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 69 of 115

N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 204 Southern Great Plains Joseph A. Grzybowski W. Ross Silcock –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– S easonal mainlines for some time have in- cluded the fundamental effects of climate change, the northward shifting ranges of some species, and migration timing becoming later in the fall and earlier in the spring. This winter season captures an array of these; north - ward for Northern Shoveler, American White Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Greater Yellowlegs, Eastern Phoebes, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Brown Thrashers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Chipping Sparrows among others. This has also meant the northward retreat of wintering ranges for species such as Common Mergansers, Rough-legged Hawks, American Tree Sparrows, and an array of gull species. This season expressed another continuing trend, which is the west-northwestward shift in more woodland species such as Red-shouldered Hawk, Barred Owl, Carolina Wren, Pine War - bler, and Northern Cardinal. Cold snaps and droughts can (and have) hampered these pat - terns in the past decade or so, but only briefly. In general, water conditions were sufficient. Ir - ruptive species were relatively quiet this season, with few Red-headed Woodpeckers or Red- breasted Nuthatches, and no significant incur - sion of forest finches excepting Pine Siskins. Other species showing some weaknesses in numbers were Western Grebes, Herring Gulls, and Black-billed Magpies in Nebraska. Other - wise, an array of regular rarities were found. Among items to follow is an emerging story on the wild status of Mute Swans in the Region. Abbreviations: Cheyenne Bottoms (Cheyenne Bottoms W.M.A., Barton, KS); Hackberry (Hack - berry Flat W.M.A., Tillman, OK); McConaughy (Lake McConaughy Reservoir, Keith, NE); Qui - vira (Quivira N.W.R., Stafford, KS); Red Slough (Red Slough W.M.A., McCurtain, OK). 500+ in Wheeler 3 Jan (SJD); the North Platte C.B.C. high was 173 on 22 Dec (fide TJW). Red- necked Grebes can fringe NE; a surprise was the 4 at McConaughy through 2 Jan (fide SJD) with singles in Lancaster, NE 1-3 Dec (TG, m.ob.); Wyandotte, KS 7-12 Dec (NA, m.ob.); Doug - las, KS 5 Jan (NV, BW); and Russell, KS 6 Jan (DK). Very northerly Eared Grebes were at Mc - Conaughy 2 Jan (fide SJD), Douglas, KS 3-8 Jan (1-2 birds; GP, MMH), and Shawnee, KS 13 Jan (BW, NV). Mid-winter reports in OK were also noteworthy with up to 13 through the period in Oklahoma, OK (JAG, m.ob.), and singles in Mc - Curtain 26 Jan (DA) and Tulsa 16 Jan and 4 Feb (TH, BC). A good tally for the date was the 339 Western Grebes at McConaughy, a staging area, 2 Jan (fide SJD). Single Westerns were in Shaw - nee, KS 9 Jan (DL, MF); Linn, KS 29 Jan–5 Feb (MG, BW, m.ob.); 22 Jan in Ellis, OK (L&MT); and 7-24 Feb in Payne, OK (TO, m.ob.). While Clark's Grebe occurs with Western Grebes stag - ing in fall at McConaughy, only one was there 2 Jan (fide SJD). Numbers of both Eurasian Collared-Dove and White-winged Dove continue to increase in the northern part of the Region; 943 Col - lared-Doves were tallied in Scotts Bluff, NE 29 Dec (fide AK) and White-wingeds were re - ported from four scattered locations in NE (fide WRS). The only report of Inca Dove was in McCurtain, OK 26 Jan (DA), and a much rarer Common Ground-Dove was in Johnston, OK 11 Dec (MT). RAILS THROUGH PELICANS A King Rail wintered at Red Slough 26 Jan–16 Feb (DA); the species is annual in winter at this location. Good numbers of Sandhill Cranes lin - gered into midwinter in KS including 450 at GEESE THROUGH DOVES Large numbers of Snow Geese reached Nebras- ka by the end of Jan; 10,600 were in Clay 30 Jan (LR, RH) with an e. NE record of 500,000 in Platte 26 Feb (CNK). Wild Mute Swans may be on the cusp of entering the Region; this spe - cies was added to the Nebraska Official State List based on a single accepted record, an un - marked ad. that wintered in Douglas, 7 Dec–7 Feb (D&JP, MC). Three Mute Swans of un - known provenance were in Tulsa, OK 22 Dec (LP). A high count of 83 Trumpeter Swans win - tered in Douglas, NE (fide WRS); small num- bers (2-9) have become routine in Tulsa, Osage, Washington, and Pawnee, OK during Jan (fide JAG). An exception during winter, 2 Tundra Swans were with the Trumpeters in Douglas, NE; 4 Tundras were in Washington, OK 1-15 Jan (fide JAG). Reports of American Black Duck have declined in recent winters; encouraging were reports of 8 individuals in e. KS during the period (fide CO). A species whose winter status may be clouded by casual identification issues, a Blue-winged Teal was in Madison, NE 13-15 Jan (WF). Good numbers of Greater Scaup in - cluded 107 in Tulsa, OK 2 Dec (JWA, KW), and 81 at McConaughy 2 Jan (SJD). Scoters are rare but regular in the eastern part of the Region. A Surf Scoter overwintered at McConaughy (fide SJD), 2 wintered in Shawnee, KS to at least 29 Jan (DM), and 5 were in Pawnee, OK 11 Feb (MP, JD). Two White-winged Scoters wintered at McConaughy (fide WRS), and 2 were in Wa - baunsee, KS (SSc, TSc). The only mid-winter Black Scoter reported was in Sedgwick, KS 1 Feb (KG). Long-tailed Ducks were seen through the period at McConaughy (1-2 birds; fide WRS) and in five KS counties (9 birds; fide CO); the only report for OK detailed 2 at Hackberry 3 Dec (L&MT). Barrow's Goldeneye, formerly less than annual, were noted this season in Shawnee, KS 26 Jan (TB) and Lancaster, NE until 1 Dec (JGJ), with 1-2 at Mc - Conaughy through the period (fide WRS). Common Merganser num - bers built up in Alfalfa, OK to just ca. 1100 for a short period 12 & 26 Jan (GH); the species was for - merly more common and occurred both earlier and later in the season. A count of 102 Northern Bob- white was tallied at the northwest edge of their Regional range in Loup, NE 30 Dec (fide DH). On the western edge was a count of 195 in Ellis, OK 4 Jan (fide ES). A Scaled Quail was an odd find in Ellis, OK 4 Jan (fide ES). Greater Prairie- Chicken is occurring in good num - bers in Nebraska, e.g. an amazing A lingering subadult Swainson's Hawk at Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area, Tillman County, OK, furnished one of only a few winter records for the Region. Photo by © John Ault.

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