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.

Issue link: http://nab.aba.org/i/1115839

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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 274 N E W E N G L A N D –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– SUMMER 2016 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Wayne R. Petersen W eather in much of New England during June was dryer than nor - mal, with Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut experiencing one of the 20 driest Junes on record. In Boston only 3.38 cm (1.33 in.) of rain was recorded during the month. Despite the fact that temperatures throughout the Northeast were near normal, Rhode Island and Connecticut respectively witnessed their 19th and 20th warmest Junes on record. July continued these hot and dry condi - tions, with a number of communities issuing local water bans in drought-stricken areas throughout the southern parts of the Region. The Northeast's average temperature of 71.6 degrees F was 2.0 degrees F above normal, making it the 15th warmest since 1895. In Connecticut this was the 6th warmest July since 1895, the 7th warmest in Rhode Island, and the 10 th warmest in Massachusetts. Aver- age monthly temperatures ranged as much as 3.0 degrees F above normal in Connecticut and in Boston there were 12 days when the mercury soared to 90+ degrees F, the highest being 98 degrees F on 22 July. By late July bona fide drought conditions ex - isted in southern New England, with a Drought Advisory issued for southeastern Massachu - setts and the Connecticut River Valley and a Drought Watch for central and northeastern Massachusetts. These conditions resulted in near record low streamflow, groundwater, and reservoir levels in some areas, and water bans and restrictions were in place in more than 130 towns in Massachusetts and more than 50 in New Hampshire. Yields of corn and second cuttings of hay were expected to be lower than usual, pastures and crops were stunted, and wild berry and apple crops were smaller in size than usual. There was also increased fire activ - ity and there were several lightning strike fires; unusual occurrences for the Bay State. Because dead fuel moisture (i.e. the amount of water in dead vegetation) was historically low for late July, fires could readily start and spread rapidly. While it is difficult to say with certainty how these drought effects may have impacted ground-nesting field and forest birds, it defi - nitely enhanced inland habitat conditions for wading birds and migratory shorebirds, espe - cially by late in the period. Most notable among the breeding season highlights in Maine was an extraordinary second-ever eastern North American record May at Plum Island (m.ob. phs.). A Cape May Warbler that appeared in a Wakefield, RI, yard on 8 Jan. remained through 5 April (James Restivo). A Prothonotary Warbler found 15 May in West Haven, Rutland, was a Vermont standout, staying to at least 29 May (Cathryn Abbott, m.ob, phs.). Other northerly Protho - notary Warblers consisted of singles seen on 26 May at South Portland, Cumberland, ME (Noah Gibb ph., et al.) and on Monhegan (Lars Jonsson, JT ph., et al.). The southern tier states had a combined total of 10. A Black-throated Sparrow found during a Christmas Bird Count was relocated 17 Mar at Winter Harbor, Hancock, ME (Michael J. Good ph.). The northern outlier population of Grasshopper Sparrows, occupying a few loca - tions in the Champlain Valley, included up to six throughout May at State Airport IBA, Fran - klin, VT (Taj Schottland, Nathaniel Sharp et al. phs.). A stunning adult Golden-crowned Spar - row visited a feeder in Hingham, Plymouth, MA, 1-6 May, where it was enjoyed by more than 100 observers (Carter Harrison m.ob., phs.). There are about a dozen state records. The only Western Tanager report came from a yard in Kennebunkport, York, ME on 10 May (Kathy Donahue). The season's only Black- headed Grosbeak, an adult male, visited a yard in Berlin, Hartford, CT 29-30 Apr (Brett Myskowski ph., et al.). An adult male Painted Bunting, wintering for the second consecutive year, visited a feeder in Stamford, Fairfield, CT to at least 4 Apr (Dave Winston ph. et al.). One visited a Bristol, Bristol, RI, yard on 19 Apr (Joan Esposito) and totally unexpec - ted was an adult male found in a yard in the Green Mountains in Pittsfield, Windsor, VT 17-18 Mar (Judith Hawley et al. ph.). Yellow- headed Blackbirds were sparsely reported with just two each in MA and CT and one in VT. Observers: Jim Berry (Massachusetts), Louis Bevier (Maine), Nick Bonomo, Glenn d'En - tremont, Ian Davies, Paul Desjardins, Rachel Farrell (Rhode Island) Dan Finizia, Frank Gallo, Tina Green, Rick Heil, Doug Hitch - cox (DHi), Dave Hoag (DHo), Pamela Hunt, Marshall J. Iliff (MJI), Seth Kellogg, Lauren Kras, Robby Lambert, Justin Lawson, Derek Lovitch, Frank Mantlik , (Connecticut), Ste - fan Martin (SMa), Eric Masterson, (New Hampshire), Steve Mirick (SMi), Ted Murin, (Vermont), Blair Nikula, Carlos Pedro, Wayne Petersen, Chris Raithel, Marjorie Rines, (Massachusets), Bill Sheehan, Luke Seitz, Robert Stymeist, (Massachusetts), Jeremiah Trimble, Ian Worley, Keenan Yakola. n –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Greg Hanisek, 175 Circuit Avenue, Waterbury, Connecticut 06708 • ctgregh@yahoo.com dates was a Cliff Swallow on 12 Mar at Blue Hill, Hancock, ME (Craig Kesselheim fide LB). This is typically the latest swallow to arrive in the region. There are a few March records, in - cluding one on 9 Mar from MA, but these are all noteworthy outliers. Bevier noted there are grounds to think this may have been a western stray., as this species typically arrives in late February in California, coming from Middle American wintering populations. Eastern po - pulations come from South America, accoun- ting for about a 1.5 month difference between western and eastern arrivals in spring. A Mountain Bluebird kept New Hamp- shire's run of first state records rolling when it was present 9-15 Apr in Pease (Jason Lam - bert, Katrina Fenton, m.ob., phs.). A winte- ring one was seen through at least 22 Mar at Crane WMA, Falmouth, Barnstable, MA (m.ob., phs). A Townsend's Solitaire found during the winter season in Greenwich, Fair - field, CT was last reported 15 Mar (SMa, m.ob. ph.). Vermont had two reports of this species, one on 5 Mar in Winooski, Chittenden (John Truong ph.) and one on 18 Apr in Thet - ford Center, Orange, (Susan Tiholz, Katharine Thompson). New Hampshire's first Redwing found in Hollis, Hillsborough, on 13 Mar was the fourth record for the eastern United States and one of the rarest vagrants ever to occur in the Granite State (Chris McPherson ph. m.ob.). It attracted approximately 500 obser - vers through at least 16 Mar. New Hamp- shire's run of rare thrushes included a Varied Thrush 4-31 Mar in Merrimack, Hillsborough (Sharon McCarthy et al., phs.). The season's only other record involved an adult male seen briefly 1 Apr in a yard in Duck Cove, Hancock, ME (Heidi Welch). Golden-winged Warbler has become so hard to find outside of western Vermont that dozens of birders converged to see one on 14 Although Painted Buntings have appeared increasingly in southern New England, this one 17-18 (here 18) March 2016 was unexpected in a yard in Pittsfield in Vermont's Green Mountains. Photo by © K.P. McFarland

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