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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Teslin Lake update - September 20, 2016

There was so little happening that we had time for a fiesta at the banding table!!

The mid-September period was really a quiet one. We had very few sightings of interest and banding was slow as well. In fact, it felt like October with leafs falling and the forest all quiet.

Common Loons

Cameron Eckert (L) and Boris Dobrowolsky (R) scanning the lake
In spite of the quiet, there were a few highlights. One of them was a high-flying southbound Northern Hawk Owl on Sep 13 and on the same day we finally saw our first Jaeger of the season. Unfortunately the views were distant and brief so we couldn't determine the species. Likely the same bird gave nice views on Sep 16 and was identified as a Parasitic Jaeger. The season 1st Glaucous Gull, a juvenile, landed briefly on the sandbar on Sep 15 and the season 1st Snow Geese, a flock of 74, gave excellent views to an unusually numerous crowd of observers on Sep 18. The first two Swans flew high overhead the same day but could not be identified to a species. There wasn't much action with birds flying by. A few to a few tens of raptors were seen most days and Lapland Longspurs would zip by in ones and twos per morning. The only higher counts were made of White-winged Crossbill (151 on Sep 16) and American Robin (430 on Sep 17).

Snow Geese

Merlin showing a Raven who is the king of the airspace at the tip
 We banded only 209 birds during this period. An American Pipit on Sep 12 was a season 1st as was a Common Redpoll on Sep 20. Two young male Golden-crowned Kinglets were a nice treat on Sep 18. The period top five was Dark-eyed Junco 66, Yellow-rumped Warbler 30, Ruby-crowned Kinglet 21, Orange-crowned Warbler 17 and Boreal Chickadee 16. The current season top five is Alder Flycatcher 498, Yellow Warbler 449, Orange-crowned Warbler 359, Yellow-rumped Warbler 279 and Dark-eyed Junco 199. 

American Pipit

The banding totals as of September 20th (the number in brackets indicates the number banded since the last blog entry):

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 10 (2)
Merlin - 1
Least Sandpiper - 1
Spotted Sandpiper - 1
Wilson's Snipe - 1
Belted Kingfisher - 4
Downy Woodpecker - 4
Northern Flicker - 3
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 1
Western Wood-Pewee - 3
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 16
Alder Flycatcher - 498 (4)
Least Flycatcher - 7
Hammond's Flycatcher - 19 (1)
Western Flycatcher - 1
Say's Phoebe - 2
Warbling Vireo - 24 (1)
Black-capped Chickadee - 22 (9)
Boreal Chickadee - 38 (15)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 3 (2)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 71 (21)
Townsend's Solitaire - 2
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 8 (1)
Swainson's Thrush - 82 (2)
Hermit Thrush - 4 (3)
American Robin - 3
America Pipit - 2 (2)
Tennessee Warbler - 13
Orange-crowned Warbler - 359 (17)
Yellow Warbler - 449 (6)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 279 (30)
Blackpoll Warbler - 134 (4)
Townsend's Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 15
Northern Waterthrush - 34
Common Yellowthroat - 57 (6)
Wilson's Warbler - 170 (7)
American Tree Sparrow - 17 (4)
Chipping Sparrow - 31
Fox Sparrow - 9 (3)
White-crowned Sparrow - 15
Dark-eyed Junco - 199 (66)
Savannah Sparrow - 17 (1)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 12 (1)
Song Sparrow - 1
Rusty Blackbird - 5
White-winged Crossbill - 46
Common Redpoll - 1 (1)
Pine Siskin - 3

= 2702 (209) birds of 50 (2) species



Saturday, September 17, 2016

Teslin Lake update - September 10, 2016

Cool clouds at sunrise


The first ten days of September offered a lot of exciting birding and banding. Pretty much every day there were sightings of interest and good southward movement of various species. The main movement of Greater White-fronted Geese happened on Sep 1 when we tallied over 1600 of them, actually a low number for a peak for them.  Also a Swainson's Hawk was seen that day. The first signs of raptor migration occured during the next two days with a few tens of both Sharp-shinned and Harlan's Hawks seen. More impressive was the flight of Yellow-rumped Warblers on Sep 3 with 225 of them identified and a further over a thousand unidentified passerines counted flying past TLBO. Lapland Longspur and Three-toed Woodpecker that day were both new for the season. On Sep 4 the season firsts Sanderling and Long-billed Dowitcher were noticed while a group of three Golden-crowned Kinglets at the tip was unusual. The same day we counted 75 Rusty Blackbirds. On Sep 5 we had two season firsts - Hairy Woodpecker and Black-billed Magpie.

A group of Harlequin Ducks, an uncommon sight at TLBO

Juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - a new species for TLBO!
In the other end of the migration spectrum, a Bank Swallow on Sep 6 was quite late and likely the last sighting of the season. Also that day over 1800 passerines were counted flying by including 280 Varied Thrush, 180 Yellow-rumped Warblers and 110 White-winged Crossbills plus plenty of unidentifieds. The season first Golden Eagle was seen on Sep 7. Sep 8 was the day of quality as first a group of four Harlequin Ducks was spotted followed by juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - a new species for the observatory! Finally, the period had a great ending with a really nice flight of over 400 Sandhill Cranes and over 650 raptors on Sep 10! The raptors were a good selection of most common Yukon species and included the following - Harlan's Hawk 368, Sharp-shinned Hawk 141, Northern Harrier 54, American Kestrel 38, Bald Eagle 14, Osprey 13, Peregrine Falcon 10, Merlin 9, Golden Eagle 8 and the season first Rough-legged Hawk one. 

The first Hermit Thrush of the season

We banded three Downy Woodpeckers early September - a high count for us

Banding was really quite busy as we banded  847 birds in nine mornings (Sep 10 was a rain day). Each of the first four days of the period had over 100 birds banded, including 207 on the 1st. We had no particularly rare or uncommon birds but two season firsts - Grey-cheeked Thrush on Sep 1 and Hermit Thrush on Sep 8. Both Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Orange-crowned Warbler reached a new season record. The period top five was Yellow Warbler 209, Orange-crowned Warbler 179, Wilson's Warbler 117, Dark-eyed Junco 92, and Alder Flycatcher 78. The current season top five is Alder Flycatcher 494, Yellow Warbler 443, Orange-crowned Warbler 342, Yellow-rumped Warbler 249, and Wilson's Warbler 163.

Orange-crowned Warbler reached a new season record in early September. This bird is a young female showing a rare greater covert molt limit (this info for the bird nerds)

The banding totals as of September 10th (the number in brackets indicates the number banded since the last blog entry):

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 8 (3)
Merlin - 1
Least Sandpiper - 1
Spotted Sandpiper - 1
Wilson's Snipe - 1
Belted Kingfisher - 4
Downy Woodpecker - 4 (3)
Northern Flicker - 3
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 1
Western Wood-Pewee - 3 (1)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 16 (3)
Alder Flycatcher - 494 (78)
Least Flycatcher - 7
Hammond's Flycatcher - 18 (1)
Western Flycatcher - 1
Say's Phoebe - 2 (1)
Warbling Vireo - 23 (1)
Black-capped Chickadee - 13 (1)
Boreal Chickadee - 23 (18)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 50 (30)
Townsend's Solitaire - 2
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 7 (7)
Swainson's Thrush - 80 (42)
Hermit Thrush - 1 (1)
American Robin - 3
Tennessee Warbler - 13 (1)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 342 (179)
Yellow Warbler - 443 (209)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 249 (48)
Blackpoll Warbler - 130 (22)
Townsend's Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 15 (1)
Northern Waterthrush - 34 (10)
Common Yellowthroat - 51 (20)
Wilson's Warbler - 163 (117)
American Tree Sparrow - 13 (12)
Chipping Sparrow - 31
Fox Sparrow - 6 (3)
White-crowned Sparrow - 15 (2)
Dark-eyed Junco - 133 (92)
Savannah Sparrow - 16 (4)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 11 (3)
Song Sparrow - 1
Rusty Blackbird - 5 (2)
White-winged Crossbill - 46
Pine Siskin - 3

= 2493 (847) birds of 48 (2) species


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Teslin Lake update - August 31 2016


Another pastel coloured sunrise. This time view towards southeast and the Aces


There were a few interesting sightings made during the last third of August. As common a bird as Killdeer is actually quite rare at TLBO but one juvenile stopped on the shore on Aug 27 and two more on Aug 30. The rest of the interesting sighting were all new migrants for the season - a Peregrine Falcon on Aug 27, Greater Scaup on Aug 28, Harlequin Duck and Mountain Bluebird on Aug 29, and Swainson's Hawk on Aug 31. Harlequin Duck is a very uncommon migrant through the site and the Mountain Bluebirds were very early. Usually we don't see them before the last week of September.

Juvenile Killdeer

Wilson's Snipe
Banding was much busier than in the mid-August period with a total of 690 birds banded including 182 on Aug 21, 132 on Aug 30, and 118 on Aug 31. The two most exciting birds caught were a Merlin on Aug 21 and a Wilson's Snipe on Aug 30. Both were only the fourth individual of their species banded at TLBO. A Townsend's Solitaire on Aug 27 was the second for the season making this year the only year we've ever caught more than one. American Tree Sparrow and Rusty Blackbird, both on Aug 24, were new banding species for the season too. The period top five is as follows:  Yellow Warbler 136, Alder Flycatcher 134, Orange-crowned Warbler 129, Wilson's Warbler 68, Yellow-rumped Warbler 61, and the season top five looks like this: Alder Flycatcher 416, Yellow Warbler 234, Yellow-rumped Warbler 201, Orange-crowned Warbler 163, and Blackpoll Warbler 108.


A Merlin (L) and a Sharp-shinned Hawk caught on the same net round

The banding totals as of August 31st (the number in brackets indicates the number banded since the last blog entry):

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 5 (3)
Merlin - 1 (1)
Least Sandpiper - 1
Spotted Sandpiper - 1
Wilson's Snipe - 1 (1)
Belted Kingfisher - 4
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Northern Flicker - 3
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 1
Western Wood-Pewee - 2
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 13 (3)
Alder Flycatcher - 416 (134)
Least Flycatcher - 7 (2)
Hammond's Flycatcher - 17
Western Flycatcher - 1
Say's Phoebe - 1
Warbling Vireo - 22 (3)
Black-capped Chickadee - 12 (3)
Boreal Chickadee - 5 (2)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 20 (11)
Townsend's Solitaire - 2 (1)
Swainson's Thrush - 38 (20)
American Robin - 3
Tennessee Warbler - 12 (3)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 163 (129)
Yellow Warbler - 234 (136)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 201 (61)
Blackpoll Warbler - 108 (38)
Townsend's Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 14 (1)
Northern Waterthrush - 24 (7)
Common Yellowthroat - 31 (18)
Wilson's Warbler - 46 (68)
American Tree Sparrow - 1 (1)
Chipping Sparrow - 31 (3)
Fox Sparrow - 3 (3)
White-crowned Sparrow - 13 (4)
Dark-eyed Junco - 41 (20)
Savannah Sparrow - 12 (4)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 8 (5)
Song Sparrow - 1
Rusty Blackbird - 3 (3)
White-winged Crossbill - 46 (2)
Pine Siskin - 3

= 1646 (690) birds of 46 (5) species



A curious Porcupine