Posted | filed under Weekly Reports.

On May 18 Team Tanager went out for their big day to see as many species as possible for the Great Canadian Birdathon. Teammates Wayne Bowles, Robyn Perkins, Bronwyn Robinson, and first-timer Nola Sheets spent the morning at the migration monitoring station before heading out to tour a few hotspots around town. In total, they were able to find 92 bird species!

Above: Team Tanager on their big day. Left to right: Wayne Bowles, Nola Sheets, Robyn Perkins, and Bronwyn Robinson.

With our locally breeding birds trickling in slowly and the forest unusually quiet for this time of the year, several species that should have been easy to find were entirely absent. Luckily, some of our early spring migrants which are normally long-gone by now seem to be as slow to leave as our breeders are to arrive, including continued sightings of White-crowned Sparrows and Slate-coloured Juncos. This may be due to the rather cold weather we had been experiencing keeping bird activity subdued and bird diversity relatively low. The weather further compounded problems for Team Tanager on May 18 as high winds and rain blew in late afternoon forcing the team to pack it in early after only 10 hours of birding.

Despite less than ideal conditions, there were still some highlights for Team Tanager. Our first treats came through sightings of a Black Tern and Horned Grebes. Although they breed in small numbers locally, these species are extremely rare to find on the lake and our field staff rarely (if ever) get to see them. Another highlight came from a Peregrine Falcon that was harassed by our exceptionally confident Merlin pair as it flew over the station.

Above: Team Birders in the Park, Nicole and Richard Krikun, on their big day last year.

On their big day, May 23, Richard and Nicole Krikun of Team Birders in the Park had much more success. Touring around Edmonton, they found an astonishing 122 species. After finding great shorebird habitat, their highlights included Red Knot, Black-bellied Plover, and Western Sandpiper – all species currently on their migrations up to their breeding grounds on the coasts of the Arctic Ocean. Since they were birding in the transition zone between the Boreal forest and the grasslands, they spotted several other species that would have been jaw-dropping finds for Team Tanager. These include Ferruginous Hawk, White-faced Ibis, Spotted Towhee, and Western Meadowlark.

This annual fundraiser so far has raised $725 for the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory between the two teams. If you would like to congratulate our teams on a job well done, Team Tanager and Team Birders in the Park are still open for your support. If you would like to experience what we do first-hand, drop by for our 25th annual Songbird Festival with fun activities at the Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation on Saturday, May 28, or participate in a Bird Run/Walk (5K/10K) on Sunday, May 29.

Below: List of species seen in the Slave Lake area for Team Tanager’s Great Canadian Birdathon on May 18.

1Canada Goose47Black-billed Magpie
2American Wigeon48American Crow
3Mallard49Common Raven
4Blue-winged Teal50Tree Swallow
5Northern Shoveler51Bank Swallow
6Green-winged (American) Teal52Barn Swallow
7Ring-necked Duck53Black-capped Chickadee
8Greater Scaup54Red-breasted Nuthatch
9Lesser Scaup55Brown Creeper
10Surf Scoter56Winter Wren
11Long-tailed Duck57Ruby-crowned Kinglet
12Bufflehead58Gray-cheeked Thrush
13Common Goldeneye59Swainson’s Thrush
14Common Merganser60American Robin
15Red-breasted Merganser61European Starling
16Ruffed Grouse62Ovenbird
17Common Loon63Northern Waterthrush
18Horned Grebe64Black-and-white Warbler
19Red-necked Grebe65Tennessee Warbler
20Bald Eagle66Orange-crowned Warbler
21Northern Harrier67American Redstart
22Broad-winged Hawk68Yellow Warbler
23Red-tailed Hawk69Western Palm Warbler
24American Coot70Myrtle Warbler
25Killdeer71Black-throated Green Warbler
26Spotted Sandpiper72Chipping Sparrow
27Solitary Sandpiper73Clay-colored Sparrow
28Lesser Yellowlegs74Savannah Sparrow
29Franklin’s Gull75Song Sparrow
30Mew Gull76Lincoln’s Sparrow
31Ring-billed Gull77Swamp Sparrow
32Herring Gull78White-throated Sparrow
33Black Tern79White-crowned Sparrow (Gambell’s)
34Common Tern80Slate-colored Junco
35Forster’s Tern81Western Tanager
36Belted Kingfisher82Rose-breasted Grosbeak
37Yellow-bellied Sapsucker83Red-winged Blackbird
38Downy Woodpecker84Rusty Blackbird
39Hairy Woodpecker85Brewer’s Blackbird
40Yellow-shafted Flicker86Common Grackle
41Merlin87Brown-headed Cowbird
42Peregrine Falcon88Baltimore Oriole
43Least Flycatcher89Purple Finch
44Eastern Phoebe90Pine Siskin
45Blue-headed Vireo91Evening Grosbeak
46Blue Jay92House Sparrow

By Robyn Perkins, LSLBO Bander-in-Charge