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 86 Colorado & Wyoming would represent the seventh record for Wyo- ming and the third for fall. An impressive tally of 28 Northern Harriers at Seedskadee NWR, Sweetwater 26 Nov (TK) set a record count for Wyoming, according to eBird data. Hawkwatch International's relatively obscure Commissary Ridge Hawk Watch, Lincoln, managed to tally 50 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 36 Cooper's Hawks, and five Northern Goshawks on 18 Sep (NP) with all totals setting record Wyoming eBird tallies for each species. Wyoming fall Broad-winged Hawks were represented by three at the Commissary Ridge Hawk Watch, Lincoln on 18 Sep (NP) and a single at Pole Mt., Albany 27 Sep (CP, DE). RAILS THROUGH TERNS With fall migration of Virginia Rail still not clearly understood in Wyoming, one careful observer took excellent notes on a family group near Pinedale, Sublette. The group consisted of an adult last heard on 31 Oct and two to three juveniles last seen and heard on 14 Nov (EB). Six other birds were reported statewide from a more expected time period; 1 Aug–21 Sep (m. obs.). Wyoming's fall epicenter for Sand - hill Crane migration was once again at Keyhole Reservoir, Crook where an estimated 2500-3000 were seen 8-9 Oct (KC) while five reported from Casper, Natrona 16 Nov were quite late (RW). One to two American Avocets present at Keyhole Reservoir, Crook 30-31 Oct were quite late for Wyoming (JA). Adding to about 30 fall reports for Wyoming was a single Ameri - can Golden-Plover at Keyhole Reservoir, Crook 12 Sep (JA). Two Willets reported from Sara - toga Lake, Carbon 21 Sep (SL) were about two weeks late for Wyoming. Four Lesser Yellow - legs at the Goose Ponds, Fremont 1 Nov (BH) provided the state's third November report. An estimated 150 Long-billed Dowitchers at Gold - eneye Reservoir, Natrona 11 Oct (RW) provid- ed a remarkably high fall tally for Wyoming. Now annual in Wyoming, Lesser Black- backed Gulls were represented by singles at Lake Hattie Reservoir, Albany 22 Aug (DE, LM, SB) and again on 25 Oct (SB), one to two at the JTL Ponds, 1 Sep (ZH) and a single at Casper 16 Sep (CM)—both Natrona locations—and another oddly at Brooklyn Lake, Albany 26 Sep (CB). These reports bring Wyoming's total to around 40, 27 of which have been in fall. Regionally rare in Wyoming but more expected in fall, the only Common Tern report this season came from the JTL Ponds, Natrona, 18 Sep (AH, ZH). OWLS THROUGH WOODPECKERS Rarely—and likely under—reported in Wyo- ming, Barn Owls were noted twice this season, with a tantalizing sighting of a possible family group of 5-6 in remote eastern YNP, Park 18 Aug (JS) and a single in Goshen 24 Oct (JW) at Seedskadee NWR, Sweetwater 12 Sep (JR) were in the southwest/central part of the state where considered very rare, although Seedska - dee has more recently become a regular location for reports. Rare but expected almost annually in fall in Wyoming, the only Greater Scaup reports came from Hutton Lake NWR, Albany where two were found 25 Oct (SB) and two also at the JTL Ponds, Natrona 17 Nov (CM). Harlequin Duck numbers at their traditional Wyoming location at LeHardy Rapids, Park peaked in early-mid Sep with nine, plus reports spanning 1-20 Sep of three to 15 birds further suggest - ing that the females and young stage later than previously thought (m.obs.). Wyoming's only fall Scoters were a "female type" Surf Scoter at Twin Buttes Lake, Albany 14 Nov (SB) and three likely Surf Scoters at WHR, Laramie 15 Nov (JB). Wyoming's sole Long-tailed Duck was reported from Burlington Lake, Natrona 24-25 Oct (ZH) adding to just a handful of Wyoming October reports of this species. A flock of 120 Bufflehead at Twin Buttes Lake, Albany 14 Nov (SB) made for a rare large fall gathering for Wyoming. GROUSE THROUGH RAPTORS Completely unexpected in Albany was a Sharp- tailed Grouse observed at Gelatt Lake 17 Oct (SB, SO); this location is exactly at a midpoint between the Columbian subspecies' range in the Sierra Madre foothills and the Plains subspecies' distribution in the eastern grasslands. Wyoming had a decent showing of Pacific Loons with up to five birds adding to about 45 previous fall re - ports: two at Lake Hattie Reservoir, Albany 17 Oct with one remaining at least until 14 Nov (SB, SO, CP); a single at the JTL Ponds, Natrona 27 Oct (ZH) and two at Ocean Lake, Fremont 1 Nov (BH). The state's fall Common Loon flight rebounded strongly from the anemic 2014 flight with about 36 reports involving at least 172 birds and a decent regional maxima of 48 at Lake De Smet, Johnson 31 Oct (ZH). Rare in Wyoming and historically most likely to be found in Octo - ber, a single Red-necked Grebe was reported at Festo Lake, Platte 18 Oct (CG) and marking just the fifth November record for Wyoming were two at JTL Ponds, Natrona 18 Nov (CM). A count of 300 Double-crested Cormorants at Gray Rocks Reservoir, Platte 27 Oct (JW) tied the state high eBird count and was likely an un - derestimate of birds actually present. Adding to a paucity of fall reports in Wyoming were three American Bitterns in Cokeville Meadows, Lin - coln 19 Aug (KT) and a single in Buffalo, John- son 6 Oct (SS). Late for Wyoming—among just a few reports for October—were two Black- crowned Night-Herons at Cheyenne Country Club, Laramie 2 Oct (CS, MG). A well-described Mississippi Kite that was reported from Sundance, Crook 26 Aug (JA) Matt Fraker –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– NOTE: COLORADO DATA WERE NOT RECEIVED IN TIME TO BE INCLUDED T emperatures in Wyoming in the fall of 2015 were normal in August and No - vember, while September and October were both the second warmest in 121 years. Precipitation was generally normal for the sea - son after a very wet late spring and summer. Drought classifications through the state's 10 climate divisions stood with three at "none," five at "abnormally dry," and one at "moderate." Avian highlights of the season included Wyo - ming's seventh Mississippi Kite and third Blue- winged Warbler, along with finding Northern Pygmy-owls in a new mountain range. In gen - eral, birders and field ornithologists in the state continue to make progress in fleshing out Wyo - ming's many avian distributional mysteries. WATERFOWL Remaining quite rare in Wyoming (with about 35 total reports, two-thirds of which have oc - curred in fall), this season saw two reports of Greater White-fronted Geese, both of which were record eBird counts for the state: 17 on 6 Oct near Sheridan, Sheridan (SK, BS, CW, ph.) and 15 above the University of Wyoming, Al - bany 17 Nov (CP). Evidence of the Wyoming fall staging of Trum- peter Swans in the Flat Creek area of Jackson Hole, Teton, came in the form of an impressive gathering of about 144 birds (10% estimated as cygnets suggesting a low productivity year) 16 Nov (SP, eBird notes). Meanwhile, Wyoming's fall Tundra Swan migration was very normal with nine reports spanning 15 Oct–22 Nov having counts ranging from five to 55 birds (m.obs). The typical Wyoming Wood Duck migration tapers off by early October; a report of 40 birds 20 Aug at Glendo Reservoir, Platte (CWe, AL) set a state record eBird count while three observed

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