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Archive for August, 2017

August 23rd, 2017

Today was not as busy as yesterday but we still managed 24 birds banded of 13 species, including a Marsh Wren, a new species for the season and an infrequent visitor to the valley. The Western Marsh Wrens are a little drabber than the Eastern Marsh Wrens that I am used to and also have a slightly different song which I was lucky enough to hear later on in the morning.

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Hatch-Year Marsh Wren. Photo: Constanza Rivas

Until today we had only heard call notes from the Western Meadowlarks but throughout the day we were treated to a few songs in front of the banding lab. Two more Stellar’s Jays and another Pacific-Slope Flycatcher banded rounded out the bird excitement for today.

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The Niuts in the early morning sun

This has been a slow year for banding and individuals observed in comparison to previous years. It has been brought to my attention that both Willow and Alder Flycatchers have been especially scarce. We have had three Willow Flycatchers in the lab and a handful of Traill’s observed but zero Alders (usually the more common of the two). We have a few theories trying to explain the scarcity of these species and most involve the intense fire season and smoke coverage across the province this year, however this is all speculative.

That’s “Alder” is for today! Happy birding,

-Kyle

Total Banded 344
Species Banded 31
Total Recapped 56
Species Recapped 12
Species Recorded 97

Species Banded Recapped
Common Yellowthroat 58 19
Swainson’s Thrush 52 7
Lincoln’s Sparrow 35 7
Song Sparrow 32 7
American Redstart 23 2
Yellow Warbler 22 2
Northern Waterthrush 19 1
Savannah Sparrow 17 0
MacGillivray’s Warbler 16 3
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Wilson’s Warbler 10 0
Warbling Vireo 8 0
Cedar Waxwing 6 5
Dusky Flycatcher 6 0
Black-capped Chickadee 4 1
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 3 0
Vesper Sparrow 3 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 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
Oregon Junco 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Marsh Wren 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

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Yesterday, Gwyn–after a long trip from Oregon–joined us as a volunteer. She arrived with a lucky day. On census, Kyle saw the first Black-headed Grosbeak at TLBO. It would be interesting to know from where it came. This species migrates from North America to Mexico to spend the winter there. The first Stellar’s Jay appeared this season. Beautiful bird. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend that you google it.

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Black-headed Grosbeak from today. Photo by Kyle.

Today was a busy day. Many birds were close to the nets. We banded 47 birds! A record  for this season. 20 Common Yellowthroats were banded. Species for which we had few banded were present today, such as a Orange-crowned Warbler, Willow Flycatcher and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Our visitors from yesterday came back to join us. Today, they had more luck than yesterday, and everyone had the chance to let a bird go after the bird was banded. It was a hard day, and they left very happy and tired, like us.

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Gwyn and Anna with our visitors from yesterday. Photo by Kyle.

We have been recovering our energy for another exciting day at TLBO.

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A view at TLBO. Photo by Kyle.

-Constanza

Total Banded 320
Species Banded 30
Total Recapped 50
Species Recapped 12
Species Recorded 96

Species Banded Recapped
Common Yellowthroat 52 16
Swainson’s Thrush 50 7
Song Sparrow 31 5
Lincoln’s Sparrow 30 6
American Redstart 23 2
Yellow Warbler 21 2
Northern Waterthrush 19 1
Savannah Sparrow 16 0
MacGillivray’s Warbler 15 3
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Wilson’s Warbler 9 0
Dusky Flycatcher 6 0
Warbling Vireo 6 0
Cedar Waxwing 5 5
Black-capped Chickadee 4 1
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 3 0
Willow Flycatcher 2 1
Vesper Sparrow 2 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 2 0
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
Oregon Junco 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

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Let me go straight to the two main highlights of the day: an unexpected bird visitor, and an unexpected group of human visitors.

Early on during monitoring today, we received a very unexpected bird in the net. An adult male Red-naped Sapsucker. He “double-bagged” himself, did a loop around the border net line, and grabbed a ball of netting. Needless to say, it was one of the hardest extractions I have ever done. This bird is a first for the station this season, and it is a recaptured bird from spring 2015.

This species is very similar to Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (see photo caption below for comparison details).

Red-naped Sapsucker. They can be distinguished from Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers by their red nape (i.e., back of head), hence the name. Photo by Constanza.

Red-naped Sapsucker. Adult males of this species have red on the throat extending through the black malar. They also have some red on their auriculars (i.e., cheeks), but it is not visible in this picture. Photo by Constanza.

We were all three very excited when we saw a group of visitors at around 10:30 am. During their stay, they got to see the banding process with a few birds, and did tours of the nets. On the second tour, there was a Rufous Hummingbird to extract. A bit further, near the last few nets of the round (near Homathko River), there was an unknown bird making alarm calls, and we soon understood why. A bear started grunting several times, and it sounded like he/she was about 10 m away. As we walked on, the bear slowly walked away.

A little fun fact: It’s the first day of the season on which we observed both the Calliope and Rufous Hummingbirds.

A volunteer, Gwyn Case, just arrived! We look forward to meeting her. Until later!

Anna.

Total Banded 272
Species Banded 25
Total Recapped 42
Species Recapped 9
Species Recorded 89

Species Banded Recapped
Swainson’s Thrush 46 7
Common Yellowthroat 32 13
Song Sparrow 29 3
Lincoln’s Sparrow 25 5
Yellow Warbler 21 2
American Redstart 21 2
Northern Waterthrush 18 1
MacGillivray’s Warbler 14 1
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Savannah Sparrow 9 0
Wilson’s Warbler 9 0
Dusky Flycatcher 6 0
Warbling Vireo 6 0
Cedar Waxwing 5 5
Black-capped Chickadee 3 1
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Vesper Sparrow 2 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 2 0
Willow Flycatcher 1 1
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 0
Townsend’s Warbler 1 0
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 1 0
Oregon Junco 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

 

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August 20th, 2017

This morning an unexpected and much needed rain storm delayed our opening of nets until 8:40am. The rain lasted for at least four hours and is a welcomed occurrence given the extreme wildfire hazard this summer.

Two Pileated Woodpeckers were observed today and this was the first time Constanza had seen these large woodpeckers – lifers are always exciting! We banded our second Pacific-slope Flycatcher of the season, one of 12 birds banded today.

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Tiny but fierce! Black-capped Chickadees like this one may appear small but have a strong personality and can deliver some aggressive pecks.

Despite fresh bear scat, cougar tracks and unknown canine tracks around the station my trail camera has only caught Mule Deer… Until now! Late last night we had a visitor meandering along our path near net 15.

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Black Bear heading out for a midnight snack

As always, I am looking forward to tomorrows surprises.

-Kyle

Total Banded 256
Species Banded 25
Total Recapped 38
Species Recapped 8
Species Recorded 89

Species Banded Recapped
Swainson’s Thrush 43 6
Common Yellowthroat 27 13
Song Sparrow 25 3
Lincoln’s Sparrow 23 4
Yellow Warbler 21 1
American Redstart 20 2
Northern Waterthrush 18 1
MacGillivray’s Warbler 13 1
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Savannah Sparrow 9 0
Wilson’s Warbler 9 0
Dusky Flycatcher 6 0
Warbling Vireo 6 0
Cedar Waxwing 5 5
Black-capped Chickadee 3 1
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Vesper Sparrow 2 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 2 0
Willow Flycatcher 1 1
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 0
Townsend’s Warbler 1 0
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 1 0
Oregon Junco 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 1 0

 

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August 19th, 2017

Today we woke up and found out that Tatla Lake, a town north of us, was under an evacuation order. The smoke had now come back to the valley and the beautiful mountains were difficult to see through the smoke.

When we arrived at the station and we heard a bear in the bushes very close to us. We made some noise and he/she left. The bear was in our favourite spot to eat “bear”ries. Fortunately we arrived in time and he/she didn’t eat all of our snack source.

Despite the fires, today we had more birds banded than the last few days. There were 18 birds banded and four recaptures. Some new birds of the season were detected today;  A Virginia Rail was heard on census and our first Eastern Kingbird was observed. Later in the morning we heard an owl vocalization which was a Barred Owl! It was amazing to hear it during the day. Kyle told me that it’s vocalization sounds like “Who cooks for you?”. In South America we have a closely related owl located in Chile and Argentina. We call it “Concón” or Rufous-Legged Owl (Strix rufipes).

 

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Concón (Strix rufipes) in Pucón, Chile. By Fernando Novoa

Gratefully, we are still isolated from the fires. We’ll continue to be amazed by the birds of this beautiful place.

-Constanza

Total Banded 244
Species Banded 25
Total Recapped 37
Species Recapped 8
Species Recorded 87

Species Banded Recapped
Swainson’s Thrush 39 6
Song Sparrow 25 3
Common Yellowthroat 24 12
Lincoln’s Sparrow 21 4
Yellow Warbler 21 1
American Redstart 20 2
Northern Waterthrush 18 1
MacGillivray’s Warbler 12 1
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Savannah Sparrow 9 0
Wilson’s Warbler 9 0
Dusky Flycatcher 6 0
Warbling Vireo 6 0
Cedar Waxwing 5 5
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Black-capped Chickadee 2 1
Vesper Sparrow 2 0
Willow Flycatcher 1 1
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 1 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 0
Townsend’s Warbler 1 0
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 1 0
Oregon Junco 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 1 0

 

 

 

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Soon after opening the nets, Kyle told us about the biggest (fresh) bear poop he had ever seen. It’s a must see then. Ruler and camera in hand, I went to look for it.

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30 cm ruler beside big bear poop.

Today was an average day for birds this season. Regular visitors that we don’t get in the nets include Mallards, Common Loons, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, American Crows (a regular, but not seen today), Common Ravens, and Red-winged Blackbirds, among a few others.

After monitoring, I went to play with Jaya.  I miss the family dog back home, and to be able to spend time with a joyful dog is great! I’ll miss Jaya, too.

Anna.

Total Banded 226
Species Banded 25
Total Recapped 33
Species Recapped 7
Species Recorded 84

Species Banded Recapped
Swainson’s Thrush 34 6
Common Yellowthroat 22 11
Song Sparrow 22 2
Lincoln’s Sparrow 21 3
American Redstart 20 2
Yellow Warbler 19 0
Northern Waterthrush 16 1
MacGillivray’s Warbler 11 1
Chipping Sparrow 9 0
Savannah Sparrow 8 0
Wilson’s Warbler 8 0
Dusky Flycatcher 6 0
Warbling Vireo 6 0
Cedar Waxwing 5 5
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Black-capped Chickadee 2 1
Vesper Sparrow 2 0
Willow Flycatcher 1 1
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 1 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 0
Townsend’s Warbler 1 0
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 1 0
Oregon Junco 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 1 0

 

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August 17th, 2017

Another exciting day at Tatlayoko Lake Bird Observatory! We had a relatively slow banding day with 10 birds of 7 species banded but we had our highest overall count with 53 species observed including a few firsts of the season. Today was the first day we banded an Orange-crowned Warbler. We had seen a few at the beginning of the season but they seemed to have disappeared until an after hatch year female bird showed up in our nets.

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A very faint, possible cougar track found along the census route this morning. In the coarse sand it was hard to tell but the track does not appear to show any claw marks and is quite rounded suggesting a cougar.

The observations started well with a season high of 31 species on census including a Calliope Hummingbird. These tiny birds often buzz by like an insect allowing only fleeting views but this individual was quite cooperative and landed a few meters from me at eye level to ensure I was able to see its beautiful plumage and separate it from the more common Rufous Hummingbirds in the area. Since it seemed to be a particularly “birdy” morning I took my time on the walk back to the banding lab and was rewarded with many species that had not been observed on census including a singing Lazuli Bunting, a Purple Finch, Black Swifts, and the highlight – a Nashville Warbler that was just as obliging to show its plumage as the hummingbird had been. Nashville Warblers are a very common bird back home in Ontario but are rarely found at this station, making it an exciting record.

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The Niuts reflecting off the lagoon during an exceptionally calm morning. Can you tell this photo has been flipped upside down?

The birding excitement continued later in the morning as I took a walk down to a wetland at the edge of our count zone. There I found a muskrat lazily foraging in the water, Yellow Warblers singing and a Belted Kingfisher perched proudly upon a snag overlooking the peaceful scene. The peace did not last long as a Sharp-shinned Hawk came blazing around a corner and began harassing the Kingfisher. The Hawk appeared to be a particularly small individual and the Kingfisher stood its ground as the hawk continued swooping. The Sharpie was too distracted to notice another raptor, a Merlin, had come around the same corner and began dive bombing the instigating hawk. In the end the Sharpie appeared too threatened (or annoyed) by the Merlin and flew off first. This left just the Kingfisher and Falcon. The two eyed each other up from either side of the oxbow for a minute or so before the Kingfisher finally flew off (he must have blinked first).

Each day at Tatlayoko has provided some very interesting and exciting observations and as always I am excited to see what tomorrow has to offer!

-Kyle

Total Banded 215
Species Banded 25
Total Recapped 32
Species Recapped 7
Species Recorded 84

Species Banded Recapped
Swainson’s Thrush 33 6
Common Yellowthroat 22 11
Song Sparrow 22 2
Lincoln’s Sparrow 20 3
American Redstart 19 2
Yellow Warbler 18 0
Northern Waterthrush 14 1
MacGillivray’s Warbler 11 1
Chipping Sparrow 9 0
Savannah Sparrow 8 0
Wilson’s Warbler 7 0
Cedar Waxwing 5 4
Dusky Flycatcher 5 0
Warbling Vireo 3 0
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Black-capped Chickadee 2 1
Vesper Sparrow 2 0
Willow Flycatcher 1 1
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 1 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 0
Townsend’s Warbler 1 0
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 1 0
Oregon Junco 1 0
Spotted Towhee 1 0
American Robin 1 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 1 0

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