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 234 largest ever tally (3003). An excellent count of 2800 Ruddy Ducks was made at Crab Orchard N.W.R., Williamson, IL 23 Dec (JG). A fine total of 116 Wild Turkeys was amassed in Marshall, IN 16 Jan (LRS). An impressive 58 Red-throated Loons were logged at Indiana Dunes S.P., Porter, IN 31 Jan (BJG). At Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis, 11 Red-throateds were tallied 16 Feb (KR, DG, AR, NK), smash - ing the previous inland high of 5 birds in Indi- ana. Red-throated Loons are not usually seen on the rivers in the Chicago area, but one was on the Little Calumet River 17 Feb (ph. SBB) and first one and then 2 were on the Chicago River 21 Feb (MCD, ph. RDH, SJH, m.ob.), likely forced to these locations by the extensive ice on Lake Michigan. Other notable Red-throated Loons included one near Logansport, IN 27 Feb (LN, BD) that was a first for Cass and one on the Des Plaines River at Channahon, Will, IL 28 Feb (UWG). Only 4 Red-necked Grebes and 2 Eared Grebes were reported in the Region. Two Western Grebes were reported, one at Port of Indiana, Porter, IN 6 Dec (JCK, EMH et al.) and the other on the Mississippi River in Alton, Madison, IL 13 Dec (CMM, ph. JPM). Two American White Pelicans on the Des Plaines River in Will, IL managed to remain the entire winter in this n. location (m.ob.), with one of these having an obviously broken wing, while 9 at Starved Rock S.P., LaSalle, IL 7 Feb (JIE) were the first birds returning to the n. tier. Also, 6 arrived at Goose Pond 8 Feb (LWS, KM). Indiana's fifth and sixth Jan records of American Bittern were logged at Goose Pond 4 Jan (BF) and 22 Jan (MB). Among 6 Great Egrets that lingered into Dec in Illinois, the one in Will 23 Dec (ph. DZ) was quite unusual giv - en the n. locale. A flyby Green Heron just w. of Indianapolis 4 Jan (PDRH) furnished only the second Jan record for Indiana. VULTURES THROUGH FALCONS Black Vultures have been increasing their range northward. They are regular in e.-cen. Indiana N.A., Monroe, IL 15 Feb (C&PD) were early. An apparent male Mallard x Northern Pintail hy - brid was discovered at Schroeder Nature Center, McLean, IL 17 Jan (ph. BM). A count of 10,599 Northern Pintails, Indiana's sixth highest, was logged at Goose Pond 4 Feb (MB, DW). A raft of 977 Redheads was part of a group of 1254 along a 5-km stretch of Lake Michigan in Lake, IL 27 Dec (WSG, NRG, SJH, GAW), providing an ex - cellent winter total. Also impressive were 650 Redheads on the Little Calumet River in Chicago 7 Feb (WJM), where large numbers of waterfowl congregated due to ice cover on Lake Michi - gan. At Miller Beach, Lake, IN, a female King/ Common Eider landed briefly 1 Dec (DG) but was not seen subsequently. The Region has only three verified records of any eider during the 10 years preceding this season. Indiana's first inland record of Harlequin Duck since 1989 was pro - vided by 2 female/imm. birds on a small pond in Indianapolis 8 Dec (DG, m.ob.). Other Har - lequins included a drake discovered in fall on the Fox River in Kane, IL that remained through 31 Jan (m.ob.), a male in Lake Michigan off n. Chicago, also found in fall and last noted 7 Dec (MCD), and a female-type seen on Lake Michi - gan off se. Chicago the same day (AG). Few Surf Scoters were reported from the Region. Though numbers were not as impressive as last year's, White-winged Scoters had a strong presence in the Region this season, with a fine count of 48 in Lake Michigan off se. Chicago 25 Feb (AG) and 40+ off Chicago's Lincoln Park the same day (RDH). Inland White-winged Scoters included 9 on Evergreen Lake, McLean, IL 16 Feb (TH, DH, WH), 7 at Lake Springfield, Sangamon, IL 19 Feb (JMo) and 26 Feb (CAT), and 5 on the Ohio River, Clark, IN 26 Feb (DS). Black Scoter reports included 4 off se. Chicago 7 Dec (PAM, JV), 2 on the Ohio River in Jeffersonville, Clark, IN 6 Dec (DS, MA), one at Adams Lake, La - Grange, IN 14 Dec (JAH, SS), and 3 off Chicago's Lincoln Park 21-25 Feb (FRM, ph. RDH, m.ob.). On Lake Michigan, the top count of Long-tailed Ducks was 11 at Lake Forest, Lake, IL 27 Dec (WSG, NRG, SJH, GAW) while the top inland count was 4 at Clear Lake, Steu - ben, IN 6 Dec (JAH, SS, MW). A drake Barrow's Goldeneye was on the Fox Riv - er in Kane, IL 17 Jan–28 Feb (ph. †JH, m.ob.). On 26 Feb, a small Elkhart pond harbored a minimum of 1700 Common Goldeneyes (LRS, NM), providing Indi - ana's second largest count. A Common Goldeneye x Hooded Merganser hybrid, thought to be a returning bird from pre - vious winters, was observed in Chicago 21-22 Jan (MMC, ph. ASA). The 3000 Common Mergansers estimated off the Hammond Marina on Lake Michigan 20 Jan (RLS, JRRS) effectively tied Indiana's James D. Hengeveld Keith A. McMullen Geoffrey A. Williamson –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– W hile December was relatively warm, January was colder than average and February was frigid. Indeed, Indiana experienced its fifth coldest February ever, some 5.5° C below average, and Illinois wasn't far behind, with temperatures 5.3° C below the mean, marking its eighth coldest February. Precipitation levels were slightly be - low average. As with the 2013-2014 winter, frigid temperatures caused most lakes to freeze, including Lake Michigan, forcing numerous waterbirds to the few remaining spots of open water. This effect was particularly evident in the Chicago region. Exciting finds for the Region this season included King/Common Eider, Fer - ruginous Hawk, Ivory Gull, Gyrfalcon, Sage Thrasher, and Pine Grosbeak. Abbreviations: F.P. (Forest Preserve); F.W.A. (Fish and Wildlife Area); Goose Pond (Goose Pond F.W.A., Greene, IN); Lake Gibson (Gibson, IN); Peabody (Peabody River King State F.W.A., St. Clair, IL); Pyramid (Pyramid S.P., Perry, IL); Turtle Creek (Turtle Creek Reservoir, Sullivan, IN). WATERFOWL THROUGH HERONS Numbers of wintering Greater White-fronted Geese in the Region have been steadily growing over the past 20 years or so. This season, three locations hosted flocks in excess of 5000 birds: 12,500 at Goose Pond 24 Jan (JID), 7000 on the Indiana/Illinois border at Universal Mine, Edgar, IL 10 Jan (AR, DG), and 5000 at Chautauqua N.W.R., Mason, IL 21 Dec (PAM, JV) and 8 Feb (DTW, TWo). The 250,000 Snow Geese at Lake Gibson 4 Jan (CN) and in Pike 4 Jan (JR) tied for the third highest totals in Indiana. The total of 375 Trumpeter Swans at Universal Mine, Edgar, IL 10 Jan (AR, DG) once again evidenced the growth in numbers of this species in the Region. Two Blue-winged Teal at Kidd Lake Marsh State Illinois & Indiana Delighting birders in the Indianapolis area, these two female Harlequin Ducks spent 8 December 2014 on a small pond on the northeastern side of Indianapolis. Photograph by Ryan J. Sanderson

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