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.

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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 260 T E X A S was flushed at Laredo, Webb 15 Dec (TMi). Wilson's Phalaropes were once again present during the winter at La Sal del Rey N.W.R., Hi - dalgo, with counts of 160 on 11 Dec (DJ) and 200 on 3 Jan (CC). GULLS THROUGH FALCONS A Black-legged Kittiwake was a one-day visitor to the Texas City Dike, Galveston 14 Dec (ph. MBa). An estimated 3400 Bonaparte's Gulls at Lake Tawakoni, Van Zandt 26-27 Jan was an impressive aggregation (RKi, RRa). A Little Gull was discovered at the Port Aransas jetties, Nueces 11 Feb (ph. MR, SC), and it lingered through late Feb. At least 3 Little Gulls were present 13 Dec–24 Feb at White Rock Lake, Dallas (CRu, m.ob.). Wandering Laughing Gulls were at White Rock Lake, Dallas 22-25 Dec (ph. CRu) and Lake Tawakoni S.P., Hunt 14 Feb (RKi), while 4 made a rare appearance at Longview, Gregg 3 Jan (fide DBr). A Mew Gull was at Keystone Heritage Park, El Paso 28 Dec (ph. JiP); another at White Rock Lake, Dallas 21 Feb (ph. GC, †BlC) may have been just the sixth record for n.-cen. Texas. An apparent ad. Vega Gull was found at the Brownsville Land - fill, Cameron 7-27 Feb (ph. MR, SC, WSe), furnishing one of very few Texas reports of this Herring Gull subspecies (vegae). Thayer's Gulls were noted at seven locations along the coast, with at least 4 around Trinity Bay, Harris/ Chambers 16 Dec–15 Feb (CTL et al.). The only report away from coastal counties was a first- cycle Thayer's at White River Lake, Crosby 4 Jan (JuB, AH). At least one Iceland Gull joined the large concentration of gulls near Thompson's Bait Camp, Harris 30 Dec–31 Jan (CTL, RWe et al.). A Lesser Black-backed Gull was at Lake Amistad, Val Verde 2 Dec (MG), and 2 were be - low the dam at Del Rio, Val Verde 28 Dec (WSe, MR, SC). Another frequented Lake Nasworthy, Tom Green 9 Dec–9 Jan (ph. BZe, m.ob.). An ad. Glaucous Gull was at Plainview, Hale 5-6 ruginous Hawks made a good showing in cen. Texas, starting with a light-morph individual near Calvert 10 Dec–26 Feb (ph. AlM, m.ob.), a first record for Robertson, as well as a dark morph there 19 Feb (ph. AlM). In nearby coun - ties, single birds were found near Bartlett, Bell 16 Jan (ph. GE) and near the Brazos River w. of Hearne, Milam 24 Feb (AlM). A Rough-legged Hawk near Gibbons Creek Lake, Grimes 30 Dec (RBe, ph. GH et al.) provided a first county record. A Golden Eagle was well e. of normal near Mount Bleu, Chambers 7 Feb (DH et al.) and equally surprising were 3 near Comfort, Kendall 25 Jan (ph. PP). Purple Gallinules are casual in winter in the state; one was at Anahuac N.W.R. 7 Jan–2 Feb (ph. DSh et al.), and another spent the season at the South Padre Island wetlands, Cameron (m.ob.). One of the Common Cranes dis - covered in the fall remained in the vicinity of Muleshoe N.W.R., Bailey through the period (JuB, m.ob.). Following the pattern of recent winters, a Whooping Crane was present in the Granger Lake area, Williamson 31 Dec+ (ph. TFe, m.ob.). A count of 48 Black-necked Stilts near Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso 2 Dec (JSp) was a good total for winter, but one at Bal - morhea Lake, Reeves 14 Dec (ph. ML) was more unexpected. Also of note was a Black-necked Stilt at Richland Creek W.M.A., Freestone/Na - varro 20 Dec–28 Jan (EW, ph. DMo, m.ob.). An American Avocet on Lake Colorado City, Mitch - ell 1 Jan (ph. Kyle O'Haver) was unseasonable, as were 2 near Floydada, Floyd 7 Feb (AH). A lingering group of 7 Wilson's Plovers was re - ported from the Texas City Dike, Galveston 3-5 Dec (MKi, NW et al.). A Mountain Plover was an exceptional find at Bolivar Flats, Galveston 13 Dec–12 Jan (DK, ph. m.ob.). Single Solitary Sandpipers were discovered at the Fort Bliss ponds, El Paso 23 Dec (SGl) and the Village Creek Drying Beds, Tarrant 13 Jan (†CAm). A Long-billed Curlew was farther inland than ex - pected near College Station, Brazos 14 Dec (LBi), but far more surprising were 43 near Hearne, Robertson 26 Dec (ph. AlM). Lingering Dunlins were present at Muleshoe N.W.R., Bailey through 21 Dec (JuB et al.) and Buffalo Lake N.W.R., Randall 24 Dec (MDr), while 2 were at Lake Ray Hubbard, Rockwall 7 Feb (CRu). A Buff-breasted Sandpiper was again spotted at a sod farm near Palacios, Matagorda 15 Dec (ph. BoF), and equally puzzling was one on the Laureles Division of the King Ranch, Kleberg 4 Feb (ph. TL). An apparently healthy Semipalmated Sandpiper made an unexpected appearance at Sal del Rey N.W.R., Cameron 3 Jan (ph. Dan Jones). An American Woodcock Reeves 14 Dec–23 Feb (DO, m.ob.), where very rare. For the second successive winter, White Ibis stayed at Richland Creek W.M.A. Freestone/ Navarro 27 Dec–14 Jan (DMo, m.ob.), reaching a peak count of 25, all imms., in Freestone 2 Jan (WJW). Inland sightings of Roseate Spoonbills away from the coastal prairies included up to 3 at Lakeside Park, The Woodlands, Montgom - ery 9-18 Dec (LCa, m.ob.) and one at Richland Creek W.M.A., Freestone/Navarro 28 Dec (ph. DMo et al.). VULTURES THROUGH SHOREBIRDS Small numbers of Turkey Vultures again over- wintered in the vicinity of Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso, with numerous sightings of 1-6 birds through the period (JSp, m.ob.). This remains the only winter location for the spe - cies in the w. Trans-Pecos. One Osprey was at Lubbock, Lubbock 1 Dec–28 Feb (PK, m.ob.), providing a first overwintering record for the South Plains. White-tailed Kites continued their presence at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso: a pair present all period was joined by a third bird 8 Feb only (JSp). Also of interest was an active White-tailed Kite nest near San Benito, Cameron on the unusual date of 3 Jan (MM). A Roadside Hawk was described from Utopia, Uvalde 20 Jan–8 Feb (MHe) and will be reviewed by the state records committee. A Broad-winged Hawk was present at Pollywog Pond, Nueces from 6-16 Jan (ph. SS), and an early migrant was noted at Austin, Travis 23 Feb (ph. RKo). An imm. Swainson's Hawk was a surprising find at Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers 17 Jan (JoH, SM et al.). Single White-tailed Hawks were excellent finds near Sabinal, Uval - de 28 Dec (SC, MR), near New Braunfels, Gua- dalupe 15 Jan (AnM), and near Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes 31 Jan (†BN, JHo, AlM). A Zone-tailed Hawk was at Brazos Bend S.P., Fort Bend 20-21 Dec (MLa, GO et al.); one at Fort Davis, Jeff Davis 20 Dec († DO, CH, MF) pro - vided a first winter record for the county. Fer- Although Mountain Plovers winter in Texas, they are grassland birds and virtually never found on beaches in the state. This individual frequented the Bolivar Flats, Galveston County 13 (here 31) December 2014 through 12 January 2015. Photograph by Arman Moreno. This Semipalmated Sandpiper was at the Sal del Rey Unit of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Hidalgo County 3 January 2015. The only previous winter season record of the species in the state was of an ailing individual. Photograph by Dan Jones.

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