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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Teslin Lake update - August 31

Alder Flycatcher #812!
First we want to apologize for the lateness of this blog entry. We’ve been having some trouble with our internet connection.

The period of August 26th to 31st was a very exciting one. Lot of things happened but we also had a lot of bad weather, mostly high winds and some rain, that forced us to scale down our banding effort. However, that same bad weather made birds move and we got to see some nice flights of different species. A couple of rare birds, a Pacific-slope Flycatcher from the nets and a Black Turnstone observed along the beach (see the previous post for photos), added to the excitement. A total of 192 birds (0.312 birds/net hr) were banded and that brought the season total to 1631 birds (0.363 birds/net hr) banded of 41 species. The most anticipated event and one of the biggest highlights of the period happened on the 30th when the season 812th Alder Flycatcher was banded breaking the old record! Another significant even took place that very same morning – it was the first frost morning of the season!! The period top five was Alder Flycatcher 54, Yellow Warbler 34, Yellow-rumped Warbler 15, Black-capped Chickadee 12 and Common Yellowthroat 9 while the current season top five is Alder Flycatcher 817, Yellow Warbler 174, Blackpoll Warbler 81, Yellow-rumped Warbler 78 and Wilson’s Warbler 74. Besides the ah-so-exciting Pacific-slope Flycatcher, three new species for the season were caught: MacGillivray’s Warbler on the 26th, and Gray-cheeked Thrush and Rusty Blackbird  both on the 30th. MacGillivray’s is an uncommon nesting bird in Teslin area in large aspen stands with thick understory. Normally we band an average of two per season but last year we didn’t catch any. Gray-cheek captures average just a handful a year so both were quite exciting birds for us.

MacGillivray's Warbler
Gray-cheeked Thrush
young female Rusty Blackbird - a season 1st

The morning of the 26th started cloudy with strong northwesterly wind and flocks of Greater White-fronted Geese were heading south as we arrived to the site. The movement lasted strong for about three hours in which time we tallied about 4000 of them. The following day the wind was still strong but had shifted to south/south-east with the result that not much happened with migration. The absolute highlight of the day was the Yukon’s third ever Black Turnstone touching down briefly at the creek mouth. A juvenile Sanderling spent most of the day in the same area while seven Townsend’s Solitaires was a record day count for TLBO. On the 28th the northwest wind was back on blowing at times 40km/h. This time the early morning hours were quiet but soon after 10 am the White-fronts started moving and by 3 pm we had counted 6200 geese and as a surprise 89 Sandhill Cranes. Also on the move were a few raptors, including 14 Northern Harriers, 16 Sharp-shinned Hawks, a Swainson’s Hawk and a Peregrine Falcon. On the 29th the northwest wind was even stronger and even our most protected nets were impossible to operate so once again we turned our eyes to the sky and this time it was the season’s first decent flight of raptors that kept us entertained. Some of the highlights included 102 Red-tailed Hawks, 17 Northern Harriers, 3 Swainson’s Hawks, a Peregrine and an early Gyrfalcon. Another 120 Sandhill Cranes passed by too. The highlights of the 30th were two fly-by season firsts, a Northern Hawk Owl and an American Three-toed Woodpecker. Not much happened on the 31st.

More specklebellies!
Sandhill Cranes against the base of "eagle mountain"
Dark-morph Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk

juvenile Sanderling
Abril counting migration in NW storm

At this point we’d like to thank our volunteers Toby Bernstein, Ray Harrison, Jen Sibbald, Andy Pfeffer, Nick and Ron Guenette, and Gwen Baluss, that have come, helped out and gone.

The first frost!

yet another different kind of a sunrise...

...and a moonset

End of August look of the shoreline

The complete list of birds banded at TLBO this season by Aug 31st (last six days in brackets):

Sharp-shinned Hawk – 8 (1)
Merlin – 1
Solitary Sandpiper – 3
Belted Kingfisher – 6 (2)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1
Western Wood-Pewee – 2 (1)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher –9
Pacific-slope Flycatcher – 1 (1)
Alder Flycatcher – 817 (54)
Least Flycatcher – 3
Hammond’s Flycatcher – 3 (1)
Dusky Flycatcher – 2
Warbling Vireo – 15 (1)
Black-capped Chickadee – 28 (12)
Boreal Chickadee – 19 (8)
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 8 (2)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 7 (2)
Gray-cheeked Thrush – 1 (1)
Swainson’s Thrush – 34 (8)
Varied Thrush – 1
Tennessee Warbler – 1
Orange-crowned Warbler – 29 (8)
Yellow Warbler – 174 (34)
Magnolia Warbler – 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler – 78 (15)
Townsend’s Warbler – 4
Blackpoll Warbler – 81 (5)
American Redstart – 18 (2)
Northern Waterthrush – 46 (1)
MacGillivray’s Warbler – 1 (1)
Common Yellowthroat – 30 (9)
Wilson’s Warbler – 74 (7)
Chipping Sparrow – 17 (1)
Savannah Sparrow – 15 (3)
Fox Sparrow – 4 (1)
Lincoln’s Sparrow – 6 (2)
White-crowned Sparrow – 11 (3)
Dark-eyed Junco – 59 (3)
Rusty Blackbird – 3 (3)
Purple Finch – 2
White-winged Crossbill – 2
Common Redpoll – 3
Pine Siskin – 3
= 1631 birds - 41 species - 0.363 birds/net hr (192 birds - 28 species – 0.312 birds/net hr)


1 comment:

  1. Hi

    Wondering if I could use your Alder Flycatcher head shots on your website for my free online 'Birds of Vancouver Island'. It would be much appreciated.