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.

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Page 128 of 211

V O L U M E 6 9 ( 2 0 1 6 ) • N U M B E R S 3 / 4 439 Texas Paso in large numbers, as exemplified by 4224 birds returning to a roost there 10 Apr (JiP). Two Roseate Spoonbills were at Richland Creek W.M.A., Freestone 24-25 Apr (ph. TWS, DDC, DL). VULTURES THROUGH CRANES Early spring visitors were 2 Black Vultures at Iraan, Pecos 11 Mar (JaP, AP); 2 at McNary Res - ervoir 29 Mar (MHo, JiP, ph.) were the earli- est for Hudspeth. A Swallow-tailed Kite over the Angelina County Airport, Angelina 31 Mar (LD) was on the edge of the expected range; late sightings at College Station, Brazos 9 May (ph. RLa, SL et al.) and near Brenham, Wash - ington 20 May (ph. CRo) perhaps hinted at local breeding. White-tailed Kites nested suc - cessfully at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso for the first time since 2011, with 3 young fledging from a nest by 11 May (JSp). Other White-tailed Kites of note included one at the Love Creek Preserve, Bandera (MaH) and 2 at Temple, Bell 1-3 Apr (RP). A Sharp-shinned Hawk on the Mount Selman B.B.S. route, Cher - okee 23 May (PB) may have been a local breed- er. Two pairs of Cooper's Hawks were nesting near the Rio Grande in w. El Paso, El Paso, though no young had been discovered by the end of the period (JiP). Broad-winged Hawks detected in the Trans-Pecos included singles at Alpine, Brewster 15 Apr (KH) and in the Davis Mountains, Jeff Davis 19 Apr (KBr). Following the discovered nesting of Gray Hawks at Del Rio, Val Verde last year, one was there 9 May (SCo, MRe). What is assumed to be a returning dark-morph Short-tailed Hawk was at the Chi - sos Mountains, Brewster 25 Apr+ (ph., †ML, m.ob.), and it was joined by a light-morph in - dividual 1 May+ (JMo, m.ob.). Early and scarce for the Pineywoods was a Swainson's Hawk in Hopkins 31 Mar (DBr, LBr). A first county re - cord for Leon was a White-tailed Hawk 15 Mar (†RNe) viewed from Interstate 45. Another was at Bryan, Brazos 22 Mar (MSm), where very rare. Ferruginous Hawks seen this winter con - tinued near Hearne, Robertson through at least 17 Red-breasted Mergansers at Richland Creek W.M.A., Freestone/Navarro 24 Apr (PB). The eastward expansion of Gambel's Quail continues, with birds now routinely seen/ heard at Lajitas, Brewster and one again present at Cottonwood Campground, Big Bend N.P., Brewster 1-10 May (JSe et al.); more unexpected were 2 in the Christmas Mountains, Brewster 30 Apr (ph. COh et al.). Quite a surprise was the discovery of a Montezuma Quail at Seminole Canyon S.P., Val Verde 7 Apr (v.r. MBS); even though they are found relatively close by in ne. Val Verde, this location is well away from their preferred habitat. A Red-throated Loon was among 85 Common Loons at Cedar Creek Reservoir, Henderson 7 Mar (BlC). Rather late Common Loons were singles at Granger Lake, Williamson 22 May (TFe) and at Lake Bastrop, Bastrop 23 May (JL); another lingered at Buf - falo Spring Lake and nearby Ransom Lake, Lubbock through 31 May (JuB, AHe, m.ob.). A Red-necked Grebe was studied at Red Bluff Lake, Reeves/Loving 20 Mar (ph. BoN). West - ern Grebes on the e. edge of their expected range included one at Yegua Creek Park, Lake Somerville, Washington 13 Mar (LSa), 5 on Lake Amistad, Val Verde 4 Apr (ph. JPo), 3 at Truscott Lake, Knox 19 Apr (AP, JaP), and one at Squaw Creek Reservoir, Somervell 1 May (DBr, LBr). A Wood Stork s. of Harper, Gillespie 24 Apr (SH) was an unusual find for the spring and farther w. than expected. The Brown Booby in - vasion continued, with an ad. around the w. side of Corpus Christi Bay, Nueces 10-29 Mar (m.ob., ph. AO), it or another just offshore from Port Aransas, Nueces 30 Apr (ph. CMo), and another sighting of an ad. flying along the Texas City Dike, Galveston 17 May (ph. PR). A Neotropic Cormorant was present at Lubbock, Lubbock 25 Apr–3 May (PK). A single Brown Pelican that wandered inland to Lake Somer - ville, Burleson 2 Apr (ph. JWh) was less unex- pected than it was a few years ago, though one circling Emory Peak in the Chisos Mountains, Brewster 11 Apr (MB, JBu) had to be a very strange sight. An American Bittern was at Lub - bock, Lubbock 16 May (AHe). Rather out of place was a Least Bittern at Lubbock, Lubbock 24 May (ph. AHe), as was one at Pyote, Ward 28 May (ph. AMe). Single Little Blue Herons wandered to just e. of Plainview, Hale 17 Apr (AK, NP) and to Lubbock, Lubbock 24 May (AHe). A Tri - colored Heron made it w. to Del Rio, Val Verde 9 May (BPa). A Reddish Egret vis - ited Mitchell Lake, Bexar 30 May (LR). An imm. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was w. to McNary Reservoir, Hudspeth 27 May (BZ). Two Glossy Ibis were at Richland Creek W.M.A., Freestone 7 May (ph., †PB, RRi). White-faced Ibis migrate through El –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– SPRING –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Mark W. Lockwood Eric Carpenter W eather is always is a major factor in determining how we view the bird - ing in the spring as well as how the birds themselves fare. The spring 2015 season in Texas was wet and cooler than normal. March was decidedly cool, and April brought with it a lot of rain in many areas of the state, and this pattern continued well into May. This resulted in new precipitation records in many areas, which not surprisingly led to some significant flooding. At Houston's Intercontinental Airport, the spring season brought 69.1 cm of rain, 37.6 cm above the long-term average. Riparian areas in some areas in the eastern half of the state sustained damage, but reservoirs with signifi - cant storage capacity were filled. It is difficult to believe that some areas went from extreme drought to flooding in these three months. WATERFOWL THROUGH SPOONBILLS A Black-bellied Whistling-Duck wandered to Plainview, Hale 16 May (NP). Two Greater Scaup were still at Texas City, Galveston 5 May (AHa, MiH); a female at Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine 13 May (DWo) was exception - ally late. Two Surf Scoters were discovered at the North Jetty in Port Bolivar, Galveston 22 May (RG, CMi), with one remaining through 29 Mar. Inland, a Surf Scoter lingered at San Saba, San Saba 26-29 May (SK, MHi, SWo, JBy). A Long-tailed Duck at Lake Tawakoni, Van Zandt 14 Mar (RB, RKi) could have been a continuing bird from the winter. Some 78 Common Goldeneyes at White Rock Lake, Dallas 14 Mar made an impressive tally (CRu). Two female Common Mergansers were very late at McNary Reservoir, Hudspeth 27 Apr+ (ph. BZ, KZ, m.ob.). Surprising was a flock of A strange sight was this Least Bittern, observed wandering through a vacant lot miles from typical habitat in Pyote, Ward County, Texas 28 May 2015. Photograph by Anita Meagher.

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