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 26 of 163

V O L U M E 7 0 ( 2 0 1 9 ) • N U M B E R S 3 / 4 273 N E W E N G L A N D ted by just five reports of single birds—two in MA and one each in VT, RI, and CT – ranging from 22 April to 19 May. White-faced Ibis is now a regular late spring feature along the coast, but mostly res - tricted to three areas—the central Connecti- cut coast near Hammonasset, Essex County, MA, in the vicinity of Rowley and Ipswich, and at Scarborough Marsh and vicinity near Portland, Cumberland, ME. Most observations were of single birds, ranging from first arrivals 22 Apr in CT and 24 Apr in both MA and ME through to the end of May and beyond. Three in Ipswich on 24 Apr keep afloat the possibility of single species breeding; hybridi - zation may have already occurred but remains unproven. RAPTORS THROUGH PASSERINES The only report of a Swallow-tailed Kite came from Orange, New Haven, CT, on 10 April (Daniel Field); spring 2015 produced at least 15 reports regionwide, so this constituted a dramatic drop in sightings. Aside from the re - gular migrants on Cape Cod and the breeding site at Newmarket, Rockingham, N.H., Mis - sissippi Kites were noted on 29 May at both Williamstown, Berkshire, MA (Manuel and John Morales ph.) and Jamestown, RI (Wayne Munns). A Barred Owl on 14 Apr on Martha's Vineyard was only the fourth record for the island (E. & A. James). In Vermont, a Long- eared Owl on 14 Apr at Grand Isle was in an area where breeding is suspected (DHo) and a pair fledged young in Addison County (IW et al. ph.). A pair also fledged young for the se - cond year in a row on Nantucket (H. Young). Fish Crows continued at their northern outpost in northwestern Vermont, with four in Burlington on 19 Apr (TM, Qing Ren). Two Purple Martins on 22 Mar in East Providence set an early arrival record for Rhode Island (Susan Talbot). A standout among early arrival at the north end of L. Champlain produced a robust high count of 47 on 21 May at Mis - sisquoi N.W.R., Franklin (Eddie Edwards). A series of low pressure systems during the first week of May created a major fallout of terns in the southwestern part of New Hampshire. Masterson noted at least 27 individuals of four species were recorded, highlighted by at least 7 Caspian Terns and a single Black Tern. Mas - sachusetts' second White-winged Tern, an adult in full alternate plumage, and the first since 1954, made a brief appearance at Race Point on Cape Cod 8 May (Peter Flood ph., Steve Arena ph.). The Red-billed Tropicbird returned 12 May to Seal Island N.W.R., Knox, ME, for the 12 th consecutive year and continued through the season (KY). A Yellow-billed Loon found in late February at Race Point in Provincetown lingered to 2 Apr. The presence of two Pacific Loons meant that many observers were trea - ted to four-loon days and on occasion four loon species in one scope view! In addition to the winter holdovers in coastal MA and NH, an inland Pacific Loon in alternate plumage showed up at Lake Dunmore, Salisbury, Addi - son, VT on 26 Apr (Michael Korkuc ph., Eric Hanson). A well-described Anhinga was re - ported as a flyover on 14 May in Portsmouth, Newport , RI (Ben and John Shamgochian). A Little Egret returned to the Portland/ Falmouth area of Cumberland, ME, in the third week of April and remained through the summer (Richard Garrigus, m.ob., phs.). Cattle Egret's now-marginal status is illustra - Washington, RI, 28 Apr-2 May (Rey Larsen et al. ph.) and Weskeag Marsh, Knox, ME, 19- 20 May (Don Reimer, m.ob. Phs.). A Wilson's Phalarope 2 May at Little Compton was a re - cord early arrival date for Rhode Island (GD). Remarkable in its entirety was the saga of an Ancient Murrelet, a major rarity in eastern North America, which moved northeastward along the Maine coast. It was detected and photographed at three locations: Seal Island N.W.R., Knox, on 13 May (KY ph.), 22 May at Petit Manan N.W.R, Washington (Morgan O'Connor, Jill Tengeres ph.), and Machias Seal Island, Washington, 27 May (Tim Dunn ph.). This is the second record in the Region in the last three years, following one at a small Vermont pond in April 2014. Additionally, Massachusetts has three records, all coastal, from the 1990s. Mew Gulls of two races, canus and brachy - rhynchus, the latter a Connecticut first, were found on 20 Mar in the same feeding gull flock at Hammonasset (NB ph., m.ob.). A first-cycle wintering canus was at Owls Head Harbor, Knox, ME to at least 12 Mar (Mike Fahay ph. Gordon Smith) and an adult canus was seen by many at Race Point in Provin - cetown, Barnstable, MA, 13-27 Mar (MJI, Richard Veit, m.ob. phs). Connecticut's first California Gull , a first-cycle bird, was found 21 Mar at Hammonasset (SMa, m.ob. phs.). It remained one more day at that location before being relocated 24 March about 20 miles west at West Haven, where it was seen through 16 Apr (NB et al.). The Black Tern hotspot New Hampshire's first Redwing attracted a throng of observers that enjoyed tracking it down among hordes of American Robins during its stay 13-16 (here 13) March 2016, in Hollis. Photo by © Chris McPherson SA The inevitable closing of landfills has reduced gull-watching opportunities in many areas, but Connecticut enjoys a gull spectacle every March and April as an array of species stage in Long Island Sound to surface-feed on zooplankton and other marine organ - isms. This has long been the time for the state's birders to seek Little and Black-headed Gulls among 4-figure flocks of Bonaparte's Gulls, but increasingly the size and variety of the flocks have increased. Flocks up to the 5-figure range, consisting primarily of Ring-billed and Her - ring Gulls, spread out in large rafts, often mixed in with waterfowl such as Brant and scaup, to pick daintily at the surface for small organisms, including barnacle larvae. The largest concentrations to date have been in the western part of the Sound, in New Haven and Fairfield counties. These flocks can sometimes be scoped from shore, but the best opportunities to find rarities occur when birds come to roost at places such as the Oyster River mouth in Milford/West Haven or Southport Beach in Fairfield. The state's first photo-docu - mented Common Gull, Larus canus canus, was found during this event on 20 March 2009 at Bradley Point in West Haven. The spectacle drew special attention in spring 2015 when two Mew Gulls and at least one Thayer's Gull (now a subspecies of Iceland Gull, Laurs glaucoides thayeri) were found. The attention was ratcheted up because a Mew Gull first found on 10 April, and relocated a week later, proved to be the large Asian subspecies, Larus canus kamt - chatschensis or Kamchatka Gull. In March 2016 a feeding flock at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison held another Common Gull as well as two state firsts—a Mew Gull of the subs - pecies brachyrhynchus and a California Gull. A Kamchatka Gull found in March 2017, feeding with a gull flock off Stratford, has been accepted by Avian Records Committee of Connecticut.

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