06-10-13 Field Note

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06-10-13 Field Note

June 10, 2013

Kate Stone's Field Note documents failed and successful nests, plus mist netting on the floodplain.

Kate Stone Field Note 06-07-13

Much of my work this week focused on the floodplain. I conducted point counts and mapped bird use of riparian exclosures. We hosted two songbird mist-netting events.

American robins breed ahead of many other floodplain inhabitants.

Baby Clark’s nutcracker

Wild turkey nest

Least flycatchers like the medium-sized cottonwoods along the floodplain’s edge. Five least flycatchers battled it out in one small grove of cottonwoods.

I found three northern waterthrush territories on the floodplain. Like the least flycatcher, they seem to like medium-sized cottonwoods.

I heard two common yellowthroats. Usually associated with wetlands and marshy areas, both of these birds were singing from clumps of willow on the northern floodplain.

We seldom detect American redstarts, but I picked up two on the Guest House floodplain.

Despite a huge clunky bill, this black-headed grosbeak delicately foraged in a chokecherry.

Spotted sandpiper

Spotted sandpiper nest


I saw no sign of activity at the bald eagle nest across the river.

The Avian Science Center began their breeding-season capture of songbirds on the floodplain. Captures included several species like the Swainson’s and Hermit thrushes that will eventually set up territories in upland conifer forest.

An unexpected capture: a second-­‐year female Cooper’s Hawk. This bird travelled around with another Cooper’s Hawk in full adult plumage.

I helped Forest Service biologist Dave Lockman capture songbirds in mist nets as part of a day in the field for juniors at Florence-Carlton High School. We caught three house wrens and a warbling vireo.

Warbling vireo (above) and house wren (below)

We’ve had three re-sightings of color-banded gray catbirds in the past week. These catbirds carry geolocators. The Avian Science Center will target net for these catbirds early next week. Once we retrieve the geolocators, we can find out where the catbirds overwintered and what path they took during migration. I spotted this catbird over 0.5 miles away from its 2012 capture location.

Bullock’s oriole

One nestling sits on the edge of the red-tailed hawk nest on the floodplain. Raptor View Research Institute hopes to band the baby in a few days.

Calving elk make use of the floodplain right now too. The herd loafs on both sides of the river.

river. The northern sanfoin fields receive heavy grazing pressure from the elk. American robins take advantage of the earth stirred up by the elk hooves, pulling insects and earthworms from the ground between the sanfoin rows. Robins dominated point counts in the sanfoin fields.

Long-eared owls blend in well with Douglas-fir bark. This week we realized that all but one of our long-eared owl nests have failed. This adult is from the Tongue Creek nest. I discovered the stick nest pulled apart and saw no sign of any young.

Mom and long-eared owl nestling peer down from the Rock Quarry nest on 5/30.

0n 6/6/ I found half of the Rock Quarry long-eared owl nest on the ground. The rest of the nest remained in the tree but looked like something had pulled it apart. Both adult owls flushed from nearby trees but I saw no sign of the nestling.

These three nestlings are the last of our known owlets of the year.

The oldest owlet has the most developed feathers and moved the farthest from the nest.

Did the curlews succeed? I checked their known nest and found it empty. I also found part of a shell over a half mile away. I don’t know if it came from this or another nest. We continue to hear curlew vocalizations from many of the adjacent grasslands, and heard of a chick siting from Gus Seward.

This female kestrel snagged a baby bird of some kind. Most kestrels are incubating right now, but on warm days, we see many females out and about.

A female kestrel incubates inside this cavity.

A pair of mountain bluebirds were not aware that we intended for kestrels to use this nest box. The box contained four eggs.

Since we removed the juniper hedge in front of the Top House, a pair of Brewer’s blackbirds nested on an old door frame leaning against the garage.

Since we removed the juniper hedge in front of the Top House, a pair of Brewer’s blackbirds nested on an old door frame leaning against the garage.

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