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 254 P R A I R I E P R O V I N C E S Observers (provincial compilers in boldface): Chelsea Allard, Sharon Anderson, Garry Bu - dyk, Red Clarke, Doug Collister, Barry Creran, Ken De Smet, Doug & Teresa Dolman, Ryan Dudragne, Brian Elder, Emily Gorda, Al Hart - ley, Kathy Hedegard, Karen Kopciuk, Terry Korolyk, Greg Krätzig, J. Manikel, Alan Mc - Donald, Joan & Malcolm McDonald, K. Moore, Shirley Ottway, Rick Robb, Nick Saunders, Dan Sawatzky, Peter Sherrington, Bob Shettler, Milt Spitzer, Andrew Stiles, Phil Taylor (PhT), Val Thomas, John Thompson, Adam Walleyn, Rob Wapple, Don Weidl, John Weier, Ray Wershler (RWe), Gus Yaki, Dan Zazalenchuk. n –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Rudolf F. Koes, 135 Rossmere Crescent, Winnipeg, Manitoba R2K 0G1 (rkoes@mymts.net) Peter Taylor, P.O. Box 597, Pinawa, Manitoba R0E 1L0 (taylorp@granite.mb.ca) last winter, possibly the same bird. Crossbills were rather scarce, although a tally of 85 Reds on the Cypress River–Spruce Woods C.B.C. was notable, and many small flocks of White-winged Crossbills visited cone-laden spruce shelter-belts in se. Manitoba. Redpolls were scattered, with substantial flocks in some locations and few birds in others. At least in s. Manitoba, the flocks contained up to about 10% Hoary Redpolls. The Cypress River–Spruce Woods C.B.C. reported 311 Pine Siskins. The - find of the season was a Eurasian Tree Spar- row, found in a flock of House Sparrows on the Winnipeg C.B.C., and enjoyed by numerous birders as it remained at least into Feb (GB, JW, m.ob., ph.). This proved to be the third con - firmed record for Manitoba when a belated re- port was received of one nicely photographed at St. Jean Baptiste 23 May 2013 (JM). rows were tallied on the Banff – Canmore C.B.C. Rare at any season was a Golden-crowned Spar - row that continued from fall until at least 6 Dec at Broadview, SK (RD, DS). A Western Meadowlark 19 Feb at Nan- ton, AB may well have been an early migrant (TK). Rarest of the winter blackbirds was a well-photographed Brewer's at Crooked Lake 22 Feb (DW); we have no details of the 7 Brewer's Blackbirds identified on the Dinosaur P.P., AB C.B.C. 27 Dec. In Manitoba, Brewer's Blackbirds reported in winter often prove to be either short-tailed Common Grackles or Rusty Blackbirds, but a female on the Cypress River–Spruce Woods C.B.C. was convincingly described (AW). Out-of-range Cassin's Finches, both single females, visited feeders at Calgary 13 Jan–Feb (RWe) and Saskatoon, SK (PhT). The latter feeder also hosted a Cassin's Finch Mercer, ND 11 Jan (REM), and 200 at Shadehill Dam, Perkins, SD 18 Dec (DNS). Accidental in e. South Dakota, a Trumpeter Swan was at Fort Randall Dam, Charles Mix, SD 12 Dec (RM). Seasonally casual, single Blue-winged Teal were on the 14 Dec Aberdeen, SD C.B.C. (fide GO) and in Meade, SD 21 Feb (EM). The Northern Shoveler at Mandan, ND 31 Jan+ (CDE, HCT) provided the state's first Feb record of that spe - cies. A treat anywhere in the Region, the Long- tailed Duck at Angostura Reservoir, Fall River, SD 13 Dec (JB) was particularly noteworthy, be - ing far flung from the Missouri River corridor where the species is most often encountered in the Region. Two seasonally casual Red-breasted Mergansers were at Garrison Dam 31 Jan–7 Feb (CDE, REM, ESR). Seasonally unexpected were a Double-crested Cormorant over Grand Forks, ND 30 Dec (DEH) and a Turkey Vulture over West Fargo, ND 10 Dec (LDI). Winter sightings of Cooper's Hawks in North Dakota continue to accumulate. Single birds were in Morton 6 Dec (CDE, FR), at Grand last six weeks of the season. No re - ports were received this winter from eastern Montana. All boldfaced sight - ings are pending acceptance by the appropriate bird records committee. WATERFOWL THROUGH FALCONS Two Greater White-fronted Geese were found on the 20 Dec Bis - marck–Mandan C.B.C.; the species is less than annual during winter in North Dakota. More seasonally expected in South Dakota, though still rare, a group of 17 Greater White-fronted Geese in Charles Mix 11 Feb (KP) was the most numerous of that state's scattered sightings. Seasonally casual, a Ross's Goose was found on the 14 Dec Yank - ton, SD C.B.C. (RD). Cackling Goose sight- ings are of particular interest as we attempt to fine-tune that species' expected distribution in the Northern Great Plains. This year, sightings included 50 Cackling Geese at Nelson Lake, Morton, ND 2 Dec (HCT), 2 at Garrison Dam, Dan Svingen –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A lthough meteorological data could tell a more nuanced story, the overall sense of this winter in the Northern Great Plains was cold and dry. Snow cover was generally thin and, at least in the western and southern reaches, short-lived. There were no big trends birdwise, though there were enough Regional and seasonal oddities to keep at least some birding interest alive until the traditional lull in late January and February, when both birds and birders seem to focus solely on enduring the This Brewer's Blackbird was at Crooked Lake, Saskatchewan 22 February 2015; the species is extremely rare in the Prairie Provinces in winter. Photograph by Don Weidl. The most unexpected find during the Winnipeg Christ - mas Bird Count on 14 December 2014 (here) was this Eurasian Tree Sparrow. It provided Manitoba with its third confirmed record. Photograph by Garry Budyk. Rare in Alberta away from the mountains, this Pacific Wren was found at Fish Creek Provincial Park in Calgary, Alberta 21 Janu- ary 2015. Photograph by Shirley Ottway. Although not unprecedented, this Hermit Thrush at Winnipeg, present from some time in November 2014 (here) through 3 February 2015, provided a rare Mani - toba midwinter record. Photograph by Red Clarke. Northern Great Plains

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