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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)

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