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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V O L U M E 7 0 ( 2 0 1 9 ) • N U M B E R S 3 / 4 275 N E W E N G L A N D captured for rehabilitation now represents one of very few specimens for Massachusetts. In addition to a scattering of mid-summer Red- necked Grebe observations along the coast of New Hampshire and Maine, an unseasonal Horned Grebe was at Hyannis, Barnstable, MA Jun 25 (ph. J. Barnard). In what was a notably bird-rich season for seabirds in the Gulf of Maine, few specific events were more inexplicable than a move - ment of 1,172 Cory's Shearwaters and 206 Sooty Shearwaters north past Little Boars Head, New Hampton, Rockingham, NH 10 Jul (SM). This total of Cory's Shearwaters in the southern Gulf of Maine likely exceeds any pre - vious single-day tally in these waters, although it likely represented only a fraction of the num - bers actually present since 1,000 Cory's were also seen off Race Pt. the same day (BN) and 18 were counted at Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, ME (DL). While it seems likely that this move - ment was tied to the presence of food, this does not make the magnitude and ephemeral nature of the movement any less startling. It seems increasingly plausible that the inflated annual numbers, earlier seasonal occurrence, and greater penetration of Cory's Shearwaters well north into the Gulf of Maine in recent years could be tied to both the increasing tempera - ture of Gulf of Maine waters and possibly also to corresponding changes in the composition of the forage fish populations inhabiting these waters. Slightly less impressive but no less no - table were the Sooty Shearwater tallies that in- cluded 1,000 at Stellwagen Bank 8 Jun (LW), 3,500 East of Chatham 26 Jun (BN), and 1,366 at Race Pt. 9 Jul (SA). Finally, a Red-billed Tropicbird that has returned to the waters off Seal I., Knox, ME for at least eleven years was back again this season (ph. DL, m.ob). Systematic marsh bird surveys conducted (R. Quinn, P. Brown) that was at the same loca - tion where, in 2015, the species was first con- firmed nesting in New Hampshire. Also on this list belong 2 Northern Shovelers at Grand Isle, VT 15 Jun (D. Hoag), only the second New Hampshire summer record of Redhead at Lan - caster, Coos 18-24 Jun (S. Stoddard), a sum- mering Ring-necked Duck at Horn P., Woburn, Middlesex, MA, a Lesser Scaup at Quabbin Res., Worcester, (v.ob), and a lingering King Eider at Gloucester, Essex, MA 26 Jun (K. Testerman). Single Ruddy Ducks made their typical mercu - rial appearances at the Rochester W.T.P., Straf- ford, NH 7 Jun (D. Hubbard), the Exeter W.T.P., Rockingham, NH (SM, v.ob.), and 2 were at Plum I. 24 Jun-1 Jul (TW). The New England comings and goings of this species in summer continue to be puzzling to this compiler. A heavily molting and obviously unwell Pa - cific Loon at Nantucket I., 23 Jun - 7 Jul (B. Per- kins m.ob., ph. SK) that succumbed after being of Great Knot, a first state record of Ancient Murrelet, and a Little Egret; in New Hampshire there was an unprecedented concentration of Cory's Shearwaters in the state's nearshore wa - ters and the continued nesting of Mississippi Kites; and in Massachusetts two new nest - ing localities for Sandhill Crane, a probable second-ever nesting of Forster's Tern, and a probable first-nesting of Blue Grosbeak were standouts. Abbreviations:B.O. (Bird Observer), Cha - tham, (Barnstable, MA), C.D.E.P. (Connecti- cut Department of Environmental Protection), H.B.S.P. (Hammonasset Beach S. P. Madison, New Haven, CT), Kettle I. (Manchester, Es - sex, MA), M.D.F.W. (Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife), N.H.B.R. (New Hamp - shire Bird Records), Plum I. (Parker River N.W.R., Newbury/Rowley, Essex, MA), Race Pt. (Provincetown, Barnstable, MA), Scarborough Marsh (Scarborough Beach, Cumberland, ME), Seal I., Knox, ME, Stellwagen Bank (Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary), U.S.F.W.S. (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service),V.C.E. (Vermont Center for Ecostudies). WATERFOWL THROUGH CRANES The nearly annual appearance of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks somewhere in New England was this season registered by a group of 11 at Sandwich, Barnstable, MA 12 Jul (G. Tan - guilig). The regularity with which this species is now appearing north of its historic range clearly begs the question whether this species may represent yet another climate signal from points south? Among the outlier waterfowl this summer belong a summering Eurasian Wigeon at Christina Res., Ft. Fairfield, Aroostook, ME 26 Jun-31 Jul (BS) and an American Wigeon at Umbagog N.W.R., Errol, Coos, NH 14 Jun SA Now in its second year, a Common Loon "hacking program" at Pocksha Pond in Lakev- ille, Plymouth, MA was successfully completed with a total of 9 loon chicks safely translocated and released between July-September, including 5 chicks from Maine and 4 chicks from New York. Six of the younger chicks were reared in captivity before release, and 3 of the older chicks were released directly following translocation. Time will tell how suc - cessful this recently developed protocol will be, but preliminary results appear very promis- ing (M. Kneeland, V. Spagnuolo). In the Granite State, 293 territorial pairs of Common Loons successfully raised at least 147 chicks which is slightly above the threshold required to maintain a stable population (fide J. Cooley, Loon Preservation Committee). The exceptionally dry summer and a strong black fly season which causes incubating adults to leave their nests were among the contributing factors affecting nesting success this season. In Vermont 93 nesting pairs of loons produced 103 surviving chicks through the end of August (fide E. Hanson, V.C.E.). To appreciate the significance of these Vermont numbers is to note that in 1982 Vermont lakes supported only 19 pairs of loons—compare that to 2016's 93. Kudos to The Vermont Loon Conservation Project. One of very few Pacific Loon specimens for Massachusetts, this sick individual photographed at Nantucket Island 7 Jul was eventually captured and later succumbed while at a rehabilitation facility. Photo by © Ginger Andrews

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