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Friday, October 21, 2011

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

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