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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340 N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S P E L A G I C B I R D S F R O M C R U I S E S H I P S A LO N G T H E PA C I F I C C O A S T 57 km west-southwest of the northern end of Vancouver Island 19 May 2015. During late summer and fall, singles were 58 km west of San Miguel Island, Santa Bar - bara, CA 3 Oct 2012; 55 km east of southern Haida Gwaii 5 Aug 2013; 64 km southwest of Pigeon Point, San Mateo, CA 11 Nov 2015; 74 km southwest of Pigeon Point 1 Dec 2015; and 67 km southwest of Gualala, Sonoma, CA 1 Dec 2015. One bird accompanied a cruise ship for 280 km between 75 and 57 km off San Mateo to San Luis Obispo, CA 21 Sep 2016. NOTABLE SPRING RECORDS • Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina): 1 off Del Norte, CA 21 May 2015 • Fox Sparrow: 1 late (?) Sooty Fox Sparrow off Coos/Curry, OR 21 May 2015 • Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia): 1 late (?) off Coos/Curry, OR 21 May 2015 • Golden-crowned Sparrow: 1 late (?) off Coos/Curry, OR 21 May 2015 • Dark-eyed Junco: 1 late cismontanus-type off Del Norte/Humboldt, CA 21 May 2015 • Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus): 1 off western Santa Bar - bara, CA 2 May 2013 NOTABLE FALL RECORDS • Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius): 1 early (?) off Oregon 17 Sep 2007 • European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris): rarely seen well offshore, a flock of 15 was 63 km west of San Miguel Island, Santa Bar - bara, CA 26 Oct 2012, and a flock of 34 was ca. 70 km southwest of Davenport, Santa Cruz, CA 11 Nov 2015 • Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum): very rarely seen well offshore, 1 was 72 km west of Point Conception, Santa Bar - bara, CA 26 Oct 2012 • Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum): 1 off Marin, CA 21 Sep 2001 • Chestnut-sided Warbler (S. pensylvanica): 1 off Marin, CA 21 Sep 2001 • White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albi - collis): 1 off Marin, CA 21 Sep 2001 • Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus): 1 off Marin, CA 21 Sep 2001 • Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeni - ceus): 1 off Marin, CA 21 Sep 2001 Conclusions Cruise ship seabirding is a relatively recent phenomenon, with a pioneering spirit pres - ent when taking these trips. Much still needs to be learned about the seasonal status and distribution of the birdlife well offshore along the West Coast cruise routes, to say nothing cidentalis), Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta ca - nadensis), Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa), Swainson's Thrush, American Pipit (Anthus rubescens), Yellow Warbler, Yellow- rumped Warbler, Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), Wilson's Warbler, Savan - nah Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Dark- eyed Junco, Western Tanager, Western Mead - owlark (Sturnella neglecta), Euphagus sp., and Brown-headed Cowbird. Five brief species accounts follow, with additional records of interest appended by season. OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) One bird came aboard a cruise ship 65 km south-southwest of Santa Rosa Island, Santa Barbara, CA 3 Oct 2012. This species is ex - ceptional so far offshore. EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) This species has become the most regularly occurring landbird seen from cruise ships off - shore at all seasons, out to at least 80 km from shore. The high counts are of 6 circling a ship 29 km off Cape Flattery, Clallam, WA 10 May 2013 and 8 birds off Marin, CA 11 May 2016, of which 5 still present the next day well off Oregon, 2 the following day (13 May) well off British Columbia, and 1 still with the ship as it entered Chatham Strait, AK 14 May. RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus rufus) This species was seen during spring migra - tion regularly "cutting the corner" up to 15 km offshore off northwestern Washington, as northbound birds move northwestward toward the west coast of Vancouver Island. One was farther out ca. 55+ km west of Haida Gwaii 13 May 2011. A hummingbird, prob - ably this species, was 30 km off Brooks Penin- sula, Vancouver Island 19 May 2015. MERLIN (Falco columbarius) One was especially far offshore ca. 55 km west of San Miguel Island, Santa Barbara, CA 26 Oct 2012. PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) This species is found regularly up to 40 km offshore, where it probably hunts auklets, storm-petrels, phalaropes, or similar prey (pers. obs.), as well as migrant shorebirds and landbirds. Farther offshore in spring, 1 was Islands, CA; rare south to Monterey; and very rare south to Santa Barbara, where 1 was re - corded 16 Apr 2012 (34.45° N, 121.42° W) and 4 seen 2 May 2013 (33.64° N, 120.01° W to 33.85° N, 120.48° W). High cruise counts by region included only 34 off southeastern Alaska 9 Jul 2014; 135 off British Columbia 18 May 2016 and 85 there 5 Aug 2013; 40 off Washington 8 May 2015; and 82 between Mendocino, CA and Curry, OR 16 Apr 2013. Early arrival dates off colonies in spring are uncertain, but 7 were between California and Washington 20-21 Mar 2015, date of the ear - liest cruise. By mid-July, numbers in many areas begin to decline, and by early fall, following breed - ing, most birds probably move southward and farther offshore. Tufted Puffins are known to occur year-round off British Columbia, but most are well offshore during the nonbreeding season (Kenyon et al. 2009). Although there may be an influx of northern birds during fall and winter into offshore California waters, the species there, as elsewhere, is rare to very rare within at least 80 km of shore. One was 76 km off Coos, OR 16 Dec 2015, and 3 birds were between 65-71 km south-southwest of Southeast Farallon Island, San Francisco, CA 17 Dec 2015. Briggs et al. (1987) stated that most sightings well south of the nesting areas occurred January – May, 50-300 km offshore. Landbirds –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– It is often uncertain exactly where and when many landbirds arrived on board or began circling a ship—possibly even many kilome - ters earlier and/or during the previous night than when first seen. Species that are seen fairly regularly at sea from boats and which were recorded from one or more cruises in - cluded: Spring—Rock Pigeon (Columba livia; some of these were probably racing pigeons), Pacific-slope Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis), Swainson's Thrush (Catharus ustulatus), Mac - Gillivray's Warbler (Geothlypis tolmiei), Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia), Yellow-rumped Warbler (S. coronata), Townsend's Warbler (S. townsendi), Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla), Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sand - wichensis), Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca), White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leuco - phrys), Golden-crowned Sparrow (Z. atri- capilla), Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana), and Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater); and Fall—Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus), Pacific- Slope/Cordilleran Flycatcher (E. difficilis/oc -

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