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Friday, October 21, 2011

October 15th - Alaska Panhandle comes to TLBO!


The 15th was a quite unusual day at TLBO. The migration was nonexistent but instead, in a south storm, we were treated with three rare birds, all from the south end of the lake or perhaps from the Alaska Panhandle coast. First a Brown Creeper stopped for a few seconds in the tall trees at the tip, then mere 15 minutes later a Chestnut-backed Chickadee did the same for a couple of minutes, and only about an hour later a Steller's Jay spent about 10 minutes at the tip. The first and the last are both new species for the observatory, and new Yukon birds for yours truly(!), while the Chickadee is overall the rarest of the trio as this was only the 3rd record for the Territory! Also seen was the season 1st Short-eared Owl. Not to sound unsatisfied but we could've used also a Murrelet or a...


The five second Creeper


The high-pitched tsikkadee-dee


What you mean "looks like it's windy"?

Photos ©Jukka Jantunen

Teslin Lake update - October 15th


Early morning Trumpeter Swans over the calm lake

The bird banding for the season wrapped up on the 13th as at that point the weather was getting unsettled and cold, and the captures were getting fewer and fewer. In this ten day period banding was attempted on six days and 47 new birds were banded. The vast majority of these were Common Redpolls. Some of the more interesting birds banded included late individuals such as a Lincoln's Sparrow on the 7th, a Yellow Warbler on the 8th and a Hermit Thrush on the 11th. Also on the 11th a Hoary Redpoll was banded. The final season top five species banded are Alder Flycatcher (637), Dark-eyed Junco (331), Yellow Warbler (310), Boreal Chickadee (233), and Yellow-rumped "Myrtle" Warbler (142). The season total 2793 is almost 900 birds less than last year in spite of the longer "recreational" banding period in October. Another good measure is the number of over 100 bird days: last year 10, this year only 1!


Hatch-year Hoary Redpoll

As for observations, a lot happened during these ten days. The 6th was the last day the long-staying Sabine's Gull was seen while the Little Gull lingered a little longer but was not seen after the 9th. Small pulses of raptors went through early in the period, for example 38 Golden Eagles and 29 Rough-legged Hawks on the 6th and 24 Sharp-shinned Hawks on the 8th. An adult Bewick's Swan, the observatory's 2nd, was also seen on the 8th as well as a migrating Northern Hawk Owl. Another Hawk Owl stopped briefly right overhead of the banding table on the 10th. The same day the season 1st Snow Bunting and so far the last Common Yellowthroat were seen alongside over a hundred raptors and over 1500 Common Redpolls.


Northern Hawk Owl inspecting our banding work

The 11th was a great day. Over 5000 Swans, almost all Tundras, were counted as well as over 5500 Common Redpolls. The Redpoll count is a new observatory record and you can imagine the observers were kept busy that day!! Also tallied were 174 American Robins and 51 Rusty Blackbirds, both very good counts for such a late date, and 25 Sandhill Cranes. A few less common birds were seen too including the season 1st four Yellow-billed Loons (3 adults and one juvenile!) and also the season 1st Black-backed Woodpecker, a species that has been unusually scarce this year, a Parasitic Jaeger and a Glaucous Gull. The 12th allowed the observers to take a breath and enjoy the observatory's 1st ever Western Grebe on the calm lake before the migration picked up again on the 13th. That day 4600 Swans were counted and again mostly Tundras but also over 400 Trumpeters, a good count in the fall. Other birds on the move that day included 52 Rough-legged Hawks, 23 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 113 Bohemian Waxwings, 45 Snow Buntings and 1500 Common Redpolls. The 14th was so far the last day with good migration movement as 44 Rough-legged Hawks and the season high 68 Golden Eagles were tallied alongside two quite late Townsend's Solitaires. So far the season last Ruby-crowned Kinglet made some noise in the willows by the watch spot. As for the 15th, see the next blog entry.


Tundra Swans over the west side mountains


Adult male dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk may well be the most handsome raptor at TLBO!

The raptor migration has been the strongest ever seen at TLBO so here are the current tallies (as of October 15th) in order of abundance. It is interesting to notice that while it has been a record year for practically all other species it has been the poorest count so far for Peregrine Falcon!

Red-tailed Hawk - 1071
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 684
Northern Harrier - 682
Golden Eagle - 343
Rough-legged Hawk - 315
American Kestrel - 241
Merlin - 65
Bald Eagle - 63
Osprey - 60
Swainson's Hawk - 23
Peregrine Falcon - 20
Northern Goshawk - 12
Unidentifieds - 56
= 3635


American Three-toed Woodpecker in the same trees as the Hawk Owl


Mauri Saari with our regular gulls, including juvenile Glaucous


Western Grebe!


Deadman volcano


Photos ©Jukka Jantunen

As the banding season has come to an end here is the complete list of birds banded at Teslin Lake Bird Observatory this season (Oct 6th to 13th in brackets).

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 7
Merlin - 2
Spotted Sandpiper - 2
Solitary Sandpiper - 3
Boreal Owl - 4
Belted Kingfisher - 6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 3
Downy Woodpecker - 7
Northern Flicker - 1
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 1
Western Wood-Pewee - 10
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 7
Alder Flycatcher - 637
Least Flycatcher - 10
Hammond's Flycatcher - 28
Dusky Flycatcher - 6
Northern Shrike - 1
Warbling Vireo - 17
Black-capped Chickadee - 92 (1)
Mountain Chickadee - 2
Boreal Chickadee - 233 (2)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 5
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 86
Townsend's Solitaire - 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 85
Hermit Thrush - 12 (1)
American Robin - 11
Varied Thrush - 2
American Pipit - 2
Bohemian Waxwing - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 4
Orange-crowned Warbler - 57
Yellow Warbler - 310 (1)
Yellow-rumped "Myrtle" Warbler - 142 (3)
Yellow-rumped "Audubon's" Warbler -1
Townsend's Warbler - 6
Blackpoll Warbler - 58
American Redstart - 39
Northern Waterthrush - 42
Common Yellowthroat - 72
Wilson's Warbler - 133 (1)
American Tree Sparrow - 77 (6)
Chipping Sparrow - 28
Brewer's Sparrow - 2
Savannah Sparrow - 23
Fox Sparrow - 17
Lincoln's Sparrow - 27 (1)
White-crowned Sparrow - 34
Slate-colored Junco - 331 (3)
Rusty Blackbird - 16 (1)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Purple Finch - 1
White-winged Crossbill - 1
Common Redpoll - 75 (26)
Hoary Redpoll - 2 (1)
Pine Siskin - 10
= 2793 birds of 57 species
0.337 birds/net-hour
Please note that the Boreal Owls are included in the total but not in the birds/net hr

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Teslin Lake update - October 5th



Filming Tundra Swans

From October 1st through the 5th Teslin Lake averaged 26 birds/day and 0.367 birds/net-hour for a total of 130 birds banded. It is worth remembering that at this point of the season migration watching has taken over banding as the priority monitoring method and therefore banding effort is rather recreational compared to the standard banding season earlier. Two new species for the season were banded: American Pipit on the 3rd and Hoary Redpoll on the 5th. The season 2nd Mountain Chickadee on the 1st was a pleasant surprise. The top five species banded during the period were Common Redpoll (43), American Tree Sparrow (23), Dark-eyed Junco (13), Yellow-rumped Warbler (11) and Boreal Chickadee (9). The current season top five species banded are Alder Flycatcher (637), Dark-eyed Junco (328), Yellow Warbler (309), Boreal Chickadee (231), and Yellow-rumped "Myrtle" Warbler (139).

Observation highlights included a Black-bellied Plover on the 1st, the season 1st eight Snow Geese and record late two Bank Swallows on the 2nd, and a Northern Shrike on the 5th, the first one since the very early one in August. Both the Little and the Sabine's Gull continued through the period. Migration watching was very entertaining as well as on the 1st 57 Golden Eagles were counted, locally high 191 Snow Geese were tallied on the 4th and on the 5th 500 ducks, including the season 1st Long-tailed Duck, flew by. The first peak of Tundra Swans came through on the 4th (2900) and the 5th (2100) in big impressive flocks, often very low and close so that the observers almost had to shout to each other to be heard over the cacophony of the swans!


Get out of the way - here we come!


Adult male Sharp-shinned Hawk


Rare Ivory-billed Myrtle Warbler!


American Pipit


Rusty Blackbirds have been frequenting the pond

Photos ©Jukka Jantunen

The complete list of bird banded at Teslin Lake Bird Observatory this season as of October 5th (the last 5 days in brackets).

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 7 (1)
Merlin - 2
Spotted Sandpiper - 2
Solitary Sandpiper - 3
Boreal Owl - 4
Belted Kingfisher - 6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 3
Downy Woodpecker - 7
Northern Flicker - 1
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 1
Western Wood-Pewee - 10
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 7
Alder Flycatcher - 637
Least Flycatcher - 10
Hammond's Flycatcher - 28
Dusky Flycatcher - 6
Northern Shrike - 1
Warbling Vireo - 17
Black-capped Chickadee - 91 (6)
Mountain Chickadee - 2 (1)
Boreal Chickadee - 231 (9)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 5
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 86 (6)
Townsend's Solitaire - 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 85
Hermit Thrush - 11
American Robin - 11
Varied Thrush - 2
American Pipit - 2 (2)
Bohemian Waxwing - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 4
Orange-crowned Warbler - 57
Yellow Warbler - 309
Yellow-rumped "Myrtle" Warbler - 139 (11)
Yellow-rumped "Audubon's" Warbler -1
Townsend's Warbler - 6
Blackpoll Warbler - 58
American Redstart - 39
Northern Waterthrush - 42
Common Yellowthroat - 72 (1)
Wilson's Warbler - 132 (6)
American Tree Sparrow - 71 (23)
Chipping Sparrow - 28
Brewer's Sparrow - 2
Savannah Sparrow - 23
Fox Sparrow - 17 (2)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 26 (2)
White-crowned Sparrow - 34
Slate-colored Junco - 328 (13)
Rusty Blackbird - 15 (3)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Purple Finch - 1
White-winged Crossbill - 1
Common Redpoll - 49 (43)
Hoary Redpoll - 1 (1)
Pine Siskin - 10
= 2750 (130) birds of 57 species
0.346 (0.367) birds/net-hour
Please note that the Boreal Owls are included in the total but not in the birds/net hr

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Albert Creek - final words



First we'd like to apologize once again the infrequency of the blog entries but we assure you that we are doing our best as the technical difficulties continue. As the SOYBO field team no longer has internet all the entries are now written in the Yukon Motel lounge while watching hockey and consuming various beverages...

Albert Creek finished the fall season 2011 on the 10th of September. Yes, it took a while for the final figures to reach yours truly and even longer for them to make it into the blog. Sorry about that. For the last five days of the season Albert Creek averaged 20.6 birds/day and 0.162 birds/net hour for a total of 103 birds banded. The most numerous species banded this period were Dark-eyed Junco (18), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (17), Common Yellowthroat (16) and Orange-crowned Warbler (8). The season top-five was Yellow-rumped Warbler (287), Northern Waterthrush (192), Common Yellowthroat (183), Tennessee Warbler (152) and Alder Flycatcher (122). The most notable observation was a late Cliff Swallow on the 10th.


Photos ©Jukka Jantunen

The SOYBO blog keeper would like to thank, first and foremost, Ted and Hollie Murphy-Kelly for their huge contribution to make the season happen, Susan and Barry Drury for providing accommodation for the ACBO field team, and of course Kelly Riggs for helping out at ACBO for the better part of her visit to the Yukon. Many others helped too in various ways - thank you all!

Complete list of birds banded at Albert Creek this season (last 5 days in brackets):

Green-winged Teal - 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 7 (1)
Spotted Sandpiper - 1
Solitary Sandpiper - 2
Least Sandpiper - 2
Boreal Owl - 1 (1)
Belted Kingfisher - 4 (1)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 9
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Western Wood-Pewee - 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 6
Alder Flycatcher - 122 (3)
Least Flycatcher - 44
Hammond's Flycatcher - 20
Blue-headed Vireo - 1
Warbling Vireo - 64
Gray Jay - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 11
Boreal Chickadee - 48 (6)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 2
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 55 (17)
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 2 (1)
Swainson's Thrush - 74
Hermit Thrush - 1
American Robin - 5
Varied Thrush - 10
Tennessee Warbler - 152 (1)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 87 (8)
Yellow-Warbler - 82
Magnolia Warbler - 24 (2)
Cape May Warbler - 1
Yellow-rumped "Myrtle" Warbler - 287 (7)
Townsend's Warbler - 1
Blackpoll Warbler - 28
American Redstart - 52
Northern Waterthrush - 192 (1)
MacGillivray's Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 183 (16)
Wilson's warbler - 67 (4)
American Tree Sparrow - 19 (7)
Chipping Sparrow - 2
Savannah Sparrow - 3
Fox Sparrow - 13 (1)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 80 (7)
Swamp Sparrow - 16 (1)
White-crowned Sparrow - 16
Golden-crowned Sparrow - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 24
Dark-eyed Junco - 91 (18)
Western Tanager - 7
Rusty Blackbird - 4
White-winged Crossbill - 2
Common Redpoll - 1
Pine Siskin - 28
= 1962 (103) birds of 55 species
0.310 (0.162) birds/net-hour

Monday, October 3, 2011

Teslin Lake update - September 30th



From Sept 26th through Sept 30th Teslin Lake averaged 29.2 birds/day and 0.492 birds/net-hour for a total of 146 birds banded. No new species for the season were banded. Two biggest banding highlights were two record late birds: a Townsend's Warbler on the 29th and an Alder Flycatcher on the 30th. A Gray-cheeked Thrush on the 26th and a Varied Thrush on the 28th were both the 2nd of their kind banded this season. The top five species banded during the period were Dark-eyed Junco (32), American Tree Sparrow (28), Wilson's Warbler (18), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (17), Black-capped Chickadee (11). The current season top five species banded are Alder Flycatcher (637), Dark-eyed Junco (315), Yellow Warbler (309), Boreal Chickadee (222), and Yellow-rumped "Myrtle" Warbler (128).

As the weather cleared up it was the turn for large soaring raptors to take the main stage. The 26th was a clear day with southeast winds, not a day expected to turn into a great raptor day, but early afternoon trickle of Red-tailed Hawks soon turned into a river of them! Well, it wasn't like Veracruz or even Karjalan kannas, but still the biggest raptor day of the observatory's history with a total of 682 raptors! The majority, 389, were identified as Red-tailed Hawks and 155 as Sharp-shinned Hawks. The next day was another untypical raptor day as this time there was fog and very low ceiling but light north wind brought a flight of 560 raptors. The main species were the same ones, 367 Red-tailed Hawks and 86 Sharp-shinned Hawks, but three Northern Goshawks was a notable count and may indicate bigger numbers to come in October. The 30th was yet another good raptor day, this time under clear skies and with strong, almost stormy, west wind 243 raptors were counted. A little surprisingly the most numerous species of the day was Golden Eagle (61) followed by Red-tailed (60) and Rough-legged Hawk (32).

The season raptor totals as of September 30 are as follows:

Osprey - 53
Bald Eagle - 40
Northern Harrier - 570
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 527
Northern Goshawk - 6
Swainson's Hawk - 23
Red-tailed Hawk - 982
Rough-legged Hawk - 68
Golden Eagle - 104
American Kestrel - 194
Merlin - 41
Peregrine Falcon - 20
Unidentifieds - 35
= 2663 raptors

Other good migration counts from the period included 59 Sandhill Cranes, 3500 American Robins, 75 Varied Thrushes, and 58 Rusty Blackbirds on the 26th, 250 Tundra Swans on the 27th, and 360 Pacific Loons on the 29th. It seems that we won't get the nice Sandhill Crane flight this year that we got to enjoy in the last two fall seasons.

Both the Little Gull and the Sabine's Gull first noticed in the last period became regular sightings towards the end of the month as they worked the lake up and down, often together, and on the 30th they draw the attention of a Parasitic Jaeger briefly on them.


Second-year male Sharp-shinned Hawk


Adult female Townsend's Warbler


Juvenile Sabine's Gull


The littlelest gull!


Teslin's "river" of raptors on the gloomy day of the 27th


The star bird of the period - Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk


Pacific Loons

Photos ©Jukka Jantunen


The complete list of bird banded at Teslin Lake Bird Observatory this season as of September 30th (the last 5 days in brackets).

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 6 (1)
Merlin - 2
Spotted Sandpiper - 2
Solitary Sandpiper - 3
Boreal Owl - 4
Belted Kingfisher - 6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 3
Downy Woodpecker - 7
Northern Flicker - 1
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 1
Western Wood-Pewee - 10
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 7
Alder Flycatcher - 637 (1)
Least Flycatcher - 10
Hammond's Flycatcher - 28
Dusky Flycatcher - 6
Northern Shrike - 1
Warbling Vireo - 17
Black-capped Chickadee - 85 (11)
Mountain Chickadee - 1
Boreal Chickadee - 222 (1)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 5
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 80 (17)
Townsend's Solitaire - 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 2 (1)
Swainson's Thrush - 85
Hermit Thrush - 11 (4)
American Robin - 11
Varied Thrush - 2 (1)
Bohemian Waxwing - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 4
Orange-crowned Warbler - 57 (3)
Yellow Warbler - 309 (4)
Yellow-rumped "Myrtle" Warbler - 128 (8)
Yellow-rumped "Audubon's" Warbler -1
Townsend's Warbler - 6 (1)
Blackpoll Warbler - 58
American Redstart - 39
Northern Waterthrush - 42
Common Yellowthroat - 71 (2)
Wilson's Warbler - 126 (18)
American Tree Sparrow - 48 (28)
Chipping Sparrow - 28
Brewer's Sparrow - 2
Savannah Sparrow - 23 (1)
Fox Sparrow - 15 (3)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 24 (5)
White-crowned Sparrow - 34
Slate-colored Junco - 315 (32)
Rusty Blackbird - 12 (2)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Purple Finch - 1
White-winged Crossbill - 1
Common Redpoll - 6 (1)
Pine Siskin - 10
= 2620 (146) birds of 55 species
0.345 (0.492) birds/net-hour
Please note that the Boreal Owls are included in the total but not in the birds/net hr