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Howdy! Yestereve, Candace arrived home after a two month absence. She is the resident of the Lincoln Creek Ranch who has been so generous this season by allowing all of the volunteers to stay in her beautiful house during the course of the banding season. On behalf of all of the volunteers, thank you!

Later on last night, Kyle and I were joined by Sandra and her two children Simon and Julia for our nightly Owl monitoring. Unfortunately the last time that they had joined us no Saw-whets were caught. We were all hoping that the Saw-whet army would be out in force (as it had been in previous nights) so as to not disappoint our patient guests as well as our selves. It was a balmy (~11°C) and overcast night which was not a good start for Saw-whets who prefer cold and clear. Alas even though the five of us patiently waited for a Saw-whet to grace us with its presence in our nets none obliged. The closest we got was a flying squirrel that glided past as we were waiting for our next net check. We all had to go home without a single bird caught in the nets. Sorry Sandra, Simon and especially Julia, we hope that the third time will be the charm for your first Northern Saw-whet Owl experience.

Today was a slow day for banding as we only banded 18 birds and had 3 recaptures. There were many of the usual suspects like Lincoln’s, Song and Gambel’s White-crowned Sparrows. The notable’s were a Fox Sparrow (3rd of the season), a Northern Harrier (4th of the season) and a VARIED THRUSH (1st of the season)!!!!! We have banded 4 Northern Harriers (2 male and 2 female) this season. They are big birds whose heads swivel when in hand like an owls in order to track your hands in an attempt get a pound of flesh in exchange for their being banded. The Varied Thrush was the major highlight for all of us as they have been heard given observers a precious few glances of this secretive bird over the course of the season. Needless to say they are even more stunning in hand than they are perched up high in the trees. This handsome fellow stole the show from the rather impressive Northern Harrier. Just look at that plumage!

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The Varied Thrush, what more needs to be said? – Photo credit Kyle

The highlights as far as species observed are concerned were a MacGillivary’s Warbler, two Golden-crowned Sparrows, a flyover by a Clark’s Nutcracker (the bird depicted on the logo of the station) and two Chestnut-backed Chickadees. These last two are perhaps the self same ones that have visited us on three separate occasions since I arrived in mid September. Today they were very generous giving Anna and I both good views of their plumage while voicing their distinctive squeaky chickadee call.

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Our hatch year female Northern Harrier, banded by Anna and briefly held by yours truly – photo credit Kyle

As I write all of us at the Lincoln Creek Ranch are preparing food for a community potluck that we are hosting tonight. Kyle is going to give a presentation on the range of species banded and observed at TLBO this season with reference to past years in order to get a perspective on migration numbers. Afterwards all of us at the Lincoln Creek Ranch and hopefully most of our guests with come along for a night of owing. Fingers crossed that the Saw-whet army is out in full force tonight!

Cheers,

-Sachi

Total Banded 1019
Species Banded 53
Total Recapped 127
Species Recapped 15
Species Recorded 130

Species Banded Recapped
Lincoln’s Sparrow 183 22
Song Sparrow 134 30
Common Yellowthroat 111 36
Swainson’s Thrush 90 12
Warbling Vireo 52 1
Northern Saw-whet Owl 43 0
Savannah Sparrow 42 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 39 0
Yellow Warbler 35 2
Wilson’s Warbler 32 0
White-crowned Sparrow 31 1
American Redstart 28 2
Oregon Junco 23 0
Northern Waterthrush 21 1
MacGillivray’s Warbler 19 3
Black-capped Chickadee 13 9
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 13 0
Yellow-rumped Warbler 11 0
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Cedar Waxwing 9 5
Hermit Thrush 9 0
Dusky Flycatcher 8 0
Vesper Sparrow 5 0
Townsend’s Warbler 5 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 4 0
Northern Harrier 4 0
Willow Flycatcher 3 1
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Cassin’s Vireo 3 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3 0
Spotted Towhee 3 0
Brown Creeper 3 0
Fox Sparrow 3 0
Hammond’s Flycatcher 2 0
American Robin 2 0
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2 0
Downy Woodpecker 2 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 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
Indigo Bunting 1 0
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 1 0
Western Wood-pewee 1 0
Purple Finch 1 0
Merlin 1 0
Evening Grosbeak 1 0
Varied Thrush 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1
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The morning of the 21st held fits of drizzle and gusts of wind from the north, so we kept a scrutinizing eye on the nets.  And who rode in on the north wind, you wonder? A slew of Gambel’s White-crowned Sparrows! In previous days our observations of this species were very few to 15-ish. But on this day there were 52 in total that we observed. *BAM!* It was neat seeing a sprinkling of them in a nearby bush, both hatch-years(brown head stripes) and after-hatch-years(black head stripes) bouncing, flitting and chirping; their morning dance. We banded 6 of them.  Of all the species that I have had an opportunity to view in-hand this sparrow seems to have the messiest case of berry face. Where are they finding these juicy berries in late September? Kyle and Sachi went owling last night. Shortly after their arrival at the station they realized that they were the ones being observed. A mighty Great Horned Owl towered above them…more like teetered above them on the most spindly of perches.

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Great Horned Owl overseeing the station last night.

The daily breakdown was 25 birds banded of 11 species during morning, and 7 Saw-whets banded.

The following day

When we arrived at the station this morning it was a windless, frosty -3 C.  When all was still and glimmering there were some Varied Thrushes calling simultaneously , which added some mystique to my a.m. experience(see Sept. 18th posting for link to their sound).  Anyhow, it warmed up enough for us to open nets at 9:30am. The thrills of the day included another Brown Creeper, a Spotted Towhee …….and……..

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Spotted Towhee. Very kicky.     photo by Anna

…….another Northern Harrier!! A hatch-year female.

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All in all, 18 banded of 9 species today. 46 species observed total. Not including Saw-whets…which is happening as I type this.

Goodnight! – Laurelllll


Total Banded 1000
Species Banded 52
Total Recapped 124
Species Recapped 15
Species Recorded 130

Species Banded Recapped
Lincoln’s Sparrow 176 20
Song Sparrow 131 30
Common Yellowthroat 111 35
Swainson’s Thrush 90 12
Warbling Vireo 52 1
Northern Saw-whet Owl 43 0
Savannah Sparrow 41 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 39 0
Yellow Warbler 35 2
Wilson’s Warbler 32 0
American Redstart 28 2
White-crowned Sparrow 28 1
Oregon Junco 23 0
Northern Waterthrush 21 1
MacGillivray’s Warbler 19 3
Black-capped Chickadee 13 9
Yellow-rumped Warbler 11 0
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 10 0
Cedar Waxwing 9 5
Hermit Thrush 9 0
Dusky Flycatcher 8 0
Vesper Sparrow 5 0
Townsend’s Warbler 5 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 4 0
Willow Flycatcher 3 1
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Cassin’s Vireo 3 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3 0
Spotted Towhee 3 0
Northern Harrier 3 0
Brown Creeper 3 0
Fox Sparrow 3 0
Hammond’s Flycatcher 2 0
American Robin 2 0
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2 0
Downy Woodpecker 2 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 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
Indigo Bunting 1 0
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 1 0
Western Wood-pewee 1 0
Purple Finch 1 0
Merlin 1 0
Evening Grosbeak 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

September 20th, 2017

Soon after we had arrived at the station and opened nets, it started raining and continued on for hours. We closed nets and spent time observing and/or studying birds. During census, Kyle saw 300 migrating Yellow-rumped Warblers and our first Lapland Longspur of the season. A white-tailed deer appeared in the field near the station.

Yesterday night, Kyle and Laurel went for owl banding, and Laurel banded her first Northern Saw-whet Owl! Way to go, Laurelllll!

We have been balancing morning monitoring, owl nights and other tasks, and therefore we decided to take a nap in the afternoon–like these two:

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Until later,

Anna.

Total Banded 923
Species Banded 52
Total Recapped 118
Species Recapped 14
Species Recorded 129

Species Banded Recapped
Lincoln’s Sparrow 163 18
Song Sparrow 124 28
Common Yellowthroat 110 35
Swainson’s Thrush 90 12
Warbling Vireo 51 1
Savannah Sparrow 40 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 36 0
Yellow Warbler 35 2
Wilson’s Warbler 30 0
American Redstart 28 2
Oregon Junco 22 0
Northern Waterthrush 21 1
MacGillivray’s Warbler 19 3
White-crowned Sparrow 17 1
Northern Saw-whet Owl 15 0
Black-capped Chickadee 12 8
Yellow-rumped Warbler 11 0
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Cedar Waxwing 9 5
Dusky Flycatcher 8 0
Hermit Thrush 8 0
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 7 0
Vesper Sparrow 5 0
Townsend’s Warbler 5 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 4 0
Willow Flycatcher 3 1
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Cassin’s Vireo 3 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3 0
Hammond’s Flycatcher 2 0
Spotted Towhee 2 0
American Robin 2 0
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2 0
Northern Harrier 2 0
Downy Woodpecker 2 0
Brown Creeper 2 0
Fox Sparrow 2 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 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
Indigo Bunting 1 0
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 1 0
Western Wood-pewee 1 0
Purple Finch 1 0
Merlin 1 0
Evening Grosbeak 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

Being from British Columbia and relatively new to birding it is easy to forget that there are many birds that others like our friends Anna and Kyle from Ontario do not get to regularly see. One such bird is the American Dipper which Kyle and I had the pleasure to watch whilst filling up our four 18.92 L jugs of drinking water from Crazy creek. Without digressing too much I would like to state that they are a most impressive song bird. Seeing one of them dive in through a hole in the ice covering a creek in the dead of winter and then suddenly reappearing 20 feet down stream from another such hole with dinner in its bill never gets old and only deepens my respect for this courageous bird that fills such a unique niche.

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Early morning shot at the Niuts. Photo credit Laurel.

Last night we braved the elements (cold mainly) and fortified by a stiff pot of coffee went to the station for a night of Northern Saw-whet Owl monitoring. Since the first night of owling we have not been very successful with anywhere from 0 to 3 captures over the 3 hour monitoring span. With the lessening of the strong south winds and clear skies Kyle said that he had a good feeling about the success of our night’s endeavour. In that he was not wrong. On my first night at TLBO which incidentally was our first night of owling I asked what few questions my sleep deprived and road weary brain could come up with. One of the more irrelevant ones was what the column denoted “Status” signified? It seemed like a stupid question at the time as all of the entries for that column were listed as “300”. Kyle replied that “300” was the code used for when a bird was captured in a mist net and that another possible code was “370” – the holy grail of owling as it entailed spotlighting an owl in a tree and hand capturing it. I am sure that you can see where this is going, as our first owl of the night was a “370” – performed by Kyle as he stalked off into the alder after hearing a call and returned with a Northern Saw-whet in hand and a grin from ear to ear. The night continued on as it had started which is to say that it was great! We banded 10 owls, 2 of which were done by yours truly (which were another first for me). I must thank the owls for their patience and at times somewhat pointed remarks as I learned to apply their new jewelry, ouch…

Like last night it was cold this morning. So cold in fact that we had to delay opening the nets until 9:50am which is 3 hours later than usual. Those hours were well spent birding around the property, crunching over frozen grass and peering through thick valley fog in search of our feathered friends. Some observational highlights were; 6 Mountain Bluebirds, 1 Nashville Warbler and a host of chatty and courageous chipmunks. Once the nets were finally unfurled and thawed banding went smoothly with 15 birds netted, 14 new, and 1 recapture. The major highlights were a Fox Sparrow (again banded by yours truly) and a Brown Creeper which was expertly banded by Laurel.

Another fine day in this beautiful valley.

Cheers,

-Sachi

Total Banded 923
Species Banded 52
Total Recapped 118
Species Recapped 14
Species Recorded 129

Species Banded Recapped
Lincoln’s Sparrow 163 18
Song Sparrow 124 28
Common Yellowthroat 110 35
Swainson’s Thrush 90 12
Warbling Vireo 51 1
Savannah Sparrow 40 0
Orange-crowned Warbler 36 0
Yellow Warbler 35 2
Wilson’s Warbler 30 0
American Redstart 28 2
Oregon Junco 22 0
Northern Waterthrush 21 1
MacGillivray’s Warbler 19 3
White-crowned Sparrow 17 1
Northern Saw-whet Owl 15 0
Black-capped Chickadee 12 8
Yellow-rumped Warbler 11 0
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Cedar Waxwing 9 5
Dusky Flycatcher 8 0
Hermit Thrush 8 0
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 7 0
Vesper Sparrow 5 0
Townsend’s Warbler 5 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 4 0
Willow Flycatcher 3 1
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Cassin’s Vireo 3 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3 0
Hammond’s Flycatcher 2 0
Spotted Towhee 2 0
American Robin 2 0
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2 0
Northern Harrier 2 0
Downy Woodpecker 2 0
Brown Creeper 2 0
Fox Sparrow 2 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 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
Indigo Bunting 1 0
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 1 0
Western Wood-pewee 1 0
Purple Finch 1 0
Merlin 1 0
Evening Grosbeak 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

Last night’s rain popsicled the nets. While the sun’s rays inched over the Potatoes enough to begin thawing them, we all meandered off on solo walks to enjoy the morning and wake up a bit more. Kyle got on the walkie-talkie to inform us that he was looking at a Varied Thrush and had forgotten his camera at the house. This was followed by walkie-responses of sympathy from Anna and Sachi. Later they told me that “VATH”s are secretive birds that are heard but rarely seen. So belated sympathy from me too. Also, if you do not know what a Varied Thrush sounds like, its worth a listen:   https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Varied_Thrush/sounds

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Anna explored the ranch earlier and captured this view. 

We weren’t able to open the nets until some time after 9:20am. We had a pretty steady birdy morning once we got going though. It will hopefully be a good night for owls, as it is cold, crisp and clear.

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Kyle made pizza for dinner…two days ago but still. Yum!

-Laurelllll


Numbers will be posted Varied soon!

September 17th, 2017

High winds have returned and forced us to close many of our nets this morning. This lead to a slow morning of banding with 8 individuals in the lab plus one recapture. Despite the high winds we were treated to some great views of two Chestnut-backed Chickadees near the lab. This species is a rare visitor to the valley but we have been lucky with these two individuals observed and one individual banded earlier in the season (a first for TLBO).

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One of two Chestnut-backed Chickadees near the lab.

Last night we tried to catch some owls but we were unsuccessful – perhaps due to the high south winds muffling our play back as well as the relatively warm temperatures. We are hoping for a calm clear night tomorrow to resume owl banding.

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Blurry capture of a Canadian Lynx caught by the trail camera

Happy Birding!

-Kyle

Total Banded 882
Species Banded 52
Total Recapped 115
Species Recapped 13
Species Recorded 129

Species Banded Recapped
Lincoln’s Sparrow 153 18
Song Sparrow 119 28
Common Yellowthroat 108 35
Swainson’s Thrush 90 11
Warbling Vireo 49 0
Savannah Sparrow 37 0
Yellow Warbler 35 2
Orange-crowned Warbler 31 0
American Redstart 28 2
Wilson’s Warbler 27 0
Oregon Junco 22 0
Northern Waterthrush 21 1
MacGillivray’s Warbler 19 3
Northern Saw-whet Owl 15 0
White-crowned Sparrow 14 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 11 0
Black-capped Chickadee 10 7
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Cedar Waxwing 9 5
Dusky Flycatcher 8 0
Hermit Thrush 6 0
Vesper Sparrow 5 0
Townsend’s Warbler 5 0
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 5 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 4 0
Willow Flycatcher 3 1
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Cassin’s Vireo 3 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3 0
Hammond’s Flycatcher 2 0
Spotted Towhee 2 0
American Robin 2 0
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2 0
Northern Harrier 2 0
Downy Woodpecker 2 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 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
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 1 0
Western Wood-pewee 1 0
Fox Sparrow 1 0
Purple Finch 1 0
Merlin 1 0
Evening Grosbeak 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1

August 16th, 2017.

This morning, it was quite average in monitoring and banding activity. Still, there was an exciting event: We heard two Chestnut-backed Chickadees, a rare sound at this station. We also observed a season high of 80 Yellow-rumped Warblers, one of which was a Myrtle (a subspecies, the other one being Audubon’s), and two Lesser Scaups.

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Laurel with a Hatch-year Gambel’s White-crowned Sparrow. Adults have black stripes on the head instead of brown.

 

A recent non-bird event: In front of the station there is–or at least used to be, before strong winds came by recently–a Canadian flag on a pole, and a two-striped grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus) decided to stand proudly next to it.

 

Until later!

Anna.

Total Banded 874
Species Banded 52
Total Recapped 114
Species Recapped 13
Species Recorded 129

Species Banded Recapped
Lincoln’s Sparrow 149 18
Song Sparrow 118 27
Common Yellowthroat 108 35
Swainson’s Thrush 89 11
Warbling Vireo 49 0
Savannah Sparrow 37 0
Yellow Warbler 35 2
Orange-crowned Warbler 31 0
American Redstart 28 2
Wilson’s Warbler 27 0
Oregon Junco 22 0
Northern Waterthrush 21 1
MacGillivray’s Warbler 19 3
Northern Saw-whet Owl 15 0
White-crowned Sparrow 14 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 11 0
Black-capped Chickadee 10 7
Chipping Sparrow 10 0
Cedar Waxwing 9 5
Dusky Flycatcher 8 0
Vesper Sparrow 5 0
Townsend’s Warbler 5 0
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 5 0
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 4 0
Hermit Thrush 4 0
Willow Flycatcher 3 1
Red-eyed Vireo 3 0
Cassin’s Vireo 3 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3 0
Hammond’s Flycatcher 2 0
Spotted Towhee 2 0
American Robin 2 0
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2 0
Northern Harrier 2 0
Downy Woodpecker 2 0
Lazuli Bunting 1 0
Cooper’s Hawk 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
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 1 0
Western Wood-pewee 1 0
Fox Sparrow 1 0
Purple Finch 1 0
Merlin 1 0
Evening Grosbeak 1 0
Red-naped Sapsucker 0 1