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 516 Arkansas & Louisiana Paul E. Conover Kenny Nichols –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A verage temperatures and heavy rains in June were followed by average rainfall and the coldest, by far, July in recorded history in Arkansas. Throughout the state, daily highs were as much as 15-25° and some cases even 30° F below normal. Dozens of record lows and hundreds of all-time record low tempera- tures were recorded. The cooler temperatures provided a welcome respite to birders, and ef- fects on nesting (or migrating) birds were not evident, either negative or positive. The sea- son's highlights included Neotropic Cormorant, White-faced Ibis, Swallow-tailed Kite, and Sooty Tern. Statewide, Louisiana experienced above- average rainfall and below-average temperatures for the period. Despite extensive coverage for the fnal season of the Louisiana Summer Bird Atlas, relatively few reports were submitted for Louisiana for summer 2014. Signifcance for Arkansas records is based on Arkansas Birds, Their Distribution and Abundance (James and Neal 1986) and the Arkansas Audu- bon Society online bird record database (for records since 1986). The signifcance of Loui- siana records is based on trends derived from the database of bird record cards archived at the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science (LSUMNS). Records were taken from cards submitted to LSUMNS and rare bird re- ports submitted to the Louisiana B.R.C. Records of Review List species included below have ei- ther been accepted by or are pending review by records committees. WATERFOWL THROUGH FALCONS Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is a rare and lo- cal breeder in Arkansas, so broods of 15 and 7 with attending ads. at the Alma sewer ponds, Crawford 10 Jul (JN, NWAAS) and a pair with 7 young just w. of the same location 19 Jun (SB, JM) were considered noteworthy. Oversummer- ing waterfowl are rare but expected features of Louisiana wetlands; reports for less commonly reported species this season included a Greater White-fronted Goose in St. Landry 5 Jun (JVR) and two separate reports of Redheads, both pho- tographed, near Crowley, Acadia 15 Jun (JVR, CR). Two Egyptian Geese were observed on Lake Atalanta, Benton, AR 22 Jun (ML, DO, KH). The highlight of Louisiana's summer birding was a Sooty Shearwater found on the Louisiana side of the Sabine Ship Channel, Cameron 18 Jun (WS, CB); this frst state record was beautifully documented. A lone Wood Stork spotted along the Red River near Garland, Lafayette, AR 22 Jun (RR) was slightly early for this uncommon summer/ fall visitor. Rare, but annual at this location since 2011, a single ad. Neotropic Cormorant was ob- served at SWEPCO Lake, Benton, AR 21 Jul (JN, TS). An American Bittern observed in Richland 23 Jun (DL, WM) made an unusual Jun sight- ing for Louisiana. Twenty imm. White Ibis were counted near Arkadelphia, Clark, AR 18 Jun (PD), an unusual location for the species. Very rare in summer in Arkansas, an ad. White-faced Ibis was recorded at the s. end of Grand Lake, Chicot 19 Jul (K&LN). Osprey is a rare and local Arkansas breeder; nesting was confrmed with 2 ads. and one young at Lake Dardanelle, Yell 28 Jun (K&LN); breeding was suspected at Harris Brake, Perry 15 Jun and near Horse Head Lake Use Area on the Arkansas River, Johnson 4 Jul (both EL). Very rare in summer in Arkansas away from the White River N.W.R., a Swallow-tailed Kite was a nice fnd near Sulphur Springs W.M.A., Miller 7 Jul (CH). Though common over much of Arkansas, Mississippi Kite is uncom- mon to rare in the extreme nw. part of the state; singles were noted at Mountain Home, Baxter 9 Jul (BS) and Fayetteville, Washington 4 Jul (MS, CS), while 3 ads. and a "well-grown" chick were seen at a nest site in Fayetteville, Washington 31 Jul (JN, MM). A Sharp-shinned Hawk near Sikes, Winn, LA 22 Jun (DO) was rare for the season. Rare and extremely local during the breeding season, a pair of Swainson's Hawks near Gentry, Benton 23 Jul (JN) were most likely nesting. Bizarre for both time and location, a Sora in the garden center of a large home improvement store in Metairie, Jefferson, LA 6 Jun (GO) had reportedly been present and photographed since Apr. An American Woodcock near Clearwater, Evangeline, LA 29 Jul (JH) was out of season. Rare at any season in Arkansas, an imm. Laugh- ing Gull was a nice fnd at Treadway's Minnow Farms, Prairie 19 Jul (TB). Early by almost a month, a Ring-billed Gull was at Lake Darda- nelle, Yell, AR 23 Jul (K&LN). Rare in Louisiana and even more rarely reported during summer, a Great Black-backed Gull was on Fourchon Beach, Lafourche 30 Jul (DO). Furnishing about the ninth state record and a truly remarkable fnd, a juv. Sooty Tern was photographed near Mulberry, Crawford, AR 17 Jun (RC); all previ- ous state records have been associated with tropical cyclones. Three Caspian Terns at Bois D'Arc Lake, Hempstead, AR 5 Jul (ML, DT, RT) were most likely very early fall migrants. Two Black Terns on Lake Dardanelle, Yell, AR 20 Jun (K&LN) were either very late spring or very early fall migrants. Quite rare in summer, a Black-billed Cuckoo at Hector, Pope, AR 12 Jul (LA) was thought to be a fall migrant or wanderer. American Kestrels are unknown as breeders in the ricefelds of sw. Louisiana, so one near Thornwell, Jefferson Da- vis, LA 7 Jun (E&RC) was puzzling. PASSERINES A calling Willow Flycatcher in habitat unsuitable for nesting at Hector, Pope, AR 5 Jul (LA) was thought to be an early fall migrant. Western King- bird is a rare and local Arkansas breeder. Two ads. were found at a nest in Newark, Jackson 15 Jun, and another nesting pair was found near Russell, White the same day (K&LN). A Gray Kingbird on This Sooty Shearwater photographed 18 June 2014 on the Louisiana side of the Sabine Ship Channel in Cameron Parish provides the frst accepted state record of the species. Photograph by Will Selman. Never before recorded in Louisiana in summer, this Savannah Sparrow was discovered in Jeferson Davis Parish on 6 July 2014. Photograph by Paul Conover.

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