North American Birds

VOLUME 70 NO1 2017

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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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 100 A L A S K A ob.) and at Klawock on Prince of Wales I., where a flock of 50 was found 3 Nov (AJL, LHD, NRH, SCH). A group of 5 Vaux's Swifts near Sitka 2 Sep (COS) made for a notable occurrence away from the Southeast coast, and furnished a first local record. HUMMINGBIRDS THROUGH SWALLOWS One of the fall's outstanding finds was an ad. male Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Elfin Cove, Chichagof I. 9 Aug (ph. DH, SFH). There are now five documented Alaska re- cords of this Eastern species. Anna's Hum- mingbirds appeared in greater numbers this season than ever recorded previously. Four- teen were accounted for in the Juneau area, with another 12 around Ketchikan (m. ob.) and up to 11 located through Prince of Wales I. communities 1-4 Nov (AJL, LHD, NRH, SCH). Most other Southeast towns also en- joyed above-average numbers. A tardy Cos- ta's Hummingbird adopted an Anchorage nectar feeder 29 Oct–14 Nov (ph. WK, m. ob.) before it succumbed to dwindling day- light and near-zero temps. This individual marks the eleventh for Alaska, with most previous records also during fall. Another Yellow-bellied Sapsucker ventured out of the e. Interior boreal forest to Seward 26-27 Oct (SS, LHD, SU), furnishing the fifth fall record in South-central. Red-breasted Sapsuckers found away from Southeast included singles at Kodiak mid-Sep to early-Oct (EW) and 19 Nov (HEG), with another at Seward 28 Oct–1 Nov (TD et al.). Black-backed Wood- peckers were in the news and apparently on the move with first local records at Kodiak 6 Oct (ph. JBA) and more surprisingly in the Bering Sea at St. Paul I. 9 Oct (St. Paul Tour, ph. CG). The Matanuska-Susitna Val- ley's sockeye burn site produced 11 Black- backed Woodpeckers 18 Oct (LHD), one of the Region's highest single-day totals. A lone Black-backed Woodpecker at Skagway 25 Nov (CEF), casual in Southeast, followed the first local record from spring. Another Eur- asian Hobby report came in from the Bering Shemya I. 4 Sep that was described in com- parison to an adjacent Common Greenshank († DS), single Little Stints at St. Paul I. 10- 21 Aug (St. Paul Tour, ph. CG) and Adak I. 14 Sep (ph. FH, BH), and a flurry of Jack Snipe from St. Paul I., with singles 17 & 27 Sep, followed by 2 present 27 Sep–11 Oct, and finally a lone individual 13 Oct (St. Paul Tour). This furtive species has been detected almost annually in the Pribilofs over the past several years. Always a nice find in Alaska waters, a South Polar Skua was observed offshore Forrester I. 6 Aug (PEL). A large scale Nov push of Common Murres, out of the North Gulf and into Cook Inlet, commenced mid- month when singles and small groups were noted moving past w. Anchorage and beyond (m. ob.). Hundreds of Common Murres could be found flying n. or milling inshore off Anchorage's Campbell Pt. and Woronzof Pt. by late-Nov, demonstrated by 500 tallied in a single hour 24 Nov (BM). The north- ernmost observations included 2 at Nancy L. 11 Nov (SW), 3 at the Matanuska Lakes 12 Nov (RW), and one at Kashwitna L. 11 Nov (SW). Given that Anchorage had only a few prior records, the number of birds and reports represented an exceptional event. A beached Crested Auklet was recovered near Yakutat 22 Nov (ph. SO). The species is ca- sual e. of Kodiak waters, with no records e. of Cape Fairweather. The ad. Black-tailed Gull at Ketchikan 17 Oct (SCH) represented the eighth for Southeast Alaska and made for the first record of this Asian species in a doz- en years. The species is casual through the Bering Sea and the Pacific Islands. Notable California Gull reports away from Southeast included singles at Homer 13 Sep (CE) and Anchorage 25 Sep (AMB). Ketchikan pro- duced another in a series of kumlieni Iceland Gull reports, this time a juv. 17 Oct (ph., SCH). A Great Black-backed Gul l, the Re- gion's fourth, wandered from Atlantic water- sheds to Barrow 6-11 Oct (ph. AJL, m. ob.). Band-tailed Pigeon sightings at Sitka 15 Oct & 8 Nov (ph. CPFG) presum- ably referenced the same individual and provided both a first local record and the Region's latest date. There remain few records beyond s. South - east. Eurasian Collared-Dove finally reached the Anchorage area with singles noted there 4 Aug (ACB) and 5 Aug–3 Sep (BP, PS et al.). These two constitute only the second occurrenc- es from South-central Alaska away from the few others from Cordova. Elsewhere, the Southeast populations appear to be on the rise at Juneau (m. footed off Kodiak 1 Oct (JBA) was rather late. Given the warm sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska, it seemed like a subpar showing for Flesh-footed Shearwater with at least 4, all singles, reported from the North Gulf 12-15 Aug (LHD, ph. CE, GVV, RBB, NKD). On the heels of last fall's first Alaska record came two more Brown Boobies, one in the c. Aleutians off Amlia I. 28 Aug (ph., JG, fide LHD) and an ad. female in Wrangell Narrows near Petersburg 13 Sep (ph. JS). A second-year Red-footed Booby was record- ed about eight nm. south of E. Chugach I. during North Gulf pelagic transects 10 Sep (ph. LHD, TB). It represented the Region's first record. Remarkably, that bird followed another young Red-footed Booby sight- ing 80 nm. southeast of Kodiak 25 Aug († RP). This bird off Kodiak was not described in detail but it is presumed to represent a different bird than the 10 Sep individual. A lone Brandt's Cormorant located on the outer Southeast coast, west of Coronation I. 6 Aug (PEL), was close to the Region's only known nesting site. Most records are con- centrated at winter sites around Ketchikan. Two American Bittern sightings were sea- sonally unusual and consisted of singles at Barnes L. up the Stikine R, the source of most Alaska records, 24-25 Sep (BM), and later in Juneau 10-14 Nov (MFW, GBV, BAA, ph. MWS, ph. JDL), which constituted a new late date for the Region. A Great Egret was unusual and late near Cordova 8+ Nov (ph. TH), and added to a handful of South-cen- tral records. At least three calling Virginia Rails skulked around the Klawock Airport ponds, Prince of Wales I. 1-11 Nov (ph. AJL, ph. LHD, NRH, SCH et al.). Though a ma- jority of the 15 Alaska records come from the Southeast Mainland, the first record was also at Klawock 17 Feb 1986. SHOREBIRDS THROUGH SWIFTS Perhaps owing to milder conditions and fewer storms, this fall's shorebird passage proved relatively uneventful. Highlights among species with Nearctic origins includ - ed a Solitary Sandpiper, casual through the Bering Sea and a first for the Pribilofs, at St. Paul I. 26 Aug–12 Sep (St. Paul Tour, ph. GB), exceptional Hudsonian Godwit totals from peripheral sites, i.e. 40 near Nome 19 Aug (ph. BR) and 15 at Juneau 23 Aug (PAR), an extremely late Marbled Godwit at Gusta- vus 11 Oct–15 Nov (NKD), a seasonally rare and very tardy Red Knot at Prince of Wales I. 2 Nov (SCH, LHD, NRH, AJL), and a latish Red-necked Phalarope at Kodiak 31 Oct (ph. IB, AB, KB). Significant Palearctic shorebird reports included a lone Marsh Sandpiper at Southeast Alaska's first, and the state's fifth Ruby-throated Hum- mingbird was well documented at this Elfin Cove feeder 9 August. Photo by © Deborah Hemenway.

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