January 28th – Dashed Hopes!

Although she’s done a lot of work with Snow Buntings in the Arctic, Becky had not banded a Horned Lark…..until now. -DOL

Same with Sam – lots of Snow Bunting experience but her first Horned Lark. -DOL

The early morning started off with great anticipation: there was a large mixed group of larks and buntings sitting over the used up bait piles and this grew to 80+ birds as soon as we put down the traps and more cut corn. They immediately started milling all around the traps trying to figure out how to get in to take advantage of this bonanza. But 10 minutes later the Merlin swooped in scattering the flock wildly in all directions. For the rest of the morning small groups of from 8-20 birds would fly in intermittently and grab what they could in-between attacks by the Merlin. So we ended up banding only 9 birds: 6 Horned Larks and 3 Snow Buntings. What a disappointment.

Young male Snow Bunting. The first one banded in Saskatchewan with the CSBN. -J. Clarke

[For the first time in the CSBN history there is a group of banders dedicating their Winter efforts to banding Snow Buntings in Western Canada. They’ve been going through the trials and tribulations inherent in establishing a bait/trapping site but it looks like things are starting to pay off…for some banders at least.]
I got one!! Just one, but I got one this morning!

I made two more traps this week so have 3 now. I was out for 2 hours this morning and from the last group to come in right at the end (12ish birds), one made it into the trap. I’m pretty sure another one was in but quickly found it’s way out. At one point I had a flock of 52 bird present around the trap. That’s the most I have seen at the trap this winter! The temperature has really dropped now (-24 this am)

I have a plan to tweak things for tomorrow which will improve my capture rate (I hope) and I will be back out tomorrow.

Wing detail of this male Snow Bunting in its second year (i.e., it was hatched last Summer). -J. Clarke

The bird was a SY male. So cool to have it in the hand. I’ve never handled one before.

And this scoop just in:

One of a pair of Peregrine Falcons found by Karen Petrie in Caledonia. -KMP


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