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.

Issue link: http://nab.aba.org/i/1028840

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V O L U M E 7 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) • N U M B E R 2 201 Red-bellied Woodpecker sightings in AB have become almost annual in recent years. This individual was at Priddis through the period (here 27 February). Photo by © Raymond Ng. Western Bluebird is another species that appears to be on the increase in southern AB. This male was an early spring arrival at Mountain View on 27 February. Photo by © Richard Klauke. Prairie Provinces winged Teal remained until at least 20 Feb at Echo Lake, SK (BL, DS), while early-returning waterfowl in AB included 8 Eurasian Wigeon at three locations 24-28 Feb (fide TK). Gadwall, American Wigeon, and American Black Duck were good finds at Winnipeg, MB, with the lat - ter two species surviving at least into the new year (RP, m.ob.). One American Black Duck was at Winnipeg 3 Feb (MG). A Cinnamon Teal was a winter rarity at Frank Lake, AB 10 Dec (GWr). Water below Gardiner Dam, SK still held 4 Redheads, one Greater Scaup, and 18 Lesser Scaup 14 Feb (RD, BL). A male and 2 female Ring-necked Ducks at a Calgary, AB park 17 Feb appeared to be early migrants (fide TK). One Greater Scaup spent much of the winter at Calgary, AB (fide TK), and a SK C.B.C. record- high 16 were counted at Fort Qu'Appelle 18 Dec (fide KS). A first-winter male King Eider at Echo Lake P.P. near Fort Qu'Appelle 3 Dec to at least 15 Mar represented just the third re - cord for SK (BL, LK, ph., m.ob.). Indicative of the mild conditions were large concentrations of Common Goldeneyes (2625) found between Katepwa and Echo Lake, SK 1 Dec (BL, DS) and Common Mergansers (460+) at Hecla P.P., MB 12 Dec (CM, RM). A wintering Red-breasted Merganser at Calgary, AB was last seen 16 Feb (m.ob.). A Barrow's Goldeneye was found dur - ing the Craven, SK C.B.C. 19 Dec (fide TH). Cold Lake, in e.-cen. AB, hosted Long-tailed Duck, White-winged Scoter, Ruddy Duck, Pa - cific Loon, Eared Grebe, and Western Grebe in mid-Dec (fide RK). A Pied-billed Grebe lingered at Winnipeg 6-20 Dec (RP, m.ob.), and another overwintered at Calgary, AB (TK). Mild con - ditions and high flow on the Winnipeg R. at- tracted grebes to Lac du Bonnet, MB: 2 Horned 8 Dec, 2 Red-necked 13 Dec, and 2 Western 7 Dec with one last seen 15 Dec (PT). An American White Pelican survived, with the help of some handouts, through the pe - riod at Lockport, MB. A Double-crested Cor- morant lingered at Calgary, AB 7 Dec–16 Feb (m.ob.), and one appeared at Lethbridge, AB 23 Feb (KO). Great Blue Herons were noted in all three provinces, with the latest sighting at Portage la Prairie, MB 1 Jan (CB, m.ob.). A concentration of 56 Bald Eagles near Katepwa Lake, SK 1 Dec (RD, BL, DS) was noteworthy. There were at least 7 Sharp-shinned Hawks reported in s. MB with an additional four SK C.B.C. reports, while the species was less nu - merous than in recent winters in AB. Thirty-six Rough-legged Hawks were tallied during the Regina, SK C.B.C. 27 Dec. The species was also quite plentiful in s. AB (m.ob.), and reports in - cluded a leucistic bird for the third successive winter near Calgary (BK). A Virginia Rail, a MB winter first, became the prey of a falconer's Red-tailed Hawk at Winnipeg 1 Dec (fide CA, Rudolf F. Koes Peter Taylor –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– M ild conditions and much-below-nor- mal precipitation prevailed across the Region, especially in the west. South - ern Alberta experienced its second-mildest winter in 135 years and snow cover was ab - sent from southern Alberta and Saskatchewan during much of the period's second half. These conditions enticed numerous species to linger well beyond normal departure dates, with some birds establishing first-ever successful over - wintering records in the Prairie Provinces. By late-February migration was well underway in southern Alberta. "Northern" owls were scarce, with the exception of Snowy Owls, which were present in fair numbers. WATERFOWL THROUGH WOODPECKERS The numbers and variety of lingering waterfowl boggled the mind, e.g. 60,000+ birds and 24 species on SK C.B.C.s, and only highlights are mentioned here. Four Greater White-fronted Geese were tallied on the Coronach, SK C.B.C. 20 Dec (fide RD), while singles were at Calgary, AB 8 Jan (DR) and on the Lethbridge, AB C.B.C. 19 Dec. Four Snow Geese, of 6 initially pres - ent, survived the winter at Regina, SK, while 3 remained at Calgary, AB 14 Dec–16 Jan (BW, m.ob.); singles were also tallied on the Moose Jaw, SK and Lethbridge C.B.C.s. Another Coro - nach C.B.C. highlight was a Ross's Goose 20 Dec (fide RD). A Tundra Swan and a Green- ph.). American Coots in AB included no fewer than 22 near Milk R. 4 Dec (KO), with the last sighting a lone bird at Calgary 20 Dec (DR). Six Killdeer were tallied on SK C.B.C.s, with 2 each at Gardiner Dam, Indian Head, and Qu'Appelle Dam (fide AS, RE). MB's first-ever winter shore - bird came in the form of a Wilson's Snipe at Carman 6-9 Dec (RS, PG). Lingering gulls included Ring-billed, Cali - fornia, and Herring detected during the Cold Lake C.B.C. (fide THi), while the first returning California Gull was noted as early as 24 Feb at Calgary, AB (fide TK). Seven Herring and 2 Glaucous Gulls were found on the Gardiner Dam C.B.C. 21 Dec (fide GW). A Northern Hawk Owl was far from boreal or montane for - est near Brooks, AB 10 Jan (KO). Up to 9 Short- eared Owls were at Oak Hammock Marsh, MB in early-Dec (RKo, DM, m.ob.), while the pres - ence of this species in the Calgary, AB area dur- ing Jan caused confrontations between birders and photographers (fide TK). A Belted King - fisher at Cypress Hills P.P., SK about 7 & 16 Jan was exceptional (RD); there were also C.B.C. reports logged from Calgary and Lethbridge, AB, plus a Millarville, AB sighting 10 Jan (TK). Red-bellied Woodpeckers were at Priddis, AB through the period (SB, ph., m.ob); at Regina early-Dec and 26 Dec (DS, m.ob.); and at Oak - land, Winkler, and Winnipeg, MB. A Peregrine Falcon at Edmonton, AB 4 Dec was a winter rarity; the observer also noted a Prairie Falcon, Gyrfalcon, and Merlin at the same location that day (ph. DD)! PASSERINES Common Ravens attracted a lot of media atten- tion at Winnipeg, MB, as many dozens were found roosting on ledges at a local hospital and frolicking in updrafts at a downtown skyscrap - er. A minimum of 163 ravens were roosting and cavorting at Regina, SK's new Mosaic Stadium 26 Dec (GK). It was a very poor year for Red- breasted Nuthatches in s. MB. A Pacific Wren

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