North American Birds

VOLUME 70 NO2 2018

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

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Page 59 of 115

N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 194 A L A B A M A & M I S S I S S I P P I Dauphin C.B.C. 19 Dec (fide TS, JSi). The 200 Least Sandpipers at McLeod 4 Dec (TLS) were a good number for e.-cen. MS in winter, as were up to 30 Dunlin there 4 Dec–18 Jan (TLS, JH, DP, JP). Rare and erratic along the G.C. in winter, 3 Stilt Sandpipers were on Dauphin 11 Dec (RJK, RLK). Three Long-billed Dowitch - ers at McLeod 8 Dec (TLS) supplied the fourth winter record for e.-cen. MS, while one was on the Dauphin C.B.C. 19 Dec (HEH). Dow - itchers are rare winter visitors to inland AL. Four unidentified dowitchers were at Wheeler, Limestone 21 Jan (CDC, RSD), before another unidentified dowitcher was detected near Hartford, Geneva 22 Feb (RW). Unusual gulls, often the centerpiece of win - ter birding in the Region, were lightly reported this year. A first-cycle Black-legged Kittiwake was found along the Mobile Causeway, AL 9 Dec (RD). AL's eleventh Little Gull record consisted of an ad. and imm. at Wilson Dam/ Wheeler Dam/Joe Wheeler S.P., Colbert/Lauder - dale/Lawrence 13 Dec–7 Feb (RSD, CHG, ph., m.ob.). A Laughing Gull was at Guntersville, AL 1-21 Dec (AHa). Winter records of Frank - lin's Gull are few and far between in AL. An ad. and imm. were found at Wilson Dam 11- 15 Dec (DJS, ph., JDG); an ad. was at Wheeler Dam 2 Jan (SWM); a first cycle was at Fort Mor - gan, Baldwin 1 Feb (SRM). Reports of wintering Lesser Black-backed Gulls were low, with just three records describing 5 individuals. Three, including an ad., a third cycle, and a first cycle were at Wilson Dam, AL 19 Dec (DJS) where they are rare but regular; a fourth cycle was found at Little Dauphin I., Mobile during the Dauphin C.B.C. 19 Dec (HEH, RWH); a sec - ond or third cycle was at Wheeler along White Springs Dike, Limestone 21 Jan (RSD, CDC). Jaegers are rare inshore visitors along the Gulf Coast. An unidentified jaeger seen at the west end of Dauphin I. 26 Jan (RSD) was exciting. The inland expansion of White-winged Dove continues unabated. One was near Webb, Houston, AL 19 Jan (BK). A Short-eared Owl, found during a Delta Wind Birds outing along Buck Island Rd. near Robinsonville, Tu - nica, MS 12-29 Dec (m.ob.), was apparently joined by a second bird 29 Dec (HM, DPr, RH, ph.). A Common Nighthawk lingered at Birmingham, AL until 7 Dec (GJH). Wintering hummingbirds were sparsely reported with 3 Ruby-throateds at Gulf Shores, Baldwin, AL 2 Jan+ (EB, FB, b., ph.) and a Buff-bellied near Foley, Baldwin, AL 11 Dec+ (FB, b., ph.). Win - tering Merlins, though frequently reported, are always a delight to find. Single birds were reported at Browning Creek, MS 11-22 Dec (MHS, TLS, DP, JP); Choctaw Lake in Tombig - bee N.F., Choctaw, MS (LT); near Heflin, Ran- dolph, AL 28 Feb (JHo). tinued. One at Browning Creek, Oktibbeha 11 Dec–1 Jan (DP, JP, m.ob.) and one at Columbus Lake, Lowndes 29 Feb (TLS) represented the fifteenth and sixteenth e.-cen. MS records, respectively. Eight at Walter F. George Dam 21 Feb (GEH) represented an I.C.P. win - ter max and equaled the inland AL max. The earliest report of a returning Swallow-tailed Kite was logged at the Audubon Sanctuary on Dauphin 22 Feb (BA, RA). The single-site max for Bald Eagle was 11 and included 2 ad., 9 imm. at catfish ponds west of Brooksville, MS 20 Dec (TLS). Our collective knowledge regarding the status of Golden Eagles wintering in the Region continues to grow. Up to 5 were at Talladega N.F., Cle - burne/Calhoun, AL (fide ECS, GJH) throughout the reporting period; an imm. was at Bluff Lake, Noxubee, Noxubee, MS 2-4 Dec (TLS, JH); an imm. was at Guntersville Dam, Marshall, AL 26 Dec–2 Jan (KW, RW, ph.); one injured on or about 10 Jan was found at Or - rville, Dallas, AL (TAP) and then transferred to the Auburn University Raptor Rehab Center. The level of coastal marsh and open pine savannah use by wintering Yellow Rails and the importance of such habitats to this declin - ing species are difficult to document, given the general inaccessibility of these environs and the arduous nature of working in them. Ongo - ing banding efforts in coastal AL resulted in the capture of one near Laurendine, Mobile 3 Feb (ECS, JAT, b., ph.). Seven Soras recorded at Opelika, Lee 6 Jan (RM) equaled the M.R. win - ter max. Sandhill Cranes were reported from eight locations in the Region with a peak of 12,334 at Wheeler 2 Feb (fide CDC). One was reported near Laurendine, AL 16 Jan (PHR, HEH, AH, BCG). Interestingly, this is ca. 30 miles east of the current known range of MS's resident Sandhill Crane population. SHOREBIRDS THROUGH FLYCATCHERS Two American Avocets near McLeod 4-9 Dec (TLS, m.ob.) represented either late migrants by 23 days or a first overwintering attempt for e.-cen. MS. Spotted Sandpipers were reported at eight inland locations where they are rare but regular, with one at Oktibbeha County Lake, Oktibbeha, MS 1 Jan–19 Feb (TLS, MHS) representing the tenth consecutive winter re - cord there. A Solitary Sandpiper at the Cedar- ville F.W.F.T.A., Hale, AL 11 Feb (ECR, JAT, ph.) represented either a third inland winter - ing record or an early migrant. Providing an AL max were 624 Sanderlings recorded on the through AL's inshore waters; therefore one in MS Sound, Mobile during the Dauphin C.B.C. 19 Dec (HEH, RWH) was noteworthy. An ad. Brown Booby at Grenada Lake, Grenada 9-29 Dec (AMu, KH, KR, CR, LP, ph., m.ob) was only MS's third record and the state's first in - land. Up to 7 Anhingas near Mobile, Mobile 2 Jan–8 Feb (BN, CN) equaled the G.C. winter max. American White Pelicans continue to winter in significant numbers. In AL, up to 1040 were at Wheeler, Limestone/Morgan, AL 2 Dec+ (CDC, TA, RHu, m.ob.); 178 were at Logan Martin Dam 6 Feb (MD, m.ob.); 385, an I.C.P. winter max, were at Eufaula 22 Feb (JAT). In MS, 55 were at Grenada Lake 22 Dec (LT, ST). An imm. Brown Pelican at Wheeler, Limestone 30 Jan (PL, GL, GBr, JS, TR) fur - nished the twelfth inland record for AL. Rarely found inland during winter, an American Bittern was at Swan Creek W.M.A., Limestone, AL 17 Jan (SRM). Recovering from past population declines, 316 Great Egrets near Brooksville, Noxubee, MS 18 Dec (TLS) were a large number for e.-cen. MS. A white- morph Reddish Egret, especially rare in win - ter, was found along the Dauphin I. Causeway, Mobile, AL 21 Jan (JM). Representing just the eighth winter record for e.-cen. MS, 2 Cattle Egrets were near Oktoc, Oktibbeha, MS 17 Dec (TLS). A Green Heron, supplying the fifth win - ter record for the T.V., was at Guntersville 16 Jan (PAR). Up to 4 Roseate Spoonbills, a G.C. max and equaling the winter max for AL, were along the Mobile Causeway, Baldwin 2 Dec–21 Feb (CL, AJ, m.ob.). The trend of Osprey wintering inland con - Part of an ongoing research project, this Yellow Rail was captured and banded 3 February near Laurendine Road, Mobile County, AL. Photo by © Eric C. Soehren.

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