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.

Issue link: http://nab.aba.org/i/502371

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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 196 and herons were reported during the C.B.C.s, but there are no reports of them remaining later except for a Snowy Egret that was frst reported on the Bombay Hook C.B.C. at Little Creek W.M.A., Kent, DE and seen many times through Jan and Feb (Chris P. Bennett). A few Black- crowned Night-Herons were reported along the coast and the near the Niagara River. SHOREBIRDS THROUGH GULLS Two winters ago, a juv. Black-necked Stilt win- tered at Raymond's Pool in Bombay Hook. The bird stayed until it was joined in mid-Mar by northbound stilts. Last winter, likely the same bird now, an ad., successfully completed an- other winter there with 12 American Avocets. Those were two warm winters, but this Black- necked Stilt took its chances and tried again in this the coldest winter in years. Unfortunately, the bird survived only until frst week in Jan. A Piping Plover was still present at Jones Beach, Nassau, NY 19 Dec (fde Tony Lauro). The Oceanville C.B.C., Atlantic, NJ 14 Dec (fde Brian Moscatello) counted 74 Western Willets, 160 American Oystercatchers, and 17 Marbled Godwits. Other common wintering shorebirds along the coasts such as Greater and Lesser Yel- lowlegs, Ruddy Turnstones, Sanderlings, Dun- lin, Western Sandpipers, and Long-billed and Short-billed Dowitchers (plus the occasional Semipalmated Plover, Least Sandpiper and Red Knot) seemed to manage well during the cold winter. Four Red Phalaropes were noted on the boat trip se. of Shinnecock Inlet, Suffolk, NY 2 Dec, as were 2-3 Great Skuas (JS, DR, AW). A Parasitic Jaeger was at Sandy Hook 2-3 Dec (fde SB); another was on Lake Ontario off Manitou Beach, Monroe, NY 13 Jan (Greg Lawrence). A few Black-legged Kittiwakes were seen on the Niagara River or from shore from Cape May to Montauk, but most were seen from boats well offshore. There were 24 seen on the boat trip out off Shinnecock Inlet, Suffolk, NY 2 Dec (JS, DR, AW), 31 on the pelagic trip to Mud Hole ne. of Shark River Inlet, Monmouth, NJ 1 Jan (PAG et al.), and 25 off Freeport, Nassau, NY 1 Feb (PAG et al.). Five Black-headed Gulls were re- ported in New York and 6 in Delaware, all typi- cal, but only 4 Little Gulls were reported along the coast, singles from Long Island, New Jersey, and Delaware. Only 3-4 others were reported on the Niagara River from Buffalo to Tonawanda W.M.A. this winter. A Mew Gull was found on the Veterans Memorial Pier in Brooklyn, King's, NY 24-26 Jan (Shane Blodgett). The numbers of Iceland and Glaucous Gulls were well below normal throughout most of the Region, but in the Niagara Frontier, they recorded average numbers of both. A Black Skimmer was at Jones Beach, Suffolk, NY 19 Dec (fde Tony Lauro). The birding pelagic out of Freeport, Nassau, ably only one prowled in Suffolk along Long Island Sound. It was reported at Eaton's Neck, Hobart Beach 1 Dec (Brent Bomkamp), at Ori- ent Point 21 Dec (John Sepenowski) and f- nally at Montauk DATE (SM, PL). Likewise, a New Jersey bird spent 27 Dec–12 Jan between Manasquan Inlet and Long Branch (Derek & Jeanette Lovitch, SB et al.). Red-necked Grebes started the winter by moving southward along the coast of New York, New Jersey, and Dela- ware in late Nov and early Dec in typically low numbers, but as the brutally cold winter progressed and the Great Lakes began to freeze over in Jan, the numbers increased steadily, and by mid-Feb, the escape fight became a food. Even Delaware saw very high numbers reported on inland ponds, salt marshes, and along the coast, with a high of 9 reported at Indian River Inlet 22 Feb (BGP). Single Eared Grebes were at Round Valley Reservoir, Hunt- erdon, NJ 23 Nov–14 Dec (Thomas Mistele, Vincent Koczurik); Cayuga Lake, Cayuga, NY 19 Dec–2 Feb (Dave Nutter), with 2 there 30 Jan (Steve Fast); Conesus Lake, Genesee, NY 1 Jan (Cathy Spahn, RS, Susan Spahn); and Lit- tle Beach, Barnegat Twp., Ocean, NJ 2 Feb (fde SB). After years of between 3 and 7 Western Grebes wintering in our area, 3 were reported this winter, singles at Sea Isle City, Cape May, NJ 1 Dec (Chase Cammarota), at DeLanco, Burlington, NJ during the Moorestown C.B.C. (fde Sandra Keller), and off Monmouth Beach, Monmouth, NJ 31 Jan–9 Feb (Tom Boyle). There were very few birding pelagic trips that were able to get offshore due to the bru- tal winter. The frst was a boat trip out to the continental shelf se. of Shinnecock Inlet, Suf- folk, NY 2 Dec (JS, DR, AW) that reported 14 Northern Fulmars and 6 Cory's, 13 Great, 2 Sooty, and 2 Manx Shearwaters. A trip off Freeport, Nassau, NY 1 Feb (PAG et al.) saw 2 Northern Fulmars. A Northern Fulmar was re- ported from the Cape May-Lewes Ferry in Sus- sex, DE waters 21 Feb (Mike Fritz). A Brown Booby was picked up by a commercial fshing boat 48 km s. of Block Island 24 Feb, fed, and then released 27 Feb off Block Island, RI (fde Nick Bonomo). Two American White Pelicans were at Fowl- er Beach, Sussex, DE 13 Dec (Alan Kneidel); one was seen fying over Fisherman's Cove in Manasquan, Monmouth, NJ 20 Dec (Michael Henderson); 2 were on the Indian River at Millsboro, Sussex, DE 29 Jan–8 Feb (B. Grif- fn); and the 6 over Sandy Hook N.W.R., NJ 13 Jan (Jay Hayes) were probably the same birds seen at Assawoman Bay, Sussex, DE 16 Jan (fde APE). The usual numbers of Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets were present well into Dec, but the numbers quickly fell as the cold win- ter set in. Good numbers of Great Blue Herons still winter in the Region, particularly along the coast, but all of the Great Egrets abandoned the Region. Many of the usual small egrets were reported, all in New York: a female at Bird Island Pier, Buffalo, Erie 9 Jan (Bill Watson), a male on Cayuga Lake, Cayuga 15 Feb (JM), and a male at the Essex Ferry Dock, Essex 28 Feb–2 Mar. (Joan Collins). At least 50 King Eiders were reported, well above normal in both number of individuals and the size of the groups. At least 19 were reported on the large lakes inland New York, 10 were around Long Island, and at least 20 were reported from New Jersey. These included 5 at Shinnecock, Suffolk 9-25 Jan (Andrew Baksh), 9 at Point Breeze on Lake Ontario, Orleans, NY 23 Feb (Brad Carl- son), 11 at Barnegat 1 Dec (Austin Mohr), and 5 at Sea Girt, Cape May, NJ (fde SB). The num- ber of Common Eiders seen was well below normal around the shorelines of New York and New Jersey, and in Delaware the only sighting all winter was a group of 5 fying southward by Indian River Inlet 31 Jan (fde APE). Nine Bar- row's Goldeneye reports made a low total; only 3 were reported from the large upstate lakes, in the few places where there was open water in harbors and rivers; and 4 were on Long Island and one in New Jersey, close to average. Mike Morgante, subcompiler for the Niagara Frontier subregion, reports that "it was a hard winter for waterfowl" and though "it is challenging to es- timate the number affected [that died] but it was likely on the order of thousands if not tens of thousands within this Region." As the cold winter continued, the crowding, particularly on Lake Erie, forced the waterfowl into ever- smaller areas as the lake iced over. Many div- ing ducks were forced onto rivers and streams where fsh eaters like Red-breasted Mergansers quickly overfshed these reduced areas. Dead and dying birds, particularly diving birds, were found weakened, emaciated, disoriented, and dead along the shore. Determining how many Paci c Loons have been observed in a season is sometimes dif- fcult, as they can move long distances. Prob- Hudson-delaware Regular in Atlantic pelagic waters of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states, this Great Skua was one of two or three found 2 December 2013 southeast of Shinnecock Inlet, New York. Photograph by Angus Wilson.

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