North American Birds

VOLUME 69 NO2 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.

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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 284 A male returned to winter along Portland/ Vancouver reach of the Columbia River for the sixth straight year (m.ob.). Only 2 Long- tailed Ducks were detected in e. Washington this winter (6-7 is the norm). Single Barrow's Goldeneyes at Philomath 7 Dec (WDR) and 1 Jan (H. Herlyn), where likely the same indi - vidual, as these reports add to just a handful of recent records from Benton; there have now been four such reports since 2008. A Com - mon Goldeneye x Barrow's Goldeneye was at Tacoma 14 Feb (R. O'Donnell), and another returning male wintered at Newport (WH). Up to 4 Red-throated Loons were along the Columbia River at Portland 24 Jan+ (A. Frank). Only 2 Pacific Loons were reported from e. Washington, which averages about six per winter. Inland westside birds were at Van - couver Lake 20 Jan (BF) and Hagg Lake, Wash- ington 25 Jan (S. Schlick). The 7 Yellow-billed Loons tallied in w. Washington this winter was slightly above normal. Both pelagic trips en - countered Laysan Albatrosses, with 2 off West- port 14 Feb (BL et al.) and 8 off Newport on 21 Feb (TS). Another Laysan flew past Boiler Bay 21 Dec (PP), and a dead bird was found on Tsoo-Yess Beach, Clallam 2 Jan (fide CW). In the wake of an unprecedented fall invasion of Brown Boobies along the n. Pacific Coast, a single flying past Boiler Bay 21 Dec (PP) was perhaps not as surprising is it would have been otherwise. A continuing American White Peli - can at Lake Sammamish, King through 4 Dec (M. Thompson) provided a rare winter w. Washington record, while no fewer than 19 were noted from four w. Oregon locations 7 Dec–22 Jan; the latest, e. of Canyonville 20- 22 Jan (B. Steinbach, J. Edmonds), adds to a handful of Douglas winter records, which have all come since 2007 (fide MH). A tally of 176 pelicans at Ice Harbor Dam, Walla Walla 6 Dec (M&MLD) eclipsed last winter's record count of 116. Since the spike during the winters of 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, Dec–Feb numbers of Brown Pelicans along the Washington coast have returned to normalcy, with 6 at Westport, Grays Harbor 3 Jan (J. Standish, H. Moravec) representing the only report this season. One additional pelican was noted in the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Salt Creek, Clallam 7 Feb (J. Mullaly), but none were detected in the Puget Trough. Away from Seal Rock, Lincoln, which supported a roosting flock of up to 150 birds during Feb (R. Lowe et al.), only a smattering of Brown Pelicans was noted along the Oregon coast this winter. A Pelagic Cormorant strayed up the Columbia River to Portland, where it spent much of the winter (J. Wolf et al.); this adds to just a few prior Multnomah records. An imm. frigatebird at Seaside, Clatsop 6 Feb (vt. JW) could not be positively identified to spe - Abbreviations: Boiler Bay (Boiler Bay State Wayside, Lincoln); Finley (William L. Finley N.W.R., Benton); McNary (McNary N.W.R., Walla Walla); Nestucca (Nestucca Bay N.W.R., Tillamook); O.S. (Ocean Shores, Grays Har - bor); P.T. (Puget Trough); Ridgefield (Ridgefield N.W.R., Clark). "Eastside" and "westside" indi - cate e. and w. of the Cascade crest, respectively. WATERFOWL THROUGH CRANES The Region's first Tundra Bean-Goose, dis- covered at Nestucca in Nov 2014, remained through the season (m.ob.). A concentration of 7500 Snow Geese at McNary 14 Feb (M&MLD) established yet another new e. Washington high count; this species was considered scarce in e. Washington a mere eight years ago, but overwintering birds and northbound migrants now gather here by the thousands each Feb. Blue-morph Snow Geese are now somewhat commonplace among the wintering flocks in Skagit/Snohomish, but one at O.S. 4 Jan (fide D. Moore) and 2 near Vancouver, Clark 12 Feb (BF) were away from sites where expected. The season total of 3 westside Ross's Goose was typical, but these included singles at Beaver Creek, Lincoln through the season (WH) and at Grants Pass, Josephine 19 Dec (D. Vroman)– quite unusual for the outer coast and Rogue Valley, respectively. Another near Vancouver 7-25 Feb (BF) was the only Ross's detected in Washington. Single Black Brant at Green Lake, King 10 Jan (J. Fiero) and at Finley 19 Feb (L. Markoff) were the only reports away from salt water. Twenty-three Dusky Canada Geese at Waatch River Valley, Clallam 25 Jan (BW) were well n. of this taxon's winter range in sw. Wash - ington. Wintering numbers of Duskies along the n. Oregon coast have been steadily growing in recent years, particularly at Nestucca, where upwards of 1000 are now present Nov–Mar. Washington's sixteenth Bewick's Swan was at Steigerwald Lake N.W.R., Clark 25 Jan (ph. S. Russell); this subspecies is nearly annual in Washington. This season's dabbling duck hybrids in- cluded a Mallard x Northern Pintail at Top- penish N.W.R., Yakima 30 Jan (J. Kozma) and a Mallard x American Wigeon near Tacoma 25 Dec (ph. C. Clark); these crosses are now found annually in the Region. Blue-winged Teal, formerly quite rare in the Region Nov– Mar, have now been detected during six of the past seven winters; this season's bird inhabited Browns Ferry Park, Clackamas 20 Feb+ (J. Dil - lon, m.ob.). Seven Eurasian Teal plus 7 Eur- asian Teal x Green-winged Teal crosses were noted this winter; as is typical, all were w. of the Cascades. Washington's 3 Tufted Ducks, a normal winter tally, included Clallam's first at Waatch River Valley 25-26 Jan (ph. BW). David S. Irons Brad Waggoner Ryan J. Merrill –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– T he winter of 2014-2015 was the warm- est since 1991-1992. Aside from cold periods around 1 December and 1 Jan - uary, the season was anomalously warm and largely snow-free across the Region. Snow pack at pass levels in the Oregon Cascades was distressingly low and often measurable in single-digit inches instead of the expect - ed feet. By the first of March, extensive bare ground and blooming Greenleaf Manzanita (Arctostphylos patula) could be found along the Pacific Crest Trail at Santiam Pass, Linn County, Oregon (elevation 1475 m); these short brushy shrubs would normally be bur - ied by snow on this date. It remains to be seen how this moisture deficit will affect the com - ing nesting season. Somewhat stormy weather in December gave way to occasional wet spells interspersed with prolonged dry periods dur - ing January and February. With the overall numbers of many Arctic- breeding geese continuing to grow rapidly, wintering ranges for several taxa appear to be expanding. Additionally, several species ap - pear to be adjusting their wintering ranges northward in response to increasingly warmer winters. Semi-hardies and species not prone to lingering did so in surprising numbers this season. The total of 13 species of warblers was truly exceptional, as were nine overwintering orioles of four species. Single conventional pe - lagic trips got out of both Newport and West- port during February, and we received reports from a NOAA cruise that was in Washington waters at the end of the period. The only sig - nificant wreck event involved alcids, while phalaropes seemed unaffected. The northern finches mostly stayed home but rebounded slightly from last winter's near absence. Among these, only Pine Grosbeaks showed well. Oregon & Washington

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