Wednesday, October 10, 2007

10-10-07 update

Sorry Folks for the long delay!

Between the bad weather getting me down, a lovely stomach flu ;-), and the activity being generally busy on Lucky Peak, I haven't had time to post for a while. And now I find myself 5 days from the end of the songbird season (Carlos is flying home to Venezuela tomorrow!) ....

Many weather events have punctuated the last 2.5 weeks and have made the migration a little helter-skelter. In fact, the owl netting has been the most consistent aspect of the project lately as Northern Saw-whet Owl migration has picked up speed and multiple owls have been caught nightly for at least the last week. If only we could get a calm night, maybe we could catch more!

Hawks & songbirds have been more hit or miss as it seems we've either had rain or strong SE winds for much of the last couple weeks. However, on days without these downer types of weather, flights have been very strong as birds seem to be migrating in any window of decent weather. Thus, I expect any decent weather days in the coming week or 2 to be pretty good days to see loads of juncos as well as the possibility of a Northern Goshawk, Merlin, or maybe even a Rough-legged Hawk migrate past Lucky Peak.

Highlights from the last week include a possible Slate-colored Junco (maybe it was a hybrid but pretty close anyway) captured today and an adult 'Harlan's' Red-tailed Hawk caught by Eric Hallingstad on Saturday. We see Harlan's every year but rarely catch them - this may be the first adult we've ever banded! See pictures below.

Lastly, we finish the songbird season on Monday, October 15th; owls wrap up on Oct 28; and hawk counting continues thru the end of the month.


Below are 3 images of the adult Harlan's Hawk banded on October 6, 2007. Noted the white spots on the dark chest and the marbled tail:

The next 2 images are from a Dark-eyed Junco showing signs of being the Slate-colored subspecies. The photos didn't come out too well (terrible lighting today) but the first picture shows that the sides of the chest are grayish and lack the pink tones of Oregon or Pink-sided. However, the back (2nd image) shows more brownish than ideal for Slate-colored (especially for an adult, which this bird was). Thus, likely best left as an Unidentified Dark-eyed Junco subspecies.
Here is an adult male Oregon Junco for comparison - note the pink sides of the chest.

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Mission: to contribute to the conservation of western migratory landbirds through cooperative research and public education