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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Teslin Lake - July 31, 2011

In terms of birds banded, things have been somewhat slow at TLBO with less then 20 birds banded per day. Today (31st) was the busiest day thus far this season with a total of 46 birds banded. The only new species banded was the season was a Fox Sparrow (juvenile) on the 31st. We also captured an additional Downy Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker today. Alder Flycatchers appear to be starting to move, a total of 10 were banded today, all of which we were adult birds. In most species, the juveniles migrate south before the adults which remain later while they molt before heading south. As Alder Flycatchers do not molt until on the wintering grounds, they depart shortly after the completion of breeding.

Other highlights have included 3 Hammond's Flycatchers and a Red-breasted Nuthatch on the 31st and a Bohemian Waxwing on the 30th.

As of August 1st, we welcome back Jukka Jantunen as our Bander In Charge at the observatory. Jukka has spent the previous 3 fall seasons at TLBO and he will once again be back at the observatory until the latter portion of October.

The banding totals as of July 31st are shown below; the numbers shown in brackets ( ) indicate the number of each species banded as of this data during 2010.

Solitary Sandpiper - 3 (1)
Spotted Sandpiper - 2 (1)
Belted Kingfisher - 1 (1)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 2 (0)
Downy Woodpecker - 4 (0)
Northern Flicker - 1 (0)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 0 (1)
Alder Flycatcher - 21 (11)
Hammond's Flycatcher - 10 (0)
Least Flycatcher - 4 (1)
Warbling Vireo - 8 (4)
Black-capped Chickadee - 11 (13)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 2 (0)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 7 (6)
Swainson's Thrush - 18 (10)
American Robin - 6 (4)
Varied Thrush - 0 (1)
Bohemian Waxwing - 1 (0)
Northern Waterthrush - 15 (15)
Tennessee Warbler - 1 (13)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 5 (9)
Common Yellowthroat - 5 (5)
American Redstart - 15 (10)
Yellow Warbler - 38 (42)
Blackpoll Warbler - 9 (22)
Townsend's Warbler - 0 (4)
Yellow-rumped "Myrtle" Warbler - 25 (98)
Wilson's Warbler - 2 (15)
Chipping Sparrow - 7 (7)
Savannah Sparrow - 0 (1)
Fox Sparrow - 1 (0)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 0 (2)
Swamp Sparrow - 0 (1)
White-crowned Sparrow - 0 (1)
Dark-eyed Junco - 19 (45)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 (0)
Purple Finch - 1 (9)
White-winged Crossbill - 0 (24)
Common Redpoll - 2
Pine Siskin - 1 (2)

TOTAL - 268 (381)

Bohemian Waxwing

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Albert Creek update - July 28th

It seems that in the last couple of days Albert Creek has been catching up with Teslin Lake - in slowness of things! Yesterday we banded 37 and today only 14 new birds for a total of 260 birds of 27 species so far. However, typical for Albert Creek, we are getting many recaptures - 18 yesterday and 11 today. The top five species banded as of yesterday are Tennessee Warbler 45, Northern Waterthrush 36, Common Yellowthroat 30, Myrtle Warbler 26 and American Redstart 16. For a full list and comparison with last year see the bottom of this post. The banding highlight of the last two days was a Belted Kingfisher on each day, an adult female yesterday and a young female today.

Adult female Belted Kingfisher ©Jukka Jantunen

Even though it was a quiet day at the nets today it was not an unexciting day in the field. The European Starlings (19 today) continue to roost along the road and both the MacGillivray's Warbler and the Pileated Woodpecker continue to grace us with their presence. Some of the typically southeast Yukon specialties like American Redstart, Magnolia Warbler, Swamp and White-throated Sparrow, and Western Tanager also continue to be easily found. A female Spruce Grouse with her young in the "gauntlet" area has been of great excitement for Kelly who had never seen one before. Today the spruce forest became alive too and some of the highlights from there included a family of Red-breasted Nuthatches, a Golden-crowned Kinglet, a female/hatch-year Cape May Warbler and at least 70 White-winged Crossbills!

Below you'll find the complete list of birds banded at Albert Creek during the first five days of operation this season (Jul 23-27) and, in brackets, the number of birds banded last year during the same time period. The start last year was exceptionally good.

Solitary Sandpiper - 1
Belted Kingfisher - 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 3 (7)
Alder Flycatcher - 5 (9)
Least Flycatcher - 7 (3)
Hammond's Flycatcher - 3 (7)
Warbling Vireo - 8 (12)
Gray Jay - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 5 (2)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 2 (14)
Swainson's Thrush - 9 (14)
American Robin - 1 (1)
Tennessee Warbler - 45 (127)
Yellow Warbler - 6 (14)
Magnolia Warbler - 8 (4)
Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler - 26 (27)
Blackpoll Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 16 (19)
Northern Waterthrush - 36 (40)
MacGillivray's Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 30 (52)
Chipping Sparrow - 1 (2)
Fox Sparrow -1
Lincoln's Sparrow - 15 (28)
Swamp Sparrow - 4 (8)
White-throated Sparrow - 6 (8)
Dark-eyed Junco - 7
= 246 (425) birds of 27 species
0.47 birds/net hr

Species banded last year during this period but not caught this year: Boreal Chickadee 2, Red-breasted Nuthatch 1, Cedar Waxwing 3, Orange-crowned Warbler 5, Bay-breasted Warbler 1, Western Tanager 2, Rusty Blackbird 3, White-winged Crossbill 3 and Pine Siskin 7.

Alder Flycatcher aka T-Rex ©Kelly Riggs

Magnolia Warbler lunching while being banded ©Jukka Jantunen

Teslin - July 28 - Winter Wren !!

Although another slow banding day (14 birds), a Winter Wren was observed today on the daily census route near the area referred to as "the woodpile". This is the first record of this species at the observatory. Typically encountered annually in the southern Yukon each summer, this species is definitely considered rare in the territory.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Teslin Lake - July 27, 2011

A relatively slow day today at TLBO with a total of 18 individuals of 11 species banded. No new species were banded; however, another 4 American Redstarts were banded today bringing the season total to 13.

Thank you to Todd Heakes who is volunteering at the station this week !

hatch year female American Redstart

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Albert Creek July 26 - MacGillivray's Warbler finally caught!

And so it finally happened - our elusive but very vocal male MacGillivray's Warbler got finally caught in net 14, the one the bird has been dancing around for so many days now. In spite of this individual's rather Mourning Warbler-like song the plumage and measurements fit perfectly to MacGillivray's without anything that we could see pointing towards a hybrid. This is only the second record of the species for the site.

The other highlight of the day was a year-old Peregrine Falcon that perched briefly for good views on top of a snag before continuing southeast. Surprisingly, if my memory serves me correct, this one was a new species for the observatory! We banded 51 birds including 16 Tennessee and 3 Magnolia Warblers.


MGWA photos copyright Jukka Jantunen

Teslin Lake Update - July 26, 2011

After 6 days of operation, a total of 138 birds of 30 species have been banded at TLBO. As is typically the case at this time of year, the birds captured at the station are dominated by local breeders. The top species banded to date include; Yellow Warbler (21), Dark-eyed Junco (14), Myrtle Warbler (11), Swainson's Thrush (10) and American Redstart (9).

The number of American Redstarts appear to be relatively high this year and it is estimated that there are three family groups roaming the study site on a daily basis. We have also been fortunate in capturing woodpeckers (which we do not normally capture at TLBO) including 3 Downy Woodpeckers, a Northern Flicker and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. This is only the 6th sapsucker ever banded at TLBO and the first ever banded in the fall ! A new species for TLBO, a Brown-headed Cowbird was also banded on the 26th,

The same can be said for sandpipers, to date we have captured 2 Spotted Sandpipers and 2 Solitary Sandpipers. On the 24th, three separate broods of Spotted Sandpipers were observed in the count area.

We also had a few interesting band recoveries of birds previously banded at the site including; adult male Northern Waterthrush banded May 27, 2007, adult male Yellow Warbler banded August 10, 2008, adult female Myrtle Warbler banded July 16, 2010 and adult male American Redstart banded August 17, 2008.

Some notable bird observations in the count area to date have included; Western Tanager on the 22nd and 23rd and a Magnolia Warbler on the 24th.

male Northern Flicker

Least Flycatcher

Downy Woodpecker

adult male American Redstart

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Albert Creek July 23, 2011 - the start of a new season!!

The Yukon Bird Observatories are now officially open for the fall season of 2011. Albert Creek was opened by two seasoned Yukon Bird Observatory veterans, Ted Murphy-Kelly and Jukka Jantunen, and we welcomed our first long-term volunteer Kelly Riggs from Missouri. Kelly will be with us for the next six weeks, first at Albert Creek and then in Teslin.

The start for the new season was an enjoyable one for the most part. Our only minor complaint was that the calm and muggy weather brought the mosquitoes out in somewhat annoying numbers. As for the birds, we banded 67 individuals of 20 species. Typical for the start of a fall season the majority of our catch was local breeders, Common Yellowthroat (15), Northern Waterthrush (12) and Tennessee Warbler (9) topping the list. A juvenile Solitary Sandpiper was perhaps the most exciting bird banded today.
There was a lot happening in the area outside the nets too. A family of American Kestrels spent most of the day in the tall spruce forest across the marsh and the same trees also had a male Pileated Woodpecker and a Three-toed Woodpecker during the morning. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were everywhere - 3 even found our nets. In the marsh at least two Swamp Sparrows sang a few times and a Sora was calling near net 14. We finally managed a visual of a strange singer first spotted on the 21st when setting up the station. This elusive bird turned out to be a MacGillivray's Warbler, at least plumage-wise, in spite of it's quite Mourning Warbler-like song. A good example how one should always try to get a visual of a bird sounding like a rarity! Hopefully we'll catch it soon for a closer examination.