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 2 253 C o lo r a d o & W yo m i n g Redpolls at Loveland, Larimer 12 Jan (CC, SW) were the only ones reported this winter after last winter's massive irruption. Pine Siskin numbers were low this winter, with a frequency/abun- dance that was 30% or more below average for the state and about 70% below normal on the Plains (eBird data); only 5 were noted on the Plains e. of the Denver Metro area. Similarly, the frequency of American Goldfnch sightings was only about two-thirds typical. A swarm of 195 Evening Grosbeaks at Silverthorne, Summit 25 Feb (H. Taliaferro) was exceptional. Cited observers (subregional editors in boldface): Tom Axthelm, Jim D. Beatty (sw. Colorado), Seth Chamberlain, Cade Cropper, Coen Dexter (w.-cen. Colorado), David Dowell, John Drummond (se. Colorado), Norm Erthal, Matthew Fraker (Wyoming), Peter Gaede, Mark Gorges, Zachariah Hutchingson, Joey Kellner (JK), Loch Kilpatrick, Forrest Luke (nw. Colorado), Tom McConnell (TMc), Chris Michelson, Rich Miller, Tina Mitchell (TMi), Steven G. Mlodinow, Gwen Moore, Tresa Moulton (TMo), Del Nelson (DeN), Duane Nelson (DuN), Christian Nunes, Ken Pals, Brandon K. Percival, Mark Peterson, Stacey Scott, Cathy Sheeter, Virginia Simmons, Tim Smart, David Suddjian, David Wade, Glenn Walbek, Sean Walters (Colorado mountains), Brenda Wright. Many other individuals con- tributed information to this report but could not be acknowledged here; they have our ap- preciation. n –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Tony Leukering, 1 Pindo Palm Street W, largo, Florida 33770, (greatgrayowl@aol.com) Matt Fraker, The Prairie oak Veterinary Center, 207B landmark drive, normal, illinois 61761 (frakerpovc@aol.com) For the fourth consecutive winter, a Northern Cardinal reached the Front Range, with one seen intermittently through most of the season near Laporte, Larimer 9 Dec+ (J. Dennis, ph. D. Leatherman). A Yellow-headed Blackbird near Durango, La Plata 12 Dec (M. Coleman) was on the West Slope, where very rare during winter, whereas one at Crook, Logan 28 Dec (PG) was at a more typical lo- cation; Colorado averages about 2 per winter. An excellent total of 44 Rusty Blackbirds was tallied in Colorado, with a maximum of 20 at Chatfeld Reservoir, Jefferson 22 Feb (JK); 2 at ca. 2600 m elevation at Manitou Lake, Teller 27 Dec (R. Hinds) were especially notable, as this species is casual during winter and rare at any season in the mountains. A female Rusty Blackbird at Fremont Lake, Sublette 1 Dec (ph. E. Boehm) provided Wyoming's eighth win- ter record. Brewer's Blackbirds were scarce, at about 75% typical frequency in Colorado (eBird data). Common Grackles are scarce in e. Colorado during winter but rather rare on the West Slope, so 40 at Grand Junction 15 Dec (MH) was an extraordinary number, and 6 at Ouray, Ouray (JB) and one near Craig, Moffat 21 Jan (J. Leonard) were also notable. A tally of 232 Great-tailed Grackles near White Rocks, Boulder 15 Jan (CN) is one of the highest Colorado winter counts. A congregation of 800 Brown-capped Rosy- Finches at Idaho Springs, Clear Creek 8 Feb was exceptional (J. Henderson). Exceedingly rare on the Plains was an ad. male Pine Grosbeak (sub- species montanus) at Two Buttes S. W. A., Baca 22 Feb (T. Floyd, ph. D. Shankster-Barnes). Single White-winged Crossbills were reported from Gunnison (T. Deininger), Eagle (CN), and Clear Creek (F. Commercon), represent- ing a fairly typical winter tally. Two Common winter's crop included individuals elsewhere at Orchard Cove, Larimer 3 Dec (K. Ecton), Dry Creek, Boulder 15 Dec (CS), and Norwood, San Miguel 7 Feb (G. Steele), with 2 at Paradox, Montrose 18 Jan (CD, BW). This winter's 21 Swamp Sparrows signaled a return to normal after last winter's >60. However, single Swamp Sparrows were in the mountains, where sea- sonally accidental, at ca. 2800 m elevation in Silverthorne, Summit (frst county record; C. Nims) and 2300 m in Salida, Chaffee 21-22 Dec (TMi). A seasonally rare White-throated Sparrow at Casper, Natrona 21 Dec (fde CM) provided Wyoming's sole report, while Colorado totaled 32, the highlight of which was the fourth montane winter record, at Vail, Eagle 29 Dec (M. Stanback). Nearly 40 Colorado Harris's Sparrows, about the recent average, included rare West Slope birds in Rio Grande, La Plata, Mesa (2), and Montrose (5), plus mon- tane birds at Steamboat Springs, Routt 14 Dec (TMo) and Tennessee Pass, Eagle 31 Jan–5 Feb (M. Westermann). Wyoming had single Harris's Sparrows at Hudson, Fremont 4 Dec (DeN) and Evansville, Natrona 21 Dec (ZH), plus 2 at Riverton, Fremont 28 Dec (DeN). This spe- cies is now being found annually on Colorado's West Slope, where once considered rare, and has been found two of the past three winters in the mountains, where once considered acci- dental. The scarcity of White-crowned Sparrow was widely noted, with overall abundance be- ing about two-thirds that of usual (eBird data). Conversely, numbers were relatively high in Wyoming (presumably Gambel's, but not re- ported as such) and included 2 each in Goshen 9 Dec (K. Adams) and at Riverton, Fremont 28 Dec (fde TA), and then two additional re- ports after the C.B.C. season, when they be- come very rare: one at Casper, Natrona 9 Feb (H. Martin) and one at Ten Sleep, Hot Springs 10 Feb (SC). The only dark-lored White- crowneds were 2 near Greeley, Weld 15 Jan (SGM, SW). The Red Rocks, Jefferson and Teller Farms, Boulder Golden-crowned Sparrows both returned for their fourth consecutive winters (m.ob.). Along with American Tree and White- crowned Sparrows, numbers of Dark-eyed Juncos were also low, about 15-20% below av- erage this winter. Though White-winged Junco is of regular occurrence in ne. Colorado in win- ter in small numbers, this taxon is quite scarce on the s. Plains, with only four records in eBird, two of which came from this winter: singles at Cottonwood, Baca and Higbee, Otero (both 11 Jan, SGM). As many as 3 Pink-sided Junco x White-winged Junco crosses graced Red Rocks Park 8 Jan–4 Feb (S. Baron, ph. C. L. Wood). No Gray-headed Juncos were found on the Plains this winter; though rare, typically at least a few are found somewhere there. Sa Rosy-fnches provided a winter mystery. Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches are the most com- mon species during this season in Wyoming, often showing up in massive focks and dispersing into lower elevations to escape mountain snowstorms. Similarly, this is the season when Black Rosy-Finches are the most conspicuous in Wyoming for the same reasons. Snow- storms pummeled Wyoming in Oct, bringing early the conditions expected to drive rosy-fnch- es to lower valley and foothill feeding areas. Nevertheless, Gray-crowneds were essentially un- reported from the state all winter. One observer who was born and raised near Casper noted that he had never had a winter completely devoid of rosy-fnches back to the late 1940s (SS). A search of eBird data showed this phenomenon to include Wyoming (no reports), Montana (low), Idaho (few reports), Colorado (low), New Mexico (very low), British Columbia, Nevada, and Utah (all with few data, but low), and Washington and Oregon (both below average). Black Rosy-Finch, while also essentially absent from Wyoming, seemed to be in more nor- mal frequencies in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. By the end of Feb, Wyoming began to see the return of mixed rosy-fnch focks, including a group of 100-200 at Encampment, Carbon 28 Feb that included several Brown-capped Rosy-Finches (m.ob.). Did the early Oct storms push the Black Rosy-Finches out of the state? Did Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches simply stay put in their northerly haunts?

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