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 238 P r a i r i e P r o v i n c e s mian Waxwing numbers were considered aver- age in the Calgary area, but Bohemians were considerably scarcer in the east, with only small scattered focks being reported. A rare winter Vesper Sparrow was recorded on the Saskatch- ewan Landing, SK C.B.C. 29 Dec (DZ, MSt). At Elie, MB, a Song Sparrow survived at least until 12 Feb (D. Steppler). A Lincoln's Sparrow was near Steinbach, MB 1 Dec (fde VR), and a White-crowned Sparrow was at Medicine Hat, AB 3 Dec (MS). There were at least 14 White- throated Sparrows in Alberta. White-throated numbers were higher in Manitoba, where considered regular if scarce winterers. Dark- eyed Juncos survived the bitter cold well in s. Manitoba, as exemplifed by 8 at a Grosse Isle feeder in early winter, of which 5 lasted into Mar (KG); 2 were taken by a Northern Shrike. Pine Grosbeaks were scarce even in their usual forest-edge winter strongholds, and crossbills went virtually unreported. A Cas- sin's Finch at Saskatoon 24 Dec (or possibly earlier) through 4 Jan furnished the second- ever C.B.C. record for Saskatchewan (RJ, PhT, AS, ph.). Redpoll and Pine Siskin numbers were the lowest in years, with few feeder ob- servers reporting any, and many active birders found none all season. American Goldfnches bucked that trend somewhat: a maximum of 31 at a Lumsden, SK feeder 17 Dec was con - sidered high, and there were numerous reports of small groups at feeders elsewhere in s. Sas- katchewan and in s. Manitoba. Though far from abundant, Evening Grosbeaks were the most numerous winter fnches this season. Observers (provincial compilers in boldface): J. Comstock, R. Dudragne, K. Gardner, G. & J. Grieef, M. Heigl, T. Hindmarch, T. Hopwood (THo), R. Jensen, M. Kelly, R. Klauke (RKl), T. Korolyk, G. Krätzig, R. Kube (RKu), T. Lep- rieur, K. Mann, J. & M. McDonald, J. Night- ingale, D. Raitt, J. Reimer, V. Reimer, A. Smith, J. Smith, M. Spitzer, D. Steppler, M. Stoffel (MSt), Phil Taylor (PhT), H. Vanderpol, D. Weidl, D. Zazelenchuk. n –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Rudolf F. Koes, 135 rossmere crescent, Winnipeg, Manitoba r2K 0G1, (rkoes@mymts.net) Peter Taylor, P. o. Box 597, Pinawa, Manitoba r0e 1L0, (taylorp@granite.mb.ca) found on the 14 Dec Pierre, SD C.B.C. (DNS). There was relatively little gull excitement this season, with early and extensive ice build-ups driving gulls out of much of the Region. The California Gull found on the 14 Dec Pierre, SD C.B.C. was seen intermittently through the end of the period. An Iceland Gull was noted 27-28 Dec on the Missouri River at Fort Peck, MT (CC), where casual. More expected, but still very rare, were single Iceland Gulls at Pierre, SD 10 Dec–28 Feb (DB ph., RDO, DNS, ph.) and at Garrison Dam, Mercer, ND 14 Dec (RM, CDE). Now annual in the Dako- tas, a Lesser Black-backed was found 6 Dec in Yankton, SD (RND). A frst-cycle Lesser Black- backed Gull was on the Missouri River at Fort Peck, MT 12-19 Dec (CC), with an ad. there 15 Dec (BS, CC); the species is still considered casual in Montana. Although still classifed as casual in South Dakota, the ad. Great Black- backed Gull at Pierre 19-20 Feb (BB, SS) was not unexpected. An impressive record-high 15 Eastern Screech-Owls were reported on the 14 Dec Pierre C.B.C. The 13 Snowy Owls seen 31 Jan in Grand Forks, ND (DEH) was the high count this season, though birds were scat - tered through much of the e. Dakotas, particu - larly after early Jan. Northern Hawk Owls are considered casual in North Dakota, but that is more a refection of the lack of past docu- mentation than a lack of reports. This season, single Northern Hawk Owls were near Mc- Gregor, Williams, ND 7-10 Dec (TB) and near Hansboro, Towner, ND 21-27 Feb (SJ ph., AL). Winter Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers after Dec are considered accidental in South Dakota, mak- ing the single in Charles Mix, SD 11 Feb (RM) 11 Jan (DNS, CDE) and at Baldhill Dam, Barnes 1 Jan–1 Feb (BJA). The American Black Duck present throughout the period at Pierre, SD was believed to be the same indi- vidual present the past two winters (DB). A Ring-necked Duck was on the Missouri River, Burleigh, ND 22- 23 Dec (CDE, SLW, KD); the spe- cies is seasonally very rare in North Dakota. Greater Scaup are a treat Regionwide, particularly in winter. One was on the Missouri River at Fort Peck, Valley, MT 19 Feb (CC). In South Dakota, single Greater Scaup were reported 1 Dec in Grant (BJU) and 10 Jan in Charles Mix (RM). The species was present at Pierre, SD throughout the period (RDO, DNS, SS), with an impressive 15 being found on the 14 Dec C.B.C. Two White-winged Scoters were at Fort Randall Dam, Charles Mix, SD 1-2 Dec (RM, KP), with another in Yankton, SD 1 Dec (RND). A female Barrow's Golden - eye was at Fort Randall Dam, Charles Mix, SD 23-26 Dec (S&RM, RM, KP), where the species has now been seen several times. In South Da- kota, Barrow's Goldeneye is considered casual outside of the Black Hills. Chukars around Bismarck, ND continue to intrigue. Although successfully breeding and overwintering for several years, it remains un - clear how much, if any, the population relies on continued releases of domesticated birds. Six Chukars were reported at Bismarck 19 Dec (fde CDE). A Ferruginous Hawk 15 Feb in Hettinger, ND (JS) continued the recent trend of winter records of that species in North Da- kota. A seasonally rare Virginia Rail was in Fall River, SD 15 Feb (JSP). A late Killdeer was Dan Svingen –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– T he Northern Great Plains' winter of 2013-2014 was long, cold, and windy and so fostered many a wistful dream of spring. Birdwise, the winter was not particu - larly memorable, with most remarks focusing on what was missing rather than on what was present. In particular, many birders noted the low numbers of passerines across most of the Region. The scarcity of White-winged and Red Crossbills, Pine Siskins, and the almost com- plete lack of either redpoll species was particu - larly striking, especially when compared to the winter of 2012-2013. Mid-season excitement was provided, however, by an infux of Snowy Owls in northeastern North Dakota and east - ern South Dakota. All boldfaced sightings are pending acceptance by the appropriate bird records committee. WATERFOWL THROUGH FALCONS Considered accidental in e. South Dakota, 2 Trumpeter Swans were near Fort Randall Dam, Charles Mix 11 Jan–13 Feb (RM). North Da- kota's third and fourth Jan reports of Tundra Swan were provided by single birds along the Missouri River at Mandan, Morton 22 Dec and Northern Great Plains

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