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 4 533 C o lo r a d o & W yo m i n g Rocky Mountain Arsenal N.W.R. 7 Jun (CS), while 1-6 Baltimore Oriole x Bullock's Oriole hybrids were noted at 11 sites in eight e. Colo- rado counties. For the frst time in at least a decade (per eBird), Scott's Oriole, a very rare and restricted summer resident, was recorded in Wyoming near Evanston, Uinta 31 Jul (HW). This report represents a frst latilong record as the sighting was nw. of known range. Two Brown-capped Rosy-Finches reported from the Happy Jack Area 15 Jun (JM) were e. of the species' extremely limited Wyoming summer range (Snowy Mts.). White-winged Crossbill is apparently a permanent resident in the Region's spruce-fr zone scattered across the spine of the Southern Rockies in Colo- rado and four disparate chunks of Wyoming. Because the species is not reliable at any one site and access to appropriate habitat typically requires hiking, the species is reported few times in any given season. Summer 2014 was a good season, as we received reports of 1-2 birds from four montane sites each in Colorado (one in Boulder, three in Park) and Wyoming (Teton, Albany, Carbon, and Albany). However, the frst-cycle male on the e. foothill edge at Castlewood Canyon, Douglas 21 Jun (K. Metz) was at an atypically low elevation and provided one of very few such Colorado records. Lesser Goldfnch distribution in Wyoming remains poorly understood. Apart from sightings in the expected se. and sw. corners of the state, a frst latilong record came from e. of Rock Springs, Sweetwater 4 Jul (2; W. Smith); 3 at Limestone Mountain, Fremont 21 Jun (M. Gorges) and a single at Lander, Fremont 5 Jul (T. Avery) added to only a handful of sightings for that county. scarce on the Plains in summer, was noted in 11 Plains counties this season. Indigo Bunting is a rare Colorado breeder, with most found along the e. foothill edge, so montane individuals in Custer 8 Jun–26 Jul (RM), near Groundhog Reservoir, Dolores 12 Jun (JDB), and at Pike's Stockade 21 Jun (DD) were of great interest. Though, like Indigo Buntings, Lazuli x Indigo hybrids are regular along the e. foothill edge, the reports of 12 at nine sites in four ne. foothill edge counties included a whopping 3 at Parrish Ranch 2 Jun (SGM, SW), while Wyoming got in on the action with one photographed at the Little Firehole River, Sweetwater 17 Jun (MF), which was well w. of typical. A pair of Painted Buntings were at the extreme tip of the species' breeding range, in Picture Canyon, Baca from spring through at least 28 Jun (m.ob.). The 3000 Yellow-headed Blackbirds near Prewitt 24 Jul (SGM) made for the highest Colorado summer tally in eBird; only two fall counts exceed this one. Wyoming's newly established Great-tailed Grackle population was limited to 16 reports involving about 44 individuals, from Casper s. and e., where now expected, with the exception of a new latilong record of a single se. of Sinclair, Carbon 30 Jun (D. & P. Croft). The summer range of Orchard Oriole continues to push westward in n. Colorado; the species was noted this season at fve sites in Boulder and Larimer 1 Jun–6 Jul (m.ob.). A count of 20 at Rawhide Wildlife Habitat Management Area, Goshen 25 Jul (ZH) made for a Wyoming eBird record count, while 3 at Edness K. Wilkins S.P., Natrona 7 Jul (AH) were westerly, and a single at Hudson 4 Jun (DN) provided a third Fremont record. A male Baltimore Oriole was well w. at frst latilong record for this restricted Wyoming breeder; the only other Wyoming reports came from Goshen: 1-2 at the traditional location e. of Torrington 10-23 Jun (ph. SB, LM, DL) and a presumed pair farther s. at Hawk Springs 10-23 Jun (ph. SB, LM, DL). As with Blue-gray Gnat- catcher and Bushtit, Chipping Sparrow seems to be making a move to colonize the Plains, as 1-4 were noted 8-29 Jun at six sites in Arapa- hoe and Denver, in a month when migrants are typically absent. Wyoming had four summer Clay-colored Sparrow reports: a territorial male near Casper, Natrona 1-14 Jun (S. Scott); one singing along Fox Creek Rd., Albany 21 Jun (SB, LM); one near Sheridan, Johnson (the only "regular" summer location in the state) 2 Jul (P. Lecholat); and 2 at Wyoming Hereford Ranch, Laramie 29 Jul (MG). There were Lark Sparrow reports of singles from two Grand Teton N.P., Teton sites, where rare, 5 (ZH) & 24 Jul (CS). After a long hiatus, Black-throated Sparrow bred in Pueblo this summer, with 2 ads. and at least one fedgling noted in Pueblo West from 5 Jul (CK); the former breeding site, on Baculite Mesa, now hosts a shopping center. Starting 5 Jun with 4 birds, Lark Buntings were noted at multiple sites in montane Custer through the season, peaking at 22 in the Wetmore area on 17 Jul (RM). Oddly, the only other summer montane report of the species was of a prob- able late migrant 2 Jun at Lake John (CH). A Grasshopper Sparrow near Dixon, Carbon 4 Jun (ZH, MPa) provided a frst record for that Wyoming latilong. A singing Hepatic Tanager was a complete surprise at Zapata Falls, Ala- mosa 3 Jun (SGM), as there are no prior San Luis Valley records. There was an amazing summer scatter of Western Tanagers on the Plains 5 Jun–31 Jul, with reports from seven sites in fve counties, a much larger such showing than typical. The on- again, off-again Boulder male Northern Cardi- nal was more on than usual, being detected fve times this season, four times in the period 23- 28 Jul (m.ob.). Another was an apparent one- day wonder in Jefferson 23 Jun (J. Gourlie); the species, though regular in the eastern-border counties, is still quite rare at the e. foothill edge. Rose-breasted Grosbeak was reported more fre- quently than normal in the Region, being noted at 16 sites in eight Colorado counties and in Wyoming at Douglas, Converse 2 Jun (DN); High Plains Grassland Research Station, Lara- mie 25 Jun (S. Krerowicz); and Casper, Natrona 5 Jul (2 males; K. Adams). Remarkable reports involving Rose-breasted genes were of a female Rose-breasted in the sw. mountains in Lake City, Hinsdale 10 Jun (DSu) and a frst-summer male Rose-breasted x Black-headed Grosbeak hybrid at Bayfeld, La Plata 4 Jun (ph. SGM). Black-headed Grosbeak, which is typically Sa Summer Tanager's Colorado occurrence pattern seems to be changing rapidly. Prior to 2004, the species was known as a regular spring overshoot in variable numbers on the Plains, with scattered fall, montane, and West Slope records. With the discovery of breeding Lucy's Warblers in the sw. corner of the state in Yellowjacket Can- yon, Montezuma in spring 2004, Summer Tanagers were noted as regular summer resi- dents, and presumed breeders, at the same locale. In spring 2012, as many as nine, in- cluding six ad. males, were noted at two sites on a single ranch in the foothill country of cen. Las Animas and with as many as fve there the next spring and summer. Such large numbers strongly suggest local breeding, as virtually all Colorado spring records are of 1-2 individuals. Spring 2014 saw a large showing of migrants, on the Plains as usual, but with eight at Cottonwood Canyon, Baca 21 May, again suggesting local breeding. A pair was, again, noted in Yellowjacket Canyon this summer (ph. SGM). But then an ad. male was photographed on the plains north of Boulder 14 Jun (S. Frye) and a very red 1st- cycle male was photographed at Hale (on the Kansas border) 17 Jun (SGM). While it is tempting to assign all those Plains birds to Eastern rubra and the few West Slope birds to Western cooperi, the n. extent of Western breeding range in ne. New Mex- ico is closer to much of the Plains than is the nw. terminus of Eastern breeding range in c. Kansas. Despite the third Colorado specimen being taken in Saguache, the species account in Bailey and Niedrach (1965) is listed under P. r . rubra; confrmation of the referable race(s) of the four Colorado specimens would be helpful.

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