North American Birds

VOLUME 68 NO4 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 11 of 123

(perhaps the only?) juvenile Common Shelducks documented by photograph in North America; three juveniles at Québec City 22 August 1984 were apparently not photographed. The bird was easily aged as juvenile by the dull-colored bill and legs, grayish brown head, white throat, white ey- ering, lack of rufous chest band, and white edges to secondaries and inner primaries (Svensson et al. 2002). The Saint-Basile-le-Grand Common Shel - duck, like others recorded from the St. Law- rence corridor in Québec (nine records in- volving 12 total birds), appears to be a good candidate for a wild vagrant from Iceland or Europe that would have arrived during mi- gration. Since the 1990s, the Icelandic popu- lation of Common Shelduck has burgeoned, from a few pairs to a few hundred, and birds from that population start their migration (to unknown locations) in early August and sometimes in late July for non-breed- ing birds (Yann Kolbeinsson, pers. comm). Strong easterly winds blew from continental Europe toward the Atlantic Provinces 20- 23 August 2014, during the period when Common Shelducks in Europe and Iceland commence their migration toward molting grounds. This weather pattern is well known for displacement of migrating European birds to eastern Canada (Howell et al. 2014). Finally, the age of the Saint-Basile-le-Grand bird makes it far less likely to have been a bird lost or released from captivity. Saint-Basile-le-Grand, just east of the metropolis of Montréal, might seem an un- likely location for a European vagrant, but its farm felds lie on the Richelieu River and very close to the Saint Lawrence Riv- er, and records of European waterfowl in the vicinity, including Chambly basin, are numerous since the 1990s, with multiple records of Barnacle Goose (Branta leucop- sis), Pink-footed Geese (Anser brachyrhyn- chus), Graylag Goose (A. anser), Greenland Greater White-fronted Goose (A. albifrons favirostris), Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penel- ope), Eurasian Teal (Anas [crecca] crecca), and Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula). It is to be expected that a few Common Shelducks would wander to North America, especially to the northeastern part of the continent, The same logic has applied in the case of re- cords in other provinces and in the United States, and no avifaunal list in North Amer- ica currently includes Common Shelduck. As records of Common Shelducks in- crease in northeastern North America, it ap- pears increasingly likely that some of these birds have dispersed from breeding grounds naturally, rather than representing escapees (or liberated birds) from captivity. The most recent record, of a juvenile photographed at Saint-Basile-le-Grand between 31 August and 6 September 2014 (Figures 1-4), was typical of earlier records in terms of its oc- currence (in autumn) and wary behavior. The bird was found in a group of over 1000 dabbing ducks at a local sewage lagoon. The bird was notably skittish, much more so than the other ducks present at the site. The shelduck would fy away if approached more closely than 100 meters. Photographs of the bird show that it was unbanded, that neither hallux (hind toe) had been clipped, and that there were no other indications of captivity in the plumage (no pinioned wing or odd wear patterns in fight feathers). This individual was one of the very few n o r t h a m e r i c a n b i r d s 458 Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) in Québec: A review of records Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) in Québec: A review of records SAmuel DenAult • 1991 rue Saint-Zotique eSt • Montréal, québec H2G 1J2 • (Spdenault@GMail.coM) Abstract This paper summarizes records of Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) in Québec, in- cluding a recent record of a juvenile from Saint-Basile-le-Grand in autumn 2014, and suggests that some, if not all, of these records are likely to refer to wandering in- dividuals from the Palearctic, most likely from Iceland, where populations have been increasing sharply since the 1990s. Review of records Recently, 40 North American records of Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) were summarized in the present journal (Brin- kley 2010); however, three Québec records were unintentionally omitted from that summary, and the province has recorded three additional individuals since the time of publication (Table 1). None of the Common Shelducks record- ed in Québec are known with certainty to have been come from captivity, but as with many records of rare waterfowl in the twen- tieth century, most were presumed to be possible former captives, and so the species has not yet been added to the provincial list. Table 1. Records of Common Shelduck in Québec, 1982–2014. location Date no Plumage Source/Observer(s) cap saint- ignace 18 Sep 1982 2 unknown American Birds 37: 159 québec city 22 aug 1984 3 juv. American Birds 39: 30 notre-dame-de-pierreville 30 aug 1993 1 ad. Québec Oiseaux 5 (4): 26 lac des pins 2 Jun 1993 1 unknown L'Ornithologie 6 (4): 29 baie-du-Febvre 7-24 Jul 1993 1 ad. Québec Oiseaux 5 (3): 26 Île du Moine 27 aug 1994 1 ad. Québec Oiseaux 6 (4): 24 rimouski 12-24 nov 1996 1 unknown Québec Oiseaux 8 (4): 30 Masson-angers 12 aug 2002 1 ad. epoq Katevale 14 oct 2003 1 unknown epoq lac Selby, dunham 28 oct–2 nov 2004 1 imm. ornitho-qu listserv Sainte-Félicité-de-Matane 3 dec 2005 1 unknown epoq Île bizard, Montréal 8-15 Jan 2010 1 ad./subad. epoq Joliette 14 May 2010 1 ad. epoq Saint-basile-le-Grand 31 aug–6 Sep 2014 1 juv. Québec Oiseaux 26 (4): 46-49 EPOQ = Études des populations d'oiseaux du Québec database Lac des Pins = location is unclear; there are multiple lakes by this name in Québec; tentative record.

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