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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V O L U M E 6 8 ( 2 0 1 5 ) • N U M B E R 4 471 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 Gull-billed, Least, Forster's, and Black Terns; New Bruns- wick's ffth Royal Tern was no- table on Machias Seal Island 7 July. A Long-tailed Jaeger at Hirtle's Beach, Nova Scotia 5 July was the only mention of any jaeger in the storm. The only Gulf Stream seabirds re- ported in association with Ar- thur were Nova Scotia's sec- ond Bridled Tern at Conrad Beach 5 July and two Sooty Terns and a Bridled along the North Carolina coast, where more expected, 3-4 July. What about the Sooty Tern found resting quietly at Long Beach Island, Ocean County, New Jersey 3 July, well be- fore Arthur passed northward (Figure 8)? This bird could well be unre- lated to Arthur, as there are multiple mid- Atlantic summer records that show no obvious connection to storms—and this season, such singles were found at Bolsa Chica, California 5 July and, incredibly, near Mulberry, Arkansas 17 June (Figure 9), where no storms had passed. However, Sooty Terns are also known, like frigate- birds, to move on the outermost fringes of tropical cyclones, and the New Jersey bird could well have been feeing ahead of Ar- thur. Often forgotten in digests of tropical cyclone waifs are the aerialists, swifts and swallows. In Nova Scotia, where the spe- cies is rare, 64 Purple Martins were noted during and after the passage of Arthur. Hurricanes and tropical storms get a great deal of attention from birders; the buzz online before potential landfall of a storm is tremendous. This is understand- able, given the possibility for unusual, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime bird records in the areas affected by the storm. The data gathered can also help us understand im- pacts on populations. For instance, At- lantic hurricanes of 1996 through 2003 appear to have had drastic negative con- sequences for Black-capped Petrel, which was seen in larger numbers in the early 1990s off North Carolina than in the past fciently in transit from nesting grounds at Tristan de Cunha to the normally rich foraging areas in the northwestern North Atlantic. Even mild tropical storms can increase the number of beached Great Shearwaters in summer, as many are al- ready in weakened or emaciated condition and unable to endure storm conditions for long. Just after the passage of Arthur, on 7 July, a moribund Great was found at North Topsail Beach, North Carolina, where not unexpected; but what to make of the bird found ailing in the forests of Madison County, New York 18 July—two weeks after the storm had passed? Inland records like this one are very few; I have been able to fnd only 10 in the literature, 1881 through 1994, few of these being well documented and only two or three connected to storms of any sort. In con - nection with Arthur, North Carolinians also logged a Leach's and about 80 Wil- son's Storm-Petrels from shore at Oregon Inlet 3-6 July, whereas Nova Scotians found eight and seven of these species, respectively. In line with expectations in such a storm, Laughing Gulls were found in high numbers in Nova Scotia (and a few more in New Brunswick and St. Pierre), along with small numbers of Royal, Sandwich, unable to fnd suffcient lee in coastal areas and forced to move with the wind, as terns in coastal areas also seem to do. Nova Scotia birders, a faithful band, especially when tropical weather comes calling, turned up minimally 75 Black Skimmers, New Brunswick rallied with four, and Québec, which had a single record of the species from 1938, produced sight- ings of what could have been one bird or fve (likely some- where in between). This is the most in the Canadian Maritimes since Septem- ber 2010, when Hurricane Earl pushed at least 126 to Nova Scotia (Brinkley 2011), though that storm still pales in compari- son to Gladys of 1968, where Eric Mills and others recorded hundreds, probably over 1000 skimmers, with focks of hun- dreds seen in passage later in Massachu- setts and New York (Mills 1969). Important to note is that these birds did not reorient southward quickly, as so many terns do after tropical cyclone land- fall; the birds were recorded through 9 August in Canada, more than month after Arthur had long passed, and an adult at Lake Neatahwanta, Oswego County, New York 30-31 July was very possibly one of the eastern Canadian displaced birds at- tempting to return to the Atlantic coast. Godfrey (1979) wrote that most Canadian records of Black Skimmer are birds found after the passage of tropical cyclones, and that is still true today. Birds that linger long after the storm has passed are also not un - usual: after Gladys, which hit Nova Scotia 21-22 October 1968, skimmers were seen at least through 8 December in both Nova Scotia and Massachusetts (Finch 1969, Mills 1969). Great Shearwaters made news, as they often do in summer, being seen close to shore, trying to steal bait from fshing hooks, and often found dead or dying on beaches, having been unable to refuel suf- Figure 7. This wayward Brown Booby, Nebraska's frst, frequented Hanson Lake, Sarpy County 28 June through 1 July 2014. Photograph by Joan Bergeron.

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