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 1 143 A Long-tailed Duck at Wallula, Walla Walla 10 Nov (M&MLD) was the only report from e. Washington, where 6 per fall is normal. Three Yellow-billed Loons 7 Nov+ was a fair fall showing for w. Washington. Laysan Alba - tross numbers were elevated for the second consecutive fall, with 5 off Newport 16 Aug (SF), plus one off Westport 30 Aug (BL, BT) and another seen from a cruise ship off Lincoln 22 Sep (JM). Many autumns pass with no reports of Pterodroma petrels, thus reports of three dif - ferent species was surprising. A Murphy's Petrel was off Lincoln 22 Sep (JG, JM, O. Schmidt). A research vessel in Oregon waters encountered 2 Cook's Petrels 100 km off Waldport, Lincoln 31 Aug and another 250 km off Gold Beach, Curry 15 Sep (MF), and 2 were off Curry/Coos 18 Oct (JG). There are now hundreds of records of Murphy's Petrels from the Region, with a pat - tern of mostly Apr–May reports. Much scarcer Cook's Petrels have yet to demonstrate a clear seasonal pattern of occurrence, with sightings scattered from Apr–Oct. The Region's frst Ste - jneger's Petrel was 250 km off Gold Beach 15 Sep (†MF); with 10 accepted records from California, including multiple occurrences n. to Mendocino, this species has been expected to occur in the Region. Westport pelagics tallied 5262 Pink-footed Shearwaters 10 Aug (BS, BL) and 3024 on 4 Oct (BL, SM); these were excep - tional for the Region, where single-day counts rarely top 2000 birds. A from-shore count of 400 Pink-footeds at Boiler Bay 18 Oct (PP) was equally impressive; in recent years, Oct has proven to be the best month to see Pink-footed Shearwaters near shore in Oregon. Five Flesh- footed Shearwaters out of Westport 4 Oct (BL, SM) was the season's high count. A Short-tailed Shearwater off Westport 10 Aug (BS, BT) was about six or seven weeks early. This season's storm-petrel show was remarkable in terms of WATERFOWL THROUGH CRANES The Region's frst Tundra Bean-Goose, discov- ered at Nestucca Bay N.W.R. 9 Nov (L. Sliman, m.ob.), ultimately wintered there. Although e. Asian populations of Tundra and Taiga Bean- Geese are more challenging to sort to species than their European counterparts, several Asian experts have endorsed the identifcation of this bird on the basis of its shorter and more steep-sloped bill and comparatively short neck. Its choice of habitat also points to Tundra, as Taiga Bean-Goose tends to feed on mudfats, probing the muck with a longer bill, while Tun - dra Bean-Goose is more prone to grazing pas- ture in the manner of this bird. There is a 2002 Washington record of Taiga Bean-Goose. A Tule Greater White-fronted Goose (subspecies gambelli) was at Neah Bay, Clallam 6 Oct (ph. BW, DW); though likely annual, there are only about 20 records (most Sep–Dec) for Wash - ington, with most from the last dozen years. Upwards of 20,000 Cackling Geese were in the New Riverbottoms, Coos 19 Oct (R. McKen - zie); although no subspecies was noted, these were presumed Aleutians, as no other subspe - cies occurs in such numbers along Oregon's s. coast. A Blue Goose at South Bend, Pacifc 10 Nov (MB) was the only one away from the s. Skagit/Snohomish Snow Goose fock. Reports of single Ross's Geese at Scappoose, Columbia 21 Nov (D. Coggswell) and nearby Sauvie Island 25 Nov (W. Gross) may have involved the same individual and were only birds noted on the westside. The only Brant away from salt water inhabited Marymoor, King 15-20 Nov (MH). This season's Mallard x American Wigeon hy - brid visited Seattle 8 Nov (ph. E. Houston), and a Mallard x Northern Pintail hybrid was at Juanita, King 16 Nov (ph. K. Ingalls); these crosses are detected annually in the Region. Surf Scoters again showed well inland, with 130 re - corded 1 Oct–14 Nov; 69 were e. of the Cascades, and 61 visited westside sites away from the Puget Trough. More impressively, 28 White-winged Scoters were tallied in e. Washington 7 Oct+; this is triple the norm. Five additional White-wingeds were along the Columbia River, Clark/Multnomah 26 Oct–10 Nov, and one was at Fos - ter Lake, Linn 22 Oct (WDR). Black Scoter, historically the least expected scoter inland, has produced a recent furry of fall/winter reports. This sea - son, 4-5 were along the Columbia River, Clark/Multnomah 4-10 Nov (B. Hallberg, BF), one was at Hagg Lake, Washington 7 Nov (RN), and 3 visited e. Washington's Sprague Lake, Lincoln 7 Nov (M. Bartels); this is an unprec - edented inland tally for any season. David Irons Brad Waggoner Ryan Merrill –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A strong storm in late October carried nu- merous interesting birds near shore and deposited others inland, but otherwise, weather rarely appeared to be a signifcant fac - tor in this season's avian events. Nevertheless, the slate of rare fnds contributed to the most star-studded autumn in the Region since the remarkable fall of 2008. Two Regional frsts have already been accepted by the Oregon Bird Records, and a third species would be new for Oregon and the Region if accepted. Three new species were added to the Washington list. In all, ten species that have occurred fve or fewer times in the Region were detected. Warm-wa - ter pelagic species, in particular boobies and storm-petrels, made an unprecedented show - ing both offshore and in nearshore waters. Aside from one headliner, unexpected shore - birds were scarce, while the roster of "eastern" warblers reported was better than average. Until recently, Neah Bay and the neighboring Waatch River valley were off the radars of all but a few Washington birders, in large measure due to how far removed the northwesternmost corner of the Lower 48 is from where most of them live. In light of this season's discoveries, the four-hour drive from the Puget Trough may not seem as long as it once did. The words "Neah Bay, "which appear 16 times in this col - umn, strum at our urge to explore. After this fall's discoveries, the vagrant potential of this area seems almost without limits. Abbreviations: F.R.R. (Fern Ridge Reservoir W.M.A., Lane); Nisqually (Nisqually N.W.R., Thurston); O.S. (Ocean Shores, Grays Har - bor); P.N.P. (Point No Point, Kitsap); P.T. (Puget Trough); Ridgefeld (Ridgefeld N.W.R., Clark.); W.W.R.D. (Walla Walla River Delta, Walla Walla). Oregon & Washington This long-staying Tundra Bean-Goose was frst detected on 9 November 2014 (here 14 November) at Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Tillamook County, Oregon. Its proportions were very much like those of a Greater White- fronted Goose, and it did not present the longer-necked swan-like appearance that is typical of the similar Taiga Bean-Goose. It also showed more restricted yellow on the bill than is expected in Taiga. This bird was intensely studied and photographed over its fve-month stay. Photograph by David Irons.

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