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Archive for August, 2017

Yesterday we did not post a blog post because we dropped off one of our volunteers in William’s Lake and did not arrive back to Tatlayoko until late that night so I will recap the past two days with this post.

First I would like to thank Constanza for volunteering her time here at TLBO for three weeks. She is a very hard worker and was a great asset to the team here. She will be doing some sightseeing in Whistler for a week before volunteering more of her time at a raptor banding station in Mexico. From the team here, thank you for all the help. We wish you good luck and hope you have lots of fun with all your upcoming adventures!

Yesterday was a slightly busier day than previously with 29 birds of 12 species banded. We had a very exciting banding record of an Indigo Bunting! These birds are very rare in the west and is the second record at TLBO (the first was in 2010).

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Male Indigo Bunting

Today was another relatively busy day for this year with 34 birds of 10 species banded. The 10 species banded today were the usual suspects with the most abundant being Song Sparrows (10 Individuals). Today was unique because I was lucky enough to hear lots of juvenile birds “practicing” their song. This can be quite comical because they are often out of tune and sound much different than they do as adults.

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Male Spruce Grouse observed during a hike in the Potato Mountain Range

Happy birding!

-Kyle

Total Banded 536
Species Banded 38
Total Recapped 86
Species Recapped 12
Species Recorded 114

Species Banded Recapped
Common Yellowthroat 85 30
Swainson’s Thrush 74 9
Lincoln’s Sparrow 73 12
Song Sparrow 59 17
Yellow Warbler 30 2
American Redstart 25 2
Warbling Vireo 23 0
Northern Waterthrush 21 1
Savannah Sparrow 21 0
Wilson’s Warbler 21 0
MacGillivray’s Warbler 18 3
Orange-crowned Warbler 11 0
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Cedar Waxwing 7 5
Black-capped Chickadee 7 3
Dusky Flycatcher 7 0
Vesper Sparrow 5 0
Townsend’s Warbler 5 0
Oregon Junco 5 0
Yellow-rumped Warbler 4 0
Willow Flycatcher 3 1
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 3 0
Hammond’s Flycatcher 2 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Marsh Wren 1 0
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1 0
Pacific Wren 1 0
Western Tanager 1 0
Least Flycatcher 1 0
Red-winged Blackbird 1 0
Brown Creeper 1 0
Indigo Bunting 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

 

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August 29th, 2017

It was yet another slow day for monitoring. Unlike yesterday, we did not get to see any new banded species nor observations. One highlight for me was witnessing Constanza extract a Black-capped Chickadee by herself for the first time. Those who have extracted Black-capped Chickadees before know that this species is notoriously hard to extract. Their grip on the net is quite deadly, and their beak can work almost like a woodpecker’s on wood, making extractors likely to swear from pained fingers. It doesn’t help that this individual is the fiercest she has seen. Good job, Constanza! She looked proud, and I was happy for her.

There is this sacred goldenrod patch at the station on which many of the bees forage or doze off, and I occasionally visit it to find and take pictures of bees. I recently ID’ed two, both of which we seldom find in Ontario, I think. I hope the ID’s are right!

Until later.

Anna.

Total Banded 473
Species Banded 37
Total Recapped 81
Species Recapped 12
Species Recorded 110

Species Banded Recapped
Common Yellowthroat 80 27
Swainson’s Thrush 66 9
Lincoln’s Sparrow 57 10
Song Sparrow 49 17
Yellow Warbler 27 2
American Redstart 25 2
Warbling Vireo 22 0
Northern Waterthrush 20 1
Savannah Sparrow 19 0
MacGillivray’s Warbler 18 3
Wilson’s Warbler 12 0
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 8 0
Cedar Waxwing 7 5
Dusky Flycatcher 7 0
Black-capped Chickadee 6 3
Vesper Sparrow 5 0
Townsend’s Warbler 5 0
Yellow-rumped Warbler 4 0
Oregon Junco 4 0
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 3 0
Willow Flycatcher 2 1
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Marsh Wren 1 0
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1 0
Pacific Wren 1 0
Western Tanager 1 0
Least Flycatcher 1 0
Red-winged Blackbird 1 0
Brown Creeper 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

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I only have a few days left. It has been almost three weeks; they go by fast. However, this place and its birds still surprise me.

Today, we caught the first Brown Creeper of the season. The bird has beautiful feathers, and they help him/her be camouflaged on the bark of trees. The tail is harder than many other tails, so it adds support and helps him/her stay on the bark.

The other interesting birds that we banded today were Yellow-rumped Warblers. I banded my first Yellow-rumped Warbler.

After work, I went to relax at the lake. Awesome. It was a hot day, so it was good to swim there.

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Today at the lake

Waiting for tomorrow’s surprises.

-Constanza

Total Banded 465
Species Banded 37
Total Recapped 78
Species Recapped 12
Species Recorded 110

Species Banded Recapped
Common Yellowthroat 79 27
Swainson’s Thrush 65 9
Lincoln’s Sparrow 53 10
Song Sparrow 48 15
Yellow Warbler 27 2
American Redstart 25 2
Warbling Vireo 22 0
Northern Waterthrush 20 1
Savannah Sparrow 19 0
MacGillivray’s Warbler 18 3
Wilson’s Warbler 11 0
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 8 0
Cedar Waxwing 7 5
Dusky Flycatcher 7 0
Black-capped Chickadee 6 2
Vesper Sparrow 5 0
Townsend’s Warbler 5 0
Yellow-rumped Warbler 5 0
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 3 0
Oregon Junco 3 0
Willow Flycatcher 2 1
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Marsh Wren 1 0
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1 0
Pacific Wren 1 0
Western Tanager 1 0
Least Flycatcher 1 0
Red-winged Blackbird 1 0
Brown Creeper 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

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While we had less wind and more birds than yesterday, there were no exciting new species so I thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce myself and tell you a little about what I do when I’m not banding birds.

My name is Gwyn, and I’m volunteering at TLBO for a couple weeks to brush up on my banding skills. I’m from Oregon, where I’ve spent the last three years working with Marbled Murrelets in the Coast Range. Since Marbled Murrelets are way cooler than I am, let me tell you a little about these awesome birds.

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Marbled Murrelet.

Marbled Murrelets are a kind of seabird, in the same family as puffins. They spend most of their time on the water like other seabirds, diving to catch small fish. But while most seabirds nest on rocky cliffs near the ocean, murrelets do something pretty weird: they fly inland and nest high in old growth trees. The two parents take turns incubating the egg in 24-hour shifts, switching around dawn. Once the egg hatches, they leave the chick all alone in the forest, only visiting it at sunrise to bring it a couple of fish.

Because they fly at highway speeds and are only in the forest very, very early in the morning, these are not easy birds to study. Want to find out if a Marbled Murrelet is nesting in a particular patch of forest? Here’s what you do: First, find a gap in the canopy so you can see at least a little bit of sky. Then, the morning of your survey, get up really, really, early—maybe around 3:00 or 3:30. Drive an hour or so to get as close as you can to that patch of sky, then get out and hike the rest of the way—probably another hour or so. You should be in position 45 minutes before sunrise. Finally, stand under your gap and stare straight up for two whole hours and hope you see or hear a murrelet on its way through the forest. Chances are you won’t—but if you do, there might be a nest nearby!

 

-Gwyn

Total Banded 445
Species Banded 36
Total Recapped 72
Species Recapped 12
Species Recorded 107

Species Banded Recapped
Common Yellowthroat 75 25
Swainson’s Thrush 64 8
Lincoln’s Sparrow 49 10
Song Sparrow 45 12
Yellow Warbler 26 2
American Redstart 24 2
Warbling Vireo 22 0
Northern Waterthrush 20 1
Savannah Sparrow 19 0
MacGillivray’s Warbler 18 3
Wilson’s Warbler 11 0
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 8 0
Cedar Waxwing 7 5
Dusky Flycatcher 7 0
Vesper Sparrow 5 0
Townsend’s Warbler 5 0
Black-capped Chickadee 4 2
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 3 0
Oregon Junco 3 0
Willow Flycatcher 2 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2 0
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Marsh Wren 1 0
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1 0
Pacific Wren 1 0
Western Tanager 1 0
Least Flycatcher 1 0
Red-winged Blackbird 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

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Today was rather windy and slow. We observed and banded few birds. However, we–or at least I–were still swimming in yesterday’s glory. Despite the day being slow, I had two highlights: seeing a Spotted Towhee up close (less than ~5 m away) for the first time, and a murder (i.e., flock) of 19 American Crows. That many crows in a flock, albeit not too uncommon, is not something I have seen at TLBO yet. Later in the day, we saw more crows in a field than we could count.

We set out to hike up Potato Range, a mountain east of Tatlayoko Lake. We had walked up more than halfway when we decided to stop for lack of time. The view was still stunning.

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Cheers for making it up this far (and high).

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Tatlayoko Lake and Niut Mountain in view.

Gray Jays, Clark’s Nutcracker and Townsend’s Warbler appeared while we sat and relaxed. We also saw a Red-tailed Hawk on our way back!

All in all an interesting and enjoyable day. Until later.

Anna.

Total Banded 427
Species Banded 36
Total Recapped 68
Species Recapped 12
Species Recorded 107

Species Banded Recapped
Common Yellowthroat 72 22
Swainson’s Thrush 59 8
Lincoln’s Sparrow 45 10
Song Sparrow 44 11
Yellow Warbler 26 2
American Redstart 24 2
Northern Waterthrush 20 1
Warbling Vireo 20 0
Savannah Sparrow 18 0
MacGillivray’s Warbler 17 3
Wilson’s Warbler 11 0
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Cedar Waxwing 7 5
Dusky Flycatcher 7 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 7 0
Vesper Sparrow 5 0
Townsend’s Warbler 5 0
Black-capped Chickadee 4 2
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 3 0
Oregon Junco 3 0
Willow Flycatcher 2 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2 0
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Marsh Wren 1 0
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1 0
Pacific Wren 1 0
Western Tanager 1 0
Least Flycatcher 1 0
Red-winged Blackbird 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

 

 

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What a great day! While we were opening nets we spotted out first Cassin’s Vireo of the season. Shortly after the Vireo we heard the haunting tones of a Varied Thrush song – also our first of the season. This was only the beginning of the unexpected surprises we had today. Upon returning to the lab I looked at what the trail camera had captured in our absence and was shocked to find a cougar had been caught on the camera!

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A cougar walking along our net trails at 7pm last night

The day continued with pleasant surprises as we were treated to two new species banded for the season. Our first of the two was a Least Flycatcher (an uncommon sighting in the valley) followed by a Red-winged Blackbird. Both birds were hatch year females.

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Hatch-year female Red-Winged Blackbird

Just when we thought we had had enough excitement for one day we caught 4 Townsend’s Warblers in just two net rounds! This species is caught only a few times a year so we considered ourselves very lucky.

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Townsend’s Warbler Trio

After we had closed nets for the day we felt luck was on our side so we went to the nearby Eagle Lake to search for Arctic Terns, American White Pelicans and some shorebirds. Our luck has a limit it “terns” out – no Arctic Terns to be found but we did see a single Pelican and numerous Least Sandpipers. We will try again another day for the Terns hoping they have not begun heading south yet.

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The crew checking out some distant Northern Pintails at Eagle Lake

Happy Birding!

-Kyle

Total Banded 418
Species Banded 36
Total Recapped 66
Species Recapped 12
Species Recorded 106

Species Banded Recapped
Common Yellowthroat 70 22
Swainson’s Thrush 57 8
Lincoln’s Sparrow 45 8
Song Sparrow 41 11
Yellow Warbler 26 2
American Redstart 23 2
Northern Waterthrush 20 1
Warbling Vireo 19 0
Savannah Sparrow 18 0
MacGillivray’s Warbler 17 3
Wilson’s Warbler 11 0
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Cedar Waxwing 7 5
Dusky Flycatcher 7 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 7 0
Vesper Sparrow 5 0
Townsend’s Warbler 5 0
Black-capped Chickadee 4 2
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 3 0
Oregon Junco 3 0
Willow Flycatcher 2 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2 0
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Marsh Wren 1 0
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1 0
Pacific Wren 1 0
Western Tanager 1 0
Least Flycatcher 1 0
Red-winged Blackbird 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

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Today we got to band one of my favorite birds, a Golden-Crowned Kinglet. These tiny birds are plain overall, but have a fiery orange streak across the top of their head. Males have longer, more visible stripes than females, and the moment I saw this little guy in the net I knew it was a male—so bright! Back home in Oregon I rarely get to see Golden-Crowned Kinglets, but I often hear them as they flit around the thick undergrowth. They have a distinctive song, a bit like someone winding up for a very musical sneeze. The opening notes sound similar to the song of the Chestnut-Back Chickadee, and so there’s a mnemonic to help you tell them apart: just remember that it sounds like the Golden-Crowned Kinglet is saying, “I… am… not… a… chestnutbackedchickadee.”

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Golden-crowned Kinglet. Photo by Anna TN.

We haven’t seen any Chestnut-Backed Chickadees yet this season, but today we did see another bird I know well from Oregon: a Pacific Wren, our first of the season.

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Pacific Wren. Picture by Constanza Rivas.

Other exciting birds for the day were a Western Tanager and a beautiful Cedar Waxwing. Seen, but not banded, were two Townsend’s Warblers, which just happen to be my favorite warbler. We’ve banded a few earlier in the season, but none since I arrived, and I hope one flies into our nets soon—and maybe brings a Chestnut-Backed Chickadee with it.

-Gwyn

Total Banded 381
Species Banded 34
Total Recapped 60
Species Recapped 12
Species Recorded 102

Species Banded Recapped
Common Yellowthroat 65 21
Swainson’s Thrush 54 7
Lincoln’s Sparrow 41 7
Song Sparrow 34 8
Yellow Warbler 24 2
American Redstart 23 2
Northern Waterthrush 19 1
Savannah Sparrow 18 0
MacGillivray’s Warbler 17 3
Warbling Vireo 15 0
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Wilson’s Warbler 10 0
Cedar Waxwing 7 5
Dusky Flycatcher 7 0
Vesper Sparrow 5 0
Black-capped Chickadee 4 2
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 3 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 3 0
Oregon Junco 3 0
Willow Flycatcher 2 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2 0
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 0
Townsend’s Warbler 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Marsh Wren 1 0
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1 0
Pacific Wren 1 0
Western Tanager 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

​​

 

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