05-13-14 Bird Field Note

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05-13-14 Bird Field Note

May 13, 2014

Debbie Leick's Bird Field Note contains updates on acoustic monitoring, raptor migration counts, and shrubby draw surveys.

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Vesper Sparrow

Migrant Chipping Sparrows, above, and White-crowned Sparrows, below, dominated shrubby draw surveys this week.

In Tongue Creek, color bands on a female American Kestrel identify her as AK-43.

RVRI banded AK-43 on 4/22/12 near a nest box in lower Sheep Camp (1). Her nest failed that year. On 4/29/13 she reappeared short distance away at Tongue Creek and fledged two young (2). She returned to Tongue Creek again this year (sighted on 5/7/14)

We continue to see flocks of hundreds of American Pipits in the grasslands.

A pair of Steller’s Jays nests near Spike Camp Ridge.

Migration makes for unlikely flock-mates. For a few minutes, this dead tree held two Cassin’s Vireos, three Chipping Sparrows, and a single Dark-eyed Junco, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Orange-crowned Warblers blend in well with emerging foliage.

Audio from our Floodplain and Sheep Camp monitors included frequent vocalizations from Sora. The Floodplain recorder also picked up frequent Virginia Rail vocalizations. In the next week, we plan to perform callback surveys to discover any potential breeding birds.

Our weekly total resembled last week’s even though weather conditions seemed more favorable. Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawk numbers held steady with immature birds in the majority. American Kestrels, Turkey Vultures, and Osprey trickled through on a daily basis. Highlights of the week include three additional Swainson’s Hawks and our first Broadwinged Hawk of the season. With only one week left we anticipate the lowest count of any year. Another count site in Colorado also reports low numbers. The high snowpack and late winter storms in the Rocky Mountains may have delayed raptor migration through our region this spring. The forecast for the remainder of the season includes warm weather and partly sunny skies – ideal conditions for a late season flight.

A Red-tailed Hawk glides north in front of the Bitterroot Mountains. ER

Western Kingbird

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