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Thursday, May 6, 2010

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

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