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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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 424 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– SPRING –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Cameron D. Eckert E arly spring started with unusually warm temperatures in the Yukon but cooled in May to more seasonable norms, bet - ter conditions for migrant birds. Still, birders saw poor showings for a number of shorebird species, as well as Lapland Longspurs. Explor - ation of remote parts of the Region produces interesting finds, notable this season being Nunavut's first Townsend's Solitaire. Declining bird populations have inspired new research and monitoring in the boreal and Arctic regions, with particular focus on species such as Common Nighthawk and Bank Swallow. A key element of successful research and monitoring initiatives is the involvement of birders and naturalists in data collection and outreach efforts. It is extremely gratifying and not at all unexpected to see the enthusi - asm with which northerners participate in and contribute to the conservation of birds and their habitats. WATERFOWL THROUGH SHOREBIRDS At Kugluktuk, Nunavut, a flock of 150 Cack- ling Geese was noted 17 May, and 100 Greater White-fronted Geese were there 17 May (ML). A single ad. Ross's Goose, casual in s. Yukon, was at Lake Laberge 17-21 May (ph. CE, PS). The season's high count of Brant at Akimiski Island, Nunavut was 2000 on 27 May, and 600 Canada Geese were there 31 May (WW). Small numbers of Brant migrant through s. Yukon each year in late spring; a flock of 20 was over Whitehorse 26 May (JH). Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories produced counts of 700 Canada Geese 25 Apr and 180 Greater White- fronted Geese 10 May (DT). American Wigeon migration in s. Yukon peaked with a total of 2500 at two sites on Lake Laberge 29 Apr (CE) and a 1020 at M'Clintock Bay 2 May (JJ). Peak Mallard numbers in s. Yukon were 1010 at M'Clintock Bay 21 Apr (JJ), 1250 at Tagish 22 Apr (JJ), and 1200 at Lake Laberge 25 Apr (CE). Northern Pintail put on an impressive showing this season in s. Yukon with a total of 6480 at two locations on Marsh Lake 22 Apr (JJ). High counts of Green-winged Teal included 1570 at M'Clintock Bay 3 May (JJ) and 800 at Lake Laberge 2 May (CE). Eurasian Teal is rare but regular in the Yukon Southern Lakes region; paired males were at Nares Lake 25 Apr (CE, AP) and Lake Laberge 29 May (CE, TMK) and single males at M'Clintock Bay 1-2 May (JJ), Lewes Marsh 2 & 4 May (ph. JJ), and Nares Lake slough 9 May (CE, TA). A high count of 720 Lesser Scaup was recorded at the White - horse sewage ponds, s. Yukon 15 May (CE). An estimated 400 Common Eiders were along the flow edge at Pikiuliq, Nunavut 28 May (BZ). Six Harlequin Ducks were on Schwatka Lake, s. Yukon 15 May (SC). Scans of Marsh Lake, s. Yukon recorded flocks of 400 Surf Scoters 16 May (CE, PS) and 300 Long-tailed Ducks 13 May (CE). Black Scoter is casual in s. Yukon; singles were at Teslin Lake 22 May (FB, HC, LT) and Lake Laberge 29 May (ph. CE, TMK), and a pair was at Swan Lake 29 May (ph. BD, AP). An impressive count of 400 Barrow's Goldeneyes came from the Whitehorse sewage ponds, s. Yukon 2 May, while 250 were at Shal - low Bay, s. Yukon 6 May (CE). In Nunavut, high counts of Rock Ptarmigan included 34 at Kugluktuk 9 May (ML) and 30 at Piksimanik River 11 May (SB). The annu - al Dusky Grouse hike up Nares Mountain, s. Yukon produced excellent views of 7 birds 24 May (DK, YBC). Four Sharp-tailed Grouse, loc - alized in sw. Yukon, were seen at Beaver Creek 2 May (SS). Three Double-crested Cormorants, rare but regular in s. Yukon, were at Nares Lake 9 May (ph. CE, TA, JH, WN). Single Great Blue Herons, casual in s. Yukon, were at McIntyre Creek 14 May (NG, BD, ph. CE, YS) and Lake Laberge 20 May (TA). Two American Bitterns, casual in Northwest Territories, were at Fort Smith 14 May (DB), and one was there 16 May (ph. GV). Four Eared Grebes, rare in s. Yukon, were at the Whitehorse sewage ponds 30 May (ph. TA). A White-tailed Eagle was reported from Nunavutuk, Greenland 9 May (WL). A Sora, near the n. edge of its range, was at Five Mile Lake, cen. Yukon 23 May (v.r. MOD). A flock of 18 American Avocets, a very loc - alized species in s. Northwest Territories, was nicely documented near Fort Smith 15 May (ph. GV). A very poor showing for American Golden-Plovers produced high counts of just 12 at Lake Laberge, s. Yukon 13 May (CE), 18 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories 28 May (VSG), and 9 at Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories 28 May (DTa). A record-early male Pacific Golden-Plover was at Lake Laberge, s. Yukon 20 Apr (ph. CE, BD); and the season's high count of 5 was there 3 May (ph. CE), with a tardy migrant at the same location 29 May (ph. CE, TMK). Semipalmated Plover migration peaked in s. Yukon with 90 at Lake Laberge 11 May (CE) and 80 at M'Clintock Bay 12 May (JJ). Lesser Yellowlegs were seen in lower numbers in s. Yukon this season, with a high count of 340 at Lewes Marsh 6 May (JJ). Two Wandering Tattlers, casual in se. Yukon, were at Wye Lake 26 May (BD, CE, JJ). A not - able count of 250 Least Sandpipers was recor- ded at Lake Laberge, s. Yukon 11 May (CE), while 130 were at M'Clintock Bay 12 May (JJ). Buff-breasted Sandpiper is incredibly scarce on migration in the North; this season's only report was one at Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories 31 May (DTa). Pectoral Sandpiper numbers were modest, with a high count of 1100 at Lake Laberge, s. Yukon 11 May (CE). Semipalmated Sandpiper had a very poor Northern Canada & Greenland

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