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 228 and presumably the same bird was at the To- ronto Islands 3 Apr (GCP). A female King Eider at Wolsey Lake 18-19 Dec (CTB, RCT) repre - sented the third Manitoulin record. An appar- ent female Common Eider was reported from Burlington 2 Jan (ACa). Harlequin Ducks were widely observed this winter, with at least 10 re - ports across s. Ontario, most at traditional loca- tions. A male Harlequin Duck was at various locations along the Thames River, London 10- 28+ Feb (RBr, m.ob.), providing just the sec - ond record for Middlesex; another ad. male at Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay 26-27 Dec (NGE et al.) was both rare and very late for Lake Supe - rior. Very rare for Muskoka was a male Barrow's Goldeneye at Lake Muskoka 15 Nov–29 Dec (DLG, RCG, MH, m.ob.), and another was at Port Severn 12 Jan (RiB). A male Barrow's Gold - eneye that spent 11-18 Jan at Sombra, Lambton (MPJB) was suspected by some of having some Common Goldeneye genes; a clear hybrid male was at Confederation Park, Hamilton 4 Dec (KAM) and 25 Jan (ACa). Totals of 627 Ruddy Ducks on the Blenheim C.B.C. 14 Dec (m.ob.) and 150 at Point Pelee N.P. 15 Dec (KJR) were both locally high counts for the late dates. PARTRIDGE THROUGH SHOREBIRDS Gray Partridge are declining in Ontario, and this winter, individuals were only reported from sev - eral scattered locations in far e. Ontario. Provid- ing the first Feb record for Presqu'ile P.P. was a Horned Grebe there 19 Feb (FMH). A very late Great Egret was near Lighthouse Cove, Cha - tham-Kent 8-9 Dec (ACh), whereas a bird at the Ridgetown S.L., Chatham-Kent 14 Dec (DNP) was record late for the Rondeau Birding Area. Very late for the Ottawa Birding Area was a Black- crowned Night-Heron at Pakenham, Lanark 9 Dec (RPH). Black Vultures continue to frequent the lower Niagara River, and up to 11 birds were reported from Queenston, Niagara 1 Dec–28 Feb+ (m.ob.). Turkey Vultures continue to over - winter in increasing numbers, even during very harsh winters. The most unusual sighting due to the late date and location was an individual at Carnarvon Twp., Manitoulin 25 Jan (JRo). Bald Eagle numbers have increased in recent decades, and large numbers were reported at several landfills and areas with open water. A lo - cal high of 44 was tallied on the ice along the inner bay of Long Point, Norfolk 3 Jan (DMB). Notable due to its absence, a predictable Red- shouldered Hawk at Hawkesville, Waterloo failed to show up for its twelfth consecutive win - ter. Three dark-morph calurus Red-tailed Hawks were discovered in the H.S.A., including birds at Vinemount, Hamilton 11 Jan (AWi, KW), Cale - donia, Haldimand 24 Jan–22 Feb (LPM, LMT), and w. Hamilton 6-7 Feb (IM, BRH). Providing a very late record, a Sora was an exceptional find and many individuals were found stranded away from water or eventually deceased. Species in boldface are reviewable by the Ontario Bird Records Committee (O.B.R.C.). Several notable rarities for Ontario were re - ported during the season, including Eurasian Collared-Dove, White-winged Dove, Gray- crowned Rosy-Finch, and Eurasian Tree Spar - row. In addition, several species observed were very rare for the winter period, including Sora, Forster's Tern, Swainson's Thrush, Tennessee Warbler, and Northern Parula. Abbreviations: G.T.A. (Greater Toronto Area); H.S.A. (Hamilton Study Area); Point Pelee (Point Pelee Birding Area, a standard C.B.C. circle centered just n. of Point Pelee N.P.); S.L. (Sewage Lagoon). Place names in italics refer to a county, district, or regional municipality. WATERFOWL Greater White-fronted Goose records continue to increase in Ontario, with at least 12 re - cords of 27 individuals this season. The largest group was a flock of 7 at LaSalle, Essex 27-29 Dec (PDP). Lingering Greater Snow Geese in e. Ontario included at least 25,000 at Russell, Prescott and Russell 7 Dec (m.ob.) and 20,000 at Chesterville, Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry 2 Dec (m.ob.). A Brant lingering from early Nov continued along the Burlington and Oakville, Halton shores until 9 Dec (m.ob.), the only re - port of the winter. Twenty-four Cackling Geese at Sturgeon Creek, Essex 23 Dec (AW) made a high count for the late date. An apparent Lesser Canada Goose (subspecies parvipes) was at Kingsville, Essex 20 Jan (AW); there is no con - firmed record of this subspecies for Ontario, but likely it occurs in very small numbers. A total of 7913 Tundra Swans tallied on the Blen - heim, Chatham-Kent C.B.C. 14 Dec (m.ob., fide JTB) was locally record high for the late date. Eurasian Wigeon occurs every year in small numbers, though a male at Kingston, Fronte - nac 28 Nov–1 Dec (MDR) was the only report during the reporting period. The harsh winter was consistently unrelenting from Feb into Mar, preventing reports of early spring mi - grant waterfowl. The resulting freeze-up of the Great Lakes played a part in forcing waterbirds of many species to evacuate, often turning up wherever there was open water at inland lo - cations. Diving ducks such as scaup, scoters, and mergansers, as well as loons and grebes, were frequently reported on inland rivers. Up to 9 Redheads were at London, Middlesex 3-28 Feb+ (m.ob.), while 8 Long-tailed Ducks were observed there 20-28 Feb+ (PRo), and 2 Red- necked Grebes continued at the same location 10-20 Feb (CAL). A Tufted Duck x scaup hy - brid was at Toronto 26 Jan–4 Mar (DIP, GVR), Joshua D. Vandermeulen –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– T he winter of 2014-2015 was snowy, cold, and seemingly never ending, the second such winter in a row. December received more or less average temperatures, but a deep freeze beginning in January set in, encasing the province through the end of the winter and into March. During much of the winter, there was little respite from the cold, though January had a few stretches with above-average tempera - tures. The bird life reflected this, and only 202 total species were reported throughout Ontario for the period. Above-average temperatures in October and a warm spell in late November allowed several warblers and other Neotropical songbirds to persist into December. Orange-crowned and Nashville Warblers dominated the show, but 12 other species were reported in early December, including the second Ontario record of Tennes - see Warbler for the winter period. Following a large influx during the previous winter, a sig - nificant "echo" flight of Snowy Owls was a wel- come occurrence across the province, though few other owl species were present in large numbers. Several Black-backed Woodpeckers irrupted from the boreal forest into southeastern Ontario, the largest number seen in years. Bohe - mian Waxwings remained mainly in the north, and finches were also somewhat scarce, though numbers of Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins were reported into the south of the province. February was the coldest month on record in many parts of Ontario. Ice cover on the Great Lakes accumulated to near record levels, peak - ing at 89% by the end of February. For the sec- ond consecutive winter, diving ducks, grebes, and other waterbirds began appearing wherever open water persisted on inland water bodies, af - ter being displaced by the freezing of most water bodies. Again, Red-necked Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Greater Scaup, and Redhead were some of the species most frequently reported, Ontario

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