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.

Issue link: http://nab.aba.org/i/605532

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464 N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S The Changing Seasons: Odd Ducks The Changing Seasons: Odd Ducks EDwarD S. BrinklEy • 124 PEACH STREET • CAPE CHARlES, VIRgINIA 23310 • (THAlASSOICA@gMAIl.COM) weather In the Lower 48 United States as a whole, June 2014 was 1.1° F above the twentieth-century average, whereas July was slightly (0.3° F) below that average. No state recorded a top-ten warm June, but the month was above average in the Southwest, Midwest, and East Coast, be- low average in the Northern Great Plains and Northern Rockies, and near average in the central Gulf states, Southern Great Plains, and Northwest. For Arizona and California, June ranked eleventh warmest on record. In July, conditions moderated a bit, with below-average temperatures over much of the Midwest and Southeast, where thirteen states had top-ten coolest Julys; Arkansas and Indiana recorded their coolest July ever. To the west, the Rockies and Pacifc coast had above-average warm July readings, with six states logging top- ten Julys. Alaska had a cooler-than-aver- age June but a warmer-than-average July; both months were rain-flled, with June the second wettest since records began in 1918 and July the seventeenth wettest. Precipitation was plentiful in June from the Great Plains eastward; Minnesota had its wettest June ever (and wettest month ever, breaking records from 1897 and 1914), and nine other states had top-ten wettest Junes. For the Lower 48 altogeth - er, it was the sixth wettest on record. Ex- ceptions to this bounty were in the South- west, in southern New England, and on the Southeast coast. Rains were welcome in Nebraska and the central/southern Plains generally, where drought conditions were eased a bit. Arizona had its third dri- est June on record. July brought abundant rains to the Northeast (top ten for Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire), the Southern Great Plains (where desperately needed), Central Appalachians, and even the Southwest, where monsoons helped Arizona and New Mexico after a very dry June. Alas, California remained mired in worsening drought. In June, the part of the state categorized as "exceptional drought" grew to 36.5%, and in July, that expanded to 58.4% by the end of the month. For the Lower 48 as a whole, July was the twenty- sixth driest on record, and the northern- tier states, Midwest (especially the Ohio Valley), and parts of the Southeast experi- enced very dry conditions, with Alabama recording its ninth driest July. At the end of June, about 34% of the Lower 48 states were classifed as having some level of drought conditions; at the end of July, that fgure was about the same. July's warmth and dry conditions in the West made for ideal wildfre conditions, especially in California. Impacts of drought and fres on birds within California were legion, but few records of wandering or extralim- Three Limpkins summered at Georgia Veterans Memorial Park, near Cordele, Crisp County, Geor- gia during summer 2014 (here 14 July). These birds fed on the invasive Asian clam Corbicula fulminea, sometimes called Golden Freshwater Clam, rather than on a typical diet of Florida Applesnail (Pomacea paludosa), a species that is rare and local in Georgia. Summer 2014 saw many instances of southern species exploring areas well north of normal but also, perhaps more surprisingly, many cases of northern birds attempting to summer far south of typical or historical range. Photograph by Roy Brown.

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