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 / 4 363 N E W E N G L A N D proved especially confounding this season in New Hampshire, where Masterson noted: "It remains an extremely rare spring migrant away from the Connecticut River and the coast; thus it was remarkable that a mini- movement occurred on April 18, with indi - viduals seen at Exeter, Chesterfield, Concord and Lake Massabesic." An impressive 68 Black Terns were at Mississquoi N.W.R., Franklin, VT, the Region's epicenter for this species, 29 May (TM, Eddy Edwards, Richard Lavallee). A pelagic trip 1 Mar to Stellwagen Bank, Essex, MA produced a near sweep of alcids: 16 Com - mon Murres, one Thick-billed Murre, 450 Ra- zorbills, 2 Black Guillemots, and 3 Atlantic Puffins (M. Brengle et al.). A high count of 15 Black Guillemots was noteworthy 10 Mar at Block Island (MR). Maine had the only White-winged Dove reports: on Monhegan 16-17 May (ph. Bill Blauvelt et al.) and at feeders in Windham 28-29 May (Judy Scher). Aside from Block Island and the Massachusetts islands, the only Barn Owl reports were a surprising 3 on the sw. Connecticut coast. A locally rare Eastern Screech-Owl at Ogunquit, York, ME 31 Mar was correctly identified after having been removed from a building as a "baby Great Horned Owl" by an animal control of - ficer (fide DHi). What is New England's least- known nesting bird species? Long-eared Owl is certainly a leading candidate. Discovery of one at a private location in Rockingham in Apr was New Hampshire's first since 2007 (Benja - min Griffith). Most encounters involve win- ter roosts in the s. tier, but breeding season reports were noted, as they have been in the past, at Grand Isle, VT (DHo). In Massachu - setts, Chuck-will's widow was present for the third straight year starting 7 May near Fal - mouth (M. Schanbacher) and starting 22 May at Plymouth (J. Barrett). Rhode Island had the only other report, 2-9 May at Matunuck (Dylan Pedro et al.). A small showing of Red-headed Wood - peckers was primarily southerly as expected (one each in Rhode Island and s. New Hamp - shire and 4 in Massachusetts). Maine had 2, including one that found its way to Gleason's Cove, Washington 16-19 May (Don Dunbar, ph. Chris Bartlett). This was a long way from the other New England reports but pretty close to 2 in the vicinity of Saint John, New Brunswick. A wayward Black-backed Wood - pecker that wintered in a Boston cemetery continued to attract admirers through at least 19 Apr (m.ob.). A seasonal highlight, and one that fits a national trend, was the 5 Apr appearance of a Crested Caracara at Chatham (ph. Paulina Zuckerman). Two additional reports in May records of Apr migrants in Rhode Island (Lin - da Gandrel, Jan St. Jean). A top contender for bird of the year, Maine's first Surfbird excited and satisfied many birders after its discovery on 21 Mar at Biddeford Pool, York, by a visit - ing group (Tin Mountain Bird Society of New Hampshire, ph. LB., m.ob.). The first-winter bird was seen feeding along rocky shorelines through at least 18 Apr. The species' sparse history of vagrancy includes one record from Lake Erie in Pennsylvania and a small cluster on the Gulf Coast in Texas and Florida. Maine also garnered the only Ruff, a female 9 May at Scarborough Marsh, Cumberland (Zeke Smith, Kristina McOmber, Collette Lauzau, ph.). New Hampshire had 135 Red-necked Phala - ropes at Jeffrey's Ledge 25 May (SM et al.). Exciting inshore sightings of Sabine's Gulls at Provincetown involved an ad. 5 & 9 May (ph. BN et al.) and an imm. 14 May (G. d'Entremont), both. A Black-headed Gull 6 Apr at Amherst, MA was a rare inland find (Keenan Yakola). The Regional Mew Gull situation remains in a state of flux. Reports of at least 4 (2 each in Connecticut and Massa - chusetts) apparently involve at least two, but possibly more, of the four Larus canus subspe - cies. The situation is especially complicated in Massachusetts, as one of the birds may be an individual that has returned almost annu - ally since 2007 and remains the most difficult to assign a subspecific identity: it appears to be neither canus nor brachyrhynchus, instead either a small kamtschatschensis or a North American first heinei (fide MJI). This spring, the Massachusetts sightings were at Swampscott/ Lynn, Essex 1-25 Mar, and while one matched this enigmatic bird, the other was much larger (substantially larger than Ring-billed) and even darker-mantled and seems safely iden - tifiable as Larus canus kamtschatschensis, Kam- chatka Gull (ph. TBJ et al.). In Connecticut, a bird present 10 May at Southport, Fairfield and 16-17 May at West Haven/Milford, New Haven (ph. NB, ph. Mayn Hipp, ph. Keith Mueller et al.) will be submitted to the Avian Records Committee of Connecticut as Kam - chatka Gull . A different bird seen 16 May at West Haven/Milford (ph. Keith Mueller) has been submitted as Larus canus canus, Com - mon Gull. The Connecticut search for Mew Gulls yielded a Thayer's Gull 19-20 Apr at West Haven (ph. Julian Hough, LB) and possi - bly the same bird 21 Apr at Stratford, Fairfield (Patrick Comins). A Gull-billed Tern at Chilmark, MA 23 May (ph. P. Gilmore) made the only spring report of this rarity. Migrant Caspian Terns are among the Region's most unpredictable birds, occurring in generally small numbers over a wide seasonal and geographic spectrum. They and was at a possible nest site at Magnolia 22 May (ph. SP, JB et al.). The Black Vulture's march into New Eng - land continues. Vermont reported about a dozen individuals, as far n. as the Lake Champlain region, while New Hampshire and Maine had just one each. Eight Swallow-tailed Kites in Apr on Cape Cod were noteworthy, as most records have been in May and early Jun (BN et al.). This total included 2 on 12 Apr at South Truro, followed by an unprecedented 4 there the next day (M. Brokenshire). Two Swallow-tailed Kites lingered at Hope Valley, Hopkinton, RI 22-23 Apr (Lynn Thompson, Chris Raithel, ph. DP et al.), and 3 were there 24 Apr (MR). Connecticut's total of 4 includ - ed 2 seen 13 May at Hammonasset. Word got out quickly, and they were later seen at New Haven and Stamford as they moved westward (Gina Nichol et al.). The Region's Mississippi Kite pioneers, first detected breeding in 2008, returned to Newmarket, Rockingham, NH: one appeared 17 May (SM), with 2 first reported 24 May (Zeke Cornell et al.). Connecticut sightings on 9 & 26 May at Glastonbury sug - gested local breeding, but no further evidence could be found (Denise Jernigan et al.). Sin - gles were in Worcester, MA 23 May (ph. Steve Arena) and at West Kingston, RI 31 May (ph. Tom Auer). Connecticut and Rhode Island missed Common Gallinule, but small numbers were present in the other states. The exception to this scarcity is nw. Vermont, where counts of 12 and 7 were made at Mississquoi N.W.R. and Dead Creek outlet, Franklin, respectively (Eddie Edwards). Sandhill Cranes were wide - spread and numerous, with reports from all states and only Rhode Island and New Hamp - shire failing to reach double figures. A Piping Plover was far removed from coastal sands when found 4 May at Bradley International Airport, Windsor Locks, Hart - ford, CT (ph. Rollin Tebbetts). The Regionally vanishing Upland Sandpiper produced two Vermont's second Pink-footed Goose grazed in a field in Middlebury on 6 April 2015 and was present the next two days. Photograph by Ron Payne.

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