Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wed, Aug 22 Lucky Peak update (American Redstart)

After a post-cold-front slowdown experienced on Mon & Tues, the birds were moving again Wed and it was a very diverse and busy day. We banded 99 birds (also 8 recaptures) of 26 species and added 2 species (Hairy Woodpecker and American Redstart) to our season total. I don't have all the species by species details but the high numbers were Wilson's Warbler and Warbling Vireo, each with 12 banded; our 1 day record for Wilson's at Lucky Peak is 16, so 12 is a pretty good day for this site. We also had our first real 'push' of Hammond's Flycatchers (7).

The American Redstart marks only the 5th that we have captured in 11 years at this banding station (though we have seen 4 or 5 others & we probably see or catch them on average in 2 out of every 3 years) and this was an adult female. In comparison, we banded 18 redstarts at Camas NWR during autumn '05 & '06 combined! Also, though Hairy Woodpeckers are resident breeders at Lucky Peak, we catch them rarely and this was our 7th in 11 years.

In other news, Carlos and I took a wandering hike (not really lost but the trail we took didn't 'loop in' as I expected it would and I think Carlos wondered if we'd get back before dark ...) off the E side of Lucky Peak on Tues evening. Highlights included a scolding Winter Wren (I usually don't expect them here until the first week in Sept and we don't catch these guys every year), a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers (an impressive lifer for Carlos - he sees some big woodpeckers at home in Venezuela but was pretty excited about this), a Dusky Grouse, and a few Elk.

Thanks to Bob Whitlach (he and Sue Norton spent the morning with us yesterday) for the following pictures ....

American Redstart adult female; 8-22-07. Our 5th ever & first in the nets since 2002.

The fattest Black-headed Grosbeak I have ever seen. Lean (carrying no fat) grosbeaks tend to weigh between 40-45 grams and, as you can see in this picture taken to prove it (I re-tared the scale just to be sure I wasn't being tricked), this immature male weighed 71.8 grams - about 8 grams heavier than I've ever seen!! His fat was literally bulging everywhere and, like a loon taking off from water, he needed about 15 yards to get airborne!

A young Townsend's Solitaire - notice the broad white edges to the greater (secondary) coverts.

A sharp-looking (recently molted in new feathers), adult Cassin's Vireo.

An immature female Townsend's Warbler.

Immature male (left) and female (right - same bird as above) Townsend's Warblers. Although hard to make out the extent of black on the head and back feathers in this picture, you can see the difference in the median coverts (making up the upper wing bar) - notice that the male's are mostly white with a thin, black line whereas the female's have a more prominent black, triangular wedge penetrating the white part of each feather.

An immature male Western Tanager.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

LP update--Mon. (20th) & Tues. (21st)

Jay just called me with the total from the last two days...things have been fairly slow due to the cold front that is passing through but expect numbers to pick up soon!

Monday, August 20:

3 Dusky Flycatcher
1 Western Flycatcher
2 Orange-crowned Warbler
2 Wilson's Warbler
1 Townsend's Warbler
2 Audubon's Warbler
2 Yellow Warbler
1 Warbling Vireo
1 Brewer's Sparrow
7 Western Tanager
4 Spotted Towhee
1 Black-headed Grosbeak


Tuesday, August 21:
3 Dusky Flycatcher
1 Western Flycatcher
2 Wilson's Warbler
1 Townsend's Warbler
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Yellow Warbler
4 Warbling Vireo
3 Brewer's Sparrow
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Pine Siskin
7 Western Tanager
8 Spotted Towhee
2 Swainson's Thrush


In addition, a MacGillivray's Warbler was recapture this morning that was banded 5 days ago. He gained 1.4 grams in 5 days!!

268 Dusky Flycatcher
251 Yellow Warbler***** season high
217 MacGillivray's Warbler
161 Audubon's Warbler
161 Western Tanager
136 Warbling Vireo
122 Chipping Sparrow
104 Nashville Warbler
103 Spotted Towhee
75 Lazuli Bunting

Thus far this season, a total of 2260 birds have been banded of 48 species!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lucky Peak update 8-19-07 - BT Gray Warbler

Hi Folks

The 2007 autumn season at Lucky Peak has continued to be busier than usual for this time of year. The best example of this is that we have already banded almost 250 Yellow Warblers - a species that we have never captured more than 190 of in any prior season!

The most exciting bird of the season (for me anyway) was an immature male Black-throated Gray Warbler that we banded today. Believe it or not (b/c this species occurs in the Owyhee Mountains just 60-100 miles away), this is the first capture or sighting in 11 seasons at Lucky Peak!!

Below is a shot of the BT Gray Warbler alone and then next to a Mountain Chickadee that we caught in the same net run (different net); these 2 pics by Carlos Valeris.

In other news, we banded our 3rd Northern Pygmy-owl of the season yesterday (8-18) and also our first Steller's Jay (no pics handy).

Below are a few more pictorial highlights with captions:

Dusky (left - adult) and Gray (right - immature) Flycatchers; 7-30-07

Hammond's (left - immature) and Willow (right - adult) Flycatchers; 8-9-07. This Willow was a foreign recovery (we didn't band it)! We don't yet know who did & where ...

Smoky sunrise; 8-3-07.

A rattlesnake that was curled up in the mess tent - a foot from my hand while I was washing dishes!! Fortunately it warned me with a couple partial rattles and was very calm.

Good birding,


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Follow the signs!

With thanks to a Watchable Wildlife grant, IBO has brand spankin' new signs to help guide you up to Lucky Peak! We put them up Sunday with help from Dave & Carol, Steve, Greg, and 2 great IDFG volunteers--Brian & Shawn. Thanks everyone for your help!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Lucky Peak update- August 5, 2007

Hi Folks...

Just an FYI, I have much less internet access than I've had the last 2 years while at Camas. Bearing that in mind, I'll try to update as much as possible but there will be delays as I'm only in town 2x/week.If something rare appears, I'll try to call it in to several folks that might be able to post. Thanks for your patience.

During July (16th - 31st, 16 banding days) we captured 1006 birds. This is our 3rd highest July total since we started banding in the middle of July in 2000 (thus, 8 seasons with similar data; 2000-2007)and totals have ranged from 500 to 1100 in each July. Thus, because our July captures are dominated by local breeders and dispersing birds from what I guess (it really is a guess) to be a 20+ mile radius, it seems that there has been pretty good productivity this year and there also seem to be abundant insects and fruit which should be a good thing for migrants as the season goes on. That said, our hummingbird#s seem to be lower than usual.

As for the smoke (there are quite a few wildlifes burning in Idaho), we did catch fewer birds on the first really smoky day but the last few days have been pretty busy and we've caught a number of birds with charcoal on their feet and smelling strongly of smoke - suggesting that they'd been in areas with recent fires on their way to us. Pretty cool to see! I've actually noticed the charcoaled feet most on immature Yellow Warblers (one of our 3earliest southbound warblers, along with MacGillivray's and Nashville).

As mentioned in an earlier post, we started getting appreciable #s of migrants around the 23rd of July and that has continued to pick up since. We caught our first Townsend's Warbler on July 30 (had 3 of them today; I think that makes 6 for the season so far), our first(and only so far) Gray Flycatcher on July 31, and our first Townsend's Solitaire (a major fruit consumer at Lucky Peak) yesterday. We continue to catch fat RB Nuthatches that are apparently migrating. Diversity should continue to increase through August and into early September.

The Aug 11 GEAS field trip should be a good time to see lots of color and diversity ....

All for now and good birding,
Mission: to contribute to the conservation of western migratory landbirds through cooperative research and public education