North American Birds

VOLUME 70 NO3-NO4 2019

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 121 of 163

N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 368 the Region's earliest ever—it may well have wintered in se. and was on the move early. Eleven Common Ringed Plovers consituted a record season count for Gambell 28 May-14 Jun (fide PEL, m. obs.). Equally notable was a lone Whimbrel, also from Gustavus 8 Apr (NKD). There aren't many Apr Whimbrel records. The season's only Far-eastern Curlew report originated from Adak, found on 29 May (FH, BH) and apparently lingered for the next cou - ple days. Hudsonian Godwits drop in from points well south on the continent in Apr most springs, but one at Gustavus 23 Apr (NKD) was probably record early for the Region. It was followed up by a strong showing for se. of 34 on 29 Apr (NKD). A male Hudsonian at Kodiak 30 Apr and two from farther afield in Middle Bay there the same day (ph. RAM, MMM) became that island's third and fourth records. A Curlew Sandpiper at St. Paul I. 21- 24 May (St. Paul Tour) was off the radar since most records of this casual visitor come from the North Slope or in fall. This spring's lone Temminck's Stint report came in from Adak from 27-28 May (FH, BH) where the species is very rare. A Pectoral Sandpiper in Juneau's Eagle Beach 23 Apr (MWS) was pushing the Region's early arrival, as most arrive do not begin arriving until early May. The season's ultimate Palearctic find at Gambell was a Pin- tailed Snipe 26-27 May (fide PEL, ph. CI, LS), a first St. Lawrence I. record of this casual spring migrant. Up to three Common Sand - pipers at Gambell 25-28 May (AJL, m. obs.) made a strong showing there, where the spe - cies is not annual. Two Common Greenshanks at Gambell 26 May were followed by one 2-3 Jun (PEL et al.); similarly this species is not annual at this location. More significant from the mainland was a Common Sandpiper from Nome 24-30 May (AJL, MB et al.), likely only the second record there. Wood Sandpipers ar - rived at Gambell with a record season total of 14 beginning 22 May (CI, m. obs.). Although Crested Auklets are fairly com - mon winter birds at Kodiak, a single there on 2 May (ph. RAM) was extremely late. An - chorage birders documented another Frank- lin's Gull along the coastal fringe 23-26 May (DWS et al.), where there only a couple spring observations. The annual eulachon spawning event in the lower Taiya R. near Skagway at - tracted thousands of gulls in early May, high- lighted by 4,500 Thayer's Gulls 3 May (CDE). This very large se. staging aggregation likely represented a significant percentage of the population that moves from the Pacific Coast to high Arctic breeding sites. Noteworthy Slaty-backed Gull accounts away from Bering Sea sites included at least one adult in Sitka 28 probably the Region's earliest ever by more than two weeks. Sitka's drake Wood Duck from the winter season remained there into Jun (MRG), while a female appeared in Juneau 13 Apr and stayed thru 22 May (ph., LT). Records of this rare, but an - nual, fall through spring visitor are on the rise. The se. produced two Cin - namon Teal, one from north of Juneau 27 Apr-3 May (GBV et al.) and two near Haines 14 May (CN). Kodiak's wintering Common Pochard remained through 22 Mar (ph. RAM), while a female Tufted Duck, likely a wintering bird moving from somewhere in the North Gulf environs, was a one-day sur - prise also at Kodiak 28 Mar (ph. RAM). Fur- thermore, Kodiak was presented with three Hooded Mergansers, possibly local wintering birds headed e. 3 Mar (RAM, AJL). A Western Grebe in Gustavus 1 May (NKD) provided a second local spring find. This win - ter visitor is decidedly rare north of Sumner Strait. At least a few Eurasian Collared-Doves were present in most se. communities by the end of May; the maximum was a flock of 16 in Ketchikan 17 May (JFK). Notable away from urban areas, this species was also near Leask L. on Revillagigedo I. 15 May (JHL), on the highway 36 miles north of Juneau 21 May (GBV), on a fishing vessel in Endicott Arm 23 May (ph. AB), and at a feeder on Knig Slough on the lower Stikine R. by the end of May (BKN). Another single flying around a cruise ship on Chatham Strait 14 May (PEL) was the last of a group of eight that rode the ship for five days from San Francisco. Thirteen Black Swifts above the lower Sti - kine R. 24 May (WTS) provided a record early arrival date for the Region where the species more typically appears first in early June. Two Vaux's Swifts arrived record early at Gustavus 24 Apr (NKD) by nine days, and a single at Sitka 23 May (ph. MRG, CPFG) was only that offshore locale's second ever. Another Virginia Rail calling from a Gustavus bog 7-26 May (NKD, et al.), constituted a fifth local record. There are now 18 reports for Alaska, all from the se. and mostly from mainland locations. SHOREBIRDS THROUGH OWLS It appeared to be a light shorebird season, with good conditions no-doubt aiding free passage to nesting grounds. Adak and Gam - bell produced a good showing for Palearctic species but there were few significant con - centrations otherwise. The Black-bellied Plo- ver in Gustavus 13 Mar (NKD) eclipsed last spring's early arrival by 10 days and is likely Thede Tobish –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– SPRING 2016 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– S pring 2016 followed on weather condi- tions trending for several years. Record warm and mild conditions spread across se. Alaska beginning in March, which was ba - sically the warmest ever for that subregion. Numerous communities in the Panhandle witnessed record average daily highs and such conditions continued nearly uniformly through May. Southeast reporters noted quite a few new early record arrival dates mainly for passerines. Elsewhere, warm conditions pre - vailed, but in less dramatic extremes and the season's migration was clearly early across the board. Perhaps such "settled" weather con - ditions played a role in pushing most west- to-east low pressure systems south of the Aleutians. The main migration period for the Bering Sea saw no influential storms. Abbreviations: North Gulf (North Gulf of Alaska); Referenced details (†), photographs (ph.), videotape (vt.), and audiotape (at.) are on file with the Alaska Checklist Committee. WATERFOWL THROUGH RAILS Waterfowl highlights seemed subpar although the peak goose passage timeframe of the sec - ond half of April saw strong numbers and di- versity of Canada and Cackling goose forms and Greater White-fronted Geese across se. and along the North Gulf. For instance, in a two-and-a-half-hour period of 18 Apr, Ket - chikan birders estimated 39,000 geese pass- ing overhead, mostly Greater White-fronted and a mix of Cackling and Canada geese. Ma - cIntosh also reported a nice mix of Cackling Goose subspecies in Kodiak from late Apr. Twenty Greater White-fronted Geese at Gusta - vus 19 Mar (NKD, JFS) represented what was Alaska

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