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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Page 55 of 131

N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 222 PARTRIDGE THROUGH GULLS Around 25 Gray Partridge in three Wisconsin counties was a surprising increase from last winter, demonstrating the hardiness of the spe- cies. Northern Bobwhite, on the other hand, struggle mightily in these harsh winters, so reports from two Michigan counties were note- worthy. As the Great Lakes ice cover increased in late Feb, Red-throated Loons started moving inland to avoid the ice. Most out of place was an emacicated bird in Isanti, MN 20 Feb (fde AXH), apparently moving in from Lake Supe- rior. The only Pacifc Loon was in St. Ignace, MI 2 Dec (DMB, KZ). Following the lead, Wis- consin had inland Common Loons on a small aerated pond in Waushara 14 Jan (VB) and in a farm feld in Marathon 16 Feb (DB). Minnesota reported a late migrant Horned Grebe in Waba- sha 1 Dec (JWH, HCT, PEJ) and a Red-necked Grebe in Cass 2 Dec (BAW); Wisconsin had Red-necked Grebes in Washington 1 Dec (AS, TS) and Ozaukee 2 Dec (DT). A Great Egret enjoyed the warm water discharge at a power plant in Monroe, MI 1-3 Jan (TP, MM, m.ob.). Golden Eagles were more abundant than normal in Michigan, with reports from 2 Up- per Peninsula counties and 18 Lower Peninsula counties. Away from the se. portion of Minne- sota, where they regularly winter, 5 Goldens were found in St. Louis 6 Dec, as well as singles in Steele 10 Dec and Pope 28 Dec. Presumably attempting to overwinter were Virginia Rails in Allegan, MI 2-5 Dec (RB, CS) and Hennepin, MN 25 Jan (DWK). Sandhill Cranes have overwin - tered in large numbers in Michigan in recent years; this winter, however, the peak was 500 in Jackson 1 Dec (DRH), and then numbers dropped drastically in mid-Dec, with none re- ported in Jan n. of the southernmost counties. In Minnesota, a late migrant Sandhill Crane was found deceased in Hennepin 11 Dec (fde ALD). Minnesota reported 4 late Killdeer in Houston 1 Dec (JWH) and one in Olmsted 9 Jan that may have been trying to overwinter. A Western Sandpiper in Monroe 1-21 Dec (KO, LH, AMB, ST) represented the state's frst winter record. Also late was a Dunlin in Mason, MI 2-3 Dec (DCD). A Purple Sandpiper was still clinging to rocks in Milwaukee, WI 4 Dec (DF). While not unexpected in s. Michigan, a Wilson's Snipe in Delta 14-19 Dec (JK) and 2 in Crawford 28 Dec (JL, SH) were well n. of normal. The only Little Gull was in Bay, MI 2-3 Dec (DD, MW). Minnesota reported Thayer's, Ice- land, and Lesser Black-backed Gulls each from two counties, with a max of 14 Thayer's in St. Louis 1 Dec (JLK). A Slaty-backed Gull eluded most birders in Wayne, MI 26-27 Dec (SH, CP, KA, DJM). Glaucous Gulls were relatively scarce in Minnesota, and that state's only Great Black-backed Gulls were from Duluth, St. Lou- porting exceptional numbers. Inversely, winter fnches were almost non-existent and, not sur- prisingly, there were very few of the lingering, semi-hardy species that the Region has grown accustomed to in recent years. WATERFOWL Single Greater White-fronted Geese were in Minnesota's Olmsted 14 Dec (CH, CHo, JWH) and Lac Qui Parle 21 Feb (DLP), while Wiscon- sin's only report was of 10 in Jefferson 1 Dec (AS). Michigan had 2 Greater White-fronteds in Kalamazoo 1 Dec (AA) and two reports of 10 in Berrien 7-8 Dec (MKH) and 15 Dec (NG, AV). Minnesota birders noted a late Snow Goose migrant in Kandiyohi 1 Dec (JS) and 8 in Chippewa 13 Dec (DLP) but failed to fnd any Ross's Geese. Wisconsin had single Ross's Geese in three counties, none after the third week of Dec, while Michigan had at least 27 birds in six counties in Dec and 2 after 28 Feb in Mid- land (JMS). Minnesota reported Tundra Swans through late Dec in Washington and Winona and 1 Jan in Wright. Other noteworthy waterfowl in Minnesota included a rather northerly over- wintering Wood Duck in Douglas (BE), 22 late migrant American Wigeons in Wabasha 1 Dec (PEJ), a Blue-winged Teal in Isanti 15-28 Dec (JSa), a Northern Shoveler in Scott 27 Dec–11 Jan (PEJ, SO), Northern Pintails in fve coun- ties, and Greater Scaup in three counties, in- cluding up to 5 that overwintered on the Mis- sissippi River (PEJ, m.ob.). A frst-year male King Eider entertained birders in Muskegon, MI 4 Feb+ (CB, m.ob.), while Minnesota had a female 12-14 Dec (GG, KRE, JLK, AM) and a frst-year male 26-27 Dec (JLK, PHS), both on Lake Superior at Du - luth, St. Louis. Two of Wisconsin's 6 Harlequin Ducks were unusual away from Lake Michigan; Minnesota reported 2 Harlequins, while Michi- gan birders found 5. White-winged Scoters put on a late-season show in Michigan, with birds being found on almost any inland, open wa- terway; likewise, Wisconsin birders found the odd inland records, as well as an impressive 200+ from seven counties along Lake Michi- gan. Long-tailed Ducks were also found inland in Michigan, but most impressive was the con - gregation of up to 50,000 birds at the s. end of Lake Huron. An ad. male Barrow's Goldeneye frequented the same open water as Michigan's King Eider 2-22 Feb (MB, m.ob.). Minnesota had an ad. male Barrow's in Wabasha 1 Dec (PEJ), females in St. Louis 12-13 Dec (EB, KRE, PHS, TRK) and Goodhue 11 Jan (PEJ), and an imm. female in Goodhue 19 Jan (PEJ). Note- worthy in Minnesota was a male Common Goldeneye x Hooded Merganser hybrid in St. Louis 12-14 Dec (KJB, TRK) and an overwinter- ing Ruddy Duck in Scott. Adam M. Byrne –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– U nlike in recent years, the Region en- dured one of the harshest winters on record. Minnesota's statewide tem- perature ranked fourth coldest of the 119-year modern climate record. A large snowstorm on 2-4 December brought signifcant snow- fall totals to much of Minnesota. January was notable for the frequency of snowfall, rather than the amounts, with over half the month experiencing measureable snowfall events. February brought some big storms, especially in the Northeast, where some communities saw record monthly snowfall totals of 2 to 3 feet! Wisconsin's snowfall amounts were above average by nearly 125%, with little melting that created a deep snow cover throughout the season. This winter ranked among the top ten coldest and snowiest in Wisconsin history. Conditions were similar in Michigan, with conditions persistently cold and snowy. Not surprisingly, open water was scarce; the Great Lakes were nearly iced over by the end of the season, and open water inland was lim- ited. As the Great Lakes iced over, a movement of sea ducks was noted. Michigan had above- average numbers of Red-breasted Mergansers, White-winged Scoters, and Long-tailed Ducks showing up on virtually any inland, open wa- terway. Both King Eider and Barrow's Golden- eye were similarly impacted, with birds ap- pearing in both Minnesota and Michigan. The fall's infux of Snowy Owls continued into the winter season, with all three states re- Western Great Lakes This female King Eider at Duluth, Minnesota was present 12-14 (here 13) December 2013—just long enough to provide the state's frst Christmas Bird Count record on the last date. Photograph by Sparky Stensaas.

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