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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Teslin Lake update - Sept 30, 2015


The intricate patterns of a frosty net
The period started with cold but otherwise pretty nice weather but as the month draw closer to the end the temperatures soared (up to +15 one day!) and the winds picked up. For us it meant that on six days we had limited netting effort due to unfavorable weather. The small birds were still moving and we banded 349 birds breaking the 4000 birds banded in a season threshold for the first time and the new all time season record currently stands at 4163! The period top five was American Tree Sparrow 65, Ruby-crowned Kinglet 59, Dark-eyed Junco 48, Orange-crowned Warbler 39, and Boreal Chickadee 27. The current season top five is Alder Flycatcher 1058, Yellow Warbler 556, Wilson's Warbler 384, Orange-crowned Warbler 331, and Yellow-rumped Warbler 310.

This Orange-crowned Warbler marked the birth of the new all time season record
 Neither Boreal Chickadees or Dark-eyed Juncos started to move in numbers that we expected. Sharp-shinned Hawk and Gray-cheeked Thrush both reached a new season record. The banding highlights consisted of a late Swainson's Thrush and the season 2nd Golden-crowned Kinglet on the23rd, and of two more Mountain Chickadees on the 27th. No new species for the season were caught.
And this American Tree Sparrow was the bird #4000!

 No actual rarities were seen. Two fly-by Redheads on the 24th was probably the rarest species and two very late Bank Swallows on the 27th was perhaps the most unusual sighting.

A male American Redstart foraging in the willows by the shore
The story was the strong raptor migration. In six consecutive days, from the 22nd to the 27th, we tallied over 100 raptors each day, over 1700 in total! The two biggest days were the 25th with 564 and the 26th with 543 raptors. On both days the migration took place mostly in the afternoon and on both days the bulk of the migrants were Red-tailed Hawks (418 on the 25th and 296 on the 26th). The conditions, however, were quite different. On the 25th the weather cleared around noon and the raptors started flying into strong headwind but on the 26th, after a crazy sleet/snow storm, the wind suddenly shifted to northwest and the raptors took off under low hanging clouds but assisted by stormy tail wind. Each day all the common species were part of the flight including the first good numbers of Golden Eagles (39 on the 26th) and Rough-legged Hawks (45 on the 26th).

A group of Red-tailed Hawks soaring in the updraft on the side of the "eagle" mountain
It wasn't just raptors that were on the move on those days. The first Tundra Swans were seen, including 405 on the 25th and 760 on the 26th, and earlier good numbers of Sandhill Cranes passed through including 600 on the 23rd and 400 on the 24th. Snow Geese were seen in much higher numbers and more regularly than what is normal. The two highest counts were 470 on the 24th and 120 on the 26th. 1300 American Robins tallied on the 23rd was a good count but nowhere near the record.

313 Sandhill Cranes
Mixed duck flocks are fun to sort out - here Common Merganser (top) with two Shovelers and an Wigeon

The banding totals as of Sept 30 (the number in brackets indicates the number banded since the previous blog entry):

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 24 (5)
Solitary Sandpiper - 3
Belted Kingfisher - 6
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Olive-sided Flycatcher -2
Western Wood-Pewee - 4
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 11
Alder Flycatcher - 1058
Least Flycatcher - 4
Hammond's Flycatcher -21 (1)
Dusky Flycatcher - 2
Say's Phoebe - 2
Warbling Vireo - 10
Gray Jay - 1
Common Raven - 1
Black-capped Chickadee -31 (3)
Mountain Chickadee - 4 (2)
Boreal Chickadee - 130 (27)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 9
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 2 (1)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 274 (59)
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 11 (2)
Swainson's Thrush - 68 (1)
Hermit Thrush - 8 (2)
American Robin - 3
Varied Thrush - 2 (1)
American Pipit - 6
Tennessee Warbler -8
Orange-crowned Warbler - 331 (39)
Yellow Warbler - 556 (12)
Black-and-white Warbler - 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 310 (19)
Blackburnian Warbler - 1
Townsend's Warbler - 2
Blackpoll Warbler - 99
American Redstart - 47 (3)
Northern Waterthrush - 53
Common Yellowthroat - 88 (7)
Wilson's Warbler - 384 (22)
American Tree Sparrow - 133 (65)
Chipping Sparrow - 29
Savannah Sparrow - 55 (4)
Fox Sparrow - 42 (10)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 64 (10)
White-crowned Sparrow - 22 (4)
Golden-crowned Sparrow - 2
Dark-eyed Junco - 210 (48)
Rusty Blackbird - 18 (2)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Common Redpoll - 8
Pine Siskin - 1


= 4163 (349) birds of 51 (0) species


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