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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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 214 N E W E N G L A N D Sparrow at Hingham 1-22 Jan (m.ob.), a Le Conte's Sparrow at Eastham, MA 14-15 Dec (OBSERVER), and a Harris's Sparrow at Brid - port, Addison, VT Nov–16 Jan (m.ob.). A male Scarlet Tanager barely made into the winter season at Londonderry, Rockingham, NH 1 Dec (M. Vanini), while a Western Tanager was at Kennebunk, ME 27 Dec–3 Jan (ph. Marie Jordan, Joanne Stevens, m.ob.). The Pine Tree State also hosted a Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Bangor, Penobscot 6-7 Jan (J. Smith, J. Wy - att). At least 4 Painted Buntings visited the s. three states this winter. Farthest e. was a bird at Stamford, Fairfield, CT in Oct+. A male at Middleton, Newport, RI 11-19 Feb (J. Clark - son) was believed to be the same bird present there in the previous two winters. In Massachu - setts, short-staying birds were on Nantucket 14 Dec (S. Langer et al.) and at Wellfleet 31 Jan–1 Feb (B. Chapman). Connecticut's Yellow-head - ed Blackbird for the season was at a feeder in Salem, New London 24 Jan (P. Tamborra), while another was at North Hero, Grand Isle, VT 1-6 Dec (S. Rosedahl, m.ob.). Baltimore Oriole, like many of the half-hardies, seems to be a little more common each winter, and this season, the species was reported from all six states. The winter finch flight of 2014-2015 was diverse but sparse. All of the expected species were reported at one point or another, but only Common Redpolls (with a handful of Hoaries) and Pine Siskins were considered locally com - mon. The siskins had pushed southward earlier in the year in small numbers and increased into Feb, although they were still spotty in distri - bution. Redpolls were almost completely re- stricted to the north and west until mid-Feb, when a handful started showing up elsewhere. Purple Finches were almost non-existent after a moderate fall flight, while Evening Grosbeaks were a little more common than the past two winters—but still merely a shadow of the in - vasions of decades past. Pine Grosbeaks fol- lowed a pattern similar to that of Bohemian Waxwings: early appearance of small numbers in n. Vermont and n. and e. Maine, with birds increasing into Jan and only appearing farther s. in Feb. Subregional editors (boldface), contribu - tors (italics), and observers: Jim Berry, Ra- chel Farrell (Rhode Island), Frank Gallo, Tina Green, Greg Hanisek (Connecticut), David Hoag (DHo), Dan Hubbard, Vernon Laux, Derek Lovitch, Ted Murin, New Hampshire Bird Records, Blair Nikula, Marjorie Rines (Massa - chusetts), Bill Sheehan, Jeremiah Trimble, Wil- liam Townsend (Maine). n –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Pamela Hunt, 26 Whitewater Drive, Penacook, New Hampshire 03303 (biodiva@myfairpoint.net) were at the East Hartford, Hartford, CT sewage treatment plant through 10 Jan (B. Asteriades et al.), a site with previous winter records. A few Tree Swallows usually linger into Dec along the s. shore of New England, and this was again the case in 2014-2015. Far more unexpected were the 2 photographed at Biddeford Pool, York, ME 27 Dec (R. Watson, J. Fecteau) and 25 on M.V. 2 Jan (S. Mayhew). Western thrushes included Townsend's Solitaires continuing from the fall at Freeport, Cumberland, ME through 22 Dec and at Mar - ion, Plymouth, MA through 14 Jan. A Varied Thrush was at Chester, Penobscot, ME 2-17 Dec (m.ob., ph.), while another was at Dublin, Chesire, NH 27 Feb–1 Mar (D. & G. Levene, m.ob.). Gray Catbirds were widespread as per the general trend with half-hardies, including individuals well inland in the n. three states. This season's forecast from Ontario predicted that the Bohemian Waxwing flight would be mediocre, and it was. Small numbers started filtering into the Region in Dec, mostly in n. Vermont and Maine, and increased by mid- to late Jan. Flocks were most widespread in mid- Feb, including the majority of the birds record - ed in Massachusetts. LONGSPURS THROUGH FINCHES A Smith's Longspur at Sandwich, Carroll, NH 18 Dec (R. Ridgley, T. Vazanno) is under review by the New Hampshire Rare Birds Committee. Notable winter warblers included an Ovenbird in Connecticut in Jan, a Black-and-white War - bler and a Northern Parula in Rhode Island in Dec, single American Redstarts in both Maine and Massachusetts, a Cape May Warbler on Nantucket 10 Dec, single Black-throated Blue Warblers in Connecticut and New Hampshire, and 2 Tennessee Warblers in Massachusetts, one of these especially late at Plymouth 5 Jan (D. Fletcher). Are Orange-crowned Warblers the next half-hardy to be "expected" in the Region in winter? In addition to the usual scattering in the south (at least 7 in Rhode Island), 2 were well inland in Jan: one at Montpelier, Washing - ton, VT 1 Jan (Z. Cota-Weaver et al., ph.), the other at a feeder in Concord, NH through 15 Feb (G. Coorssen; but found dead in the snow a few days later). Palm Warblers may be doing the same thing, as evidenced by one along the Connecticut River at Putney, Windham, VT 1-5 Dec (L. Gaudette). Vagrant warblers were all in Massachusetts, and included an Audubon's Warbler at Hingham, Plymouth Nov–11 Jan (m.ob.), a Yellow-throated Warbler at Orleans, Barnstable 14-16 Dec (J. Trimble), and a long- staying Townsend's Warbler at Marblehead, Es - sex 7 Dec–7 Jan (A. Sanford, m.ob.). Emberizids from the West included a Spot - ted Towhee on M.V. 3 Jan (T. Spahr), a Lark Thick-billed Murres in se. Massachusetts, and 3 were found in Connecticut, 2 of those along Long Island Sound, while the most unusual was well inland at Putnam, Windham 10 Feb (FG). OWLS THROUGH WAXWINGS Following another successful breeding season in the e. Canadian Arctic, Snowy Owls again invaded the Region, although numbers were significantly smaller than in 2013-2014. As the snow piled up later in the winter, wildlife reha - bilitators and nature centers started getting the usual calls about tame, injured, or road-killed Barred Owls, these presumably forced to edges in search of easier hunting. In New Hampshire at least, a few Northern Saw-whet Owls were also affected. This season's collection of Rufous Hummingbirds included 2 in Connecticut and 3 on Cape Cod, with one in each state lasting into the first week of Jan. Yellow-bellied Sap - suckers are now expected in small numbers each winter and were present in numbers in all six states. Far less expected was a Black- backed Woodpecker in Boston 6-23 Jan (Paul Peterson, m.ob., ph). A Prairie Falcon was again at Dead Creek 9-12 Dec (Rodney Olsen, m.ob.), fueling spec - ulation that last winter's bird had returned. Another that attracted much attention on P.I. 1 Jan turned out to be an escaped falconer's bird after photographs clearly showed jesses, thus robbing Massachusetts of a first state record. But the star falcon of the season was the juv. dark-morph Gyrfalcon that haunted coastal New Hampshire and s. Maine throughout the winter. It first came to light in early Dec at Mad - bury, Strafford, NH and was later seen at the nearby Rochester wastewater treatment plant 2 & 7 Jan (DH). It then wandered to Maine and entertained birders at Kennebunk and Wells, Cumberland 10-19 Jan before moving to Hampton, Rockingham, NH 25-26 Jan. Here it attained star status, when it elected to kill and eat a Herring Gull in plain view at Hampton Harbor, during the annual "Superbowl of Bird - ing." After a few days at Hampton, the bird dis- appeared for almost a month before reappear- ing at Wells 20 Feb, at Salisbury, Essex, MA 18 Mar, and back at Wells 24-28 Mar (m.ob.). Like sapsuckers, Eastern Phoebes appear to be increasing as winter birds in New England, although most do not overwinter. This season, late birds in the n. states included singles at Woodstock, Windsor, VT 17 Dec (G. Clark et al.) and at Rochester, NH through 3 Jan (DH). Eight lingered into Jan in Massachusetts and 4 in Connecticut, with the latest inland at Turn - er's Falls, MA 29 Jan. The Bay state also hosted 2 White-eyed Vireos in its se. portion in late Dec. Four Northern Rough-winged Swallows

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