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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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 204 Carolina and Georgia had two reports each, with the southernmost coming from Little St. Simons Island, Glynn, GA 20 Jan (JHu, NVL). Eight Short-eared Owls were found during the C.B.C. at Alligator River N.W. R., NC 30 Jan (fde JL); the species nested on this refuge in 2000, after a winter with large numbers there, so birders should be on the lookout for owlets there in spring. Up to 6 Short-eareds were regularly seen along Lara- more Rd., Lee, GA throughout the period (WS, m.ob.). Two were seen regularly along Hardin Bridge Rd., Bartow, GA (m.ob.), and 2 were also seen regularly at Dobbins Farm, Townville, Anderson, SC (BB). Irregular and very uncommon in early winter, an Eastern Whip-poor-will was seen during the Cum- berland Island, GA C.B.C. 14 Dec (RS, MS). While most winter hummingbirds in the Region were western species, there were scattered reports of individual Ruby-throat- ed Hummingbirds, including a remarkable 22 that visited feeders in a single yard in Buxton, Dare, NC during the period (AM)! Three Black-chinned Hummingbirds were reported from Georgia: a returning bird at Macon throughout the period (JFe, m.ob.); one that spent 4-24 Jan on St. Simons Is- land (RS, m.ob.); and one at Savannah 16 Feb (EC). By far the most numerous and widespread wintering species were, as usual, Rufous Hummingbirds: 20 were banded statewide in Georgia (two recaptures; fde KT), and a like number was reported in the Carolinas. Interestingly, one stayed at a feeder at an elevation of 683 m in Buncombe, NC through 14 Dec (NM et al.). Other re- cords were also of Selsphorus: a second-year male Allen's Hummingbird was banded and visited a feeder in Oriental, Pamlico, NC 30 Sep–21 Jan, only the third state record; and 2 Calliope Hummingbirds were reported from Georgia, one in Barrow 14 Feb (BM) and one in Bibb through 15 Feb (m.ob.). The Calliope in Mecklenburg, NC remained throughout the period (DM, m.ob.). FLYCATCHERS THROUGH FINCHES Two Say's Phoebe's were found in separate locations in Washington, NC on 27 Dec, with one of them remaining in the same location through 19 Jan (DR, DC, m.ob.). An Ash- throated Flycatcher was found at Ogden, New Hanover, NC 15 Dec (DH), and up to 2 stayed along Milltail Rd. in Alligator Riv- er N.W.R., NC 22 Dec–19 Jan (DB et al.). Western Kingbird sightings were numerous across the Region, especially near the coast, with 13 different sightings. Three were seen at Patriot's Point, Charleston, SC 1-7 Feb (KD, m.ob.), and as many as 4 were noted regu- and 22 Feb (BP et al.), and a dark-morph Po- marine Jaeger was seen off Fort Fisher, New Hanover, NC 5 Jan (RD, JP). Typical scattered sightings of single Parasitic Jaegers were re- corded off North Carolina beaches, with 2 showing up at the s. end of Jekyll Island, GA 23 Feb (SM). Razorbills did not irrupt in the Region as during the past two winters. Scat- tered sightings came from North Carolina beaches, with a high of 72 off New Hanover 19 Jan (DC). Other reports ranged from 3 to 12 birds. The highest totals, naturally, came from the Hatteras pelagic trips, with 270 on 16 Feb, 157 on 17 Feb, and 32 on 22 Feb (BP et al.). During Northern Right Whale surveys off Glynn and Camden, GA 14 were counted on 26 Jan (WCi, CG). Three Black-legged Kittiwakes were seen on the Hatteras pelagic 28 Dec (BP et al.). A cooperative Black-headed Gull was near Conway, Horry, SC 9 Jan–14 Feb (CH et al.). Scattered reports of Little Gulls came from North Carolina beaches, with 2 on the Hat- teras pelagics of 17 & 27 Feb (BP et al.). A rare winter Franklin's Gull was photographed during a C.B.C. on Lake Norman in Mecklen- burg, NC 15 Dec (PS et al.), and California Gulls were reported near Holden Beach, NC 20 Jan (TP) and on the Hatteras pelagic 27 Feb (BP et al.). First-cycle Iceland Gulls were at the landfll in Horry, SC 6 Jan–1 Feb (SCo, RH), on Harris Lake, Wake, NC 25 Jan (LBu), on Figure Eight Island, New Hanover, NC 5 Feb (JA), between Avon and Buxton, Dare, NC 12 Feb (BP), and at Masonboro Inlet, New Hanover, NC 16 Feb (JA). Scat - tered reports of inland Lesser Black-backed Gulls were received; 578 were recorded on the Cape Hatteras C.B.C. 27 Dec (PM). A Glaucous Gull x Herring Gull hybrid was photographed on the 17 Feb Hatteras pe- lagic (BP et al.); others were in the harbor at Wanchese, Dare, NC 4-15 Jan (JL et al.), at the landfll in Horry, SC 6 Jan–14 Feb (CH), on Tybee Island, GA 27 Jan (SB, JF), and at Cape Point, SC 23 Feb (DC, JP). Perhaps the most unusual vagrant of the winter was the Band-tailed Pigeon that reliably visited a yard in Manteo, Dare, NC 7 Jan–28 Feb (HG, m.ob.), providing only the fourth state record of this w. species and one of very few from the Atlantic coast. The Snowy Owl irruption, apparently tied to very high reproductive success in the breed- ing range, resulting in many birds (especial- ly frst-year birds) traveling much farther s. than normal, and many reached our Region. North Carolina alone had at least 14 sight- ings (the number of individual birds repre- sented is uncertain), concentrated in favored habitat in dunes and along beaches. South Walter F. George was last seen there 21 Dec (LG). Good numbers of American White Pel- icans remained, with 535 recorded during an aerial survey of the Georgia coast 20 Dec (fde TK), and 596 sighted along the cen. coast of South Carolina 19 Dec (fde LGl). The North Carolina high count was 92 at Pea Island N.W.R. 28 Dec (fde PS). Rare in the Region during winter, single Least Bitterns were found during the ACE Basin C.B.C. in Colleton, SC 29 Dec (AS) and at Mattamuskeet N.W.R. NC 7 Feb (ph. LA et al.). A Great White Heron was seen near the Intercoastal Waterway in Hyde, NC 24 Jan (SC); winter records of this morph are few in the state. Single Reddish Egrets remained at Gould's Inlet, Glynn, GA 1 Dec (JS) and at Pinckney Island N.W.R., Beaufort, SC 5 Dec (BW). A count of 110 Glossy Ibis at Matta- muskeet N.W.R., NC 20 Dec (SW) and 90 there 29 Dec (DC et al.) were remarkable for such late dates. Both Osprey and Bald Eagle numbers were up in Georgia, according to C.B.C. re- cords, with state high counts of 72 and 149, respectively (fde GB). In North Carolina, a Northern Goshawk was seen on the Pamlico C.B.C. (fde RD), and a Swainson's Hawk was photographed in fight near Lake Phelps, Washington 18 Jan (JL). Four Golden Eagle sightings came from the Carolinas: an imm. at Lake Hartwell, SC 16 Dec (LB); an ad. at Alligator River N.W.R., NC 30 Dec (N&PM); an ad. over Avery, NC 18 Jan (JPo); and an ad. in the Pungo Unit of Pocosin Lakes N.W.R., NC 9 Feb (RD). Three Whooping Cranes were observed roosting in Cobb, GA 11-12 Jan (DB et al.). With few exceptions, the Mid-Winter Shorebird Survey numbers in Georgia were signifcantly down compared to 2013 (ad - mittedly a record year), with steep declines recorded in Black-bellied Plover, Semipal- mated Plover, Red Knot (also declining in North Carolina), Sanderling, and Dunlin. Overall, the number of birds counted de- clined from 95,400 to 31,506. Without comparable comparative data from the Carolinas, it is risky to generalize, of course. Among those species that typically occur only in small numbers, i.e., Wilson's Plover, Piping Plover, and Purple Sandpiper, sight - ings and numbers were closer to average. An unusual concentration of 200+ American Woodcocks was noted on Oak Island, Bruns- wick, NC 31 Jan, following the passage of a winter storm (JH). SKUAS THROUGH HUMMINGBIRDS Single Great Skuas were seen on the Hatteras pelagic trips off Dare, NC 28 Dec, 16 Feb, S o u t h e r n At l A n t i c

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