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Monday, August 27, 2012

Teslin Lake - rarity update August 27


For each of the last two days we’ve been treated with a rare bird. First on the 26th we netted and banded a hatch-year Pacific-slope Flycatcher and then early morning of the 27th (today) a juvenile Black Turnstone landed briefly at the gravel bar at the creek mouth. Both are about 3rd/4th records for the Yukon! Here are a few photos of our star visitors.
 
 
Pac-slope showing the distinctive head and eye-ring shape

Back view of Pac-slope

Detail of the primary-tip spacing

Notice distinctly emarginated P6

Distant pre-dawn docu shot of the Turnstone

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Teslin Lake update - August 25

Aaahhh, Foxy Sparrow!
The period of August 21st to 25th was very similar over all to the previous period. The weather was unsettled and we are still waiting for the warbler movement usually taking place around this time of the year. Banding was a bit slower with a total of 225 birds (0.389 birds/net hr) banded. The period top six was Alder Flycatcher 98, Yellow Warbler 25, Wilson’s Warbler 20, Yellow-rumped Warbler 18 and Blackpoll Warbler and Swainson’s Thrush both 10. This brought the season total to 1439 birds (0.361 birds/net hr) banded of 39 species. The current season top five is Alder Flycatcher 763, Yellow Warbler 140, Blackpoll Warbler 76, Wilson’s Warbler 67, and Yellow-rumped Warbler 63. Some of the sparrows were starting to appear more often while Northern Waterthrushes have been caught less often. Two new species for the season were caught: Fox Sparrow on the 23rd and Western Wood-Pewee 25th.
 
The season 1st Western Wood-Pewee
 
Say's Phoebe
 
One of the most interesting developments of the last five days was an apparent start of a Red-breasted Nuthatch invasion or flight.  One or two had been noticed almost daily earlier but on the 21st 6 were seen and on the 25th a flock of three was spotted in active migration flight. At the same time we’ve had more Boreal Chickadees showing up, including 5 banded on the 24th. Maybe they’ll have another good fall movement as well. Other irregular “invasion” migrants seen included a few Common Redpolls, some small flocks of Pine Siskins and a good number of White-winged Crossbills (94 on the 25th). With the help of some north winds Greater White-fronted Geese passed over in moderate numbers on the 22nd and the 23rd (800 and 500, respectively) but only a few small flocks were seen after that and we were left waiting for the main flight. Otherwise it has been quite quiet with obs – just a few hawks heading south once in a while, the season 1st Wilson’s Snipe flushed up from the grass by the pond on the 21st and the season 2nd Parasitic Jaeger chasing the gulls on the lake on the 24th.
 
 
Abril counting specklebellies
 
 
 
Two very different looking sunrises

The complete list of birds banded at TLBO this season by Aug 25th (last five days in brackets):

Sharp-shinned Hawk – 7
Merlin – 1
Solitary Sandpiper – 3
Belted Kingfisher – 4 (1)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1
Western Wood-Pewee – 1 (1)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher –9 (1)
Alder Flycatcher – 763 (98)
Least Flycatcher – 3
Hammond’s Flycatcher – 2
Dusky Flycatcher – 2
Warbling Vireo – 14 (1)
Black-capped Chickadee – 16 (2)
Boreal Chickadee – 11 (6)
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 6 (2)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 5
Swainson’s Thrush – 26 (10)
Varied Thrush – 1
Tennessee Warbler – 1
Orange-crowned Warbler – 21 (5)
Yellow Warbler – 140 (25)
Magnolia Warbler – 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler – 63 (18)
Townsend’s Warbler – 4 (1)
Blackpoll Warbler – 76 (10)
American Redstart – 16
Northern Waterthrush – 45 (3)
Common Yellowthroat – 21 (7)
Wilson’s Warbler – 67 (20)
Chipping Sparrow – 16 (1)
Savannah Sparrow – 12 (2)
Fox Sparrow – 3 (3)
Lincoln’s Sparrow –4 (1)
White-crowned Sparrow – 8 (3)
Dark-eyed Junco – 56 (4)
Purple Finch – 2
White-winged Crossbill – 2
Common Redpoll – 3
Pine Siskin – 3
= 1439 birds - 39 species - 0.361 birds/net hr (225 birds - 23 species – 0.389 birds/net hr)

 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Teslin Lake update - August 20


Always a crowd pleaser - an adult male American Redstart (also known as Halloween bird)

During the period of August 16th to 20th, the weather was somewhat unsettled but mostly nice. The morning of the 19th with start temperature of +2 was the coolest one of the fall so far.  The Alder Flycatcher movement slowed down and as there was no real push from warblers yet the daily banding totals went down significantly. A total of 284 birds (0.437 birds/net hr) were banded. The period top five was Alder Flycatcher 152, Yellow Warbler 30, Wilson’s Warbler 20, Yellow-rumped Warbler 19 and Blackpoll Warbler 17. This brought the season total to 1214 birds (0.357 birds/net hr) banded of 37 species. The current season top five is Alder Flycatcher 665, Yellow Warbler 115, Blackpoll Warbler 66, Dark-eyed Junco 52 and Wilson’s Warbler 47. The only new species for the season was Townsend’s Warbler on the 17th. Other banding highlights included two Least and one Dusky Flycatcher among all the Alders and yet another Belted Kingfisher.
 
Young male Townsend's Warbler

The period was rather quiet outside the nets and real highlights were hard to come by. There was increasing bird activity on the lake and some of the higher counts included 26 Common Loons on the 18th and possibly a station record 103 Red-necked Grebes on the 20th, 52 fly-by Surf Scoters and 20 adult Thayer’s Gulls on the 19th. An adult Glaucous Gull was another somewhat unexpected arctic bird far south this early on the 18th. On the 20th the season first American Pipits and Say’s Phoebe were seen as well as the season 2nd Peregrine Falcon.
 
 
Raft of Common Loons on the lake

Mew Gull watershake
 
Wood Frog by net #9

The complete list of birds banded at TLBO this season by Aug 20th (last five days in brackets):
 
Sharp-shinned Hawk – 7 (1)
Merlin – 1
Solitary Sandpiper – 3
Belted Kingfisher – 3 (1)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher –8
Alder Flycatcher – 665 (152)
Least Flycatcher – 3 (2)
Hammond’s Flycatcher – 2
Dusky Flycatcher – 2 (1)
Warbling Vireo – 13
Black-capped Chickadee – 14 (4)
Boreal Chickadee – 5 (1)
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 5
Swainson’s Thrush – 16 (1)
Varied Thrush – 1
Tennessee Warbler – 1
Orange-crowned Warbler – 16 (5)
Yellow Warbler – 115 (30)
Magnolia Warbler – 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler – 45 (19)
Townsend’s Warbler – 3 (3)
Blackpoll Warbler – 66 (17)
American Redstart – 16 (1)
Northern Waterthrush – 42 (7)
Common Yellowthroat – 14 (7)
Wilson’s Warbler – 47 (20)
Chipping Sparrow – 15 (2)
Savannah Sparrow – 10 (4)
Lincoln’s Sparrow – 3 (1)
White-crowned Sparrow – 5 (4)
Dark-eyed Junco – 52 (1)
Purple Finch – 2
White-winged Crossbill – 2
Common Redpoll – 3
Pine Siskin – 3
= 1214 birds - 37 species - 0.357 birds/net hr (284 birds - 22 species – 0.437 birds/net hr)

 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Teslin Lake update - August 15



Alder Flycatcher
During the period of August 11th to 15th, the weather was mostly simply wonderful. A few mornings were a tad on the cool side (+3) but we had almost no wind and lots of sun. It was a real treat to be banding birds under those conditions and there was plenty to band! Each day, except for the 15th, we banded over 100 birds with a high tally of 156 on the 11th. A total of 565 birds (0.838 birds/net hr) were banded and a vast majority (410) of them were Alder Flycatchers including 120 on the 11th! Yellow Warbler (51), Northern Waterthrush (18), Blackpoll and Wilson’s Warbler (17 of each) rounded up the top five for the period. This brought the season total to 930 birds (0.337 birds/net hr) banded of 36 species. The current season top five is Alder Flycatcher 513 (astonishing 55% of the current season catch!!), Yellow Warbler 85, Dark-eyed Junco 51, Blackpoll Warbler 49 and Northern Waterthrush 35. New species for the season this period were Varied Thrush on the 11th, Least Flycatcher on the 12th, White-crowned Sparrow on the 14th and Magnolia Warbler on the 15th. The banding highlights were three Yellow-bellied Flycatchers and two Red-breasted Nuthatches on the 12th, and of course the hatch-year Magnolia Warbler, which is only the second record for Teslin area, on the 15th.


Young Magnolia Warbler - our rarity of the week!
As the Alder Flycatcher movement was so strong there wasn’t much time for other migration monitoring besides banding. A few flocks of Greater White-fronted Geese were seen including one of 178 birds. There was also a good number of White-winged Crossbills on the move with a high count of 90 on the 12th. Most of the raptor sightings consisted of local Bald Eagles and Red-tailed Hawks. A Merlin was seen patrolling the shoreline for passerines and Spotted Sandpipers and the male of the “Ten Mile Creek Valley” Northern Goshawk pair appeared above the trees on a couple of occasions. The season 1st Peregrine Falcon sat atop of the highest rock of the gull island for a couple of hours on the 12th causing havoc among the gulls and excitement among the TLBO staff. All the regular Loon and Grebe species were seen with increasing frequency and numbers although the numbers were still rather low. Arctic Terns and Bonaparte’s Gulls have all but gone while juvenile Mew and Herring Gulls are frequenting the recently emerged sandbar by the creek mouth. The same area has also attracted a few Semipalmated Plovers and Least Sandpipers while Solitary Sandpipers have preferred the pond. Other season 1st‘s included a White-winged Scoter on the 12th and a Townsend’s Solitaire on the 13th.

Merlin patrolling the shoreline pre-dawn

Specklebellies coming!!!

Aug 15 view north - notice more exposed shoreline than 2 weeks ago


The complete list of birds banded at TLBO this season by Aug 15th (last five days in brackets):

Sharp-shinned Hawk – 6 (2)
Merlin – 1
Solitary Sandpiper – 3
Belted Kingfisher – 2 (1)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher –8 (4)
Alder Flycatcher – 513 (410)
Least Flycatcher – 1 (1)
Hammond’s Flycatcher – 2
Dusky Flycatcher – 1
Warbling Vireo – 13
Black-capped Chickadee – 10 (2)
Boreal Chickadee – 4 (2)
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 4 (2)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 5 (1)
Swainson’s Thrush – 15 (4)
Varied Thrush – 1 (1)
Tennessee Warbler – 1
Orange-crowned Warbler – 11 (5)
Yellow Warbler – 85 (51)
Magnolia Warbler – 1 (1)
Yellow-rumped Warbler – 26 (8)
Blackpoll Warbler – 49 (17)
American Redstart – 15
Northern Waterthrush – 35 (18)
Common Yellowthroat – 7 (4)
Wilson’s Warbler – 27 (17)
Chipping Sparrow – 13 (3)
Savannah Sparrow – 6 (3)
Lincoln’s Sparrow – 2
White-crowned Sparrow – 1 (1)
Dark-eyed Junco – 51 (7)
Purple Finch – 2
White-winged Crossbill – 2
Common Redpoll – 3
Pine Siskin – 3
= 930 birds - 36 species - 0.337 birds/net hr (565 birds - 23 species – 0.838 birds/net hr)


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Teslin Lake update - August 10

Adult female Merlin - the star capture of the week

During the period of August 6th to 10th, the weather was quite unsettled. Wind and rain were common place but we only lost one full morning, the 10th, for the weather. A total of 113 birds (0.226 birds/net hr) were banded and the top three for the period was Alder Flycatcher 38, Yellow Warbler 16 and Blackpoll Warbler 15. This brought the season total to 365 birds (0.175 birds/net hr) banded of 32 species. The current season top five is Alder Flycatcher 103, Dark-eyed Junco 44, Yellow Warbler 34, Blackpoll Warbler 32 and Yellow-rumped Warbler 18. New species for the season this period were Tennessee Warbler on the 6th, Merlin and Belted Kingfisher on the 7th, and Dusky Flycatcher on the 8th. The banding highlights besides the new species for the season included three Sharp-shinned Hawks and two Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, one of them a second-year female, on the 8th.

Dusky Flycatcher

Each day, except for the 10th, the field observations had a few minor highlights too. On the 6th most of the action was on the lake where there were quite a few gulls of all the regular species, including a fun-to-sort-out mixed flock of 7 Thayer’s and 22 Mew Gulls, and 44 Red-necked Grebes were tallied in the lake count. On the 8th the season 1st Parasitic Jaeger was seen while Sharp-shinned Hawks zipped in and out of the bushes and a couple of them were even spotted flying south quite high. The next day we were surprised to see well over 20 raptors head south including 14 Northern Harriers and 2 Swainson’s Hawks, one of which was the first light-morph Swainson’s ever seen at TLBO! Other southbound goodies that day were 3 Olive-sided Flycatchers, over 200 swallows, a Red-breasted Nuthatch and a Red-necked Phalarope.


Abril photographing Sharp-shinned Hawk

The complete list of birds banded at TLBO this season by Aug 10th (last five days in brackets):

Sharp-shinned Hawk – 4 (3)
Merlin – 1 (1)
Solitary Sandpiper – 3
Belted Kingfisher – 1 (1)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher – 4 (3)
Alder Flycatcher – 103 (38)
Hammond’s Flycatcher – 2
Dusky Flycatcher – 1 (1)
Warbling Vireo – 13
Black-capped Chickadee – 8
Boreal Chickadee – 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 2 (1)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 4 (1)
Swainson’s Thrush – 11 (5)
Tennessee Warbler – 1 (1)
Orange-crowned Warbler – 6 (4)
Yellow Warbler – 34 (16)
Yellow-rumped Warbler – 18 (1)
Blackpoll Warbler – 32 (15)
American Redstart – 15 (1)
Northern Waterthrush – 17 (6)
Common Yellowthroat – 3
Wilson’s Warbler – 10 (4)
Chipping Sparrow – 10 (5)
Savannah Sparrow – 3
Lincoln’s Sparrow – 2
Dark-eyed Junco – 44 (5)
Purple Finch – 2
White-winged Crossbill – 2
Common Redpoll – 3 (1)
Pine Siskin – 3
= 365 birds - 32 species - 0.175 birds/net hr (113 birds -  20 species – 0.226 birds/net hr)

Spiderweb on a foggy morning


Bear track on the beach

Monday, August 6, 2012

Teslin Lake update - August 5th



Cute little Warbling Vireolette ready for a night in the town

During the first five days of August the weather turned into something more fall-like, wind and rain, and the temperatures dropped as well (around +6 at sunrise and around +13 at the time of closing). As a result there was some more bird movement. Alder Flycatcher migration was particularly evident and a few flocks of various gulls and ducks were southbound. 108 birds (0.21 birds/net hr) were banded and the top three for the period was Alder Flycatcher 48, Northern Waterthrush 8 and Blackpoll Warbler 7. This brought the season total to 252 birds (0.159 birds/net hr) banded of 28 species. The season top five is Alder Flycatcher 65, Dark-eyed Junco 39, Yellow Warbler 18, and Yellow-rumped and Blackpoll Warbler both 17. New ones for the season were Red-breasted Nuthatch and Wilson’s Warbler on the 1st, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and White-winged Crossbill on the 2nd, and Common Yellowthroat on the 4th. 51 birds, 30 of which were Alder Flycatchers, were banded on the 5th, thus far the season highest day total.

The season 1st Yellow-bellied Flycatcher


One of the two White-winged Crossbills


"Baby" Common Redpoll

After the last posting I was asked how come TLBO has such low totals early in the season when other interior stations across the country seem to band lots of birds. Well, TLBO is different. Unlike most of the other interior stations TLBO is not located at a productive marsh and as a result does not have an ample supply of local nesting birds and their offspring to boost the banding totals. The upside of the situation is that at TLBO with most species it is very easy to detect when the true fall movement begins, and when it does it can be quite impressive for a place this far north.

Southbound migration was evident outside the nets too. On the 1st, in between showers, over 100 swallows, mostly Bank Swallows, were counted. Other birds on the move included 28 Arctic Terns and 20 Northern Shovelers. On the 2nd, without a doubt the star bird of the period, an adult breeding-plumaged Yellow-billed Loon spent good two hours in the vicinity of the station! What was this high-Arctic breeder doing near the 60th parallel at this date? Had it spent the summer on Teslin Lake or did it just decide to head to the warmer waters full two months early...? Who knows. The season first 6 Thayer’s Gulls were seen on the same day. 35 Surf Scoters and 2 Harlequin Ducks were seen on the 5th. The same day count of 23 Bonaparte’s Gulls was locally high for such a late date in their case.

The original documentation attempt of the Yellow-billed Loon...

...and the final result after the "king" decided to come and check the TLBO staff out!


The complete list of birds banded at TLBO this season by Aug 5th (last five days in brackets):

Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
Solitary Sandpiper – 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher – 1 (1)
Alder Flycatcher – 65 (48)
Hammond’s Flycatcher – 2
Warbling Vireo – 13 (3)
Black-capped Chickadee – 8
Boreal Chickadee – 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 1 (1)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 3 (1)
Swainson’s Thrush – 6 (1)
Orange-crowned Warbler – 2 (1)
Yellow Warbler – 18 (3)
Yellow-rumped Warbler – 17 (6)
Blackpoll Warbler – 17 (7)
American Redstart – 14 (5)
Northern Waterthrush – 11 (8)
Common Yellowthroat – 3 (3)
Wilson’s Warbler – 6 (6)
Chipping Sparrow – 5 (3)
Savannah Sparrow – 3 (1)
Lincoln’s Sparrow – 2 (1)
Dark-eyed Junco – 39 (6)
Purple Finch – 2
White-winged Crossbill – 2 (2)
Common Redpoll – 2 (1)
Pine Siskin – 3

= 252 birds - 28 species - 0.159 birds/net hr (108 birds -  20 species – 0.21 birds/net hr)


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Update from Teslin Lake - July 23 to 31, 2012


As July turns into August it is still summer at Teslin Lake. Very few birds are on the move and both the nets and the banders are eagerly waiting for the busier times. The station opened on July 23rd and by the end of the month 144 birds of 23 species had been banded for just 0.135 birds/net hr. The current top three looks as follows: Dark-eyed Junco 33, Alder Flycatcher 17 and Yellow Warbler 15. Most of the birds caught are local breeders and their offspring but adult Alder Flycatchers have clearly started moving already. Other birds caught that don’t nest at the site include Sharp-shinned Hawk, Solitary Sandpiper, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Blackpoll Warbler and Chipping and Savannah Sparrow. The two most surprising birds banded so far, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a Common Redpoll, have both been presumably fairly local juveniles. While the sapsucker is a common nesting bird in the area it has over the years been a mysteriously rare sight right at TLBO.

On the lake the three common species of Loons have been seen in small numbers alongside a few Mergansers and locally nesting Herring Gulls. Bald Eagles and Spotted Sandpipers have been present almost daily and several Solitary Sandpipers have stopped in the pond. So far the only passerines overhead have been a few small flocks of both White-winged and Red Crossbills. A Western Tanager was noticed on the 29th.

At the start of the season the lake was very high but with the help of nice, sunny and warm (up to +27°C), weather it has been coming down for a rate faster than 5cm/day and at the moment we are only one net short of the full set-up. Pretty soon one may not even need rubber boots for completing the net run...

Even though the season has just begun many individuals have already been working and helping at the observatory. Ben Schonewille did the set-up and Ted Murphy-Kelly acted as the bander-in-charge for several days in the absence of yours truly. The Jordan family, visiting from Finland, played a major part in setting up the canopy net and Y2C2 crew Veronica Huggard, Marie Boucher and Will Parker spent two days clearing net lanes and trails. Thank you all!

Jukka

The full list of birds banded at TLBO this season (Jul 23-31):

Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
Solitary Sandpiper – 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1
Alder Flycatcher – 17
Hammond’s Flycatcher – 2
Warbling Vireo – 10
Black-capped Chickadee – 8
Boreal Chickadee – 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 2
Swainson’s Thrush – 5
Orange-crowned Warbler – 1
Yellow Warbler – 15
Yellow-rumped Warbler – 11
Blackpoll Warbler – 10
American Redstart – 9
Northern Waterthrush – 3
Chipping Sparrow – 2
Savanah Sparrow – 2
Lincoln’s Sparrow – 1
Dark-eyed Junco – 33
Purple Finch – 2
Common Redpoll – 1
Pine Siskin – 3
= 144 birds / 23 species

Y2C2 crew Will, Veronica and Marie. Still smiling after two days at TLBO - must be a great place !

The lakeshore looking north as of August 1st.

Capture of the week - Yellow-bellied Sapsucker