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!
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.
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.
|1||Canada Goose||47||Black-billed Magpie|
|2||American Wigeon||48||American Crow|
|4||Blue-winged Teal||50||Tree Swallow|
|5||Northern Shoveler||51||Bank Swallow|
|6||Green-winged (American) Teal||52||Barn Swallow|
|7||Ring-necked Duck||53||Black-capped Chickadee|
|8||Greater Scaup||54||Red-breasted Nuthatch|
|9||Lesser Scaup||55||Brown Creeper|
|10||Surf Scoter||56||Winter Wren|
|11||Long-tailed Duck||57||Ruby-crowned Kinglet|
|13||Common Goldeneye||59||Swainson’s Thrush|
|14||Common Merganser||60||American Robin|
|15||Red-breasted Merganser||61||European Starling|
|17||Common Loon||63||Northern Waterthrush|
|18||Horned Grebe||64||Black-and-white Warbler|
|19||Red-necked Grebe||65||Tennessee Warbler|
|20||Bald Eagle||66||Orange-crowned Warbler|
|21||Northern Harrier||67||American Redstart|
|22||Broad-winged Hawk||68||Yellow Warbler|
|23||Red-tailed Hawk||69||Western Palm Warbler|
|24||American Coot||70||Myrtle Warbler|
|25||Killdeer||71||Black-throated Green Warbler|
|26||Spotted Sandpiper||72||Chipping Sparrow|
|27||Solitary Sandpiper||73||Clay-colored Sparrow|
|28||Lesser Yellowlegs||74||Savannah Sparrow|
|29||Franklin’s Gull||75||Song Sparrow|
|30||Mew Gull||76||Lincoln’s Sparrow|
|31||Ring-billed Gull||77||Swamp Sparrow|
|32||Herring Gull||78||White-throated Sparrow|
|33||Black Tern||79||White-crowned Sparrow (Gambell’s)|
|34||Common Tern||80||Slate-colored Junco|
|35||Forster’s Tern||81||Western Tanager|
|36||Belted Kingfisher||82||Rose-breasted Grosbeak|
|37||Yellow-bellied Sapsucker||83||Red-winged Blackbird|
|38||Downy Woodpecker||84||Rusty Blackbird|
|39||Hairy Woodpecker||85||Brewer’s Blackbird|
|40||Yellow-shafted Flicker||86||Common Grackle|
|42||Peregrine Falcon||88||Baltimore Oriole|
|43||Least Flycatcher||89||Purple Finch|
|44||Eastern Phoebe||90||Pine Siskin|
|45||Blue-headed Vireo||91||Evening Grosbeak|
|46||Blue Jay||92||House Sparrow|
By Robyn Perkins, LSLBO Bander-in-Charge