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 266 C O LO R A D O & W YO M I N G the C.B.C. season, and there were no prior or subsequent reports of the species this season. American Coot is typically noted in Wyoming in winter in single-digit numbers, so seasonally unprecedented were the 300 at Gray Reef 21 Dec (DJ). Non-snipe sandpipers are Regionally rare, even in Colorado, so this season's showing was nothing short of spec - tacular, with Spotted Sandpipers at Grand Junction 3-14 Dec (MH) and Glenwood Springs, Garfield 23 Dec (JR); 1-3 Greater Yellowlegs at seven or eight sites in seven e. counties, though the single at Platteville, Weld 26 Feb (SGM, NM) may have been an early migrant; and a Dunlin 28 Feb in sw. Adams (J. Vanderpoel). However, the sandpiper of the season was the American Woodcock at Bobcat Ridge N.A. in the foothill-transition area of w. Larimer 15-26 Jan (F. Simonds, ph. DW), providing the westernmost of 14 Colorado records. Bonaparte's Gull is very rare in Colorado after the third week of Dec but increasingly less so. This season, one lingered at Boyd Lake 21-24 Dec (NK, P. Opler), while 1-4 were noted at Pueblo Reservoir through 10 Jan (m.ob.). At least 9 Mew Gulls were scat - tered at eight urban-corridor sites in six Colorado counties from Larimer s. to Pueblo, including 2 at Pueblo Reservoir 24 Dec (MP, BS, DT); the species was recently removed from the C.B.R.C. review list. The Larimer landfill was the large, white-headed gull epicenter this season (subsequent gull refer - ences to the county refer to that location). The 3 California Gulls and single Herring Gull at Navajo Reservoir, Archuleta 7 Feb (JDB) were of interest, the Californias as ei - ther early spring migrants or very rare West Slope-wintering individuals, the Herring due to the species' rarity in sw. Colorado. On the state's e. side, California Gull is becom - ing more and more frequent and abundant during winter, as exemplified by the whop - ping 450 in Larimer 4 Dec (SGM, DD) and the plethora of Jan reports of 1-5 birds from typical gull locations in six urban-corridor counties; as the species begins arriving in Feb, reports from that month are difficult to assign to wintering and migration categories. A California Gull in Wyoming, where season - ally rare, was at Pathfinder Reservoir, Natrona 6 Dec (ph. ZH). An apparent ad. California Gull x Herring Gull hybrid in Larimer 4-22 Jan (ph. SGM) was the gull of the season, pro - viding just the second state record of this rare hybrid (Andrews, R., and R. Righter. 1992. Colorado Birds. Denver Museum of Natural History). Providing only the second Feb re - port for Wyoming was a Herring Gull at Lake Hattie Reservoir, Albany 15 Feb (SB, LM). A Feb (A. Hines), was one day from being re - cord early. Not quite annual in Wyoming in winter, single Pied-billed Grebes vis - ited Alcova Reservoir, Natrona 21 Dec (DJ), Yellowstone N.P., Teton 17 Feb (L. Robinson), and Gray Reef 19 Jan 3 (RW). Until fairly re - cently, grebes except for Pied-billed were sea- sonally rare in Colorado, with Horned, Eared, and Western expected at Pueblo Reservoir and one or two other plains reservoirs, but the situation has been changing rapidly. This season's showing was unprecedented, with Horned noted in 15 counties, Red-necked in six, Eared in 17, Western in 18, and Clark's in three. Double-crested Cormorant and American White Pelican are following suit, and the former was noted in 14 coun - ties, including an unprecedented Gunnison record at Blue Mesa Reservoir 6 Dec (JH, A. Reed), while the latter tarried in eight coun - ties. Adding to about 15 winter reports for Wyoming, and only the fourth involving overwintering birds, were 2 American White Pelicans at Gray Reef through the season (DJ, RW), with 5 there 6 Dec (ZH). The Green Heron noted at Cañon City on 9 Nov was still present as of 21 Dec (BKP, CK) and provided about the third Regional winter record of the species. HAWKS THROUGH FALCONS The 24 Bald Eagles feeding on five Elk carcass- es at the Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Teton, WY 16 Feb (C. Morgan) must have made for an impressive sight. Northern Red-tailed Hawk (B . j. abieticola) is poorly known in Colorado and the rest of the Lower 48 states, so reports of singles 13 Dec in Weld, 10 Jan in Arapahoe, and 1 Feb in Jefferson (all CSh) indi - cate that the taxon may be of widespread oc- currence in e. portions of the Region and that careful scrutiny of light-morph Red-taileds in winter would be rewarding. Meanwhile, two Mesa reports of Harlan's Hawk were the only such from the West Slope, from which the taxon seems under-reported. Finally, why are birds that look like Krider's Red-tailed Hawk appearing in ne. Colorado with such regular - ity these days (with nearly all reports sup- ported by definitive pictures) after decades of exceedingly few reports? At least 6 were noted this season from Adams, Boulder, and Weld. Both enigmatic and rare in Wyoming in winter, single Ferruginous Hawks were found in Crook 7 Dec (M. McCormack), Natrona 27 Dec (DN), and at two sites in Albany 18 Feb (dark morph, VS; light morph, D. Kibbe). Rare in Colorado in winter, Sora was re - ported 14-23 Dec from Bent, Jefferson, Mesa, and Pueblo. Not surprisingly, the time pe - riod corresponds with the first 10 days of only high-elevation county where even re - motely expected, was at Elevenmile Reservoir 9 Dec (DS). The ad. male found at Mount Elbert Forebay, Lake 19 Feb (VT, C. Porter) was triply odd, due to the bird's age/sex, el - evation (2943 m), and seasonality. A male Barrow's Goldeneye at Lathrop S.P. 10 Dec (RMi) provided just the second eBird report for Huerfano, the previous being by the same observer at the same site in Feb 2012; these are the only such records from a large swath of the se. quadrant of the state. An impressive 25 Hooded Mergansers at the JTL Ponds near Casper 21 Dec (DJ) set a record seasonal tally for Wyoming, where counts rarely exceed 4. Providing Wyoming's fifth winter report and only second for Feb was a male Red-breasted Merganser at Evansville, Uinta 11 Jan–14 Feb (K. Adams). Usually reported only as singles in winter in Wyoming, Gray Reef harbored an impressive flock of Ruddy Ducks 21 Dec (DJ) for the second consecutive year, with this sea - son's 25 surpassed only by last year's 50+. Providing a first ne. latilong record for Wyoming was a covey of 7 Chukar in Crook 30 Dec (KC). A very few Dec loons of are expected on larger reservoirs in e. Colorado, but most leave before the end of the month. This season saw a fairly typical showing of species in Dec, with the Yellow- billed Loon noted at Boyd Lake, Larimer 9-11 Dec (m.ob.) perhaps accounting for the re - port farther s. at Chatfield 13-27 Dec (JK), but with Commons scattered hither and yon, including 1-2 in each of four counties w. of the Front Range 2-14 Dec (Gunnison, La Plata, Ouray, and Park). Pueblo Reservoir boasted a Pacific 5 Jan (SO) and 6 Commons through 15 Feb (m.ob.). The only other Jan Common was near Cañon City 19 Jan (VT). Wyoming's sole winter Common Loon report, from Edness Kimball Wilkins S.P., Natrona 24 While Yellow-billed Loon is virtually annual in Colorado, the species never fails to attract the birding hordes when individu- als occur. This juvenile tarried at one of the oft-most birded locales in the state, Chatfield Reservoir, Douglas and Jefferson Counties, 13-27 (here 16) December 2014. This individual may well have accounted for the record from farther north at Boyd Lake, Larimer County 8-11 December 2014. The timing of this bird's occurrence matches well that of typical in the state, with most occurrences in November and December, with frequency peaking in the latter month and a few staying deep into winter. Photograph by Cynthia Madsen.

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