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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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 468 T h e c h a n g i n g s e a s o n s : o d d d u c k northward and/or upslope. The strengthening trend of summer- ing waterbirds that are (mostly) not nest- ing includes loons and grebes. Recently, some of these birds are probably veterans of the exoduses from the freezing Great Lakes. Red-throated Loons in Wiscon- sin don't generally get much attention in June (when migrants can still be on the move), but the count of seven in Bayfeld County 2-11 July (not far from Duluth) is worrisome, as was one still at Petitco- diac, New Brunswick 10 June; all were in breeding plumage. Summering Common Loons in the Midwest and notably in the Southeast (Figure 4), and a Pacifc Loon summering in Missouri at Stockton Lake 15-18 June, were further puzzling puzzle pieces, though it should be mentioned that Common Loons were also a promi- nent irruptor, into Florida and the Gulf, during the Razorbill/scoter event of winter 2012-2013. Whether they were refugees of the hard winter or southerly pioneers, a Horned Grebe pair that raised two young at Eagle Lake, Iowa in July furnished that state's frst nesting record, while two Red-necked Grebes at Lake John, Jackson County, Colorado (not far from Wyoming) tried hard to make things work all summer but did not produce young (Figure 5). This nesting attempt is a long way from regular summer range, as near as eastern Idaho. From the Great Lakes east to the mid-Atlantic, leftover Red-necked Grebes lingered all through the summer season, with one as far south as Lake Julian Park, near Asheville, North Carolina, where up to 37 were found in the previous winter. For reasons unknown—though perhaps we should acknowledge here the increase in birders out birding—Western Grebe re- cords have been increasing east of usual range in the past dozen years or so, but most of these records are from the win- ter, with fewer in spring and fall. One that summered at Fort Frances, Ontario (Figure 6) was only slightly east of ex- pected areas but nevertheless noteworthy and perhaps a small sign of strengthening presence eastward. "The livin' is easy," so the song "Sum- mertime" starts out, but Gershwin's pro- gression of chords hint at dirge, at diff- culty and loss. Resources are changing. Times are changing. For birds and for us. We should keep an eye on the southerly scoters, even as we cheer the return of mountain mergansers. Pelecaniformes Although we do not (or should not) cel - ebrate the northward movement of south- ern species during climate change, part of our drive to document changes in bird distribution does lead us to whoop when we experience the discovery of something new in our region. Neotropic Cormorant's two-decade drive northward has been a slow-motion barnstorming, with now only 15 states—Washington, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota, Georgia, the Car- olinas, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the New England states—yet to record the species. Oklahoma's Neotropics are now old hat at Red Slough Wildlife Management Area (as was one at Lubbock, Texas), but three more locations in Oklahoma recorded the species this summer, plus four in Kan- sas and one all the way north to Aurora County, South Dakota 29 June. And in Idaho, one near Ashton 23 July was likely the May 2015 bird downriver that was the state's frst. It's hard to believe that Point Pelee, Ontario recorded its sixth Neotropic 1 June. One imagines that the Idaho bird moved northward from Arizo- na, whereas the Dakota record was more likely from Texas, and the Ontario record (and various Mississippi River and Great Lakes records) from Louisiana. But this scenario assumes northward dispersal, and vagrancy is rarely that simple. Perhaps as impressive as the firtation of Neotropic Cormorant with, and beyond, the U.S./Canadian border, is the eastward spread of the species' range in the Gulf of Mexico states. Neotropics now breed in Palm Beach County, Florida at Wakoda- hatchee Wetlands, where noted again this summer; singles in a few spots in Mon - roe County in June and July should be watched for breeding as well. Hybrids with Double-cresteds, documented in Oklaho- ma (Arterburn and Shepperd 2009), have probably also been photographed in Loui - siana and Florida (2013, 2014), so caution in identifcation of extralimital Neotropics is warranted just about anywhere now. Figure 4. Four Common Loons seen on Dauphin Island, Mobile County 10 July 2014 was a high number in summer for the Gulf coast. The species is regular but rare on the coast, and sightings at this time of year are most often of single individuals. Photograph by Andrew Hafenden.

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