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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Update from Albert Creek - Week 4 (May 13 to 19)


Week four was another cat and mouse game at Albert Creek with the weather; however, there was a lot of migration activity during the week. The station did not operate May 17th due to rain and snow and 3 other days were delayed due to rain or freezing temeratures.

Myrtle Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Wilson's Warbler and Northern Waterthrush made up the bulk of the warblers banded and observed with a strong showing from Lincoln's Sparrow as well. Swainson's Thrush had a good showing on May 10th and Grey-cheeked Thrush showed up on the 15th. Blackpoll Warbler was first detected on May 13th when one was mist netted. Sparrows such as White-crowns and American Tree continued to linger in the area throughout the week. Fox Sparrow completely fell off our radar except for one local breeder who set up his territory in the same place as in past years. The Barred Owl was heard throughout the week. Shorebird sightings included Pectoral, and Least Sandpiper as well as Red-necked Phalarope along with the usual Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers. Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs were also recorded on many days.

Many thanks to Shyloh Van Delft who volunteered from Tagish.  Manda Maggs from Teslin joined the team on May 19th and Susan Drury continues to put in many hours of her time on a daily basis. Thank you Jean Legare of Upper Liard for delivering more locally lumbered boards for our on going board walk repairs. 

Birds Banded During Week 4 (# in brackets is the season total)

Sora - 0 (1)
Spotted Sandpiper - 1 (1)
Solitary Sandpiper - 3 (4)
WIlson's Snipe - 0 (1)
Belted Kingfisher - 0 (1)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 5 (10)
Northern Flicker - 0 (1)
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 0 (1)
Hammond's Flycatcher - 4 (11)
Say's Phoebe - 0 (2)
Gray Jay - 2 (2)
Tree Swallow - 2 (2)
Boreal Chickadee - 0 (4)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 16 (90)
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 4 (4)
Swainson's Thrush - 30 (38)
Hermit Thrush - 2 (14)
American Robin - 2 (15)
Varied Thrush - 6 (9)
American Pipit - 0 (1)
Bohemian Waxwing - 0 (1)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 49 (203)
Yellow Warbler - 2 (2)
Myrtle Warbler - 198 (358)
Blackpoll Warbler - 4 (4)
Common Yellowthroat - 11 (11)
Northern Waterthrush - 68 (81)
Wilson's Warbler - 35 (39)
Lapland Longspur - 0 (1)
American Tree Sparrow - 22 (529)
Savannah Sparrow - 10 (20)
Fox Sparrow - 0 (181)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 70 (154)
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (3)
White-crowned Sparrow - 75 (244)
Golden-crowned Sparrow - 1 (1)
Slate-colored Junco - 15 (243)
Red-winged Blackbird - 1 (1)
Rusty Blackbird - 0 (79)
Purple Finch - 0 (2)
Common Redpoll - 2 (55)

TOTAL =  643 (2,424)


male Blackpoll Warbler

male Common Yellowthroat

Spotted Sandpiper

Jukka and Ted collecting bird observations in the snow

board walks at Albert Creek


Monday, May 14, 2012

Update from Albert Creek - Weeks #2 and 3 (April 29 to May 12)


The 2nd and 3rd weeks of spring migration monitoring at Albert Creek Bird Observatory were very busy and cold!  On many days temperatures were too cold to start at official time and during week 3 winds were also a problem. We were completely weathered out on May 4th due to rain. 

The sparrows continued to dominate the migration picture with hundreds of American Tree Sparrows and Slate colored Juncos leading the pack.On May 1st we were caught off guard when a major fallout of Myrtle Warblers joined the masses of sparrows. This was a record early movement with 85 being banded. This resulted in a 250 bird day. On the following day we banded another 212 birds this time White-crowned Sparrows and Fox Sparrows surged through the area. On May 8th we had a noticeable movement of Orange-crowned Warblers with 79 banded of a total  of 173 birds banded. Banding highlights included a SORA on May 3rd which puts teh Yukon Bird Observatories'  all time species total for banding at 103. An Olive-Sided Flycatcher was banded on May 5th. ACBO shattered the previous season record total for banded Tree Sparrows. There have been just over 500 ATSP banded this spring compared to the previous high of 345. Rusty Blackbird also made a good showing with 79 banded so far.

Some arrival dates for species of interest include: Wilson's Warbler (April 30 --- > record early), Swainson's Thrush (May 3 -- >ties record early date), Swamp Sparrow (May 3)

Tundra Swan migration peaked on April 30th with 1146 estimated.  Greater White-fronted Geese were not as apparent with only 233 counted on that same day. The Pileated Woodpecker has not been detected since first reported in April but the Barred Owl has been heard on most days sometimes well into the morning. 

A huge thank you goes out to Susan Drury of Watson Lake who was our much valued net runner and scribe on all but one day during the two week stretch. Thank you also goes out to Matt Clarke, Ryan Drummond and Amber Rudd of Watson Lake for putting in their time just when I needed it most. Finally, thank you to Barry Drury for lending ACBO his ice fishing hut which serves as a good banding lab/ storage area when the weather gets bad.

Birds Banded to Date (# in brackets is the season total)

Sora - 1 (1)
Solitary Sandpiper - 1 (1)
Wilson's Snipe - 0 (1)
Belted Kingfisher - 1 (1)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 5 (5)
Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker - 1 (1)
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 1 (1)
Hammond's Flycatcher - 7 (7)
Say's Phoebe - 2 (2)
Boreal Chickadee - 2 (4)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 50 (74)
Swainson's Thrush - 8 (8)
Hermit Thrush - 12 (12)
American Robin - 13 (13)
Varied Thrush - 3 (3)
American Pipit - 1 (1)
Bohemian Waxwing - 1 (1)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 154 (154)
Myrtle Warbler - 156 (160)
Northern Waterthrush - 13 (13)
Wilson's Warbler - 4 (4)
Lapland Longspur - 1 (1)
American Tree Sparrow - 242 (507)
Savannah Sparrow - 8 (10)
Fox Sparrow - 169 (181)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 79 (84)
Swamp Sparrow - 2 (2)
Gambel's White-crowned Sparrow - 166 (169)
Slate-colored Junco - 93 (228)
Rusty Blackbird - 58 (79)
Common Redpoll - 51 (53)

Total - 1305 (1781) of 30 (31) species 

American Pipit

Belted Kingfisher

Bohemian Waxwing

Sora - Yukon Bird Observatories 103rd species banded to date !

Wilson's Warbler - record early banded on April 30

female Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Yukon Bird Observatories - McIntyre Marsh - May 2, 2012

One of the primary purposes of the field station at McIntyre Marsh is to provide an opportunity for the public to visit a bird banding station and allow easy access for those individuals interested in the activities of the Yukon Bird Observatories.  Since April 21st, the station has operated for a total of 8 days and there have been very many birds at the site thus far.

When the station opened on the 21st, the majority of birds banded were Slate-colored Juncos and American Tree Sparrows.  Low numbers of Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Lincoln Sparrow, Fox Sparrow and Yellow-rumped Warbler were also at the station during the first few days of operation. A visiting school group the 26th was fortunate to see a nice male Violet-green Swallow banded.  We also like to show the visiting school groups a variety of bird species to show how every species is specially adapted to their ecological neiche and a swallow is a perfect example of this !

Towards the last few days of April, the numbers of juncos and tree sparrows began to decrease just as White-crowned Sparrows began to increase and the first Golden-crowned Sparrows were banded.  A visting school group on May 2nd got to see the first Orange-crowned Warbler of the season.

To date, a total of 676 birds of 12 species have been banded; see the list below for the total number of birds banded thus far.  We have also had a high number of visitors to date; excluding those individuals assisting with the station's operations, we have hosted 57 visitors for a total of 145 visitor hours.

The operation of the station over the past 10 days would not have been possible without the assistance of the following volunteers: Nick Guenette, Mary & Gerry Whitely, Tracy Allard, Max, Anne McLeod, Brian Charles, Tami & Shay Hamilton, Hilary Cooke, Mike Setterington and John Meikle.  Thank you for your help everyone !

Thank you the following supports of the Yukon Bird Observatories' 2012 operations: Yukon Fish & Wildlife Enhancement Trust Fund, Environment Canada, Environment Yukon, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Alaska Pipeline Project, Teslin Renewable Resource Council, Yukon Electrical Company Limited and EDI Environmental Dynamics Inc.

Banding Totals

Violet-green Swallow                     = 1
Black-capped Chickadee                = 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet                   = 22
American Robin                             = 1
Orange-crowned Warbler               = 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler                 = 25
American Tree Sparrow                 = 133
Fox Sparrow                                   = 5
Lincoln's Sparrow                          = 5
White-crowned Sparrow                = 37
Golden-crowned Sparrow              = 9
Dark-eyed Junco                            = 434

TOTAL                                           = 676

American Robin

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Slate-colored Junco

Ruby-crowned Kinglet