RMERF counts October 8 + Steeples October 7

Saturday, October 7, Steeples [Day 12] (Vance Mattson) 1130-1730 (Observation from the Bull Mountain site). The temperature reached a high of 15C from 10C at the start of observation, winds were moderate to strong W and cloud cover was 50-70% altostratus, altocumulus and cumulus that produced brief periods of light rain and partially sunny conditions. It was another disappointing raptor movement with only 7 migrants recorded: 4 Bald Eagles (2sa, 2j) and 3 Golden Eagles (1a, 2j). Six of the 7 eagles moved together at 1337. Non-migrants were single adult Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk and Golden Eagle.

6 hours (56.5) BAEA 4 (49), GOEA 3 (36) TOTAL 7 (233)


Sunday, October 8 [Day 17] (Bill Wilson, assisted by Lori Anderson) 0650-1930. The temperature was -3C at 0700, rose to a high of 6C at 1600 and 1700 and was 0C at the end of the day. Ground winds were variable but mainly N 0-3 gusting 10 km/h to 1000, NE 5-15 gusting 20 km/h to 1800 and finally SW 2-5 gusting 10 km/h for the rest of the day; ridge winds were moderate WNW all day. Cloud cover was 60-100% cumulus to 0900 that reduced to 10% cumulus at 1000 and 1100, thickened again to 60-100% stratus and cumulus to 1800 that finally dwindled to 5% cumulus at the end of the day. Between 0900 and 1500 the west was 20% obscured and the east was sporadically draped to 10%. Very light snow flurries occurred during this period, but observation conditions were fairly good all day. A total of 202 migrant raptors of 9 species (although 5 of these were represented by single birds) were recorded between 0958 and 1855 that comprised 1 adult Bald Eagle, 2 Northern Harriers (1a male, 1u juvenile), 1u Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1u Cooper’s Hawk, 5u, a season high 5u Northern Goshawks, 1 adult light morph calurus Red-tailed Hawk, a season high 6 Rough-legged Hawks (4 light, 2 dark), 202 Golden Eagles (105a, 7sa, 40j, 50u) and 1u columbarius Merlin. Movement was steady after 1000 with high hourly counts of 58 from 1200 to 1300 and 45 between 1300 and 1400. Almost all birds were seen on the eastern route with some located over Mount Lorette but most being initially located as the rose above the ridge at the northern end of the Fisher Range. Birds moved fairly low above the ridge or to the west of it and soaring was fairly common. Other birds were scarce but included 15 American Robins, 2 American Pipits and 14 Pine Siskins, and the cool weather combined with the prospect of Thanksgiving dinners reduced the number of visitors to 18 today.

12.67 hours (201.1) BAEA 1 (48), NOHA 2 (5), SSHA 1 (63), COHA 1 (14), NOGO 5 (16), UA 1 (3), RTHA 1 (26), RLHA 6 (13), GOEA 202 (1320), MERL 1 (4) TOTAL 221 (1532)


Vicki Ridge [Day 18] (Peter Sherrington, assisted by Mark Sherrington and Trevor Lewis) 0900-1815. (Observation from the ridge top). The temperature was -2C at 0900 with an E wind of 5-7 gusting 20 km/h and 20% altocumulus cloud cover. The temperature reached a high of 4C at 1300, and E-SE winds 8-15 gusting 20 km/h persisted to1654. Cloud cover quickly thickened to 70-80% cumulus that gave generally gloomy conditions to 1700. At 1654 the wind switched to light WSW, the temperature quickly rose from 1C to 3C and 30-40% cumulus cloud cover finally produced sunshine and excellent observing conditions. At 1800 the winds became E-SE again that instantly reduced the temperature to 1C. Movement was slow until 1630 with many birds gliding to the south well to the east of the ridge, but as WSW winds established themselves above the ridge around 1600 raptors started moving in significant numbers above and to the west and east of the site and 60 of the day’s 103 migrants occurred after 1600. The final count involving 7 species was 4 Bald Eagles (1a, 2sa, 1j), 6 Sharp-shinned Hawks (5a, 1u), 1 adult Cooper’s Hawk, 2 Northern Goshawks, 11 Red-tailed Hawks (5 light calurus: 3a, 1j, 1u, 2a dark calurus, 3 dark harlani: 1a, 2j, and 1 undifferentiated dark morph Red-tailed Hawk), a season high 28 Rough-legged Hawks (25 light, 3 dark), 2 unidentified Buteos and 49 Golden Eagles (16a, 6sa, 23j, 4u). There was a fair variety of other bird species on the ridge in small numbers including 4 Ruffed Grouse, 1 Hairy Woodpecker, 4 Grey Jays, 6 Clark’s Nutcrackers, 2 Horned Larks, 1 Mountain Bluebird, 6 American Robins, 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches and 2 American Pipits. The forecast for tomorrow is for strong W winds so I plan to watch from the well site on the western flank of the ridge.

[Correction and clarification. David McIntyre has kindly pointed out that the correct spelling of the name of the ridge immediately west of Vicki Ridge is Kyllo Ridge and not Kylo that I have erroneously used to date. The claim of a “record” movement of 202 Golden Eagles on October 7 refers only to RMERF counts conducted in the fall at the site since 2014. There may well be higher counts seen there by other observers before 2014 or in the spring of which I am not aware.]

9.25 hours (149.7) BAEA 4 (34), SSHA 6 (514), COHA 1 (75), NOGO 2 (49), RTHA 11 (172), RLHA 28 (40), UB 2 (13), GOEA 49 (716) TOTAL 103 (1728)


Steeples [Day 13] (Vance Mattson) 1200-1800. The temperature at noon was 7C but rose to a high of 13C, winds were moderate NE for most of the day and cloud cover was 70-90% cumulus and altostratus. A total of 11 migrants of 4 species were counted between 1330 and 1721 that comprised 1 Osprey, that was the first bird of the day, 7 Bald Eagles (5a, 2j), 1 adult Northern Goshawk and 2 Golden Eagles (1a, 1j) that were the last migrants of the day. The migration picture was confused to some extent by 12 non-migrating Bald Eagles (7a, 5j), many of which headed north along the ridge throughout the day. Whether some of the southbound Bald Eagles seen later were the same or not is unknown. This is the first time this year that an abundance of non-migratory Bald Eagles have been observed. The only other non-migrant was a resident adult Golden Eagle that stooped steeply on an adult migrant Golden Eagle that moved south near the end of the day; the migratory bird adjusted to the stoop well before the local eagle, which displayed after the encounter, was in truly threatening range.


5 hours (61.5) OSPR 1 (4), BAEA 7 (56), NOGO 1 (7), GOEA 2 (22) TOTAL 11 (244)



MOUNT LORETTE SUMMARY COUNT (September 20 to November 15)



HOURS 188.4








Accipiter sp. (UA) 3






Buteo sp. (UB) 7


Eagle sp. (UE) 2






Falco sp. (UF) 1

Unidentified Raptor (UU) 2


TOTAL 1532