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 2 203 Southern Atlantic There were 14 reports from inland in the Car- olinas, mostly in single digits, but 15 were on Mountain Island Lake, Mecklenburg, NC 1-2 Feb (TP et al.) and 28 on Lake Hickory, Al- exander/Catawba, NC 8 Feb (DM). Likewise, Long-tailed Ducks were more common than usual in all three states. In Georgia, there were four inland reports of 1-2 birds, while in the Carolinas there were at least eight, including 5 at Lake Hickory, NC 2-27 Feb (DM) and 9 on the lake at YMCE Camp Harrison, Wilkes, NC 23 & 26 Feb (EH, DM). Notable counts from the coast included 19 off Wrightsville Beach, New Hanover, NC 4 Jan (DC, JP) and 9 at Murrells Inlet, SC 16 Feb (LB et al.). The Wilmington C.B.C. reported 31 on 4 Jan (fde RD). Common Goldeneyes, too, were abun- dantly reported: 10 different sightings in the Carolinas, including 11 at Lake Hickory, NC 23 Jan–6 Feb (DM) and 41 at West Point Lake 24 Jan (WC). The usual wintering fock of Common Mergansers numbered 390 at Lake Phelps, Washington/Tyrrell, NC 30 Dec (m.ob.). Among inland sightings of Red-throated Loons this winter, a new high count of 11 was recorded at Lake Hartwell, GA 23 Feb (TBo, BT), while up to 6 were observed on Lake Norman, NC 22 Feb (KM, DW). Multi- ple sightings of Pacifc Loons came from New Hanover, NC, with as many as 4 birds sighted off Wrightsville Beach 21 Dec (DC). Tubenoses were scarce, but pelagic trips out of Hatteras, Dare, NC produced an ad. Yellow-nosed Albatross 22 Feb—just the fourth documented state record—along with a few Northern Fulmars (high count of 10 on 17 Feb), and a single Sooty Shearwater 28 Dec (all BP et al.). Two Great Cormo- rants were at Oregon Inlet, Dare, NC 16 Dec (m.ob.), and 3 were there 4 Jan (AW); the returning Georgia wintering bird at Lake one photographed on Jordan Lake, Chatham 19 Dec (LS), and one at the Pungo Unit of Pocosin Lakes N.W.R. 7 Feb (DC). The frst was accepted by the N.C.B.R.C. (sec- ond state record), and the second is under review. Numerous Tundra Swans were reported from the Car- olinas, with an impressive count of 250+ at Mary's House Pond at Bear Island W.M.A., SC 14 Dec (CS). Sustained cold to the n. of the Region brought unusually high numbers of ducks, especially to the n. areas of the Region. Perhaps con- tinuing from the fall, Eurasian Wigeon drakes were seen at Mattamuskeet N.W.R., NC 14- 29 Dec (RBR, m.ob.), Bodie Island Light- house pond, Dare, NC 31 Dec–11 Jan (NG, RB), a waterfowl impoundment at Hobucken, Pamlico, NC 7 Feb (ph. GP), and at Donnelly W.M.A., SC 17-24 Feb (AG et al.). Consistent with higher numbers generally, there were counts of 20+ Northern Pintails in w. North Carolina from W. Scott Kerr Reservoir, Wilkes (GMc) and Lake Hickory, border Alexander/ Kerr (DM). The Georgia C.B.C. count of 113 Canvasbacks was the highest ever (fde GB), and in North Carolina high counts included 78 at Lake Crabtree, Wake 8 Jan (MT) and 43 on Lake Townsend, Guilford 8 Jan (HL et al.). A new state high count of 1200 Redheads was made at Covington Reservoir, Newton, GA 23 Feb (JF), quite a remarkable number, considering that typical reports are in the 20- 30 range, and the next highest count in the Region was 140 on Lake Robinson, Green- ville, SC 31 Jan (DA). Good counts of Greater Scaup include 31 on Lake Julian, Buncombe, NC 30 Jan (SR) and 80 on Lake Hickory, Al- exander/Catawba, NC (DM). The 490 Lesser Scaup at Lake Crabtree, Wake, NC 28 Jan (MT) also made a high count. South Carolina saw multiple sightings of 1-2 Common Eiders in Horry and n. George- town, around piers, and at Murrells Inlet, where 4 were seen on 16 Feb (KB et al.). North Carolina recorded multiple Harlequin Ducks: 3 near Radio Island, Carteret through- out Dec (fde JFu) and 4-6 at Oregon Inlet, Dare 18 Dec into Mar (JS, m.ob.). Inland Surf Scoters included a high count of 6 on Lake Hickory, Alexander/ Catawba, NC 4 Jan (DM, LO). White-winged Scoters were seen in un - precedented numbers inland throughout the Region, no doubt a result of the rare freezing of the Great Lakes. A new inland state high count of 14 was recorded at West Point Lake, Troup, GA 9 Jan (WC), and a good total of 42 statewide was reported on the coast during the Mid-Winter Shorebird Survey (fde TK). Robert Sattelmeyer Richard Hall Josh Southern –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– M uch of the East and Upper Mid- west experienced severe storms and record cold during the winter, translating to good waterfowl numbers—es- pecially diving ducks—in the Southeast, par- ticularly in the Piedmont. Shorebird numbers overall, especially the declining Red Knot, were lower than average. The Region shared in the great Snowy Owl irruption of 2013, with numerous sightings beginning in the fall and continuing throughout the winter. A number of common year-round species, such as Mallard, White-breasted Nuthatch, Caroli- na Wren, Eastern Towhee, and Northern Car- dinal were reported in record-high numbers in Georgia during the Christmas Bird Count period, but this phenomenon was probably due to the addition of two new count circles in the metro Atlanta region, both well popu- lated by experienced birders. WATERFOWL THROUGH SHOREBIRDS Thirty-two Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were present at Altamaha W.M.A., McIntosh, GA 2 Feb (CM), and an atypically large group of 41 was spotted along Rte. 200 in Baker, GA 4 Jan (WS). As usual, small numbers of Greater White-fronted Geese were report- ed throughout the Region, with the largest counts being 10 in Coweta, GA 9-10 Dec (JW) and 9 at the Bluff Unit of Santee N.W.R., SC 7 Dec (N&EF). In addition to the many scat - tered reports of 1-3 Ross's Geese, there was a remarkable sighting of 17 at the Pungo Unit of Pocosin Lakes N.W.R., NC 19 Jan (TB et al.), the highest count ever for the Region; 11 were noted there 26 Jan 26. The only historically reliable spot for Brant, Hatteras Inlet, Dare, NC produced multiple sightings in in Jan and Feb, with a high count of 50 Jan 18 (LH). There were two reports of Trum- peter Swans from North Carolina this winter, Franklin's Gull is unexpected in the Carolinas in winter. This bird was photographed nicely at Lake Norman, Meckenburg County, North Carolina 15 December 2013. Photograph by Penny Soares.

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