North American Birds

VOLUME 69 No1 2016

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/629070

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V O L U M E 6 9 ( 2 0 1 5 ) • N U M B E R 1 139 ALASKA zof Island off Sitka in mid-Nov (MRG) was of interest. The only other noteworthy report was a single again in the Anchorage area 8 Oct (TT). More surprising was an imm. Costa's Hum - mingbird photographed near Palmer at least on 2 Sep (fde IH, TT, BT), which becomes ap - proximately Alaska's tenth record and the frst since 2006. Two single Yellow-bellied Sapsuck - ers were beyond the species' normal e. Interior range and the frst for Homer 24-30 (DE, ph. TAB, LKB) & 31 Oct (GL), while single Red- breasted Sapsuckers reached Seward 19-31 Oct (CAG et al.) and Homer 25-28 Oct (ph. AJL et al.). Red-breasteds wander beyond their South - east habitats occasionally in fall to w. Gulf of Alaska sites. Gambell birders substantiated an ad. Eurasian Hobby 3-4 Sep (JH, PEL, ph. NH, ph. AJL et al.), a frst for St. Lawrence Island. This species has proved to be nearly annual in fall in the w. Aleutians, where another was re - ported at Shemya 6 Oct (DS). PASSERINES Middleton Island nearly produced an Empidonax slam, missing only Willow and Pacifc-slope Fly - catchers from the fall's list of reports, which in- cluded: a very late Alder Flycatcher 30 Sep (ph. LHD et al.); a mist-netted Yellow-bellied Fly - catcher 30 Aug (ph. RMR, LHD, NRH, CWW), a year to the day from the island's frst record; single Least Flycatchers 8 & 22 Sep (ph. CWW, LHD, NRH); a locally rare Hammond's Flycatcher 11-12 Sep (LHD, NRH, CWW); and single Dusky Flycatchers 11 Sep and 4 Oct (ph. LHD, NRH, CWW), Middleton's and South-coastal Alaska's frst reports of this casual species. A second Bering Sea Alder Flycatcher was at Gambell 4 Sep (ph. AJL et al.); Gambell's second ever Least Flycatcher was noted 7 Sep (Wilderness Birding, ph. NH); and a very tardy Pacifc-slope Flycatcher was at Gustavus 23 Sep (NKD). Two different Brown Shrikes, docu - Red-legged Kittiwakes appeared off Gambell for the frst time in fall, with a second-cycle bird 19-20 Aug followed by 10 second-cycle birds and ads. 28 Sep and another 8 on 30 Sep (ph. PEL, BP, CF). There had been just one prior St. Lawrence Island record. Bonaparte's Gull again pushed the limit of departure dates off Anchor - age this year, with a lone bird still present during freeze-up conditions 21 Nov (FC). An ad. Black- headed Gull at Juneau 10 Sep (ACC, ph. GSB) was only the fourth for Southeast. The season's Franklin's Gull highlights came from Southeast, where records are nearly annual in fall. Singles were at Hyder 11 Aug (ph. SCH) and Ketchikan 11 (SCH, AWP) & 28 Aug (ph. CPS). Extralimit - als reports came in for both Mew Gull subspe- cies known from the Region: a juv. brachyrhyn- chus was late and very rare in the Bering Sea at St. Paul Island 7-17 Oct (St. Paul Tour), while an ad. kamtschatschensis was seen off the Point at Gambell 26 Sep, the fourth local record in fall (PEL). Two Caspian Terns were rare off the Alaska Peninsula at Port Moller 4 Aug, followed by singles 7, 8, & 19 Aug (NKD). A striking ba - sic-plumaged Long-billed Murrelet found near Cohen Island in Kachemak Bay 30 Aug (ph. JG, KS) was a third local report in this area, where 1-3 have been located annually since 2011. This section of Kachemak Bay often includes many hundreds of feeding Marbled and Kittlitz's Mur - relets at this time of year. Eurasian Collared-Doves continue to make news beyond their new Southeast strongholds, including a group of 26 from the Gustavus area 29 Nov (NKD), which was nearly fve times the previous local high count, and up to 3 seen near Delta Junction for a few days around 1 Oct (SB). Casual in fall, a Long-eared Owl, found 14 Nov (RBB, GBV) in the same Juneau area habitat where others have been located three times since 2009, constituted about the Region's eleventh record. The early 20 Aug date for a mist-netted Boreal Owl in White Pass alpine habitat above Skagway suggested the bird was not a migrant (ph. MST). Scattered sightings around Southeast in recent years hint that the species possibly a rare resident, but its status there is poorly un - derstood. Middleton Island's second Fork-tailed Swift was seen feeding with swallows 21 Aug (ph. NRH, LHD, CWW), a month earlier than the site's frst report in 1989. This marks the third record in the Region away from Bering Sea/Aleu - tian sites. As in recent years, Anna's Humming- birds made a strong showing across Southeast, with 10+ birds starting in Ketchikan in mid-Aug (AWP, SCH), at least 9 at Sitka (MRG), 3 at Pe - tersburg (BLH) and Wrangell (SWE, CLR, TP), 5+ at Juneau (m.ob.), and another 3 at Gustavus (NKD, CPS). The species is typically found in residential areas and at feeders, so one on Kru - tive year, Brandt's Cormorants arrived very early in Ketchikan, where a single was frst noted 18 Oct and 2 on 19 Oct (SCH, TJD, GHR). Cattle Egrets reached Southeast Alaska for the frst time in 16 years. Two were located at Wrangell 21-22 Oct (SWE, fde RBB), and likely the same 2 were found the next day at Petersburg (ph. REL, ph. JDL, RBB et al.), where they remained through 17 Nov (fde BLH). First reported from Southeast Alaska at Ketchikan in autumn 1981, subsequent Southeast records followed in 1984, 1986, 1989, 1992, 1993, and 1998. These coin - cided with the species' Pacifc range expansions documented in the 1970s. The Sharp-shinned Hawk that wandered out to St. Paul Island 22 Sep (ph. St. Paul Tour) constituted a frst Pribilof and Bering Sea record for this taiga breeder. Perhaps because of storm tracks and fewer systems, the shorebird passage seemed lacklus - ter, with few notable sightings or concentrations. A Black-bellied Plover was very late and surpris - ingly only the second Pribilof fall report at St. Paul 30 Sep (St. Paul Tour). At Gambell, 7 juv. Common Ringed Plovers for the period (16-28 Aug; PEL) included a high count of 5 on 23-25 Aug. An ad. Gray-tailed Tattler discovered with Wanderings and Turnstones at Middleton Island 18 Aug (ph. NRH) was that site's third record all from fall. Kodiak birders produced a fancy Spot - ted Redshank 3-5 Oct (ph. RAM, ph. RMC), a frst ever for South-coastal Alaska and the only report this year. Kodiak also harbored the Re - gion's latest yellowlegs reports, a Greater from 27 Nov+ (RAM) and a Lesser through 28 Oct (RAM). Nearly record late for the Region was a Whimbrel at Juneau 12-13 Oct (GBV); histori - cally, the only record beyond that date was a 5 Nov bird from Homer. The Marbled Godwit at Sitka 31 Oct–17 Nov (ph. MRG, LPP) provided a new late departure for the Region. The Ruff at Kodiak 31 Oct–1 Nov (ph. RAM) provided the only South-coastal Alaska report, where the species is casual in fall. Stilt Sandpipers staged a record showing in South-coastal Alaska from the Kenai Peninsula this season, including one at Homer 15 Aug (AJL), 2 at the Kasilof River mouth 13 Aug, followed by 5 there 15 Aug and then a remarkable 13 at the site 17 Aug (TAB, LKB). Middleton Island's frst Red-necked Stint was documented 29-30 Aug (ph. CWW, RCR, LHD); there are few South-coastal Alaska re - cords. Jack Snipe made an exceptional showing again at St. Paul Island, where more than half of North America's records have been made. Four were detected 3-26 Sep, including singles 3-4, 10, & 13-26, & 21-25 Sep (ph. St. Paul Tour). An estimated 10,000 Red-necked Phala - ropes concentrated in Wrangell Narrows 29 Aug (WTS) provided a very large tally for the Region. The season's lone South Polar Skua report in - volved 2 off Middleton Island 24 Sep (CWW). Middleton Island produced at least two Dusky Flycatchers in fall 2014, starting with this individual in Rubus thickets 11 September. These Middleton birds represent the frst for South-coastal Alaska. Four of the ten state records are from autumn. Photograph by Lucas H. DeCicco.

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