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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Albert Creek Bird Observatory Spring 2014 - April 23 to May 4

Once again this year we were challenged by the weather. The first week was spent setting up the station with two feet of snow still on the ground. The first few days brought few birds and plenty of snow. Most of our observations consisted of the “winter finch” and other “nomadics” category such as White-winged Crossbills, Common Redpolls, Pine Siskin and Bohemian Waxwing. Ruby-crowned Kinglets were evident and the local population of Boreal and Black-capped Chickadees were very busy. There were at least two pairs of Trumpeter Swans working the marsh and oxe bow area and possibly three. Ducks were few and far between as things remained ice bound. Tundra Swan and Greater white-fronted Goose have been low in numbers as they are expected at this time period. The familiar “big push of sparrows” is yet to happen as we have had dribs and drabs of Slate-colored Junco, American Tree Sparrow and Gambel’s White-crowned Sparrow. Fox Sparrows have been scarce. The first Myrtle Warbler was only detected on May 3rd. Species detected, slowly increased in week two bringing such familiar songsters as Varied Thrush. The first Hermit Thrush was detected on April 28th as it was banded while the first Rusty Blackbird was observed. Albert Creek’s star bird is still cooking for someone. The Barred Owl has been heard daily. As of May 4th the Rusty Blackbird crowd increased to 12 with a pair being banded.

Weather changed in the second week bringing frozen nights but bright blue skies during the day. The roblem was north winds prevailed with a brief change on May 3rd when south winds prevailed. It has been a late spring so far for species and numbers of species.

Thank you to our volunteers Susan Drury and Maxime Beauchamps for their help this past week, particularly with the arduous task of setting of the station.

Birds banded from April 23rd – May 4th

Black-capped Chickadee – 1
Boreal Chickadee – 11
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 20
Hermit Thrush -1
Varied Thrush – 1
Myrtle Warbler – 1
American Tree Sparrow – 12
White-crowned Sparrow -2
Slate-colored Junco – 11
Rusty Blackbird – 2
Common Redpoll – 4

Total = 66 birds of 11 species