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 212 OntariO on Wolfe Island, Frontenac 22 Jan (BRH), 45 s. and e. of Ottawa 30 Jan (BLM et al.), and 31 at Winchester, Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry 16 Feb (MG et al.). Notable for the sw. part of the prov- ince, at least 8 were reported from Wallace- burg, Lambton 8 Feb (BAM, m.ob.), and 9 were tallied during the period at Point Pelee (AW et al., m.ob.). An imm. found in Algonquin P.P. 8 Dec (BF, SF) was considered a record-late fall migrant for the area. The vast majority of the Snowy Owls seen in Ontario were young birds venturing southward after an excellent breed- ing season in the e. Canadian Arctic. Only a few Northern Hawk Owls appeared s. of their usual haunts: one remained on the Bruce Pen- insula 24 Dec–1 Jan (ABV, MNV), and several were seen in Nipissing and Ottawa through- out the period. Great Gray Owls irrupted in much smaller numbers after the incursion of last winter, though 8 were seen at several loca- tions in Rainy River through the period (MSD). Single birds at Wellington, Prince Edward 10 Jan–1 Feb (m.ob.) and at Brooklin, Durham 12 Jan–13 Feb (CA) were enjoyed by many birders throughout their stay. Barred Owls and Boreal Owls did not have notable movements into s. Ontario this winter, and only small numbers of each were reported. Remarkable for both the species and the date involved, an Anna's Hummingbird attended a feeder in Thunder Bay beginning 19 Sep (SW, GW). The bird was not identifed until weeks later, but it lingered until 7 Dec, even surviv- ing temperatures of –30º C for a few nights. This marked the second record of Anna's Hummingbird for Ontario and the frst for the north. Red-headed Woodpeckers successfully overwintered in a few locations, such as at Port Carling, Muskoka 11 Feb–2 Mar (MS) and Ga- nanoque, Leeds and Grenville (MDR); up to 13 birds were in the Jackson Gunn Forest, Norfolk (m.ob.). Red-bellied Woodpeckers continue to be reported with more regularity in the north, and 3 were seen in Thunder Bay. Exceptional for the northerly locality, a Red-bellied Wood- pecker successfully overwintered at South Por- cupine, Cochrane 22 Nov–23 May (RDF et al.). FALCONS THROUGH FINCHES Providing the frst record for Oxford, a Prairie Merlin (subspecies richardsoni) was observed at Pittock Lake 5 Dec (JMH). Gyrfalcons were reported in multiple locations throughout On- tario, including several in the s. of the province. A gray morph at Blenheim, Chatham-Kent 23 Feb (SRC, JTB) provided a frst record for the Rondeau Birding Area; a dark morph was seen near Cobourg harbor, Northumberland 26 Jan (CEG); and one was found during the Kings- ton C.B.C. 15 Dec (fde RDW). Gyrfalcons are more expected farther n. in the province, and at Port Weller, Niagara 15 Dec (RZD, BNC). A rare ad. was found at Fort Erie, Niagara 8 Dec (LHB) and continued on the New York side of the Niagara River until 1 Jan. In most winters, Bonaparte's Gulls often linger on the lower Great Lakes, with some wintering on the Niagara River and Lake Erie. This winter, ob- servations were few and far between. The last Bonaparte's Gulls for the Niagara River was a group of 15 on 12 Jan (BH); the last birds on Lake Erie included 45 at Point Pelee 22 Dec (JDV) and 75 at Turkey Point, Norfolk 1 Jan (EG). Little Gulls had all but departed the Great Lakes by early Dec; 5 at Turkey Point 7 Dec (RR) and one at Point Pelee 9 Dec (MBR) were the last lingering birds on Lake Erie. A Laugh- ing Gull was observed at Presqu'ile P.P. 5-8 Dec (DJM et al.). A second-basic California Gull at Queenston 7 Dec (MJCB, HGC, MR, RWFP) was the only report. No Slaty-backed Gulls were reported for only the second winter since 2008-2009. A juv. intermediate-morph Poma- rine Jaeger was seen by several parties during the Hamilton C.B.C. 26 Dec (BRH et al.). One of the highlights of the season was a frst-basic Thick-billed Murre at the Kingston waterfront 3 Dec (JG). The bird appeared to be unwell; it remained in the harbor and was observed at close range by many the next day, 4 Dec. This provided just the third documented record of this species in Ontario since the mid-1950s. Rare for Kawartha Lakes were two reports of Eastern Screech-Owl—one at Carden Town- ship 4 Jan (fde RLB) and another at Ken Reid C.A. 15 Feb (DC). The massive Snowy Owl ir- ruption that took place across e. North America was well observed throughout much of Ontario and represented what may be the largest incur- sion ever recorded in the province. Every single C.B.C. in the Ottawa area reported record-high numbers. At least 55 were found in the G.T.A., and over 180 were reported in the province's stronghold of e. Ontario. High single-day totals included 35 e. of Ottawa 8 Dec (BMDL), 33 das, Hamilton 18 Jan (CES). Bald Eagle numbers climbed to 29 along the St. Clair River by 2 Feb (m.ob.), smashing the previous high count for the area. Twenty observed on the ice at the Tip of Point Pelee N.P. 5 Jan (JMB, STP, MAB) also established a local record-high count. A Red-shouldered Hawk overwintered at Hawkesville, Water- loo for its eleventh consecutive winter (JGB, MVAB, KGDB, m.ob.). A Virginia Rail found at Kettle Point, Lambton 14 Dec (MPA) was un- usual. While Sandhill Crane numbers quickly dropped off in early Dec after a cold snap, at least 725 were counted at Big Creek N.W.A., Norfolk 2 Dec (RR). A brief mild spell in mid- Feb likely spurred the arrival of 5 Sandhill Cranes to a feld near Staples, Essex 21 Feb (JLH) and 14 at Point Pelee 23-25 Feb (RPC). The frst Killdeer arrived in several locations in sw. Ontario during a brief warm spell 19-23 Feb (m.ob.). At least one Purple Sandpiper was seen in Toronto: reports came from the Leslie Street Spit 10 Dec–5 Jan (m.ob.), Humber Bay East 1-3 Jan (MHC), and Cherry Beach 5 Jan (JRC). Two Purple Sandpipers were also seen at Niagara Falls, Niagara 1-3 Dec (BH, TBL et al.). Unusual for such a brutal winter, late American Wood- cocks were found at the Hahn Marsh, Norfolk 14 Dec (WGL) and at Point Pelee 1 Jan (RPC). A late Red Phalarope continuing from the previous period was last reported at Niagara Falls 3 Dec (m.ob.). Several imm. Black-legged Kittiwakes lingered into Dec, including 2 at Niagara Falls 1-18 Dec, with one continuing until 29 Dec (m.ob.), and one Astonishing for both the location and date, an Anna's Hummingbird, only the second for Ontario, patronized a bird feeder in Thunder Bay from 19 September through 7 (here 4) December 2013. Photograph by Greg Stroud. This Spotted Towhee appeared to have wintered successfully at Glen Williams, Halton Region, where it was observed from 13 December 2013 through 2 March (here 7 February) 2014. Photograph by Joshua D. Vandermeulen.

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