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.

Issue link: http://nab.aba.org/i/936087

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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 76 Southern Great Plains W. Ross Silcock Joseph A. Grzybowski –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A s with many seasons in the Region, this was not an average year. Water condi - tions were still decent in the southern Great Plains, an area normally parched by this time. Hackberry Flat was particularly produc - tive, with an abundance of marshland and water birds still actively nesting in August, making this a year in which many species had the opportunity to rebound from the drought conditions of recent years. A significant component of this season was the preponderance of late fall departures, a pattern which was true across a series of taxa, from shorebirds to songbirds. By the same token, many wintering species were still not present by late November, particularly in Oklahoma. These included species such as Common Merganser, Long-tailed Duck, Thay - er's Gull, Glaucous Gull, American Tree Spar- row, Lapland Longspur, and more. The season produced a sprinkling of exceptional rarities, which was accented by the appearance of a Long-billed Murrelet. Abbreviations: Cheyenne Bottoms (Chey - enne Bottoms W.M.A., Barton, KS); Hackberry Flat (Hackberry Flat W.M.A., Tillman, OK); McConaughy (L. McConaughy, Keith, NE); Quivira (Quivira N.W.R., Stafford, KS); Red Slough (Red Slough W.M.A., McCurtain, OK). WATERFOWL THROUGH IBIS Black-bellied Whistling-ducks were limited to Red Slough, where 1-6 were present through the period (DA, m.ob.). An early Ross's Goose was in Deuel, NE 10 Oct (BB). The only report of American Black Duck was of one in Linn, KS 28 Nov (MG). A Blue-winged Teal in Seward, NE 22 Nov (CNK) was a late-lingering bird. American Wigeon numbers at Hackberry Flat grant in the Region, were at McConaughy 18 Oct (ERa), in Lancaster, NE 24-29 Nov (JGJ, m. ob.), and in Harvey, KS 20 Nov (GF). Away from Hackberry Flat, summering Eared Grebes in Oklahoma included 4 in Beckham 2 Aug (LM) and 18 in Woodward 3 Aug (LM). The high count of Western Grebes reported at McConaughy was a meager 720 on 18 Oct (ERa), far lower than the fall buildup of thou - sands noted in some years (fide WRS). Uncom- mon in the e. Region, single Western Grebes in Kansas were in Atchison 16 Nov (DM), Linn 22 Nov (fide CO), and Johnson 30 Nov (DMi), with one in Oklahoma, OK 19 Oct (BSt). Only one Clark's Grebe was reported; that bird was found in Russell, KS 14 Nov (MR). Neotropic Cormorants were northerly into Kansas to Pottawatomie 1 Aug (BMa, CM, SN), and Riley 10 Aug (ABa). American Bittern is rare at Red Slough in summer; 1-2 were there in early Aug (NV, BW, DA); elsewhere, at least one was at Hackberry Flat (m.ob.). Away from Red Slough, Least Bitterns were reported only at Lancaster, NE locations 23 Aug (JSS) and 29 Aug (EA). Several tardy Great Egrets were re - ported, including one in Lancaster, NE 10 Nov (LE) and 5 in Butler, KS 21 Nov (KG). Reports of Tricolored Heron were from Red Slough, where they are somewhat expected; 1-2 were present there 22 Aug-17 Sep (DA). Little Blue Heron has been scarce in the n. Region, where it is a migrant. The only report this fall was of one in Washington, NE 13 Sep (HS). Tardy were Snowy Egrets in Canadian, OK 21 Oct (39 birds; DMc) and a single in Alfalfa, OK 3 Nov (GH). A Black-crowned Night-heron was in Lancaster, NE 23 Nov (EJ). Northerly va - grant Yellow-crowned Night-herons included one imm. in Clay, NE 16 Aug (JGJ) and 3 birds 1 Aug built to 31 by 27 Aug (L&MT). One of the more unexpected finds was of a male Can - vasback in Beckham, OK 2 Aug (LM). A male Ring-necked Duck was also a surprise at Red Slough 4-22 Aug (DA). Diving ducks arrived in force at Sooner L, Pawnee/Noble, OK by 23 Nov, where an amazing 550 Greater Scaup and 1400 Common Goldeneye were tallied (JWA); diligent searching yielded a single Barrow's Goldeneye (JWA). The only other Barrow's was a surprising easterly fem. in Lancaster, NE 29 Nov (JGJ, video; MW, BHe). Long-tailed Duck was reported solely from Kansas, with singles in Neosho 7 Nov (AB) and at Cheyenne Bottoms 24 Nov (MR). Surf Sco - ters occurred in all 3 Regional states; a total of 12 were reported 22 Oct-25 Nov (fide WRS, CO, JAG). White-wingeds also showed well in the three states with 9 reported 20 Oct-25 Nov (fide WRS, CO, JAG). Black Scoters, the rarest of the scoters in the Region, were found in Harlan, NE 24-25 Oct (MB, G&WH), Lan - caster, NE 30 Nov (LE), and Kingman, KS 14 Nov (AM, JMi, BM). Greater Prairie-Chicken is still doing well in Nebraska; the best count was 150 in Lincoln 9 Nov (TJW). The only reports of Red-throated Loon were singles in Douglas, KS 6 Nov (GP) and Linn, KS 22 Nov (fide CO). Five Pacific Loons were reported; singles in Russell, KS 14 Nov (MR), Riley, KS 19 Nov (JLa), and Linn, KS 22 Nov (fide CO), with another 2 in Chero - kee/Sequoyah, OK 20 Oct (JWA). Summering Common Loons are the norm in w. Nebraska, but rare in e. Nebraska where 3 were noted in August (fide WRS), and as far south as Ci - marron, OK 17 Aug (JT). An early Horned Grebe was in Tulsa, OK 26-27 Sep (BC, TM). Red-necked Grebes, a rare but regular fall mi - SA An unprecedented nesting of water and marsh birds occurred at Hackberry Flat W.M.A. Tillman, OK. It was reported in the summer account, but exemplified itself with significant breeding activity late July and well into August. One of the most unusual components were the Fulvous Whistling-ducks that appeared in July. Following the spe - cies' appearance over the summer, 9 subadult young (with 4 adults) were observed 30 Sep (L&MT)–4 Oct (TM), suggesting a first breeding record for the Region. Gadwall is an occasional breeder in w. Oklahoma, but this season 18 with "possible chicks" were at Hack - berry Flat 27 Aug (L&MT). Small local numbers of Redhead are the norm for the Region; remarkably, up to 210 were counted at Hackberry Flat during Aug (L&MT). Ruddy Duck has a similarly local pattern of breeding distribution, so the count of 115-205, including broods, at Hackberry Flat 1-27 Aug (L&MT), was another notable breeding occurence. With broods already present in July, at least 20 Eared Grebes were still on nesting plat - forms 21 Aug (JAG). Up to 65 nests of White-faced Ibis were counted in this period; most of these nests failed due to apparent depredation and/or destruction by Great-tailed Grackles poking holes in the eggs (KSo). More than 40 Sora were noted there 2 Aug (SL, JGe). Other locally rare species likely nesting in this period were American Bittern and King Rail. Other species that were exceptionally successful in breeding this season were Blue-winged Teal, American Coot, Black-necked Stilt and American Avocet

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