1 Osprey, 1u male Northern Harrier, 2u Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1u Northern Goshawk, 2a calurus Red-tailed Hawks (1 light, 1 dark), 1 light morph Rough-legged Hawk, 7 Golden Eagles (5a, 2sa), 1u American Kestrel and 1a female columbarius Merlin.

5.33 hours (414.1) OSPR 1 (3), NOHA 1 (31), SSHA 2 (38), NOGO 1 (57), RTHA 2 (155), RLHA 1 (63), GOEA 7 (1011), AMKE 1 (3), MERL 1 (14) TOTAL 17 (1709)

 

Steeples (Vance Mattson) No observation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (March 1 to April 22)

 

DAYS 42

HOURS 481.8

 

TURKEY VULTURE (TUVU) 0

OSPREY (OSPR) 0

BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 206

NORTHERN HARRIER (NOHA) 3

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (SSHA) 7

COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 2

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (NOGO) 18

Accipiter sp. (UA) 0

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (BWHA) 3

SWAINSON’S HAWK (SWHA) 0

RED-TAILED HAWK (RTHA) 34

FERRUGINOUS HAWK (FEHA) 0

ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (RLHA) 22

Buteo sp. (UB) 3

GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 2144

Eagle sp. (UE) 13

AMERICAN KESTREL (AMKE) 1

MERLIN (MERL) 3

GYRFALCON (GYRF) 1

PEREGRINE FALCON (PEFA) 4

PRAIRIE FALCON (PRFA) 1

Falco sp. (UF) 2

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 2

 

TOTAL 2469