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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Update from Teslin Lake - August 31

TLBO continued to be busy this past week. The season banding total (as of August 29th) is 2,650 birds of 47 species. A juvenile Song Sparrow banded on the 28th may turn out to be the bird of the season ! This species turns up rarely in the Southern Yukon and is the first individual ever banded at TLBO (Albert Creek banded one during the fall of 2005).

TLBO also had one of its busiest days ever on the 26th with 261 birds banded. The bulk of the birds banded on this day were Yellow, Orange-crowned, Myrtle and Wilson's Warbler with decent numbers of Alder FLycatchers as well.

The top 10 species banded as of the 29th are as follows;

1 - Myrtle Warbler (588)
2 - Alder Flycatcher (551)
3 - Yellow Warbler (389)
4 - Blackpoll Warbler (185)
5 - Orange-crowned Warbler (181)
6 - Wilson's Warbler (117)
7 - Dark-eyed Junco (108)
8 - White-winged Crossbill (80)
9 - Northern Waterthrush (47)
10 - Swainson's Thrush (41)

For some photos from this past week, please visit our Flickr page -

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Update from TLBO - August 24

TLBO has been extremely busy in the last 10 days. With the exception of rained out days, the station has banded between 85 and 180 birds daily. Although we have not captured any exceptional rarities, we have banded a diversity of species with the season total already at 45 species. Some season firsts have included; Northern Flicker (15 Aug), Western Wood-Pewee (20 Aug), Say's Phoebe (22 Aug) and Gray-cheeked Thrush (23 Aug). An exception passage of Alder Flycatchers has been going on for the past few days with 78 individuals banded on the 22nd. On the 24th, nearly 200 birds were banded and numerous (3000+) Greater White-fronted Geese were observed flying south.

TLBO Fall 2010 Banding Totals as of August 24th

Sharp-shinned Hawk 8
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Solitary Sandpiper 1
Belted Kingfisher 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Western Wood Pewee 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 9
Alder Flycatcher 405
Least Flycatcher 3
Hammond's Flycatcher 15
Dusky Flycatcher 2
Say's Phoebe 1
Warbling Vireo 17
Common Raven 1
Black-capped Chickadee 20
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 17
Gray-cheeked Thrush 1
Swainson's Thrush 34
American Robin 7
Varied Thrush 1
Cedar Waxwing 2
Tennessee Warbler 35
Orange-crowned Warbler 118
Yellow Warbler 250
Myrtle Warbler 480
Townsend's Warbler 10
Blackpoll Warbler 170
American Redstart 29
Northern Waterthrush 47
MacGillivray's Warbler 2
Common Yellowthroat 30
Wilson's Warbler 83
Chipping Sparrow 18
Savannah Sparrow 11
Fox Sparrow 3
Lincoln's Sparrow 7
Swamp Sparrow 2
White-crowned Sparrow 16
Dark-eyed Junco 76
Purple Finch 10
White-winged Crossbill 79
Pine Siskin 12
Rusty Blackbird 1

TOTAL 2042

Friday, August 13, 2010

Update from Teslin Lake - August 12

A total of 265 birds have been banded since the 6th (there was no banding on the 8th due to poor weather). Two MacGIllvray's Warbler were banded this week; this species is perhaps the rarest warbler in the Yukon where it is at the extreme northern extent of its range. A Dusky Flycatcher banded on the 11th was also notable. Also banded were 2 more of each Least and Yellow-bellied flycatchers. We also had some new species for the season....Fox Sparrow and Downy Woodpecker.

For photos -

Update From Albert Creek - 12 August

The last week has been slow but steady at Albert Creek. Notable captures were included a single juvenile Cape May Warbler banded on August 6th and a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher banded on the 10th. The top 5 species thus far include; Tennessee Warbler (155), Northern Waterthrush (119), Common Yellowthroat (82), American Redstart (50) and Lincoln's Sparrow (45).

For photos -

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Teslin Lake - August 5

Update from Teslin Lake...51 birds banded today including a small push of Wilson's Warbler with 9 banded. Also another 10 White-winged Crossbills, 4 Warbling Vireos and 10 Yellow Warblers also banded.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Observatory Updates - August 3

Update from Teslin Lake.....46 birds banded today including some higher numbers of flycatchers; 6 Alder FLycatchers and 5 Hammond's FLycatcher banded. Alders are a very common passage migrant at the site, with 500+ typically banded in a single season. Their numbers typically built throughout August and peak at the en...d of the month. There was also a noticeable flight of Myrtle Warblers today, with numerous small flocks flying overhead in the early morning. White-winged Crossbills continue to be ever present....another 7 were banded today and interestingly, no juveniles have yet been banded. We may be in for some extraordinary numbers of this species this fall !

Update from Albert Creek.....a wide variety of warblers continue to be banded. Tennessee Warblers continue to be banded in high numbers....we have already surpassed 150 individuals banded. This outnumbers the previous season record of 135 set in 2009; the 2003 to 2009 average for this species is 36.

Also of note, water levels in the marsh at Albert Creek are likely the lowest we have seen since the observatory began in 2001. This is likely a result of the hot dry weather in the southern Yukon this summer.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Update from Albert Creek - 2 August

Update from Albert of July 28, 425 birds of 29 species had been banded. The numbers of Tennessee Warblers have been very high, 127 banded thus far. Other southeast Yukon specialties such as Swamp Sparrow, Western Tanager, Magnolia Warbler and White-throated Sparrow have also been banded. The bird of the year thus far has definitely been a hatch year Bay-breasted Warbler banded on the 28th. This is the fourth individual of this species ever banded at the observatory and is notable as this species is at the extreme northwest of its range in the southeast Yukon.

Albert Creek was forced to close from July 29 to August 1 due to personnel issues. The observatory will now be open daily until the end of the season.

Photos below include Magnolia Warbler (left) and Bay-breasted Warbler (right).

For more photos, visit our flickr page at

Sunday, August 1, 2010

TLBO - August 1st

Another relatively slow day at TLBO, after heavy rain overnight, we banded 34 birds under sunny skies today. The bird of the day was a young male Sharp-shinned Hawk but an American Redstart and Townsend's Warbler were also notable.

A migrating Northern Harrier was the first migrating raptor seen this fall.....a sign of things to come in the next few months !

Our flickr page for more photos....

Saturday, July 31, 2010

TLBO - July 30 and 31

It has been a relatively slow past few days at TLBO; 31 and 21 birds banded on the 30th and 31st respectively. There haven't been and notable captures which have been dominated by common species such as Yellow Warbler, Myrtle Warbler and Slate-colored Junco. We have continued to catch small numbers of Tennessee Warblers and White-winged Crossbills on a daily basis.

In terms of visual migrants, we have begun to see the first migrating flocks of Surf Scoters and Northern Pintails. The first Red-throated Loons and Red-necked Grebes have also shown up on the lake. On the 30th, a total of 6 Red-necked Phalaropes were tallied on the lake. The season's first Bonaparte's Gull (a juvenile) was seen on the 31st as were the first migrant Mew Gulls. Visual passerine migration has been a little slow thus far; however, there has been some swallow migration (particularly Bank Swallows) and small numbers of Pine Siskins and White-winged Crossbills.

For more photos, view our flickr page at

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 29th at TLBO

Today at TLBO, 60 birds banded including 3 Townsend's Warblers and the year's first Yellow-bellied FLycatcher. Interesting sightings in the count area included Red-throated Loon, Western Tanager and numerous Tennessee Warblers.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

TLBO - July 27th

Today at TLBO, 72 birds of 16 species were banded bringing the season total to 230 birds of 30 species. Today's most frequently banded species included Myrtle Warbler (33), Yellow Warbler (8) and Slate-colored Junco (6). Other highlights included 2 Tennessee Warblers, a Belted Kingfisher, a Least Flycatcher and 3 White-winged Crossbills.
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Tennessee Warbler
Belted Kingfisher

Friday, July 23, 2010

Yukon Bird Observatories Open !

As of today, the Teslin Lake and Albert Creek have opened for the fall 2010 season. Please email for more information.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Last week seem to have been the peak migration of Yellow-rumped Warblers which have now reached a new season record (780) at Albert Creek. Towards the end of the week other Neotropical migrants, primarily Wilson’s and Blackpoll Warblers, arrived in good numbers. More species arrived early this week including Brown-headed Cowbird, Chipping Sparrow and Tennessee Warbler, the bringer of summer, as we call it here at Albert Creek. Two Olive-sided Flycatchers banded over the weekend were enjoyed by many as we have been having lots of fun and qualified help lately. A big thanks for everyone who have been helping out!

ACBO Bander In Charge

This week's banding totals (17 - 23 May);

Myrtle Warbler - 457
Wilson's Warbler - 182
Orange-crowned Warbler - 111
Blackpoll Warbler - 46
Northern Waterthrush - 36
Yellow Warbler - 30
Savannah Sparrow - 21
Common Yellowthroat - 21
Lincoln's Sparrow - 19
White-crowned Sparrow - 10
Swainson's Thrush - 7
Purple Finch - 6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 5
White-throated Sparrow - 4
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 3
Brown-headed Cowbird - 2
Western Wood Pewee - 2
Olive-sided FLycatcher - 2
Swamp Sparrow - 2
American Robin - 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1
Solitary Sandpiper - 1
Slate-colored Junco - 1
TRee Swallow - 1
Hermit Thrush - 1

TOTAL = 973

Some photos from this week (click to enlarge) include the following from top to bottom; Olive-sided Flycatcher, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

McIntyre Marsh - May 14 to 20

The past week at McIntyre Marsh has seen a transition from primarily sparrows to warblers. A few weeks ago, the marsh was filled with songs of White-crowned Sparrows and American Tree Sparrows. Now, the morning chorus is filled with the rolling witchy witchy witchy of Common Yellowthroats and the che che che che of Wilson's Warblers. New arrivals this week included Yellow Warbler (18 May), Common Yellowthroat (18 May) and Blackpoll Warbler (20 May). Some other banding highlights included an Olive-sided Flycatcher (15 May), a Belted Kingfisher (18 May) and 3 Wilson's Snipe throughout the week. Although not banded, a male Townsend's Warbler was observed/heard (its song a zizle zizle plink plink) and photographed on May 14th.

Be sure to visit the station this weekend, there are only two weekends left in our banding season at the marsh !

The following is a list of this week's banding totals.

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1 (3)
Spotted Sandpiper - 1 (1)
Solitary Sandpiper - 3 (4)
Wilson's Snipe - 3 (8)
Belted Kingfisher - 1 (1)
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 1 (1)
Hammond's FLycatcher - 1 (6)
Violet-green Swallow - 12 (22)
Black-capped Chickadee - 0 (4)
Boreal Chicakadee - 0 (1)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1 (24)
American Robin - 6 (14)
Varied Thrush - 0 (2)
American Pipit - 3 (6)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 7 (9)
Yellow Warbler - 1 (1)
Blackpoll Warbler - 1 (1)
Myrtle Warbler - 70 (203)
Common Yellowthroat - 11 (11)
Northern Waterthrush - 5 (5)
Wilson's Warbler - 68 (73)
American Tree Sparrow - 0 (75)
Savannah Sparrow - 22 (81)
Fox Sparrow - 0 (107)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 17 (55)
White-crowned Sparrow - 20 (340)
Golden-crowned Sparrow - 5 (34)
Slate-colored Junco - 3 (246)
Lapland Longspur - 0 (1)
Red-winged Blackbird - 1 (1)
Rusty Blackbird - 0 (11)
Common Redpoll - 0 (33)
Hoary Redpoll - 0 (1)

TOTAL BIRDS - 254 (1,385)

Some photos from this week (top to bottom): female Yellow Warbler, male Common Yellowthroat, male Blackpoll Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, female Red-winged Blackbird, Belted Kingfisher, Townsend's Warbler.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

McIntyre Marsh Update - May 8 to 13

This past week was somewhat productive at McIntyre Marsh and we have been open all week for visiting school groups. Over the period, 213 birds of 20 species were banded with the most common species being White-crowned Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Myrtle Warbler and Lincoln's Sparrow. This week's banding effort brings the season banding total to 1,111 birds of 25 birds. The following is a list of birds banded this week (with the season total in brackets);

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 0 (2)
Solitary Sandpiper - 1 (1)
Wilson's Snipe - 4 (5)
Hammond's Flycatcher - 3 (5)
Violet-green Swallow - 5 (10)
Black-capped Chickadee - 0 (4)
Boreal Chickadee - 1 (1)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 2 (23)
American Robin - 2 (8)
Varied Thrush - 1 (2)
American Pipit - 2 (3)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1 (2)
Myrtle Warbler - 38 (133)
Wilson's Warbler - 15 (15)
American Tree Sparrow - 0 (75)
Savannah Sparrow - 47 (59)
Fox Sparrow - 0 (107)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 17 (38)
White-crowned Sparrow - 56 (320)
Golden-crowned Sparrow - 10 (29)
Dark-eyed Junco - 4 (243)
Lapland Longspur - 1 (1)
Rusty Blackbird - 2 (11)
Common Redpoll - 1 (33)
Hoary Redpoll - 0 (1)

TOTAL = 56 (1,111)

Some photos from this last week include; Solitary Sandpiper, female Varied Thrush, Savannah Sparrow and Lincoln's Sparrow. Thanks to John Meikle for sharing these great photos !
The station will be open this friday (school group) and saturday but THE STATION WILL NOT BE OPEN THIS SUNDAY (MAY 16) due to other committments.

Albert Creek Update - May 6 to 11

This week Albert Creek was closed for four days due to personnel constraints. We returned into the action on Monday the May 10th.

It appears that the timing of the four day gap was perfect as there has been very little passerine movement lately. The banding totals for May 10 and 11 were 23 and 26, respectively. Yellow-rumped Warbler has been the most numerous species together with some late Ruby-crowned Kinglets and White-crowned Sparrows and early Orange-crowned Warblers. Northern Waterthrush and Wilson’s Warbler were new species for the spring.

Outside the nets the most notable change has been the appearance of shorebirds. Both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs are now frequenting the area and small flocks of various species, including Solitary and Pectoral Sandpipers, have been seen flying over the site. A Swamp Sparrow is singing in the marsh and Tree Swallows have found the nest boxes.

Jukka Jantunen
The BIC on duty

Birds banded this week:

Boreal Chickadee 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 5
American Robin 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler 22
Northern Waterthrush 2
Wilson’s Warbler 2
Savannah Sparrow 2
Lincoln’s Sparrow 3
White-crowned Sparrow 4
Dark-eyed Junco 2
= 49
The photos below include a female Ruby-crowned Kinglet (top) and a hybrid male Oregon x Slate-colored Junco (middle, bottom).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

McIntyre Marsh - May 8

The bird traffic through the marsh was somewhat reduced today in comparison to last weekend. Although the day's banding total was not very high (28 birds), there was a good variety of species including two new species for the season; Wilson's Warbler and Wilson's Snipe. The number of White-crowned Sparrows have dropped off substantially, but the numbers of Savannah Sparrow have increased. In fact, this was the top species banded today with 11 banded.

The station will be open again tomorrow (Sunday) morning from 7am to noon.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

McIntyre Marsh Update - May 1 to 2

This past weekend was very busy at the marsh. The sparrows arrived in droves and kept us very busy extracting and banding. Fortunately, there were a number of helpers onhand and even more visitors who were able to see how a banding station operates when very busy. Some highlights from the weekend included the first Orange-crowned Warbler on the 2nd. Other new species included a Varied Thrush and a small number of Violet-green Swallows on the 2nd, these species have been at the site for a few weeks but had avoided the nets until this point.
White-crowned Sparrows were althroughout the site on both days and were the number one species, with 95 individuals banded. Other bird banded this week included; Myrtle Warbler (42), Slate-colored Junco (24), Fox Sparrow (17), Lincoln's Sparrow (13), American Tree Sparrow (12), Golden-crowned Sparrow (8), Savannah Sparrow (7), Violet-green Swallow (5), American Robin (5), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (4), Black-capped Chickadee (2), Varied Thrush (1) and Orange-crowned Sparrow (1).....grand total = 236 birds.

Some photos below include (in order); Savannah Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Myrtle Warbler, Golden-crowned Sparrow, American Robin, Violet-green Swallow and Varied Thrush.
For more photos, visit our flickr page at;

Albert Creek Update - 28 Apr to 4 May

This post was written by Albert Creek volunteer bander Gwen Baluss, from Juneau, Alaska.

This week was characterized by variable spring weather, and good numbers of sparrows.
Highlights included a group of about 500 Sandhill cranes over the station on 4-29. Three
Rusty Blackbirds were captured on 4-29. April 30 brought many White-crowned and Fox Sparrows and some Lincoln’s and Savannah Sparrows, as well as Myrtle Warblers. It was also the first note of chorusing wood frogs. The weather was exceptionally nice and warm. But it rained on May 1, the day of the first White-throated sparrow song.

I arrived on May 2 to a cool cloudy day with a steady migration (85 birds banded) of mostly sparrows. We were excited to catch the first Hammond’s flycatcher, an early long-distance migrant. On May 2 the fickle nature of spring revealed a steady snow, so we didn’t band. It cleared beautifully overnight, but on the morning of May 4 we faced a temperature of -10 C and icy nets. Also, the migrants had clearly moved out, and as the day warmed we banded mostly recaptures.

We are pleased to report that the Barred Owl continues to be on site and was hooting at 12 p.m. on May 5.

Our international team of banders and assistants included:

Ted Murphy-Kelly, Whitehorse
Jukka Jantunen, migrating with the birds throughout the Yukon
Sarah Davidson, Haines Junction
Mario Benassi, Haines, AK
Pam Randles, Haines, AK
Manie Cooke, Watson Lake
Susan Drury, Watson Lake
Jessica Condon, Watson Lake
Gwen Baluss, Juneau, AK

Banding totals from the week included; Ruby-crowned Kinglet (7), Orange-crowned Warbler (6), Myrtle Warbler (80), American Tree Sparrow (28), Fox Sparrow (93), Lincoln's Sparrow (8), White-crowned Sparrow (96), Slate-colored Junco (16), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (1), Black-capped Chickadee (1), American Robin (3), Savannah Sparrow (5), Rusty Blackbird (3), Common Redpoll (23), Boreal CHickadee (1) and Hammond's Flycatcher (1)......grand total = 373.

The photo below is Albert Creek's first Hammond's Flycatcher of the year !

For more photos from Albert Creek, view our flickr page at

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Update from Albert Creek - April 27

Albert Creek Bird Observatory began its tenth year of consecutive spring migration monitoring on April 22nd. We were kept very busy banding the numerous American Tree Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Slate Colored Juncos, and Lincoln's Sparrows. The first of the Myrtle Warblers were also apparent at the site.

Our binoculars were often pointed skyward to view the hundreds of Tundra Swans and White-Fronted Geese moving north. Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped out all week. Albert Creek Week #1 April 22nd to April 27th. Birds banded during the first week (April 22-27):

Fox Sparrow - 161
White-crowned Sparrow - 127
American Tree Sparrow - 105
Common Redpoll - 103
Slate-colored Junco - 37 (bottom photo)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 24
Lincoln's Sparrow - 15
Myrtle Warbler - 6
Boreal Chickadee - 3
Purple Finch - 2
Golden-crowned Sparrow - 1 (middle photo)
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
Lapland Longspur - 1 (top photo)
American Robin - 1
Gray Jay - 1


Sunday, April 25, 2010

McIntyre Marsh Station Update - 25 April

The McIntyre Marsh station had another busy day on April 25 with 160 birds of 11 species banded. Leading the banding totals was Slate-colored Junco, with 72 banded; numerous small groups were observed moving through the marsh throughout the day. Fox Sparrows were also seen frequently throughout the area today and 27 were banded. A single American Pipit was also banded today; this species is banded infrequently as it is most often seen in relatively "open" habitats. Rusty Blackbirds have once again taken up residence in the marsh with an estimated 15-20 individuals in the marsh for the past few days. Four new individuals were banded today, bringing the season total to 7. Other birds banded today included; Common Redpoll (18), White-crowned Sparrow (14), American Tree Sparrow (11), Myrtle Warbler (7), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (5), Hammond's Flycatcher (1) and Lincoln's Sparrow (1). A Lesser Yellowlegs (a first for the season) was also observed in the marsh today.

The station will be closed this week, but will be open next weekend (May 1-2) from 7am to noon. Thank you to the following supporters/contributors of the McIntyre Marsh station; City of Whitehorse, Yukon Energy, Environment Yukon, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Alaska Pipeline Project, Lotteries Yukon, Yukon Bird Club and EDI Environmental Dynamics Inc.
Some photos from today are shown below; American Pipit and male Rusty Blackbird.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

McIntyre Marsh Station Off To A Great Start !

Today was the first full day of operation for the McIntyre Marsh field station and it was busy; both in terms of birds banded at visitors. The banding effort was led by myself will have help (scribing/bird extracting) by Tami Hamilton, Shayla Hamilton and Brian Charles. Today we banded 187 birds of 11 species which included the following; Dark-eyed Junco (73), American Tree Sparrow (29), Fox Sparrow (22), Myrtle Warbler (22), White-crowned Sparrow (18), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (9), Common Redpoll (4), Golden-crowned Sparrow (4), Rusty Blackbird (3), Lincoln's Sparrow (2) and Hammond's Flycatcher (1). Some interesting observations included Tundra Swans (flyover), Orange-crowned Warbler, American Pipit, Lapland Longspur and Varied Thrush.

The station will be open again tomorrow (sunday) from 8am-noon and on all weekends and holidays until the end of May.

Thank you to the following supporters/contributors of the McIntyre Marsh station; City of Whitehorse, Yukon Energy, Environment Yukon, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Alaska Pipeline Project, Lotteries Yukon, Yukon Bird Club and EDI Environmental Dynamics Inc.

Some photos from today are shown below and include (in order presented; click to enlarge); Rusty Blackbird (female), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (male), Myrtle Warbler (male), Lincoln's Sparrow, Hammond's Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Fox Sparrow.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Setting Up & Banding at McIntyre Creek.

While setting up the banding station at McIntyre Creek today, we decided to open a few nets and managed to band a few birds: American Tree Sparrow (9; top photo), Black-capped Chickadee (1), Common Redpoll (9), Hoary Redpoll (1; middle photo) and Slate-colored Junco (9; bottom).

Other birds observed but not banded included; Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Herring Gull, Common Goldeneye, Mallard, American Pipit, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Robin and Common Raven.

Judging from the number of birds at the site today, I am anticipating a busy day next saturday (April 24) when the station opens for the season.

See the previous post for a map to the site.