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.

Issue link: http://nab.aba.org/i/705084

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V O L U M E 6 9 ( 2 0 1 6 ) • N U M B E R 2 201 T H E C H A N G I N G S E A S O N S : C A R B O N C O P Y species across a large area. Missouri logged its highest Christmas Bird Count total ever, 160 on the Trimble count 28 December. In the Texas Pineywoods, observers detected 51 on the Nacogdoches Christmas Bird Count, the best showing in well over a decade there. Rather unobtrusive as migrants, Purple Finches' subtle flight-call also has a ventrilo- quial quality, so that finding calling birds in the sky can be difficult, and thus counts are likely conservative; even when small flocks are seen, often only one or two birds ap- pear pear to be calling. Perhaps western birders to pear to be calling. Perhaps western birders be pear to be calling. Perhaps western birders calling pear to be calling. Perhaps western birders Perhaps pear to be calling. Perhaps western birders western pear to be calling. Perhaps western birders birders should watch the eastern finch forecast, as recast, should watch the eastern finch forecast, as as there could well be an increase in vagrant n there could well be an increase in vagrant vagrant Eastern Purple Finches in the West during st Eastern Purple Finches in the West during during irruptions of the species in the East. Should . Should eastern birders look for Cassin's Finches and ches eastern birders look for Cassin's Finches and and Western Purple Finches? Surely! But as of But Western Purple Finches? Surely! But as of as of early 2016, there are just a few Ontario Ontario forest because of bumper seed crops there. This fall [2014], most Purple Finches should migrate south of Ontario because many co- niferous and deciduous tree seed crops are much lower in central and northeastern On- tario." At several stations in eastern North America, dedicated observers monitor di- urnal migrants, including finches, from On- tario to Québec to Massachusetts and south to Virginia; most monitoring sites are coastal and are staffed by volunteers or "near-vol- unteers." Purple Finch migration was noted to be to be very heavy in November 2014 in the very to be very heavy in November 2014 in the heavy to be very heavy in November 2014 in the in to be very heavy in November 2014 in the November to be very heavy in November 2014 in the 2014 to be very heavy in November 2014 in the in to be very heavy in November 2014 in the the to be very heavy in November 2014 in the East, East, with record-high single-day counts of 125 125 at Cape May on 3 November and of 86 at Kip at Kiptopeke, Virginia 23 November. Counts well well above average include the 125 counted by Su by Suzy Feustel at Robert Moses State Park, Long Long Island, New York 8 Novem- ber, ber, 150 by Kenneth Blackshaw on N on Nantucket 9 November, and and 80 counted by Greg Hani Hanisek at Lighthouse Point, Conn Connecticut the next day. On the the St. Lawrence River, the bird bird observatory at Tadoussac, Québ Québec, renowned for some truly truly massive counts of finches and o and other birds, logged 137 on 21 Nove November. All of this passage trans- lated lated into a remarkable season for the tification of challenging Haemorhous rosy- finches, especially females, including the subspecies of Purple Finch in the West (Rutt et al. 2014), not long ago a relatively rari- fied topic. In the Great Basin, where Purple Finches of any kind are rare, Utah had its very first photographic record of the species in Wash- ington County, in the far southwestern cor- ner of the state, a bird that appears to be of the californicus subspecies (Figure 3). In the Northwest, Washington birders document- ed their third Eastern Purple Finch in Kit- sap County (Figure 4), while in the South - west, California had up to nine at Bishop, New Mexico recorded an Eastern at Percha Dam State Park 27 December, Arizona had an apparent californicus at Portal through 17 December, plus two more singles in Janu- ary, and Baja California recorded three at Ensenada 19 December, the first ever for the Christmas Bird Count. And Alaska got in on the finch action, with a Purple at Sitka (local first) 17 December and another at Anchor- age (first for Upper Cook Inlet) 17 January, which was joined 18 January by a Cassin's Finch, also a first. Ron Pittaway's remarkably accurate Finch Forecast (2014) correctly predicted a flight of Purples in the East this season: "Last win- ter, many Purple Finches stayed in the boreal Figure 4. This photograph showing a lone male and two female Purple Finches nicely captures the differences in female plumages between the western subspecies, californicus (left female) and the eastern subspecies, purpureus (female on the right). Note that the purpureus is brown versus drab, greenish-brown, is crisply marked below with definitive streaks versus blurry streaks, has a boldly marked brown and white head pattern, and shows well-defined wing bars. Not entirely obvious from the photograph was entirely clean white undertail coverts on the purpureus. This bird at Bainbridge Island, Kitsap County, Washington on 15 December 2014 provided the third documented record of the subspecies purpureus for Washington. Photograph by Brad Waggoner. Figure 5. The irruption of Varied Thrushes ed Thrushes in the West that began in fall (here 17 fall in the West that began in fall (here 17 (here 17 November) 2014, continued into through nto November) 2014, continued into through through winter, with above-average numbers ge numbers of records and counts of individuals f of records and counts of individuals individuals south to San Diego County, California. This ifornia. This bird was part of a remarkable morning flight orning bird was part of a remarkable morning flight flight observed high overhead at Point Pinos, Monterey os, observed high overhead at Point Pinos, Monterey Monterey County, California. Photograph by Brian L. Sullivan. n County, California. Photograph by Brian L. Sullivan. L. Sullivan.

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