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 270 but more interesting were 2 that overwintered in Kootenai, ID (DW) and another in Missoula, MT 30 Dec–28 Feb (ph. LN). The only reported Lewis's Woodpecker was near Florence, MT (SC). A highlight of the sea - son was a Red-bellied Woodpecker at Hungry Horse late Dec–4 Jan (BVD) that represented the second record for w. Montana. A William - son's Sapsucker, unexpected after autumn, held over near McCall, ID 14 Dec (CS). A Red-naped Sapsucker x Red-breasted Sapsucker hybrid, now nearly an annual winter visitor to sw. Ida - ho, was at Boise 16-23 Feb (ASw). The only re- ported Gyrfalcon was in Blaine, ID 6 Feb (KC). PASSERINES A Say's Phoebe near Missoula, MT 21 Feb (LW) was about a month early. Sixteen Blue Jays vis - ited Idaho, the highest count in many years. An amazing total of 43 Blue Jays were recorded on the Bigfork, MT C.B.C. 20 Dec (DC), setting a record one-day tally for the Region. A Tree Swallow at Ennis Lake 7 Feb (VF, KO) provided a first winter record for Montana and preceded the previous early arrival record in sw. Mon - tana by 38 days. Less surprising, but still no- tably early were 4 Tree Swallows in Canyon, ID 22 Feb (TTl) and 7 Violet-green Swallows in Kootenai, ID 21 Feb (BK). A Barn Swallow at Ennis Lake 9 Feb (SK) provided a first winter record for Montana and preceded the previous early arrival record in sw. Montana by 67 days. If accepted, a Winter Wren discovered near Caldwell 20 Dec (†JC) will provide a surprising first record for Idaho and the Region. Western Bluebirds are rarely reported in Mon - tana after late autumn, making a flock of 9-10 in Missoula 1-11 Jan (BD, TK) and 2 at Eureka 22 Feb (LY) quite noteworthy. Mountain Blue - birds also returned record early to the Treasure State, with singles in Missoula 9 Feb (KS), near Harrison 23 Feb (MB), and n. of Bozeman 24 Feb (JP, FR). Very late was a Hermit Thrush at Missoula, MT 3-4 Dec (SR). An amazing record count of 318 American Robins on the Bozeman, MT C.B.C. 20 Dec nearly tripled the previous high count. An early Sage Thrasher in Gooding, ID 15 Feb (DS) added to very few winter record precedents. Two Vesper Sparrows in Gooding, ID 15 Feb (DS) were notably early. Far out of range was a Sagebrush Sparrow near Grangeville, ID 8 Feb (ph., †KH). Savannah Sparrows are especially rare in winter away from the Snake River in sw. Idaho, so 3 in Twin Falls 11 Jan (AY) and one in Gooding 13 Feb (AY) were remarkable. Fox Sparrows are seldom reported after autumn, so one at American Falls, ID 5 Jan (CT) was very surprising. Lincoln's Sparrows, casual in winter away from the Snake River in sw. Idaho, were also seen: 4 were in Twin Falls (AY) 11 Jan, one David Trochlell –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– T he 2014-2015 winter season was domi- nated by unusually mild temperatures, especially after mid-January. Record warm days, more characteristic of March or April, were commonplace at most locations in February. By season's end, low and mid-eleva - tion mountain snowpack had disappeared, rais- ing serious concerns for future irrigation water supplies, streamflows, and reservoir capacities. Not surprisingly, it was also a season when re - cord numbers of half-hardy birds overwintered and northbound migrants arrived early. WATERFOWL THROUGH FALCONS Greater White-fronted Geese were unusually numerous and widespread, with at least 37 re - ported in seven Idaho counties. A record winter season total of 856 Snow Geese was tallied, but most Feb reports represented early spring mi - grants. Ross's Geese also came through in excel- lent numbers in Idaho, with 22 reported in six counties. A Ross's Goose documented at Ennis Lake 24-26 Feb (VF, KO, TF) represented only the second winter season record for sw. Mon - tana. Cackling Geese numbers were also high, with at least 52 tallied in 12 Idaho counties and 15 in four w. Montana counties. Three Eurasian Wigeons recorded in Idaho represented an av - erage report. In w. Montana, single Eurasian Wigeons in Flathead 29 Jan (CHo) and Lake 22 Feb (KHa) were interesting, as there are no overwintering records in the state. A Harle - quin Duck in Kootenai 19-28 Feb (†BK) added to only two previously accepted Idaho winter records. The Black Scoter that held over in Gooding and Twin Falls, ID 28 Dec–28 Feb (ph., †ZW) provided the Region's first documented overwintering record. Wintering Long-tailed Ducks were well below par, with only one in Kootenai, ID 1 Dec–22 Feb (ph. MBa, AS). Common Loons are unexpected in sw. Mon - tana in winter, making 2 seen e. of Manhattan 28 Feb (NB) quite noteworthy. Both states host - Idaho & Western Montana ed rare Pacific Loons, with singles in Flathead, MT 20 Dec (DC) and Bonner, ID 1 Dec–30 Jan (TL). Eared Grebes near Sheridan 16 Dec (TF) and Ennis 16-18 Dec (RW) represented third and fourth winter records for sw. Montana. A Western Grebe near Sheridan, MT 12-24 Dec (TF) provided a local winter first record. Earliest ever were 2 Turkey Vulture migrants at Caldwell, ID 15-16 Jan (ph. †DL, SH, JT). Also surprising for the season were reports of Ospreys in Flathead, MT 14-17 Dec (RM) and Valley, ID 14 Feb (JPo). A Red-shouldered Hawk documented at Boise 31 Jan–2 Feb (†DT) added to fewer than 20 accepted Idaho records. Ferruginous Hawk is unexpected after autumn in Montana, so one that overwintered w. of Boz - eman 5 Dec–1 Feb (SP) and singles in Ravalli 2 Feb (KS), Lake 15 Feb (LW), and near Missoula, MT 26 Feb (LW) were notable. Two Soras in Gooding 1 Jan (SH), and singles in Owyhee 3 Jan (JC) and near Bruneau 5 Feb (ph., †CL) were especially significant, because these reports added to only two accepted winter records in Idaho. Montana has few Dec–Feb records for Virginia Rail, so 4 discovered e. of Logan 26 Dec (PE), 4 in Beaverhead 17 Jan (EW), and one in Ravalli 27 Dec–1 Jan (BD, ER) were very sur - prising. Also unseasonably early were 2 Sand- hill Cranes near Dillon, MT 1 Jan (LRe). Two other Sandhills n. of Belgrade, MT 17-26 Jan (SK, RW) provided the third Jan record for Lati - long 38. Noteworthy early reports of Sandhills in Idaho included one in Blaine 14 Feb (ZW), 2 in Canyon 15 Feb (BA), up to 10 at Boise 15-16 Feb (JPe, ASw), 15 in Payette 16 Feb (TT), one in Gem 21 Feb, and 4 in Valley 21 Feb (MJ). Especially rare away from sw. Idaho was a Spotted Sandpiper in Twin Falls 20 Dec (fide CS). Single Least Sandpipers, not expected after fall migration, were tallied near Bruneau 3 Jan (LR) and in Twin Falls 24 Feb (CH). Also not annual in winter was a Dunlin in Canyon, ID 20 Dec (ph., †AB). An Iceland Gull in Koote - nai 25 Jan–7 Feb (ph. JI, †AS) will add to only seven accepted Idaho records. The tally of other rare larids was impressive and included 4 Mew Gulls, 6 Thayer's Gulls, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 Glaucous-winged Gulls, and 4 Glau - cous Gulls. Up to 15 Herring Gulls at Ennis Lake, MT 9-13 Feb (SK, JP) was noteworthy, as there are no previous Feb records of the species in sw. Montana. The only Snowy Owls of the season were in Montana at Somers 7-20 Dec (DC) and Pablo 9-13 Dec (JOa). Representing the fourth accepted winter record for Idaho was a Northern Hawk Owl at Bellevue 1 Jan–27 Feb (KC). Barred Owls made a good showing, with singles at Boise, ID 31 Dec–29 Jan (JC), in Bonner, ID 14 Feb (MM), and s. of Bozeman, MT 23 Feb (KH, NM). Two Anna's Hummingbirds in Idaho's Treasure Valley were almost expected,

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