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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Teslin Lake update, September 10 2014

Moonset on a cold morning, Sept 9. Notice the fresh snow on the mountain.

The first ten days of September were very variable with weather including two and a half days of solid rain (the 5th-7th) which brought the lake water up by more than 10cm and on the 8th the first subzero temperatures as we opened that morning at -3˚C! Higher up the rain came as snow so now the surrounding mountains have beautiful white caps. The last three days also offered some nice and much welcomed sunshine.

Ted Murphy-Kelly enjoying the rare warmth of sun
This Alder Flycatcher received band number 2730-88888!

 When it wasn't raining and we were able to operate the birds were on the move. During the period we had three over 100 bird days (106 on the 2nd, 141 on the 8th, and 105 on the 9th) and banded a total of 686 birds. The top five for the period was Yellow Warbler (187), Orange-crowned Warbler (98), Wilson's Warbler (64), Pine Siskin (64) and Alder Flycatcher (60). The current top five for the season is now Alder Flycatcher (494), Yellow Warbler (484), Pine Siskin (275), Yellow-rumped Warbler (156) and Wilson's Warbler (152). 

Gray-cheeked Thrush have reached a new one season record with 10 banded so far
Adult female Rusty Blackbird
After the miserable rain stopped and the weather cleared we opened the morning of the 8th with a 85 bird net-round, mostly Orange-crowned Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets! The first Gray-cheeked Thrush was banded on the 2nd and the first Western Wood-Pewee on the 3rd. The steady good days have brought the numbers up so that the season total as of Sept 10 is now the third highest of all the years - something one wouldn't have believed to happen just a few weeks ago after such a dismal start! We continued our owling under not so perfect conditions on the 5th and under perfect conditions on the 8th banding 8 Boreal Owls on the latter night but not surprisingly none on the former. The latter night we were also treated with a hooting Great Horned Owl and a steady nocturnal flight of Catharus thrushes including all the three Yukon species (Swainson's, Gray-cheeked and Hermit)!

A flock of Greater White-fronted Geese passing by on a cold morning
Migrating Townsend's Solitaire passing over the banding site
One of the very few Three-toed Woodpeckers seen so far
The busy banding mornings meant that the observation and particularly the visual migration counting effort suffered because all the personnel were needed to be involved with the banding. The little migration counting that was done showed that there was some notable Yellow-rumped Warbler movement happening as well as decent numbers of Varied Thrushes (over 100 were counted on two mornings). 33 Thayer's Gulls were seen on the 1st and a Harlequin Duck stopped briefly at the creek mouth that morning too. Another two flew by on the 10th. Five Swainson's Hawks and 30 Sharp-shinned Hawks were counted on the 2nd. Two more Swainson's were seen on the 4th as well as the season 1st, and possibly last, Common Nighthawk. A total of four Peregrines were seen during the period as well as the first Ospreys and Golden Eagles (3 on the 9th). On the lake early in the period up to four Parasitic Jaegers could be seen daily while Arctic Terns disappeared promptly and completely at the turn of the month. A full breeding-plumaged adult Sabine's Gull cruised the lake back and forth for a few hours on the 4th and the season first Snow Goose was seen on the same day. The counts of Red-throated Loons reached double digits and on the 3rd there were just short of 100 Red-necked Grebes visible from the observatory.

This Merlin stopped briefly right above the banding table. Lucky for the banding crew it didn't poop!
Freshly emerged Mourning Cloak also enjoys the sun!
A young Red Squirrel with a rose hip

Here are the banding totals as of Sept 10 including birds banded as part of the owling effort (the number in brackets is the number banded since the last blog entry):

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 8 (5)
Solitary Sandpiper - 1
Wilson's Snipe - 1
Boreal Owl - 16 (8)
Belted Kingfisher - 8 (1)
Western Wood-Pewee - 2 (2)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 3
Alder Flycatcher - 494 (60)
Least Flycatcher - 2
Hammond's Flycatcher - 7 (3)
Dusky Flycatcher - 3
Warbling Vireo - 12
Black-capped Chickadee - 13
Boreal Chickadee - 3 (1)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 3 (1)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 45 (31)
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 10 (10)
Swainson's Thrush - 49 (8)
American Robin - 9
Varied Thrush - 3 (2)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 125 (98)
Yellow Warbler - 484 (187)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 156 (35)
Townsend's Warbler - 10 (1)
Blackpoll Warbler - 60 (5)
American Redstart - 25
Northern Waterthrush - 48 (8)
Common Yellowthroat - 71 (32)
Wilson's Warbler - 152 (64)
American Tree Sparrow - 2
Chipping Sparrow - 15 (1)
Savannah Sparrow - 17 (6)
Fox Sparrow - 13 (11)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 7 (1)
White-crowned Sparrow - 12 (5)
Golden-crowned Sparrow - 1
Slate-coloured Junco - 79 (33)
Rusty Blackbird - 4 (3)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 2
Purple Finch - 3
White-winged Crossbill - 2
Common Redpoll - 1
Pine Siskin - 275 (64)

Total = 2256 (686) birds of 43 species

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