North American Birds

VOLUME 68 NO2 2015

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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V O L U M E 6 8 ( 2 0 1 5 ) • N U M B E R 2 275 This adult Black-headed Gull, photographed on the frst day of its stay 8-14 January 2014, was in the same area near Mecca, Riverside County, as frequented by a frst-winter bird between 15 January and 9 February 2007—the only other Black-headed Gull recorded at the Salton Sink. Photograph by Thomas A. Benson. Southern California Colorado River, but one on the San Bernardino side of Lake Havasu 9-19 Jan (DVanP LBH) along with up to 3 at Senator Wash Dam, Impe- rial 14 Dec–8 Feb (DVanP, TAB) made the only reports from the Colorado River. A Red-breasted Merganser high in the mountains on Big Bear Lake, San Bernardino 20 Feb (BD) was at an un- expected location. Up to 2 Red-throated Loons, rare inland, were on Lake Havasu 22 Dec–28 Feb+ (LBH, DVanP), and another was on Lake Skinner, Riverside 14 Dec–26 Jan (DR). Reports of Pacifc Loons away from the coast included single birds on Klond- ike Lake, Inyo 10 Dec (T&JH) and on nearby Tinemaha Reservoir the same day (T&JH), up to 2 on Lake Havasu 9 Jan–28 Feb+ (LBH, DVanP), one on Castaic Lagoon, Los Angeles 1 Jan–25 Feb (M&JS), and another at S.E.S.S. 16 Feb (BE). Single Red-necked Grebes were on the coast at Goleta 27 Feb (C-TL) and Point Mugu 22 Dec– 24 Jan (DP), along with 3 on the coast of Los Angeles 15 Dec–22 Feb (KLG, BP) and one more inland, where much rarer, on Castaic Lagoon 23 Dec–22 Feb (KLG). A Laysan Albatross, dead 1-2 days, was recovered in the Anza Borrego Desert S.P., San Diego 24 Dec (RT, *SDNHM); virtually all previ- ous records for the interior are from spring. A Flesh-footed Shearwater off Dana Point 11 Jan (BED) was one of fewer than a half-dozen ever found in Orange waters. A Manx Shearwater off Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo 18 Jan (CAM), an- other 8 km off Ventura, Ventura 4 Jan (DP), and another off the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Los An- geles 22 Dec (KLG) add to the ever-increasing number found in this Region. A Black-vented Shearwater under observation for about one hour from Obsidian Butte at S.E.S.S. 5 Feb (MA) is the frst reported from an inland locality in California. A Red-billed Tropicbird 7 km sw. of Point Loma, San Diego 4 Jan (RiH) was not only unusually close to the coast but also at an un- expected time of year. A young Masked/Nazca Booby was well photographed 13 km sw. of Guy McCaskie Kimball L. Garrett –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– I n one word: drought! This was, by and large, the winter without rain, with precipitation far below normal throughout the Region over the period. Rainfall totals for some key stations through the Region were historically low; com- bined precipitation in the months of December and January, often our wettest months, was 7.6 mm (0.3 in.) at San Luis Obispo, 4.3 m (0.17 in.) at Santa Barbara, 5.1 mm (0.2 in.) at Los Angeles, 11.9 mm (0.47 in.) at San Diego, 35.6 mm (1.4 in.) at Big Bear Lake, and 5.8 mm (0.23 in.) at Bishop—not to mention zero at desert lo- calities such as Barstow, Death Valley and Im- perial! February totals were slightly higher, but only by virtue of the arrival of the winter's only signifcant rain event the last day of the month. Temperatures were well above average during most of the winter period, with a few bona fde heat waves and at least nine weak-to-moderate dry Santa Ana wind events. As always, the impacts of drought are com- plex and often not clear from standard birder- generated occurrence data. Much winter birding effort in the Region is devoted to landscaped and irrigated urban parks and residential areas, wetlands, and agricultural areas. Most of these habitats are buffered from drought through the (often profigate) use of imported water sources and might even hold more birds during drought periods. But natural chaparral and desert habi- tats were often eerily silent over the winter, and it seems likely that both resident and wintering species in these habitats have taken a hit. Outstanding rarities during the period in- cluded the return for a second winter of Cali- fornia's frst and only Gray Hawk, the frst in- terior record of a Black-vented Shearwater, and a White Ibis that firted with the Arizona/Cali- fornia border near Yuma and spent some time in our Region after late January. A Black-headed Gull at the north end of the Salton Sea was the frst in the Region in seven years. The near-rainless winter was also notable for the near-absence of many irruptive species that can be numerous some years; Red-breasted Nut- hatches, Pine Siskins, Red Crossbills were very scarce, and most corvids showed no signifcant movements. Abbreviations: C.L. (China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, extreme ne. Kern); E.A.F.B. (Edwards A.F.B., se. Kern); F.C.R. (Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley N.P., Inyo); N.E.S.S. (n. end of the Salton Sea, Riverside); N.V.A.F.B. (North Vandenberg A.F.B., nw. Santa Barbara); P.P. (Piute Ponds on Edwards A.F.B., ne. Los An- geles); S.E.S.S. (s. end of the Salton Sea, Impe- rial); S.J.W.A. (San Jacinto W.A., near Lakeview, Riverside). Museum collections abbreviated in the text are: SDNHM (San Diego Natural His- tory Museum). Because most rarities in s. Cali- fornia are seen by multiple observers, only the observer(s) initially fnding and/or identifying the bird are included. Documentation for spe- cies on the California B.R.C. (C.B.R.C.) review list () is forwarded to the C.B.R.C. and archived at the Western Foun- dation of Vertebrate Zoology in Camarillo. WATERFOWL THROUGH HAWKS Only 9 Tundra Swans were reported this winter, with one at Irvine, Orange 30 Dec (JBr) and 3 together in the Antelope Valley, Los Angeles 8 Dec (JL Sr) being the farthest south. A male Eurasian Teal at Pico Rivera, Los Angeles 1-4 Jan (NV) was believed to be the same bird present last winter. A Tufted Duck, the frst in the Region in about ten years, remained at Goleta/Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara 29 Dec–28 Feb+ (NAL). A Harle- quin Duck at Avila Beach 11 Nov–18 Feb (KJZ), and up to 3 at Estero Bluffs Park, San Luis Obispo 25 Jan–20 Feb (TME), were at the s. limit of this species' range. Single Surf Scoters at S.E.S.S. 3 Dec (GMcC) and 18 Feb (TJ), along with up to 3 White-winged Scoters on the San Bernardino side of Lake Havasu 9 Jan–28 Feb+ (LBH, DVanP) and one at S.E.S.S. 10 Jan (MF), were inland, where unexpected. Noteworthy was a count of 103 White-winged Sco- ters along the coast of s. V.A.F.B. 26 Jan (NAL); however, only 9 were reported on the coast s. of Point Conception. Only 15 Black Scoters were found along the entire South- ern California coast. A Long-tailed Duck at Owens Lake, Inyo 27 Jan (DJH) and another at S.E.S.S. 3-17 Dec (GMcC, DVanP) were inland, and only 7 were found along the entire coast. Two Barrow's Gold- eneyes around Bishop, Inyo 13- 16 Dec (CBH), up to 3 at Quail Lake, Los Angeles 25 Nov–24 Feb (M&JS), and one at N.E.S.S. 12 Dec (CMcG) were away from the

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