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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Teslin Lake update - September 10

Moulting juvenile Townsend's Solitaire is a funny looking bird!

The period from September 6th to 10th was very quiet at the nets but luckily towards the end of the period there was some action in the sky. The weather was mostly cold and windy and on some days we were barely able to operate any of the nets. There was some fresh snow up on the mountains on the morning of the 8th. We only banded 52 birds (0.153 birds/net hr) for a season total of 1803 birds (0.328 birds/net hr) of 45 species. Ten Dark-eyed Juncos and 8 Yellow-rumped Warblers accounted for a third of the catch. The current season top five is Alder Flycatcher 826, Yellow Warbler 178, Yellow-rumped Warbler 126, Blackpoll Warbler 84, and Wilson’s Warbler 83. Three new species for the season were banded on the 8th: Hermit Thrush, American Tree Sparrow and Townsend’s Solitaire which was only the third of its kind to be banded at TLBO! Another somewhat exciting bird banded was a Common Redpoll on the 7th, the first one since thefew local-looking juveniles early in the season.
 
The season 1st Hermit Thrush
In light southeast wind on the 7th the first small flocks of migrating Canada Geese were seen together with the first modest flight of large thrushes - the 330 seen were quite evenly divided between American Robin and Varied Thrush. Small number of raptors and 73 American Pipits were also seen flying by that day. Parasitic Jaegers were seen daily during the period, and many times a day, but it was very difficult to get any idea of how many birds were involved as they were all full light-morph adults, some with and others without a breast-band. Four were seen together on the 8th. For us interior folks it was a treat to get to watch them so often and from perfect scoping distance. On a few occasions we even got to see them chase and rob gulls! Another treat were the few Thayer’s Gulls that opted to spend some time on the foreshore providing us with great close-up views instead of the usual semi-distant flocks-in-migration-flight views. The 9th was a fairly busy migration day with bigger birds as 2800 geese and 75 raptors were tallied. About 2000 of the geese were identified as White-fronted Geese. While it was exciting to see 3 Peregrine Falcons the show of the day was provided by the season 1st Golden Eagle. As we were checking a flock of five geese for their identity, they suddenly started to bank heavily to one side and then went into a total disarray as the eagle was stooping towards them from the heights. Soon one of the geese was in vertical downward spiral the eagle in hot pursuit and just as the goose seemed doomed it was able to pull off a couple of nifty zig-zags and loose the eagle! On the 10th, the hard wind blowing from northwest brought so far the best raptor flight of the season. The most numerous ones of the just over 300 seen were Sharp-shinned Hawk (109), Northern Harrier (85) and Red-tailed Hawk (64). Also seen were 2 Swainson’s Hawks and 5 Peregrines. 13 Merlins was a new observatory day record. Also seen were the season first 5 Tundra Swans. On the 10th we also said good bye to Shyloh van Delft, our latest long term volunteer, who promised to be back in October. We are eagerly waiting for her return...

Flock of Canada Geese passing gull island
 
Flock of four juvenile Harriers during lake crossing

juvenile Thayer's Gull

Small (female) Herring Gull (L) with large (male) Thayer's Gull (R). Notice identical molt stage

 
The first fresh snow up on the mountains!

Smiloh!

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

Sharp-shinned Hawk – 9
Merlin – 1
Solitary Sandpiper – 3
Belted Kingfisher – 6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1
Western Wood-Pewee – 3
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher –9
Pacific-slope Flycatcher – 1
Alder Flycatcher – 826 (2)
Least Flycatcher – 3
Hammond’s Flycatcher – 5 (1)
Dusky Flycatcher – 2
Warbling Vireo – 15
Black-capped Chickadee – 34 (6)
Boreal Chickadee – 38 (5)
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 11 (1)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 18 (4)
Townsend’s Solitaire – 1 (1)
Gray-cheeked Thrush – 1
Swainson’s Thrush – 40
Hermit Thrush – 1 (1)
Varied Thrush – 1
Tennessee Warbler – 1
Orange-crowned Warbler – 36
Yellow Warbler – 178 (1)
Magnolia Warbler – 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler – 126 (8)
Townsend’s Warbler – 6
Blackpoll Warbler – 84
Cape May Warbler – 1
American Redstart – 20
Northern Waterthrush – 46
MacGillivray’s Warbler – 1
Common Yellowthroat – 38 (4)
Wilson’s Warbler – 83 (4)
American Tree Sparrow – 1 (1)
Chipping Sparrow – 17
Savannah Sparrow – 17 (1)
Fox Sparrow – 4
Lincoln’s Sparrow – 7
White-crowned Sparrow – 13 (1)
Dark-eyed Junco – 78 (10)
Rusty Blackbird – 5
Purple Finch – 2
White-winged Crossbill – 2
Common Redpoll – 4 (1)
Pine Siskin – 3
= 1803 birds - 45 species - 0.328 birds/net hr (52 birds - 17 species – 0.153 birds/net hr)

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