Mostly cloudy skies of stratus and high cirrus clouds in the morning gave way to overcast skies by 11:30 with cumulus clouds developing. The cloud cover made spotting accipiters easier which led the flight. Thermal lift was poor to fair. Winds were out of the SW at 12-28kph from 9:00-10:30. At 11:30 they switched to due S at 18-33kph. They then switched back to the SW from 12:30-13:30 at 13-24kph. At 14:30 they were again blowing out of the S at 18-24kph. At 15:30 they were again blowing out of the SW at 14-27kph. From 16:30-17:30 they were again blowing out of the S at 19-24kph. By 17:30 the winds had set down to 5-8kph out of the S-SW. Low temperature of 4C and a high of 7C. The barometer was the lowest I have seen it this season and it managed to drop slightly during the count. Visibility was excellent with views at 102km on the E and 86km on the W.
237 raptors ripped through the Bridger Range today outrunning this next round of winter weather arriving tonight. SS 94 CH 17 NG 3 UA 7 RT 8 SW 1 UB 1 AK 5 GE 87 NH 1 OS 1 UU 1 ML 4 PR 2 BW 1 BE 4 . SS led the flight today and they started streaming through in large numbers at 13:00. Oddly enough that is about when the GE flight started to taper off for the day. One BW was spotted near Ross Peak, climbing high over Tilly before shooting off to the E high over the Bridger Canyon. A lone immature dark-morphed Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk was spotted streaming in from the east over to the west of the ridge directly in front of the OP. Shortly after this Bridger Mountains Hawk Watch rarity an immature light-morphed SW was spotted on the reverse route from W to E through the pass in front of the OP. The last memorable sighting of this personal record-breaking day was an angry PR who was vocalizing loudly at our near owl decoy before coming in for a swipe and moving on. I wanted to thank Matt Keefer for schooling me today on the constantly changing flight lines. I have seen nearly 600 raptors coming through in the last 4 days and it is hard to manage a day like today on my own especially considering 94 of the birds were SS which primarily shot through like little bullets. Let alone Matt took us well past my 2017 personal record of 228 raptors!
Resident raptors were spotted occasionally in the mix of migrants. GE, SS and RT were all active during the flight.
12 CEDW were again seen in the pass to the N of the OP. 140 GCRF streamed through on the west of the ridge. 40 AMCR were seen flying through Ross Pass which got the resident CORA excited. 10 MOBL were seen off to the E of the OP about eye level. A lone AMPI was the last bird heard flying directly over the OP in the evening light.
A couple of women were out surveying the ridge for search and rescue. One of them had worked in Rampart, AK along the Yukon River this past summer. She was impressed that some of our GOEA come from the Brooks Range near where she spent her summer. When they came back, they were able to see about 10 accipiters and an AMKE some through. One SSHA actually took several swipes at the near owl before moving south.
Next Day Forecast
Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Patchy blowing snow. Temperature rising to near 15 by 8am, then falling to around 9 during the remainder of the day. Wind chill values as low as -8. North northeast wind 14 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.
...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT MDT
* WHAT...Heavy snow occurring. Additional snow accumulations of
3 to 9 inches at lower elevations, and 8 to 16 inches in the
mountains and over mountain passes. Winds gusting as high as
* WHERE...Gallatin and Madison.
* WHEN...Until midnight MDT Wednesday night.
Most likely there will not be an opportunity to count tomorrow with the snowfall expected. Hopefully enough falls so that I may skin back up to the ridge!