Archive for August, 2011

Aug. 31 – Quiz 3.0

Hopefully Chris didn’t scare all y’all avid readers away with his multitudinous stats yesterday :). We had another good day today, very similar to yesterday with a steady pace of 3-6 birds/net round being maintained throughout the morning for a total of 42 birds banded. Some of the later sparrows are starting to appear in low numbers; we had just our second Fox Sparrow of the season on opening round and a couple Savannah and White-crowned Sparrows observed along with the ever-present Lincoln’s and Songs. Common Yellowthroats have now arrived in a big way with 15 ETed today, 5 of which were banded. Just our second “Audubon’s” Yellow-rumped Warbler of the season a 2 latish Dusky Flycatchers also found our nets.

Fairly low activity and bird abundance didn’t stop there being quite a decent diversity of species recorded on a census that started off with  a bang with a Sharp-shinned Hawk bouncing around in net 13. I managed to get to it before it was able to free itself and thus Chris banded our second “Sharpie” of the season. Highlights of census include a calling Sora, always nice here and 2 more Sharp-shinned Hawks, these ones soaring overhead. Also overhead, I heard our first American Pipit of the season, later in the morning 3 more flew over.

After being one our most numerous birds the past two days, Warbling Vireos were noticeably absent, with none captured and just 3 observed today. Dark-eyed Juncos did not figure at all on our ETs, another surprise.

Quiz bird 3.0

Species Band Recap
Swainson’s Thrush 7
Common Yellowthroat 5
Lincoln’s Sparrow 5
Cedar Waxwing 4 1
Song Sparrow 3 1
Yellow Warbler 3
Dusky Flycatcher 2
Orange-crowned Warbler 2
American Redstart 2
Wilson’s Warbler 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Savannah Sparrow 1
Fox Sparrow 1
Quiz bird! 1
Lazuli Bunting 1
Pine Siskin 1
Total banded 42
Species banded 17
Total recaptured 2
Species Recaptured 2
Census:       # Species 34
Daily total:  # Species 48

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Aug 30

Well as announced I went into Williams Lake for groceries yesterday.  After six hours of driving and over an hour to find the recycling place I got back late, which resulted in a long nap this afternoon.  So here is today’s blog quite late in the day.  We find ourselves about half way through the season today as well so I will have to throw some stats at you.

Although it never really felt busy today, we actually set a new season record for most birds banded at 44 (up from 40 which we have had twice this season).  This despite Avery allowing two birds to free themselves before he could get to them on his last net run, one of which would have been our first White-throated Sparrow of the year.  Busy days are always best when the flow of birds is constant and that was certainly what we had today as no one net run was that big, and when we set a new record I was surprised because it had felt like a slow day.  This helps us avoid stress on the birds and on ourselves as the last thing we want is an avoidable injury.  Perhaps it also felt slow, because there were few birds to be seen, emphasized by a very mediocre census that finished in record time because there was nothing to look at.  Low detection of birds was no doubt caused by the light rain we had most of the day, and resulting in only a short period of time that the station did not have two banders.

The banding highlight of the day was definitely our first Olive-sided Flycatcher of the year (and just the sixth ever), though we were also surprised to catch three Hammond’s Flycatchers after having caught very few empidonax flycatchers in the last week.  The only species of note on census was a Western Wood-pewee that was actually calling near the lagoon.  Apparently today was a good day for flycatchers.

My what a nice cardigan you are wearing

Well if you’re still reading don’t say I didn’t warn you about impending stats.

As you can see we have recently surpassed 2006 totals and our slope has become parallel to more 'normal' years

As you can see we have recently surpassed 2006 totals and our slope has become parallel to more 'normal' years

Something to keep in mind is that in the last five years we have averaged 1779 total birds banded, this year we are running a projected total of just 1359.  This is good news though as just two weeks ago our projected total was less than 1000.

To see which species are causing this trend I provide you this table.

Average 2011
WAVI 97.2 37
SWTH 94.0 67
COYE 74.6 31
YEWA 60.2 85
SOSP 54.8 46
LISP 54.6 42
AMRE 48.4 80
WIWA 48.0 34
NOWA 44.4 48
OCWA 42.8 22
MGWA 33.4 19

Not nearly as bad as the last time I presented this information, but you can definitely see that Common Yellowthroats, Warbling Vireos, and Orange-crowned Warblers are down, while Yellow Warblers and American Redstarts are up.

If you were curious as to the numbers of each species we have caught this year then worry not!  For here are the answers, so long as you speak bird code.

Species Banded Recaps
YEWA 85 9
AMRE 80 17
SWTH 67 9
NOWA 48 9
SOSP 46 30
LISP 42 9
WAVI 37 0
WIWA 34 1
COYE 31 3
OCWA 22 3
MGWA 19 0
CEDW 14 5
BCCH 12 2
TRFL 11 2
DEJU 11 0
WIFL 10 1
ALFL 9 3
REVI 7 2
DUFL 7 1
HAFL 7 0
GCKI 5 0
VESP 5 0
RCKI 4 1
SAVS 3 0
LEFL 3 0
LAZB 3 0
WCSP 3 0
TOWA 2 0
PSFL 2 0
RBNU 2 0
PISI 2 0
CHSP 1 0
BHCO 1 0
FOSP 1 0
HAWO 1 0
WETA 1 0
WEWP 1 0
AMRO 1 0
BLPW 1 0
AUWA 1 0
PUFI 1 0
SSHA 1 0
OSFL 1 0

As you can see Yellow Warblers, American Redstarts, and Swainson’s Thrushes are leading the charge, but of late Warbling Vireos and Lincoln’s Sparrows are making a race of it.  A race they will likely ultimately win.

Now if you were wondering how our twelve nets were performing (as I know you all are), wonder no more.

Net Banded Birds/Hr Recaps % time used
17 156 0.97 16 0.96
18 87 0.97 8 0.54
6 68 0.50 15 0.81
16 70 0.43 15 0.96
10 57 0.35 7 0.96
15 41 0.25 11 0.96
12 39 0.24 4 0.96
9 35 0.22 6 0.96
1 31 0.19 7 0.96
13 24 0.15 12 0.96
14 19 0.12 5 0.91
11 17 0.11 4 0.96
MX 1 0.02 1 0.32

Avery’s net 18 has now been passed by perennial favourite net 17 for the lead, while those two combined almost outperform the other ten nets.

But now you’re no doubt wondering who is doing all the work at the station.  Well here are the stats on that.

Bander Banded Percent Recaps Processed
CMC 291 45.12 57 46.03
ALB 285 44.19 31 41.80
MBL 41 6.36 11 6.88
MT 27 4.19 12 5.16
RJS 1 0.16 0 0.13

At the moment I have done a couple birds more than Avery, but if there were a plot over time you would see me take a quick lead on him at the start of the season and then see him creep up slowly until he passed me this morning while I was on census.  At this point he graciously let me band most of the birds after my return in order to save face.  Though he did ‘accidentally’ erase about 30 records a couple days ago after a large net run.  This meant I spent the next ~15 minutes recovering the lost data while he banded about 12 birds in a row.

There I think that will be all the stats I throw at you for now.  Stay tuned for the end of the next month when I throw even more at you.


Warbling Vireo 6 Total banded 44
Common Yellowthroat 6 Species banded 15
Wilson’s Warbler 5 Total recaptured 3
Lincoln’s Sparrow 5 Species Recaptured 3
American Redstart 4 1 Census:       # Species 17
Orange-crowned Warbler 3 1 Daily total:  # Species 39
Hammond’s Flycatcher 3
Yellow Warbler 3
Swainson’s Thrush 2
White-crowned Sparrow 2
Olive-sided Flycatcher 1
Dusky Flycatcher 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Song Sparrow 1
Oregon Junco 1
Black-capped Chickadee 1

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Aug. 29

“Slow and steady” was how volunteer Katherine described the morning after querying her upon my return from census. That about summed it up for most of the morning until 10:30 or so. An HY Lazuli Bunting and a Vesper Sparrow provided a…subtle interlude. Chris decided to leave early to make a grocery run to Williams Lake (poor thing, must have been exhausted). Go figure, with him AWOL we ended the day with a double-digit net round, an infrequent occurrence here. Net 18 was once again the shining star with 8 birds (mostly Warbling Vireos) and the ladies got their first taste of extracting.

Our lost Warbling Vireos and Lincoln’s Sparrows have  now been found with 11 and 17 ETed, respectively. It is strangely comforting to have them being the dominant bird now; a sign that all is now right in the Tatlayoko Valley, if a week late.

One of a wave of WAVIs - say THAT 5 times fast!

Census was fairly slow this morning with a late Dusky Flycatcher being one of few notables. 4 Species of Swallow; Barn, Violet-green, Tree and N. Rough-winged, foraging over the lake capped off the hour. A nice dark phase Red-tailed Hawk flew overhead on my way back to the station.


Species Band Recap
Warbling Vireo 9
Lincoln’s Sparrow 6
Swainson’s Thrush 5
Oregon Junco 4
Common Yellowthroat 3 1
Yellow Warbler 3
Wilson’s Warbler 2
Cedar Waxwing 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Vesper Sparrow 1
Lazuli Bunting 1
American Redstart 1

Total banded 36
Species banded 11
Total recaptured 2
Species Recaptured 2
Census:       # Species 26
Daily total:  # Species 46

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Aug 28

What a beautiful day in the valley.  Got hot and sunny enough that I decided to go for a swim after work (a brief one) in the glacial fed lake.  Not surprisingly it seemed quite a few other people had the same idea.  Today at the station we welcomed our new batch of volunteers, Katherine and Glenna, who both took to Excel with a welcomed proficiency.

The work day was rather uneventful, causing the last two days to be contrary to the trend mentioned in my last post.  While yesterday Avery had our first captured Sharp-shinned Hawk and White-crowned Sparrows to photograph, by the time I got back from census today we only caught another two or three birds (so sorry but there will be no photos today).  Census ran longer than usual as I passed through two large mixed flocks that grabbed my attention for some time.  The result was a 37 species census with our first Marsh Wren, second Eurasian Collared-Dove, and second Cassin’s Vireo of the year.  For the second straight day we almost caught a confused Sora that likes to hangout in our semi-forested environment.  Our pasture Jaeger and forest Sora are a sure sign that we are having a strange season at TLBO.

Oh and my quiz bird a couple days ago was a hatch-year Blackpoll Warbler, so Andrew and Ted win…  my heartfelt congratulations 🙂



Lincoln’s Sparrow 8 Total banded 29
Common Yellowthroat 5 Species banded 12
Yellow Warbler 3 1 Total recaptured 5
Northern Waterthrush 3 Species Recaptured 2
Swainson’s Thrush 2 Census:       # Species 37
American Redstart 2 Daily total:  # Species 56
Song Sparrow 1 4
Warbling Vireo 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
MacGillivray’s Warbler 1
Wilson’s Warbler 1

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Aug. 27

A great day! We started off at a good clip with 24 birds in the first 3 net runs, enough to feel pleasantly hurried. Up until about 9:30 there seemed to be a nice mixed flock hanging out near nets 6 and 15. No surprise, they were our most productive nets on the day.In this flock I heard our first Cassin’s Vireo of the season and 30+ Cedar Waxwings took turns sunning themselves in the surrounding snags and coming down to feed on the saskatoon and wild raspberries. Chris came close to flushing a Sora into net 6 on one of the net rounds but one of the pesky Waxwings spooked it and it turned back into the foliage, not to be seen again.

We are starting to see a shift in the demographics of species we are catching. Northern Waterthrushes and American Redstarts are being replaced by Warbling Vireos, Wilson’s Warblers and Lincoln’s Sparrows. We also had our first “Audubon’s” Yellow-rumped Warbler and White-crowned Sparrow of the season. The Yellow-rumpeds will soon become one of our more common catches.

Volunteer Rick Shortinghuis from Victoria had a productive census with 35 species. He recorded 7 species of warblers (including 5 Macgillivray’s, a high count for here), many of which were in a big mixed flock that he encountered along the main road. A flyover Evening Grosbeak is also noteworthy, as is the Pied-billed Grebe that has been on the lagoon for a few days now.

Our most exciting catch of the day was our first Sharp-shinned Hawk of the year that Chris extracted form net 15. It was a big hatch-year female and it did it’s best to intimidate with it’s evil glare and sharp talons.

Chris showing off his bird to Volunteer Cheryl

Evil eye











Species Band Recap
Swainson’s Thrush 5
Wilson’s Warbler 4 1
Warbling Vireo 4
Lincoln’s Sparrow 3 3
Orange-crowned Warbler 3
Yellow Warbler 3
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Cedar Waxwing 2
Common Yellowthroat 2
Song Sparrow 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Northern Waterthrush 1
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Oregon Junco 1
Pine Siskin 1

Total banded 36
Species banded 16
Total recaptured 4
Species Recaptured 2
Census:       # Species 35
Daily total:  # Species 49

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Aug 26

Here at TLBO, I write the blog every other day and Avery writes the blog every other day.  It has become a running joke that when it is my blog day we catch more interesting birds, and that trend continued today.  Yesterday, Avery was without a blog worthy photo until after our banding day was done, meanwhile I will have to select which birds were pretty enough to be included today.  Stay tuned for Avery’s Ms. Congeniality bird tomorrow.

Today we caught 38 new birds which was good enough for our third busiest banding day of the year.  We caught our first Purple Finch; first, second, and third Vesper Sparrows; first and second Lazuli Bunting; first and second fully molted AHY male American Redstarts, and our first fully molted AHY male MacGillivray’s Warbler.  Net 14 also came alive finally, catching six birds, while catching only five in the preceding 23 days of banding!  If you suspect a correlation between net 14 coming alive, and Vespers and a Purple Finch hitting the net, you sir are correct.

Young Lazuli Bunting

Young Lazuli Bunting

Beautiful MacGillivray's Warbler, originally banded last year

Despite being busier in the station we are still not seeing the large flocks of migrants I am used to at TLBO.  We are yet to have 12+ birds in a net.  I am yet to see a flock of more than five Yellow-rumped Warblers or more than 20 Pine Siskins.  Our usual large flock of 100+ American Crows has been replaced by typically one or zero most days.  And perhaps this is all most noticeable on census, where I will often walk over 300m without hearing a single bird.  Census is usually a matter of ‘hear a bird, find that bird’, but has been replaced with more of a ‘scan everywhere for anything’ mentality.

Perhaps the most interesting observation on census was a flyover of about 20 siskins with one Evening Grosbeak in the mix.  Put the two together and the Grosbeak is surprisingly larger and louder, even when 50m above you.

Still the slowest year on record, despite the most banding hours, and replacing our slowest net with our new best net



Swainson’s Thrush 6 Total banded 38
Lincoln’s Sparrow 4 1 Species banded 16
Warbling Vireo 4 Total recaptured 6
American Redstart 3 1 Species Recaptured 5
Common Yellowthroat 3 Census:       # Species 27
Vesper Sparrow 3 Daily total:  # Species 44
Song Sparrow 2 2
MacGillivray’s Warbler 2 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Northern Waterthrush 2
Lazuli Bunting 2
Willow Flycatcher 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Wilson’s Warbler 1
Purple Finch 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1

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Aug. 25

This morning passed in fits and starts, with birds hitting the nets in little waves between numerous net rounds of none, or few birds. This is consistent with what we are observing; small mixed-species flocks regularly passing through with spells of very little activity. A typical flock might contain 1 or 2 American Redstarts and Yellow Warblers, a few Black-capped Chickadees, a Warbling or perhaps a Red-eyed Vireo a Wilson’s Warbler.

Wilson's Wabler

Lincoln’s Sparrows finally seem to be building in numbers with 5 caught today. As with most species so far, they are are fairly late in arriving this year. Their presence has been missed; if for no other reason than the grimace on Chris’ face that they provoke each time he pulls one out of the bag 😉

Our best bird of the day was an Eastern Kingbird that we watched sallying for insects on closing round. These guys are fairly rare in the valley, this being our first of the season. We anticipate it will be our last as well.

We also bid a fond farewell to the Long-tailed Jaeger who was not sighted this morning. We thank it for gracing our bins these past three days. I am sure that it is looking forward to the thrill of chasing gulls for a meal out on the open ocean…walking after grasshoppers in some old farm field just isn’t the same.  What a bird!

Also of note; Tim and Leah, of the NCC, reported seeing a White-tailed Ptarmigan on a hike up into the alpine above the valley yesterday.

Species Band Recap
Yellow Warbler 5 1
Swainson’s Thrush 5
Lincoln’s Sparrow 5
American Redstart 4
Northern Waterthrush 4
MacGillivray’s Warbler 2
Wilson’s Warbler 2
Willow Flycatcher 1
Black-capped Chickadee 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Oregon Junco 1
Song Sparrow 1

Total banded 32
Species banded 12
Total recaptured 2
Species Recaptured 2
Census:       # Species 28
Daily total:  # Species 49

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