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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V O L U M E 6 8 ( 2 0 1 5 ) • N U M B E R 2 217 E a s t E r n H i g H l a n d s & U p p E r O H i O r i v E r va l l E y worthy. Their mid-winter status within the cen. Appalachian highlands remains poorly known, so singles in Somerset, PA 1 Jan (Andrew Mc- Gann) and in Jefferson, OH 8 Jan (Gary Bush), and an extraordinary fock of 7-8 in Grant, WV 16-17 Feb (Fred Atwood, Randy Bodkins), made welcome reports. A seasonal rarity in the west, single Vesper Sparrows were located in Richland, OH 18 Dec (Gary Cowell) and at Bat- telle Darby Creek Metropark, Franklin, OH 16 Jan (Sydney Penner). A Nelson's Sparrow pho- tographed at Battelle Darby Metropark 2 Dec (Carl Winstead) is one of very few documented winter records for the state; another was at the Cleveland lakefront Preserve, Cuyahoga 3-4 Dec (Ben Morrison, Paul Sherwood) almost simultaneously in the vicinity of an exception- ally rare Le Conte's Sparrow. The Le Conte's Sparrow, discovered by Kent Miller, was reli- ably reported through 17 Feb (ph. Matthew Va- lencic, ph. Donna Owen, Sandra Griffths, Wes Hatch, m.ob.) for Ohio's frst overwintering of the species. Records of Le Conte's Sparrow have been increasing in recent years; one found at Newville, Cumberland, PA 24 Jan–8 Feb made a frst county record (Vern Gauthier). Annual in winter, a Lark Sparrow remained from the fall near Sugar Creek, Tuscarawas, OH through 14 Dec (LS). An excellent showing by wintering Harris's Sparrows included 2 in ne. Ohio just 27 km apart: one at a Wood feeder 8 Jan–17 Feb (Donald Navarre, ph. Victor Fazio) and one in Ottawa 31 Dec–2 Mar (ph. Randy Krea- ger, m.ob.). Another Harris's was a Wayne feed- er visitor 4 Jan+ (Robert Miller, m.ob.), while Wayne Troyer in Holmes hosted yet another from mid-Nov through at least 9 Feb (fde Rob- ert Herschberger). A ffth Ohio Harris's was at a Fairfeld feeder 2 Jan (ph. Tom Guisinger). The Golden-crowned Sparrow, in its ffth winter, remained at a Hancock, OH feeder through the season (fde Robert Sams). The most notable sparrow of the season was clearly the Slate-col- ored Fox Sparrow in a Natrona Heights, Al- legheny backyard 6 & 9 Jan (Paul Hess). Hess's detailed description documents this important frst record for Pennsylvania. Along the same lines of Clay-colored Sparrow, winter records of Lincoln's Sparrow are quite unusual in Penn- sylvania; reports of 6 singles from the state dur- ing this season marked a banner winter: on the Culp C.B.C., Blair 21 Dec; in Warwick Twp., Bucks 22 Jan (John Tramontano); at Chambers Lake, Chester 27 Dec (Rick Robinson); at Hon- eybrook, Chester 1 Jan (John McNamara); on the Curtin C.B.C., Dauphin 27 Dec (Aden Troy- er); and on the Washington C.B.C., Washington 14 Dec. Unseasonable Lincoln's Sparrows were also in Hardy, WV 7-19 Feb (Diane Holsinger) and Clermont, OH 19 Dec (Cassidy Ficker). A Summer Tanager added color to a Mahon- Four Palm Warblers were discovered in ne. Ohio in Dec, the latest being 27 Dec near Rag- ersville, Tuscarawas (The Bobolink). The widely enjoyed MacGillivray's Warbler detailed in last season's report continued through 9 Dec at Highspire Reservoir, Dauphin (Sue Hannon). A Yellow-throated Warbler lingered until 28 Dec in West Marlborough Twp., Chester, PA (Kevin Fryberger). The Black-throated Green Warbler at Longwood Gardens, Chester 11 Dec (Kristen Gardner) apparently marked only the third winter record for the species in Pennsylvania. A Spotted Towhee at a feeder outside Holmesville, Holmes, OH 10 Dec and into the spring season (Lavern Schlabach) was very less than 0.5 km from a feeding station that hosted the species four years earlier (The Bobo- link). Perhaps concentrated by snow, a record 580 Eastern Towhees were found on 46 Penn- syvlania Christmas counts this winter. Thirty alone were at the Crow's Nest Preserve, Chester 20 Dec (fde Greg Grove). The species was re- ported in above-normal numbers across Ohio throughout the season, with many driven to feeders in Feb. Quite unusual in winter, 4 Clay- colored Sparrows were found in Pennsyvlania this season: one was at Hamburg, Berks 18 Jan+ (Matt Wlasniewski); one was in East Coventry Twp., Chester 19 Jan (Ken Rieker); one attended a feeder on McDowell Rd., Franklin in Jan–Feb (Robert & Marion Carmack); and one was at SGL 234, Montgomery 17 Jan−8 Feb (Ken Riek- er). Savannah Sparrows have not slowed their march northward, now wintering regularly in cen. Ohio. However, they scarcely survive the season within the Lake Erie basin, so individu- als on the Cleveland lakefront 8-15 Feb (ph. Tom Frankel) and at a feeder in Toledo, Lucas, OH 16 Jan–27 Feb (ph. Julie Heitz) were note- mained at Riverside Natural Area, Butler, OH 1 Jan (John Hull). In the west, we now expect a small return fight by late Feb, although typi- cally not in the face of such brutal weather as this season produced. Therefore, 4 birds at Spring Valley W.A., Warren 23 Feb (Sue Tack- ett), 10 at Rocky Fork S.P., Highland 22 Feb (Rick Asamoto), and one at Funk Bottoms, Wayne 22 Feb (ART) were unexpected. Several dozen Ruby-crowned Kinglets persisted well into Jan across the Region, but few survived the entire season. The most northerly of these was in Franklin 28 Feb (Gene Stauffer). Mid-winter American Pipits included singles n. to Richland, OH 19 Jan (John Herman) and in Clarion, PA (W. Dwayne DelGrande). Lapland Longspurs rarely penetrate deep into West Virginia in any numbers, so 11 along the Allegheny Front in Grant 16 Feb (Fred Atwood) was a signifcant count. In Tucker, WV, the discovery of a fock of 75 Snow Buntings 18 Jan (Mimi Kibler) was exceptional. Four more were much farther s. in Greenbrier, WV 21 Feb (Derek Courtney). An Ovenbird lingered into the season at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 4 Dec (ph. Irina Shulgina); another was at a feeder in Media, Delaware, PA late Dec–7 Jan (Steve Kapski). A Black-and-white Warbler was found during the Bernville C.B.C., Berks 28 Dec (Paul Michaly) for the state's ffth winter record. Ex- ceptional in midwinter in Ohio, single Orange- crowned Warblers were found in Sandusky 1 Jan (Tom Bartlett) and near Charm, Holmes 19 Jan–11 Feb (JEY). A wintering bird was at Acorn Village, Monongalia, WV 7 Feb (ph. Mike Slaven). The northernmost Pine Warblers in Ohio included singles in Stark through 23 Feb (Ben Morrison, Eric Schlabach) and one near Dundee, Tuscarawas 14 Feb (Bill Jackson). sa After a dozen Snowy Owls were found in the Region in late Nov, it was obvious that a large fight was underway across e. North America. A conservative 209 individuals are estimated to have been found in 49 counties in Pennsylvania Dec−Feb, suggesting a similar- ity in magnitude to the huge fight of 1926-1927. Owls were distributed primarily in open areas of the northwest (especially near Lake Erie) and the southeast, with fewer reports com- ing from the largely forested interior of the state; the large concentration of observers in the southeast certainly also skews the detections. Fifty Snowy Owls were estimated through the season from Erie alone, with a one-day high count of 14 on 19 Dec (Greg Grove). Ohio's fight was no less remarkable. A thorough analysis of the state's reports by Jim Mc- Cormac (The Ohio Cardinal 37 [2]: 76-78) revealed that no fewer than 177 birds were detected in 60 counties. The highest concentrations were in the ne. part of the state, with 21 birds ac- counted for in Cuyahoga alone. This compares with 150 birds during the 1941-1942 irruption and the 126 documented in the winter of 1930-1931. The West Virginia fight began with one Snowy Owl near Rowlesburg, Preston 27 Nov (fde Gary Felton). It was followed with a single near Clifton Hills, Preston 27 Nov–12 Dec (ph. Matt Orsie, LeJay Grafous, m.ob.). One in Marshall 19 Dec (ph. John Tull) and a bird widely viewed at Beckley, Raleigh 1-11 Jan (Anthony Ciliberti, Brenda Moore, m.ob.) added substantially to the state's records. Prior to this fight, there were about fve substantiated reports.

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