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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Page 111 of 139

N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 286 O R E G O N & WA S H I N G TO N exceptionally strong, with 80+ detected Dec– Feb; dating back about 15 years now, small flocks of Barns have inexplicably appeared in the Region during Dec and Jan, even though the normal late Mar/early Apr arrival dates for spring migrants have remained unchanged. Nine Mountain Chickadees detected in the westside lowland 2 Dec–22 Feb was pretty typical of a non-irruption year. A lone Bushtit of the plumbeus subspecies was noted near Mo - ses Lake, Grant 9 Jan (ph. MY); this small iso- lated population is roughly 280 km nne. of the nearest population in Sherman. Single White- breasted Nuthatches of the slender-billed race, aculeata, continued from fall at Weir Prairie, Thurston through 19 Feb (ph. R. Markay) and at Vashon Island, King through Jan (ph. R. Siegrist), while another inhabited Lakewood, Pierce 6 Feb+ (BL, M. Charest); though still present in sw. Washington, White-breasteds vanished from the oak habitat of s. Puget Sound in the early 1990s. A Rock Wren, near annual in w. Washington in winter, was at Fort Flagler, Jefferson 13 Dec (L. Mandelbaum). An astounding 3 House Wrens were found this winter with singles at Samish Island, Skagit 27 Dec (ph. RM), Neah Bay, Clallam 12-25 Jan (ph. RM), and Skagit W.M.A. 24 Jan (B. Levine); there were only three prior winter records for Washington. Mountain Bluebirds, rare but now annual during winter in w. Wash - ington, included 4 at Sandy Point, Whatcom 7 Dec+ (P. Wegener) and one at Sikes Lake, King 12 Jan (ph. A. Scales, ph. A. Powell, P. Rose). Four westside Northern Mockingbirds through the season was typical; these included a single at Alvadore, Lane that was returning for at least its fifth straight winter. Bohemian Waxwings, rare in w. Washington, included singles at Corkindale, Skagit 1 Dec (RK), Rock - port, Skagit 17 Dec (C. Hesselein, A. Ashley), and Burlington, Skagit 18 Jan (ph. GB). A Northern Waterthrush continued from fall at Skagit W.M.A. through 13 Feb (GB); this species, though rare during winter, is nearly annual at this location. A Black-and-white Warbler inhabited Spokane 31 Dec+ (†P. McKann), providing the seventh winter record for Washington, which averages about one per year, mostly May–Jun. Another Black-and- white wintered at Milwaukie, Clackamas (D. Turner, m.ob.). Single Nashville Warblers were at Waatch River, Clallam 14 Dec (A. Akmajian) and Mountlake Terrace, Snohomish 1 Jan (fide C. Riddell), adding to just six prior winter records for Washington. Three more Nash - villes 2 Jan–8 Feb were in w. Oregon, where this species is annual during winter. Rare, but now annual in w. Washington Dec–Feb, single Common Yellowthroats were at Stillwater, King 25 Jan (DW) and Black River, King 15 Feb (E. ing for the fourth year in a row at Newport (L. & J. Mackown) were of note. The Oregon birds were reported as Rufous, the default spe - cies in w. Oregon; note that wintering female/ imm. Selasphorus should be left unidentified to species unless they have been examined in the hand. Most of the 10+ Acorn Woodpeckers re - corded during this fall's w. Washington inva- sion lingered into this winter. Another that wandered to e. Washington was a first for Chelan, inhabiting Cashmere 13 Dec–21 Feb (D. Sutherland). Equally unusual was a 2 Dec Acorn Woodpecker at Sisters, Deschutes (M. Crow); most eastside strays appear immedi - ately following the breeding season. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker wintering for the second year in a row near North Plains, Washington (m.ob.) was present until the property it was occupying was cleared and burned to create more tillable land on 28 Feb. This season's 6 Gyrfalcons were less than half the seasonal norm. A Prairie Falcon at Butler Flats, Skagit 10 Jan (RM, CW) was the only one noted in w. Washington this winter. PASSERINES A Black Phoebe at Fife, Pierce 24 Jan+ (H. Feddern) was at a new site for w. Washing - ton, away from their foothold in sw. Washing- ton and about 50 km n. of the well-known northerly resident pair near Lacey, Thurston. Two Tropical Kingbirds remained near Asto - ria through at least 8 Dec (MP, SN). A Scis- sor-tailed Flycatcher at Cape Arago 30 Dec (ph. J. Travis) was Oregon's twentieth but just the second during winter. It was a non- invasion year for Blue Jay, with just 3 noted in e. Washington 13 Dec–28 Feb and none detected elsewhere in the Region. This sea - son's mid-winter flight of Barn Swallows was only 10 were noted. In most years, there is a decided influx of mostly first-cycle birds at the end of Dec and into early Jan, which has led to speculation that these birds ultimately get pushed out when northerly waters finally freeze over. Perhaps the shifting climate is al - lowing young birds to remain at higher lati- tudes through the winter. A White-winged Dove at Newport 26 Dec– 3 Jan (D. Holland et al.) provides the first winter record in the Region in nearly a decade and adds to just three prior winter records for Oregon, where this species is now detected annually May–Oct. Although the total of 15 Snowy Owls barely qualifies as a weak irrup - tion, 3 reached the Willamette Valley, which would constitute a good showing even dur - ing an invasion year; 2 of these were found roosting on housetops in suburban neighbor - hoods. While 10 Snowies were detected in e. Washington, none were noted from that state's westside. Wintering Burrowing Owls are rare in w. Washington, so one at Vancouver, Clark 15 Dec (J. Engler) was noteworthy. Another spent the season on Yaquina Head, Lincoln (M. Matherly, m.ob.). A Great Gray Owl at Sauk Valley, Skagit 7 Feb (fide RM) was along the w. skirt of the Cascades, where this species is a rare and perhaps regular winter visitor; over recent years there have been sporadic win - ter reports of Great Grays from the foothills along the w. slope of the Cascades. An Anna's Hummingbird lingered at Cle Elum, Kittitas through 15 Jan (A. Woodrow); although An - na's are increasingly reported during Dec in e. Washington, they rarely remain into the new year. Any Selasphorus hummingbird in the Re - gion during Dec/Jan is unexpected, thus re- ports of a female at Fox Island, Pierce 19 Dec (G. Hansen), plus single female/imm. types at Tillamook 20 Dec (ph. C. Miller) and winter - SA The sorting of out-of-place Red-naped and Red-breasted Sapsuckers continues to be a vexing issue for this Region's editors, as many reports come to us without sup - porting details or photographs. Sapsuckers reported as pure Red-napeds from w. of the Cascades often show at least some evidence of being Red-naped Sapsucker x Red-breasted Sapsucker hybrids when photographs are submitted. Similarly, easterly birds that superfi - cially suggest pure Red-breasteds often have underlying facial characteristics indicative of hybridization. Henceforth, we will be taking a more conservative approach in our report - ing of extralimital Red-naped and Red-breasted Sapsuckers, particularly for any Red-naped reported on the westside and Red-breasteds reported from the far e. edges of the Region. The range of Red-breasted now appears to extend e. of the Cascades along the Columbia Gorge and out into the w. part of the Mid-Columbia Basin, thus continued reporting of Red-breasteds from this area is probably no longer necessary. This season, a well-studied Red-naped Sapsucker inhabited Seattle 29 Dec + (A. Jacobs, M.A. Thorbeck, RM). Two ad - ditional westside Red-napeds were reported without details, as was a Red-breasted from near the Oregon/Idaho border. Another bird in La Grande, Union through the period was initially believed to be a Red-breasted but proved to be a hybrid (ph. DI, SF).

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