Livingstone Raptor Watch Fall 2007 Migration

The South Livingstone Raptor Count for the fall migration of 2007 has now begun. First official day of counting began on 25th August 2007. Follow the daily movement of raptors on this blog updated daily by Peter Sherrington.

Monday, December 10, 2007

December 9 [Day 100] The last day of the count saw strong NW winds all day gusting to 80 km/h in the afternoon, temperatures that ranged from -7C to -6C and 100% altostratus cloud that gave way to 70-80% lenticular/altostratus cover after 1500. The first adult Bald Eagle moved along the ridge at 1038 followed by 2 more at 1437 and 1447. The final bird of the count was another adult Bald Eagle gliding high to the south above the ridge at 1605: the 700th Bald Eagle and the 8289th migrant raptor of a very successful season.
This was the first year that the count has extended into December at the site and 6 days (47 hours) yielded a total of 78 migrant raptors: 69 Bald Eagles, 2 Northern Goshawks, 4 Rough-legged Hawks and 3 Golden Eagles. Doubtless a few Bald Eagles will continue to move south over the next couple of weeks but I had to leave for Calgary with Barbara on Sunday evening so she can start her radiation treatment on Monday. Next spring we shall conduct a full count at the Piitaistakis-South Livingstone site for the first time, starting around the middle of February, the exact date dependant on weather conditions at the time. 8.08 hours (1048) BAEA 4 (700) TOTAL 4 (8289)

FINAL COUNT (August 25 to December 9) (percentage difference from fall 2006 in parenthesis)

DAYS 100 (+19%)
HOURS 1048 (+17.5%)

OSPREY (OSPR) 17 (+54.5%)
BALD EAGLE (BAEA) 700 (+45.2%)
COOPER’S HAWK (COHA) 191 (-13%)
Unidentified Accipiter (UA) 57 (+26.7%)
Unidentified Buteo (UB) 2 (-67%)
GOLDEN EAGLE (GOEA) 5445 (+23.75%)
Unidentified eagle (UE) 12 (+100%)
MERLIN (MERL) 27 (-40%)
Unidentified Falco (UF) 2 (-33%)
Unidentified raptor (UU) 7 (-50%)

TOTAL 8289 (+14.85%)

Principal Observers: Peter Sherrington (89.5 days), Raymond Toal (6 days), Bill Wilson (3 days) Denise Coccioloni-Amatto (1 day) and Vance Mattson (0.5 days) with the skillful assistance of Keith McClary (45 days), Denise Coccioloni-Amatto (38 days), Raymond Toal (23 days), Karola Michalsky (10 days), Doug and Teresa Dolman (6 days), Dawn Hall (5 days), Alan Hingston (3 days), Elly and Arnie Weisbrot (3 days), Nel Van Kamer (3 days), Bill Wilson (3 days), Joel Duncan (2 days), Vance Mattson (2 days), Doug Pederson (1 day) and many of the other 300+ people who visited the site during the season.

Acknowledgements: To Enbridge, our principal sponsor and to members and supporters of the Rocky Mountain Eagle Research Foundation for their continuing financial support, and to members of the Crowsnest Conservation Society for their support and many contributions to the success of the project. To Judy and Rick Cooke for again generously providing accommodation in their cabin at Lee Lake to mid-September and to Peter and Adele McKiernan for housing and feeding me in late September until we moved into our new house in Beaver Mines. To Merilyn Lidell for organizing our first Crowsnest Pass Eagle Festival on September 29 and to Doug Pederson who designed and produced the splendid car decal commemorating the fall 2007 count. To my wife, Barbara, who despite health challenges and a house move in the middle of the count continued to provide me with unstinting logistical support and encouragement.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

December 8 [Day 99] The sky was cloudless all day with a temperature range of -19C to -6C and light SW to N winds at ground level with occasional blowing snow on the ridge in the afternoon indicating moderate west winds aloft. Only 4 adult Bald Eagles went south between 1311 and 1528 suggesting that we are now finally running out of migrants and tomorrow will be the last day of the fall 2007 count. A single Common Redpoll flying overhead was the first finch recorded in December which is surprising considering that we recorded a total of 11,188 finches of 9 species migrating along the ridge up to the end of November. 8.75 hours (1039.9) BAEA 4 (696) TOTAL 4 (8285)

Friday, December 7, 2007

December 7 [Day 98] Clear skies overnight allowed the temperature to fall to -17C, and cloud cover didn’t exceed 20% cumulus all day, with the temperature climbing to -7C under sunny skies. The ground wind was less than 8 km/h NE-S all day and was often calm, while the upper flow was a steady light southerly all day. The first migrant raptor was an adult Bald Eagle at 1216 which was followed by a steady procession of another 34 Bald Eagles all but one of which (a juvenile) was adult. Sixteen of the birds moved between 1300 and 1400 and another 9 from 1500 to 1600, and the last flapped to the south at 1631. The total of 35 birds was the second highest daily Bald Eagle count of the season and only 1 less than the highest count on November 05, and was the highest raptor count since November 11. It was also the highest December RMERF single day Bald Eagle and total raptor count ever. 9 hours (1031.2) BAEA 35 (692) TOTAL 35 (8281)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

December 6 [NO OBSERVATION] The weather forecast called for clearing by late morning so at 0800 when the ridge was clear and only very light snow was falling the prospect for movement appeared good. As the morning progressed, however, the snow became heavier, cloud progressively obscured the ridge and I finally gave up at 1230. To be fair, this is only about the 100th time this season that the Environment Canada forecast has been wrong!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

December 5 [Day 97] It was a strange day for temperatures starting at 3C, quickly dropping to -6C briefly at 0945 and equally quickly recovering to 3C where it remained until around 1430 when it again rapidly dropped, reaching -13C by 1640. Ground winds were generally W-SW and light until noon after which they gusted to 25 km/h, and upper winds were moderate westerly changing to NW after 1500. Cloud cover was 90-100% all day but the mountains stayed clear until after 1600 when they began to disappear in cloud as light snow developed. Probably owing to the snow reported farther north raptor movement was very slow and sporadic, but the resident Golden Eagle family was conspicuous in the morning hunting the ridges and an adult briefly displayed once. 8.67 hours (1022.2) BAEA 2 (657), NOGO 1 (166), RLHA 2 (83) TOTAL 5 (8246)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

December 4 [Day 96] The temperature ranged from a very pleasant 6C at 0830 to 9C at noon and back to 6C at 1700 under moderate to strong westerly winds. With the exception of occasional cloud drape the mountains were clear all day and 70% to 90% cumulus cloud cover provided good viewing conditions. Raptor movement was steady between 0852 when the first Bald Eagle went south and the last migrant Golden Eagle at 1635. The combined species total of 28 and the Bald Eagle count of 22 were both new high single day December counts for a RMERF site, and four species of migrant raptor (and a non-migrant Prairie Falcon) represented good diversity for December. This is a migration that doesn’t seem to want to quit! 8.58 hours (1013.5) BAEA 22 (655), NOGO 1 (165), RLHA 2 (81), GOEA 3 (5445) TOTAL 28 (8241)

Monday, December 3, 2007

December 3 [NO OBSERVATION] About 35 cm of snow fell yesterday and today under strong west winds the temperature rose above freezing and rain fell most of the day: the mountains remained obscured.