The Yukon Bird Club’s ‘Under-30s’ bird walk was held on May 24th this year, led by myself, Adam Perrier, and Nick Guenette. We had no idea what to expect in terms of how many people would show up, but prepared for a big crowd with spare binoculars, a couple boxes of doughnuts (thanks Nigel!), and spare seats. We only ended up with three people, including Adam’s little sister, and Nigel. It worked out great though – we all had a good time and saw some things we wouldn’t have if there had been a big crowd!
We started off at the gazebo above McIntyre Marsh. Tree, Violet-green, Barn, and Bank Swallows swirled through the area, and a small invasion of Yellow-rumped Warblers was occuring down in the marsh. A flashy male Yellow Warbler made an appearance, and a Northern Waterthrush started singing. Both were new year birds for me.
Walking down the road a ways, we heard a singing Townsend’s Warbler that had been seen there that morning. Nick coaxed it closer with a recording on his I-Phone, giving us all great views of its striking yellow and black face. It was a first-time-view for most of the group, so a special treat!
After that we turned and headed in the other direction, down the Millenium Trail towards the culvert ponds. Along the way, we detoured down a faint footpath winding through the forest, hoping it would lead us to a new vantage point of the marsh. We did reach the marsh edge, where a couple of Western Wood Pewees were feeding from the tops of dead spruce.
Above the marsh, about 30-40 meters into the forest Nick flushed a female Green-winged Teal that had been sitting on a nest. This was cause for excitement in our group, as the nest was filled with seven creamy-white eggs. I was thrilled – this was the first duck nest I had ever seen.
We all took photos of the nest, being careful not to disturb it or the plant materials around it, and left after a couple of minutes to avoid attracting predators. The duck had not had a chance to cover her eggs with down or foliage before flushing, which provided us with another reason not to linger – we didn’t want the eggs to cool off.
Back on the Millenium Trail at the ponds, a male Rusty Blackbird sat tamely in a tree at the edge of the road to sing for us. Pairs of Barrows Goldeneye glided down the far shores of the pond, and a Solitary Sandpiper sang to its snoozing partner.
The bird walk was a great success, enjoyed by all, and is one that will hopefully become a regular annual Yukon Bird Club event! Thanks to those who joined us for the walk, and thank you to Adam and Nick for co-leading 🙂
Estimate Bird Tallies Below.
Trip Bird Count Estimates:
3 Mallard, 5 Green-winged Teal, 6 Barrow’s Goldeneye, 2 Solitary Sandpipers, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, 1 Wilson’s Snipe, 8 Mew Gulls, 3 Herring Gulls, 1 Bald Eagle, 3 Belted Kingfishers, 1 Northern Flicker, 2 Western-wood Pewees, 1 Black-billed Magpie, 2 Common Ravens, 50ish Tree Swallows, 50ish Violet-green Swallows, 3ish Barn Swallows, 1 Bank Swallow, 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 3 American Robins, 2 Northern Waterthrush, 2 Yellow Warblers, 30+ Yellow-rumped Warblers, 1 Townsend’s Warbler, 1 Wilson’s Warbler, 2 Chipping Sparrow, 1 White-crowned Sparrow, 1 Dark-eyed Junco, 2 Red-winged Blackbirds, 1 Rusty Blackbird.