North American Birds

VOLUME 69 NO3 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/778845

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V O L U M E 6 9 ( 2 0 1 6 ) • N U M B E R S 3 / 4 417 A L A B A M A & M I S S I S S I P P I Monte Sano S.P., Madison 26-28 Apr (MSG, JG) and one at Birmingham, Jefferson 2 May (GDJ, RSD). The Common Nighthawk seen at Co - lumbus, Lowndes, MS 15 Apr was locally early by three days (GS). The only reported Olive-sided Flycatcher was at Fort Morgan 26 Apr (MJJ). New spring T.V. high counts for both Eastern Wood-Pewee (72) and Acadian Flycatcher (10) were estab - lished 2 May during the Wheeler spring count (m.ob.). A singing Willow Flycatcher was at Columbus Lake, Clay, MS 29 May (TLS), the second year in a row at this location. The bird continued into the summer season, where it established apparently a second nesting record for this site. Eastern Phoebes were well repre - sented by the 89 counted during a Birming- ham, Jefferson, AL area count 25 Apr (m.ob.), a new spring M.R. high count. Continuing from winter, the Say's Phoebe at Mississippi State University south farm, Oktibbeha was last seen 4 Apr (m.ob.), furnishing only the ninth Mississippi record for the species. An ad. male Vermilion Flycatcher was present at the Dau - phin airport 16-19 Apr (SH, LZ, m.ob.). A new Great Crested Flycatcher high spring count of 78 was documented during an area count on Wheeler 2 May (m.ob.). Four reports of single Western Kingbirds were submitted, two each from Alabama and Mississippi spanning 6 Mar through 8 May. Another new T.V. record was set 2 May during the Wheeler spring count when 160 Eastern Kingbirds were counted by participating parties (m.ob.). Gray Kingbirds returned to at least two locations this season on Dauphin 19 Apr–7 May (m.ob.), but breeding status was not reported and may be tenuous. Locally rare, a pair of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers returned apparently to attempt nesting again near Artesia, Lowndes, MS 5 May (JH, TLS, MS, m.ob.); three prior nesting attempts by the spe - cies in 1989, 2002, and 2013, all failed. A new T.V. record was set 2 May during the received spanning the tight window of 19-26 Apr (m.ob.). A Long-billed Curlew at Ocean Springs, Jackson 22 Apr (m.ob.) was a rare treat for coastal Mississippi observers, as was the inland Marbled Godwit at Catalpa Creek Bot - toms, Lowndes 25 Apr (TLS, MS, ph. RL, ph. JH, m.ob.). The male Ruff at Catalpa Creek Bottoms, Lowndes 25 Apr furnished the first lo - cal and only eleventh Mississippi record (TLS, MS, ph. RL, m.ob.). Four reports each of single Buff-breasted Sandpipers were received from our Region, where the species is uncommon in spring (m.ob.). A Semipalmated Sandpiper at Noxubee 21 Apr was a local early arrival by four days (TLS). Two Bonaparte's Gulls at Blakeley 17-20 May (KC) established a new late G.C. record. The imm. Iceland Gull seen 6 May at the Magnolia Springs landfill, Baldwin provided a new late Alabama record (ph. KC); this may have been the same individual found during the winter season at the same location. A first-cycle Glau - cous Gull was discovered 21 Apr at the Mag- nolia Springs landfill, providing a rare spring record (BCG). An ad. Great Black-backed Gull was at West Ship Island, Harrison, MS 14 Mar (m.ob.). The species is only occasionally found in Mississippi. Providing an early local spring record by three days, a Black Tern was at Ca - talpa Creek Bottoms, Lowndes, MS 25 Apr (JH, TLS, MS). Visitors to West Ship Island, Har - rison, MS 13 May found 800 Sandwich Terns, an excellent coastal count (OG, DR). A notable concentration of 1296 Black Skimmers was at Moses Pier, Harrison, MS 22 Mar (DR), where similar spring gatherings have been noted dur - ing previous years. DOVES THROUGH FINCHES Eighteen White-winged Doves were counted at a private home in Escambia, AL 4 Apr (CW); the species is becoming more and more expected inland throughout our Region. Though much rarer, Inca Dove continues to be found at scat - tered locations across our Region. It remains unclear if the expansion is continuing, has now peaked, or may be even receding. Spanning the season, reports were received from five Missis - sippi counties, four of which were coastal or in the Delta. The 4 seen at a private residence in Pascagoula, Jackson 3 Mar (BJ) represented the highest count for our Region this season. Rarely found in the M.R., a Common Ground- Dove was a surprise in Jefferson 25 Apr (SSH, ph. DPG). A Yellow-billed Cuckoo in Lowndes, MS 15 Apr was an early local arrival by one day (PM). Black-billed Cuckoos typically pass through our Region undetected except along the coast, where migrant traps concentrate them with other spring travelers; notable were the two inland observations in Alabama: one at American Bitterns made their stealthy presence known only at two Alabama loca - tions: one was at Saginaw, Shelby 3-25 Apr (RLK), and up to 4 were at Eufaula N.W.R. 7 Mar–26 Apr (JAT, BK, GEH). Wader popula - tions and distribution evidently increased this season; several previous local maximum counts were broken. Great Blue Herons were well represented by the 35 found at Eufaula N.W.R. 9 May, a new spring I.C.P. high (JAT). Great Egrets also broke old records at Eufaula N.W.R. (new I.C.P. spring total, 150 counted 9 May, JAT) and on Cat Island n. of Dauphin (new spring G.C. total, 65 found 21 May, MW, m.ob.). Up to 19 Snowy Egrets, a new spring T.V. maximum count, were found at Leighton, Colbert 3-14 May (DJS, JTG). Little Blue Her - ons were also much in evidence 21 May, when 90 were counted on Isle aux Herbes, Mobile, a new spring G.C. high count (MW). Impressive Tricolored Heron concentrations were noted 21 May on both Isle aux Herbes and Cat Is - land, with a total of 250 between these loca- tions (MW). The Cattle Egret 14 Mar at Wheel- er tied the previous record early arrival for the T.V. (RLK, RJK). An ad. Black-crowned Night- Heron was early 18 Apr to Noxubee, breaking the previous arrival record by five days (TLS); a count of 21 (mostly ads.) later in the season 23 May led to suspicions of nesting, but breeding was not confirmed (TLS, MS, JH). The flock of 7 ad. Glossy Ibis at Guntersville Dam, Marshall 10 Apr (ph. AH) furnished a new spring T.V. high count. Up to 2 Swallow-tailed Kites were found 18- 19 Apr at Noxubee, where the species is locally rare (TLS, MS, BC, JH, m.ob.); the appearance provided only the second spring local record. A light-morph Swainson's Hawk seen at Hat - tiesburg, Forrest, MS 21 Apr (ph. LB) was an unexpected but welcome find. The species is only casual in the state. Purple Gallinules were much in evidence 23 Apr–12 May at Nox - ubee, where up to 9 ads. were enjoyed (TLS, MS, JH, m.ob.); the species is a rare but regu - lar nester only at this location in Mississippi. Late records were set 2 May at two T.V. loca - tions by single Sandhill Cranes at Leighton, Colbert (PDK, m.ob.) and Wheeler (HD, DB, NC, BW). Locally rare and furnishing only the eighth spring record was the Black-necked Stilt discovered 26 Apr at Catalpa Creek Bottoms, Lowndes, MS (ZL, TH, JH). Very few American Golden-Plover observations were submitted this season. Notable were the passage flocks at Buck Island Rd., Tunica, MS, where a maxi - mum of 618 was counted 21-22 Mar (HM, CE), and the late individual 2 May at Leighton, Colbert , AL (PDK, m.ob.). Four reports each of single Upland Sandpipers, two from inland Al - abama and two from inland Mississippi, were Sooty Terns have nested sporadically on the outer coast of Alabama in recent years. While Mississippi has no documented breeding records, this individual seen 10 June 2015 at West Ship Island, Harrison County was notable as being one of the few summer season sightings for the state not associated with a tropical disturbance. Photograph by Erik Enbody.

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