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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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 332 Cameron D. Eckert –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– SPRING 2016 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– T his season saw an especially weak shore- bird migration, with low numbers for most common species—hopefully this is not a lasting trend and numbers improve in coming years. Yukon birders turned up two new species for the territory, with highlights being long-awaited and well-documented American Black Ducks and a surprise Indigo Bunting. WATERFOWL A northbound movement of 2,103 Greater White-fronted Geese was observed at M'Clin - tock Bay, s. Yukon 21 Apr (JJ); meanwhile, 340 were tallied at Ft. Simpson, NT 29 Apr (DT). A flock of 150 Snow Geese passed over the Indian R., cen. Yukon 30 Apr (MS). Brant is a rare but regular late spring migrant in the Yukon South - ern Lakes; a total of 595 Black Brant were seen at L. Laberge, s. Yukon 29 May (ph. CE) and the following day 133 Gray-bellied Brant were seen flying over there (ph. CE); remarkably, these birds were being satellite tracked at the same time, providing a valuable field sighting of a tracked flock. A count of 350 Cackling Geese was recorded at Kugluktuk, NU 18 May (ML). The Yukon's first well-documented Amer - ican Black Ducks, a pair, were at Teslin L. 4-6 May (ph. JJ, CE; BD) and then at nearby M'Clin- tock Bay 8 May (JJ). It was fortunate to fully document these pure ducks first, as an Amer - ican Black Duck X Mallard was at nearby Tagish Narrows 9 May (ph. JJ). A variety of hybrid ducks are seen annually in the Yukon South - ern Lakes, with notables this year being single Mallard X Northern Pintails at Shallow Bay and Whitehorse on 30 Apr (JJ) and 3 May (TA), respectively and a Blue-winged Teal X North - ern Shoveler at Shallow Bay 4 May (JJ). Yukon Southern Lakes saw some decent dabbler num - bers with 1,600 American Wigeon at L. Laberge 25 Apr (CE), 1,310 Mallards at M'Clintock Bay 19 Apr (JJ), and 2,050 Northern Pintail there 23 Apr (JJ). Early-season counts of 70 Common and 13 King eiders were recorded at Sisimiut, GR 14 Apr (SOM). The season's high count of 600 Common Eiders was recorded along the ice floe edge ne. of Rankin Inlet, NU 10 May (BZ). A flock of 206 Red-breasted Mergansers was at M'Clintock Bay, s. Yukon 10 May (JJ), while 120 Common Mergansers were off near - by Judas Cr. 12 May (JJ). GROUSE THROUGH TERNS A count of 20 Ruffed Grouse was recorded along Dominion Cr., cen. Yukon 25 Apr (MS). A tally of 60 Rock Ptarmigan was recorded at Brown L., NU 14 May (SB). The Yukon's rec - ord-high count of 9 Eared Grebes at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve 21 May (ph. CE, PSi) was fol - lowed up by a confirmed breeding record there 28 May (CE). Four Western Grebes, casual in the Yukon, were at Aishihik L. 16 May (ph. JJ). A group of 65 American White Pelicans was at its traditional site along the banks of the Slave R., Ft. Smith, NT 25 May (PSc). A group of 9 Great Blue Herons, a record number for the Yukon, was at Nares L. 27 Apr (BD, ph. CE). A White-tailed Eagle was reported from Sisimuit, GR 13 Apr (SOM). A Golden Eagle, apparently defending its nesting territory, was seen near the Kugaryuak R., NU 4 Apr (ML). Sandhill Crane migration along the Yukon's Tintina Trench is a continentally-significant avian event; a total of 7,280 was tallied flying over Faro, cen. Yukon 7 May (TS). Two American Avocets at Kam L., NT 18 May (RH) were n. of their regular range; while 8 were seen near Hay River, NT 4 May (GV) where the species is considered annual. It was an excep - tional season for Pacific Golden-Plovers at L. Laberge with a record-high Yukon count of 30 on 6 May (DB, CE, JJ). For the more common species, shorebird migration in s. Yukon was very flat this season with modest high counts, such as 5 American Golden-Plovers at L. La - berge 8 May (SH), 300 Pectoral Sandpipers at L. Laberge 8 & 10 May (CE) and 300 at Tagish 9 May (JJ), 126 Lesser Yellowleg at M'Clintock Bay 2 May (JJ), 90 Semipalmated Sandpipers at M'Clintock Bay 10 May (JJ), and just 45 Long-billed Dowitchers at Marsh L., s. Yukon 8-9 May (JJ). More promising was a count of 115 American Golden-Plovers at Hay River, NT 25 May (GV). Ruddy Turnstone is a very rare spring migrant in s. Yukon; 1 was at M'Clintock Bay 2-3 May (JJ, TA; CE). Dunlin is an abun - dant West Coast migrant yet largely bypasses s. Yukon; as such, a count of 12 at M'Clintock Bay 3 May was high (CE, JJ). A single Franklin's Gull, rare in the Yukon Southern Lakes region, was at M'Clintock Bay 23 May (wd. CE, JJ). Peak Mew Gull move - ments through s. Yukon were seen in early May with 500 at Nares L. 1 May (CE), and 1,100 at L. Laberge 4 May (JJ). An unprecedented fall - out of 360 Thayer's Gulls was observed at L. Laberge, s. Yukon 29 May (ph. CE); 12 were seen at Ft. Simpson, NT the same day (DT). Northern Canada & Greenland The Yukon's first Indigo Bunting, a brilliant male, appeared at a Watson Lake feeder 11-12 May 2016. Photo by © Cameron Eckert

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