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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.


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