From the Field: August 2010 – November 2010
FROM THE FIELD
AUGUST - NOVEMBER 2010
Note: the appearance of observations in this section does not suggest verification or acceptance of a record. Observations of Review Species need to be documented and a rare bird report submitted to the Georgia Checklist and Records Committee (GCRC) for consideration.
Statewide, Georgia experienced above average rainfall in August, and below average for the rest of period. However, rainfall was highly variable by region, with numerous thunderstorms in September in the north of the state causing the monthly precipitation to be 150 percent of normal, while precipitation was less than 50 percent of normal in western Georgia. A strong storm on 27 September brought high winds and golf ball-sized hail to the Atlanta area, and deposited 8 American Avocets at a small lake in Athens. October was even drier, but another storm system on 27 October brought an unprecedented 42 Franklin’s Gulls to West Point Dam, and another 10 to Lake Lanier, as well as a shorebird fallout in Bartow Co. that included 58 Long-billed Dowitchers. Temperatures were above average statewide in August and September (the warmest on record for Columbus), but average in October and November.
Abbreviations: ACOGB - Annotated Checklist of Georgia Birds, 2003, Beaton, G. et al., GOS Occ. Publ. No. 14; AIC - Andrews Island Causeway, Glynn Co.; AWMA - Altamaha Waterfowl Management Area, McIntosh Co.; BUENWR - Bradley Unit of the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge, Stewart Co.; CBC Christmas Bird Count; CINS - Cumberland Island National Seashore, Camden Co.; CLRL - Carter's Lake Re-regulation Lake area, Murray Co.; CRNRA Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area; CSU - Cochran Shoals Unit of the CRNRA, Cobb Co.; ELHLAF - E.L. Huie Land Application Facility, Clayton Co.; HP - Henderson Park, DeKalb Co.; JIBS - Jekyll Island Banding Station, Glynn Co.; KMT - Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Cobb Co.; LSSI - Little St. Simons Island, Glynn Co.; LWFG - Lake Walter F. George, Clay Co.; MBBP - Merry Brothers Brickyard Ponds, Richmond Co.; m. ob. - multiple observers; MSS - Marshallville Super Sod Farm, Macon Co.; MWS (Mid-winter Waterbird Survey of the Georgia coast, 6 February); NAB - North American Birds (journal of the American Birding Association); NWR - National Wildlife Refuge; OM - Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, Muscogee Co.; PCR - Pine Chapel Rd, Gordon Co.; ph. - "photographed by", indicating that a photo is on file with GOS; PSNP - Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, Richmond Co.; Region - when capitalized, refers to Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; SCI - St. Catherine's Island, Liberty Co.; SP State Park; SSI - St. Simons Island, Glynn Co.; v. ob. - various observers; WMA - Wildlife Management Area Note: Species that appear in a bold-faced font represent those that were considered "review" species by the GCRC during the year of the sighting. This list changes from year to year. The current review list may be viewed at the following link: http://www.gos.org/checklists/reportables.html, including the status of reports listed as "pending" as of press time, may be viewed at the following link: http://www.gos.org/checklists/gcrc-activity.html
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK - The high count from AMWA was 59 on 24 November (Jeff Sewell). Away from AMWA, 2 birds were recorded on 16 August in Lowndes Co. (Brad Bergstrom) and another 4 in Baker Co. on 27 September (Tod Lanier, Wayne Schaffner). An adult with 10 downy ducklings was discovered at PSNP (Charlie Ferguson) and at least 3 young birds continued until 20 November (m. ob.). This is the first confirmed breeding record for Richmond Co. and the farthest inland breeding record in the state.
GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE - One was reported from Laurens Co. on 27 November (Clifford Gibbons).
SNOW GOOSE - The summering blue-phase bird continued in the Bostwick area (Morgan and Walton Cos.) throughout the period (m. ob.). One early record came from Dougherty Co. on 4 October (Melvin Dees), followed by singles at WPD 2-4 November (Walt Chambers, John McMahan), ELHLAF on 9-11 November (Carol Lambert, Jeff Sewell), and Bartow Co. on 14 November (Ken Blankenship, Nathan Farnau). On 27 November, 2 flew over Marietta, Cobb Co. (Bob Zaremba), and singles were seen at Clark's Hill Reservoir, Columbia Co., and at MBBP (Eric and Michael Beohm). One blue phase was in Harris Co. on 30 November (Walt Chambers).
ROSS'S GOOSE - One was reported from Glennville, Tattnall Co. on 30 November (m. ob.; pending, GCRC 2011-17).
BLUE-WINGED TEAL - Three at PCR on 6 August were the first reported (Joshua Spence).
NORTHERN SHOVELER - An excellent count of 350 came from the AIC spoil site on 27 November (Gene Keferl).
NORTHERN PINTAIL - There was an early report of one on 26 September at CLRL (Ken Blankenship, Nathan Farnau, Joel McNeal).
GREEN-WINGED TEAL - There was an early report of one from the AIC spoil site on 8 August (Gene Keferl).
GREATER SCAUP - Two inland reports of singles came from Lake Horton, Fayette Co., on 21 November (Trey McCuen), and Lake Chapman, Clarke Co., on 28 November (Joel McNeal).
SURF SCOTER - Inland records consisted of 2 birds at Clark's Hill Dam, Columbia Co., on 7 November (Jim Flynn), 2 at LWFG on 11 November (Eric Beohm), and 6 at Carter's Lake on 24 November (Joshua Spence).
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER - Two inland reports were of singles at Lake Lanier on 21 November (Karen and Luke Theodorou), and Clark's Hill Reservoir, Columbia Co., on 27 November (Eric and Michael Beohm).
BLACK SCOTER - Inland, 5 were seen at LWFG on 11 November (Eric Beohm), and 2 at Clark's Hill Reservoir on 27 November (Eric and Michael Beohm).
LONG-TAILED DUCK - One seen on Carter's Lake on 8 November was an excellent inland find (Theresa Hartz).
COMMON GOLDENEYE - Reports included one at ELHLAF on 19-21 November (Hugh Garrett, Carol Lambert), 2 at Bear Creek Reservoir (Jackson Co.) on 26 November (Joel McNeal), and one at BUENWR on 30 November (Walt Chambers).
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER - Good inland counts were 48 on Lake Peachtree, Fayette Co. (Steve Mitchell), and 55 on Lake Chapman, Clarke Co., on 30 November (Richard Hall, James Neves).
RUDDY DUCK - An estimated 1200 birds were observed at the AIC spoil site on 27 November, representing a new state high count (Gene Keferl).
PLAIN CHACHALACA - Six birds were seen on the GOS field trip to Sapelo Island on 10 October (m. ob.).
WILD TURKEY - An albino bird was seen at KMT on 10 August (Bob Zaremba).
RED-THROATED LOON - One inland bird was reported from LWFG on 11 November (Eric Beohm).
PIED-BILLED GREBE - A new state high count of 175 birds was recorded at Lake Seminole on 28 November (Ken Blankenship).
EARED GREBE - One was seen and photographed at PSNP on 11 October (Ruth Mead, Lois Stacey). Two were back at the annual wintering site on the Plant Scherer Ash Pond, Monroe Co., on 28 November (Krista Gridley).
WOOD STORK - North of the Coastal Plain, a single bird was reported from Dyar's Pasture WMA on 11 September (Joy Brown, James Fleullan).
GREAT CORMORANT - The wintering bird first found on LWFG on 11 November (Eric Beohm) remained through the end of the period (m. ob.).
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN - An impressive count of 325 birds at Lake Seminole on 28 November represents a new state high count (Ken Blankenship). The only other report from the period was of 7 birds from the JI causeway on 9 October (Joshua Spence).
AMERICAN BITTERN - Singles were widely reported. Two were at PSNP on 26 September (Michael McCloy, Lois Stacey).
LEAST BITTERN - One was at BUENWR on 6 September (Ken Blankenship, Nathan Farnau, Joel McNeal), and another was seen by GOS field trip participants on Raccoon Key on 9 October. Multiple observations came from AMWA throughout the period, with a maximum count of 14 on 10 October (Paul and Joan Sykes), and a very late bird seen and photographed on 13 November (Brandon Best). This species may winter in small numbers along the immediate coast or even in the Coastal Plain, but its inconspicuous nature and often inaccessible habitats cloud its true winter status.
SNOWY EGRET - Several inland records included a good count of 9 at ELHLAF on 28 August (Jeff Sewell).
LITTLE BLUE HERON - A good inland count of 40 came from ELHLAF on 22 August (Jim Healy). One at PCR on 12 September was a new late date for the Ridge and Valley (Joshua Spence).
REDDISH EGRET - Two white morphs were at Gould's Inlet, SSI, on 7 August (James Fleullan). The last report was of one at the Altamaha Sound on 8 October (m. ob.).
CATTLE EGRET - In the Ridge and Valley, records came from PCR throughout August, with a maximum of 5 on 28 August (Joshua Spence). One seen at WPD on 28 October was relatively late for the Piedmont (Krista Gridley, Joshua Spence).
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON - Two were recorded in the Piedmont: one from ELHLAF on 28 August (Carol Lambert, Jeff Sewell), and one found dead at Panola Mountain SP on 11 September (Vanessa Lane, Charlie Muise).
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON - Away from the Coastal Plain, one was at Arrowhead Lakes, Floyd Co., on 7 August (Ann Stewart), another was photographed in Walton Co. on 15 August (Vanessa Lane, Lorene Winter), and 2 birds were in Bartow Co. on 25 August (Ken Blankenship).
WHITE IBIS - In the Piedmont, the high count was 30 birds at Braswell Church Road, Walton Co., on 15 August (Jim Healy), and 3 seen over Athens on 26 September were rather late (Krista Gridley, Richard Hall). In the Ridge and Valley, one was in Gordon Co. on 17 August (Joshua Spence).
ROSEATE SPOONBILL - A rare inland report of 2 came from Laurens Co. on 14 August (Robert Shuman, Joshua Knight). The high count for the period was 36 birds on LSSI on 21 August (m. ob.).
BLACK VULTURE - A bird with a yellow wing-tag was observed over Skidaway Island on 12 September (Beth Roth).
TURKEY VULTURE - The highest count was of 380 birds over Roswell on 4 November (Stacy Zarpentine).
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE - A maximum of 75 birds were reported on 1 August from the regular late summer gathering in Long Co. (Mark McShane). Records of multiple birds seen were reported from Jacks Creek Road in Walton Co. (m. ob.). Of 2 birds seen on 11 August, one was fitted with a radio transmitter (see below). They were last recorded at the site on 31 August. Other reports of singles came from Rockdale Co. on 7 August (Charlie Muise), Banks Co. on 12 August (Mary Ellen Myers), and BSF on 24-25 August (m. ob.).
RADIO-TAGGED SWALLOW-TAILED KITES A radio-tagged Swallow-tailed Kite found by Mark Freeman in Walton Co. on 11 August originated from a tagging project in South Carolina (Ken Meyer). Twenty fledglings have been tagged over the last 2 years. Of the 9 tagged in 2009, only 2 successfully completed the arduous round-trip migration to southcentral Brazil and returned in 2010. Satellite and VHF tracking data reveal that Swallow-tailed Kites range widely throughout the southeastern states between July and September, taking advantage of the mass emergence of June bugs and other flying insects before continuing their southward migration.
MISSISSIPPI KITE - The high count of 45 birds came from Jacks Creek Road, Walton Co., on 12 August (James Neves). A maximum of 5 birds seen along PCR from 26 August to 2 September was a good record for the Ridge and Valley. The last report was of one in Lamar Co. on 12 September (Tracey Muise).
NORTHERN HARRIER - An early record of a female came from HartsfieldJackson International Airport on 12 August (Jim Gibson).
BROAD-WINGED HAWK - The high count for the period was 48 over the Chattahoochee Nature Center on 12 September (Stacy Zarpentine), with the last report of one over Sandy Springs on 10 October (Charlie Bostwick).
RED-TAILED HAWK - One dark adult western bird was found along Fite Bend Road, Gordon Co., on 10 November (Joshua Spence).
MERLIN - Ten were seen over JI South Beach on 14 October (Woody Blackwell).
PEREGRINE FALCON - In Bartow Co., 2 birds on 29 August were the first of the fall. One of them caught a Killdeer that was subsequently stolen by a Red-shouldered Hawk (Mark McShane). Two birds seen together in Rabun Co. on 16 October (Max Medley) may be local breeders. One seen at CSU on 21 October was banded (Patrick Addy).
BLACK RAIL - Three were calling simultaneously on 15 August in Greene Co. (Paul Sykes). One was reported from LSSI on 3 October (Caleb Gordon).
CLAPPER RAIL - One was found dead on the sidewalk in Norcross on 22 September, representing only the sixth inland record in the state (Patrick Addy).
SORA - A good count of 41 birds was recorded at AWMA on 10 October (Paul and Joan Sykes).
PURPLE GALLINULE - An excellent count of 12 adults and 16 juveniles came from BUENWR on 5 September (Jim Flynn).
AMERICAN COOT - Four seen at AWMA on 8 August suggests breeding activity (Nathan Farnau, Stephen Fox). The highest counts reported were 3222 on 18 November from Lake Varner (Mark Freeman), and 1500 from Garden Lakes on the same day (Marion Dobbs).
SANDHILL CRANE - The first returning migrants were 8 birds seen over CLRL on 23 October (James Dietrich). The highest count during the period was 4103 from the Paradise Public Fishing Area, Berrien Co., on 27 November (Wayne Schaffner).
AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER - This species made a good showing this year. The first record was one bird in Burke Co. on 29 August (Jerry Amerson), with a peak count of 7 in Bartow Co. on 19 September (Ken Blankenship,) and the last record of 5 birds, also from Bartow Co., on 27 October (Ken Blankenship).
SNOWY PLOVER - A juvenile photographed on CINS on 6 August (Doris and Patrick Leary) represented only the third state record. Snowy Plover, Camden Co., 6 August, by Patrick and Doris Leary
PIPING PLOVER - One at PCR from 5-9 August was an excellent inland find (Joshua Spence, m. ob.).
AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER - Four hundred were reported from Little Egg Island Bar on 13 October (Charlie Muise). Seven of 64 seen on Tybee Island North Beach on 24 November were banded (3 from MA, 2 from NJ, and 2 from VA; Diana Churchill).
BLACK-NECKED STILT - A high count of 82 came from the AIC spoil site on 8 August (Gene Keferl).
AMERICAN AVOCET - Four birds were seen at PCR on 18 September, with one lingering until 28 September, and 3 were there on 13 October (Joshua Spence, m. ob.). Other inland sightings included 8 at Lake Herrick, Clarke Co., on 27 September (Richard Hall, m. ob.), and 2 in Cooper Creek Park, Muscogee Co., on 30 October (Walt Chambers).
GREATER YELLOWLEGS - Thirty seen on 27 October was a good inland count from Bartow Co. (Ken Blankenship). The high count for the period was 55 from the Tolomato Island Causeway, McIntosh Co., on 13 November (Gene Keferl).
UPLAND SANDPIPER - Widely reported between 1 August at MSS (Nathan Farnau, Ken Blankenship) and 4 September from Bartow Co. (Mark McShane), with a peak count of 29 at MSS on 8 August (James Fleullan).
CHINQUAPIN'S ODYSSEY: THE MIGRATION PATH OF A SATELLITE-TAGGED WHIMBREL
After spending the summer in Nunavut, Canada, a Whimbrel tagged on Little Egg Island Bar in May 2010 and named Chinquapin moved 563 km to the east to stage in Hudson Bay until 6 August. Two days later he was 482 km east of Bermuda, having skirted Tropical Storm Colin, moving at a speed of almost 97 kph. He made landfall in Puerto Rico on 10 August, having flown 5584 km nonstop in 5 days. After a 2-week rest, he departed and on 27 September reached his wintering grounds in Suriname 2092 km to the south, having traveled a total of more than 7564 km (Tim Keyes, Brad Winn). Satellite-tagged shorebirds such as Chinquapin are providing invaluable data on the routes chosen and flight capacity of these champion migrants, which will inform conservation efforts to manage their populations over the entire migratory cycle. "Chinquapin" the Whimbrel gets his transmitter attached, Glynn Co., 22 May, by Tim Keyes
LONG-BILLED CURLEW- A maximum count of 4 was made on LSSI on 7 August (m. ob.).
MARBLED GODWIT - A maximum count of 200 came from LSSI on 3 October (Caleb Gordon).
SANDERLING - Inland birds were reported from Houston Co. on 1 August (James Fleullan), and at BSF from 21-22 August (Kathy Miller).
WESTERN SANDPIPER - A handful of interior records included a maximum count of 4 at PCR on 2 September (Joshua Spence).
WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER - Four were at PCR on 4 September, with one lingering until 12 September (m. ob.). Two were reported at MSS on 24 September (Trey McCuen).
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER - The lion's share of reports came from ELHLAF, from 5-15 September and 27 September - 13 October, with a maximum of 5 birds (m. ob.). Elsewhere, up to 3 birds were at BSF from 8-11 September (m. ob.), and one was in Bartow Co. on 19 September (Ken Blankenship).
PECTORAL SANDPIPER - A high count of 82 birds was recorded at BSF on 21 August (Mark Freeman). Two birds seen in Decatur Co. on 26 November were rather late (Tod Lanier).
PURPLE SANDPIPER - Eight wintering birds were on Tybee Island North Beach on 24 November (Diana Churchill).
DUNLIN - Inland reports included 3 at Lake Varner, Newton Co., on 31 October (Patty McLean, Kathy Miller), and singles at ELHLAF on 30 October and 20 November (Jim Healy).
STILT SANDPIPER - The high count of 35 came from the AIC spoil site on 8 August (Gene Keferl), where the species was last recorded on 14 November 2009. Inland, one bird was in Burke Co. on 28 August (Mark Freeman), with 9 there on 12 September (Jim Flynn). One was at ELHLAF on 10 September (Nathan Farnau), and 3 were there on 18 September (Jeff Sewell). All other reports came from Bartow Co. and PCR, where a maximum of 7 birds were seen on 4 September (Joshua Spence).
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER - Numerous sightings were noted between 1 August at MSS (Nathan Farnau, Ken Blankenship) and 26 September at BSF (Krista Gridley, Richard Hall). The peak count was 11 in Bartow Co. on 19 September (Ken Blankenship).
DOWITCHER sp. - One not identified to species was seen at PCR on 22 August (Mark McShane).
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER - Two inland reports were received: one in Bartow Co. on 25 August (Ken Blankenship, Mark McShane), and 2 birds at PCR from 31 August - 2 September (Joshua Spence).
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER - One was at AP on 28 September (Jim Flynn). Following a storm, excellent counts of 42 from Taylorsville Sod Farm and 16 from Legacy Sod Farm were obtained on the Bartow Co. loop on 27 October (Ken Blankenship).
WILSON'S SNIPE - The earliest returning bird was reported at BSF on 24 August (Mark McShane).
AMERICAN WOODCOCK - Ten was a good count along Hiawassee Road, Murray Co., on 22 November (Joshua Spence).
WILSON'S PHALAROPE - The high count for the period was 11 at the AIC spoil site on 8 August (Gene Keferl). Inland, singles were seen at PCR on 14 August (Joshua Spence), in Bartow Co. on 15 August (Ken Blankenship, Nathan Farnau, Joel McNeal), at BSF 21-22 August (Kathy Miller, m. ob.), and in Burke Co. on 28 August (Mark Freeman), with possibly the same bird there on 12 September (Jim Flynn).
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE - One was found by GOS field trip participants on Raccoon Key on 9 October.
RED PHALAROPE - One was reported from a private site in Cobb Co. on 5 November (David Hedeen).
FRANKLIN'S GULL - A storm blew an amazing 42 birds into WPD on 27 October (Walt Chambers), representing a new state high count. At least one bird lingered until 30 October. Ten birds were found at Tidwell Park, Forsyth Co., on 27 October (Jim Flynn).
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL - A high count of 36 was made at Gould's Inlet, SSI, on 8 October (Joshua Spence).
CASPIAN TERN - An excellent count of 85 was recorded on LSSI on 3 October (Caleb Gordon).
BLACK TERN - At least 8 were recorded at Fort Yargo SP (Jim Gilreath). A maximum of 9 were at ELHLAF on 29 August, with 2 still there on 4 September (m. ob.), and one was at PCR on 11 September (Joshua Spence).
WHITE-WINGED DOVE - There was one report of a single bird in a Glynn Co. backyard on 26 October (Gene Keferl).
MOURNING DOVE - A notable count of 1000 was made at OM on 26 September (John McMahan).
COMMON GROUND-DOVE - One photographed in Clarke Co. on 10 October is among the northernmost recent records in the state (Richard Hall).
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO - A good count of 15 birds came from the State Botanical Garden, Clarke Co. (Theresa Hartz, m. ob.).
BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO - One was at Lamar Poss Road, Walton Co., on 1 October (Mark McShane).
NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL - One was caught and banded on 28 November in Lamar Co. (Charlie Muise).
COMMON NIGHTHAWK - The absence of any large migrant flocks was notable, with the largest report of 16 coming from CRNRA on 4 September (Linda Liu).
CHIMNEY SWIFT - The highest roost count of 1768 birds came from Waycross on 10 September. Birds have been using this roost site since at least 1988 (Sheila Willis).
RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD - Two birds returned for their fourth consecutive winters to backyards in Atlanta (Bill Lotz) and Lawrenceville (Karen Theodorou) on 8 October, with another reported from Gainesville on 30 October (Ed Rigel).
RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER - An out-of-range bird was observed calling in northern Greene Co. on 7 November, probably a first county record (Paul Sykes).
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER - Individuals were found on the Suwanee Creek Greenway, Gwinnett Co., on 26 August (Brandon Best), at HP on 9 September (Hugh Garrett), in Lawrenceville on 10 September (Earl Horn), and at CRNRA on 26-28 September (m. ob.).
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER - An above-average fall passage was noted this year, with the first sightings on 31 August in Murray Co. (Joshua Spence) and in Clarke Co. (Richard Hall). Birds were reported from CSU through September until 13 October, occasionally with 2 birds together (Jeff Sewell).
ALDER FLYCATCHER - An exceptional number were reported this fall. Even more exceptionally, most of them were found by Jim Flynn! On 29 August, he found 3 birds at 2 different spots in Habersham Co. (accepted, GCRC 2010-23 and 2010-24), all of which were present the next day (m. ob.). This was followed by 2 seen at AP on 4 September, with one still there on 6 September (Jim Flynn; accepted, GCRC 2010-25), and one at BUENWR on 5 September (Jim Flynn; accepted, GCRC 2010-26). Other singles were reported from Catoosa Co. on 19 September (David Hollie; accepted, GCRC 2010-33), at HP on 20 September (Jeff Sewell; pending, GCRC 2010-28), and at CSU on 23 September (Ken Blankenship; accepted, GCRC 2010-27).
"TRAILL'S" FLYCATCHER - Single silent birds were noted along the Suwanee Creek Greenway, Gwinnett Co., on 2 September (Brandon Best), at BUENWR on 5 September (Jim Flynn), and at CSU on 6 September (m. ob.). Additionally, one was banded on 10 October at JIBS (Charlie Muise).
LEAST FLYCATCHER - Another widely-reported Empidonax this fall, the species was first recorded at AP on 23 August (Jim Flynn), and was last recorded at CRNRA on 4 October (Nathan Farnau).
VERMILION FLYCATCHER - One adult male found at the Newman Wetlands Center, Clayton Co., on 17 September (Carol Lambert), was unfortunately never relocated.
WESTERN KINGBIRD - Two were seen on Sapelo Island on 24 October (Brad Bergstrom, Kristi Avera).
EASTERN KINGBIRD - An impressive 292 migrants were counted in a 10-minute interval on JI on 7 September (Brad Bergstrom).
GRAY KINGBIRD - Maximum counts on the coast during this period included: 4 at Mary Ross Park, Brunswick; 5 at W. Boundary Street, Savannah; 4 at Neptune Park, SSI; 5 at AIC; 2 (a nesting pair) at Brunswick Medical Center; and 3 at the JI golf course (m. ob.).
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE - An adult with 4 young observed along Fagala Road, Murray Co., on 6 August was a first breeding record for the site (Joshua Spence).
WARBLING VIREO - Individuals were found at KMT on 5 September (Bob Zaremba), at CLRL from 12-16 September (Ken Blankenship, m. ob.), at Richmond Hill WTF, Bryan Co., on 24 September (Jim Flynn, Earl Horn), and at Suwanee Creek Greenway on 29 September (Brandon Best), with possibly the same bird there from 3-4 October (m. ob.).
PHILADELPHIA VIREO - The first record (2 birds) came from Catoosa Co. on 6 September (David Hollie). The Hidden Pond Trail at CLRL remains the best place in the state to see this species, with a high count of 8 there on 18 September (Mark McShane). Rarely found on the coast, one was banded at JIBS on 7 October (Charlie Muise), and the species was last reported from BUENWR on 19 October (Walt Chambers).
FISH CROW - A huge flock of 300 was seen near Cartersville, Bartow Co., on 2 September (Jeff Sewell).
COMMON RAVEN - Three were reported from Rabun Bald on 10 October (Jane Seward, Kathy Shands).
TREE SWALLOW - A large roost of about 10,000 was seen at AWMA on 11 November (m. ob.).
BANK SWALLOW - The high count for the period was 18 at PCR on 18 September (Joshua Spence). The species was last recorded at AWMA on 24 October (Ken Blankenship).
CLIFF SWALLOW - A good count of 500 came from the Taylorsville Sod Farm, Bartow Co., on 1 August (Patty McLean), with 200 there the next day (Joshua Spence). The species was last recorded at AWMA on 10 October (Alison Huff).
CAVE SWALLOW - One was reported on 27 November from JI (Jim Throckmorton, Aaron Boone; accepted, GCRC 2010-30).
BARN SWALLOW - One at PCR on 25 October (Joshua Spence) was relatively late for the Ridge and Valley.
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH - A small irruption occurred into the state this fall. The first Piedmont record was from Little Mulberry Park, Gwinnett Co., on 21 September (Brandon Best), and by 27 November it was reported as far south as Bibb Co. (James Fleullan).
WINTER WREN - A new state high count of 53 was made along Cook's Trail, Clarke Co., on 7 November (Joel McNeal).
GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET - An impressive 49 were counted along Cook's Trail, Clarke Co., on 7 November (Joel McNeal).
GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH - The species was first reported from CSU on 5 September (James Fleullan). A good pre-dawn count of 50 was made in Greene Co. on 3 October (Paul Sykes). One seen at CLRL on 13 October (Joshua Spence) constitutes a new late date for the Ridge and Valley.
SWAINSON'S THRUSH - One at CLRL on 6 September was a new early date for the Ridge and Valley (Joshua Spence). Pre-dawn counts of 310 on 26 September and 365 on 3 October in Greene Co. were noteworthy (Paul Sykes). The species was last observed at the Albany Nursery on 30 October
HERMIT THRUSH - A good count of 38 was recorded on Cook's Trail, Clarke Co., on 7 November (Joel McNeal).
FALL WARBLERS IN CENTENNIAL OLYMPIC PARK
As in fall 2010, this urban park in the heart of Atlanta played host to a variety of late migrant warblers. This year, the phenomenon began later. One Tennessee Warbler was present 2-13 October, with 2 more from 16 November - 16 December. An immature Blackpoll Warbler was seen from 16 November - 10 December, and a Prothonotary Warbler was present from 18 November - 7 December. At least 2 Ovenbirds were present from 1-6 October, and another one was seen from 16 November - 11 December. Finally, a Yellow-breasted Chat was present from 16-24 November (all Nathan Farnau).
BLUE-WINGED WARBLER - The last report was 2 birds at CSU on 4 October (Nathan Farnau).
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER - This species was last reported from the State Botanical Garden, Clarke Co., on 11 October (Joel McNeal).
"BREWSTER'S" WARBLER - Singles were seen in Catoosa Co. on 13 September (David Hollie), at the Milledgeville Greenway on 14 September (Steve Parrish), and at HP on 30 September (Theresa Hartz).
"LAWRENCE'S" WARBLER - One was at HP on 22 September (Jeff Sewell).
NASHVILLE WARBLER - This species was first observed on 6 September at PCR (Joshua Spence) and in Catoosa Co. (David Hollie), and was last reported on 22 October from CSU (Jim Healy).
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER - Four seen at Fort Mountain SP on 28 October represented a new late date for the Mountain region (Tina Seitz).
MAGNOLIA WARBLER - One observed at KMT on 3 August matched the fall state early arrival date (Giff Beaton). A good count of 38 was made at CSU on 4 October (Nathan Farnau). The species was last reported at CRNRA on 7 November (Jim Healy).
CAPE MAY WARBLER - Singles were at Lake Herrick, Clarke Co., on 28 September and 1 October (Vanessa Lane, Richard Hall), on the Riverfront Trail, Albany, from 2-18 October (m. ob.), at the State Botanical Garden, Clarke Co., on 6 October (Joel McNeal), and 2 were on CINS on 10 October (Mark Freeman).
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER - One was a good find in Catoosa Co. on 16 September (David Hollie; accepted, GCRC 2010-32).
BLACKPOLL WARBLER - Away from COP (see above), individuals were seen along the Riverfront Trail, Albany, on 3 October (m. ob.), on Sapelo Island on 8 October (GOS field trip), and at Lake Mayer, Chatham Co., from 10-11 October (Nathan Farnau).
CERULEAN WARBLER - Ten at KMT on 22 August was a good count (Malcolm Hodges). One recorded in Albany on 19 September (Melissa Martin) represented a rare record from the Coastal Plain.
AMERICAN REDSTART - A peak count of 29 was made at CSU on 12 September (Nathan Farnau). One very late bird was in Camden Co. on 14 November (Joseph Knoll).
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER - An exceptionally late bird in COP (see above) was present until 7 December, almost 2 months later than the previous state late departure date for the species (Nathan Farnau, m. ob.).
SWAINSON'S WARBLER - Three were still singing at Riverbend WMA on 12 September (Jim Flynn). The species was last recorded on 15 September at Tuckahoe WMA (Brenda Brannen).
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH - One recorded on 26 August in Catoosa Co. represents a new early date for the Mountain region (David Hollie). An excellent high count of 14 was made at BUENWR on 6 September (Ken Blankenship, Nathan Farnau, Joel McNeal). Charlie Muise banded 2 at Panola Mountain SP on 11 September. One weighed 14.5 g, the other 19.5 g, illustrating the huge weight gain potential exhibited by these birds during migration. The species was last reported on 23 October from CSU (James Fleullan).
MOURNING WARBLER - One was found in Catoosa Co. on 14 September (David Hollie, m. ob.). Another was found in the State Botanical Garden, Clarke Co., on 4 October (Joel McNeal), and was still present the next day.
HOODED WARBLER - One seen at Big Canoe Meadows, Pickens Co., on 17 October was a new late date for the Mountain region (Theresa Hartz).
WILSON'S WARBLER - Widely reported, the first were noted on 4 September from Catoosa Co. (David Hollie) and Gwinnett Co. (Darlene Moore, Dan Vickers).
CANADA WARBLER - One recorded on LSSI on 21 August was a rare sighting for the coast (m. ob.).
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT - Away from COP (see above), a late bird was at AWMA on 29 November (Nathan Farnau).
BACHMAN'S SPARROW - There were 2 reports, from Godfrey Road, Morgan Co., on 22 August (Jim Flynn) and Yuchi WMA, Burke Co., on 2 October (Lois Stacey).
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW - One recorded at CLRL on 12 September set a new fall early date for the state (Ken Blankenship, m. ob.). Another inland bird was at McDaniel Farm Park, Gwinnett Co., on 24 October (Karen and Luke Theodorou). Two were at AWMA on 10 October (Paul and Joan Sykes), with one there on 29 November (Nathan Farnau).
VESPER SPARROW - This species was first reported from Clarke Co. on 10 October (Joel McNeal).
LARK SPARROW - Singles were seen on JI from 18-19 August (Jonathan Gray, Lydia Thompson), and on Wilmington Island on 25 August (Jeff Miller).
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW - One was banded at JIBS on 6 October (Charlie Muise). November records were received from Dougherty, Henry, Meriwether, and Clarke Counties.
HENSLOW'S SPARROW - One at the Johnson Ferry Unit of CRNRA on 17 October (Patty McLean) remained until at least 29 October. Another was reported from Murray Co. on 21 October (Johnny Parks, Steve Mammoser).
LE CONTE'S SPARROW - One was photographed at Albany Nursery WMA on 14 November (Melissa Martin), and the species was first recorded at the annual wintering site at BUENWR on 20 November (Patty McLean, Mark McShane).
NELSON'S and SALTMARSH SPARROWS - Both species were first reported along the coast on 8 October on the first day of the GOS fall meeting (m. ob.).
FOX SPARROW - One recorded at CSU on 22 October tied the early date for the species in the Piedmont region (Nathan Farnau).
LINCOLN'S SPARROW - Widely reported, the first record of one bird was from the Suwanee Creek Greenway on 2 October (Brandon Best). Most of the reports came from CRNRA, with a maximum of 4 seen at the Abbott's Bridge Unit on 23 October (Jason Lewis). One found at BUENWR on 11 November (Roy Brown) was present through the end of the period.
SWAMP SPARROW - A bird photographed on 25 September at the State Botanical Garden in Athens represented the earliest documented fall arrival of the species in the state (Vanessa Lane, m. ob.).
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW - First reported on 10 October from Clarke Co. (Joel McNeal, Bill and Karla O'Grady), the high count of this species was 36 on PCR on 25 November (Joshua Spence).
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK - An adult male was seen as late as 18 November in Suwanee (Rusty Trump).
INDIGO BUNTING - A high count of 100 was made at AWMA on 9 October (Charlie Muise). The species was last reported at CSU on 3 November (Nathan Farnau).
PAINTED BUNTING - A male first seen in a Glennville backyard on 11 November was joined by a second male on 22 November (Gene Wilkinson), with both remaining through the end of the period. Other late records came from Savannah on 6 November (Sandy Beasley) and AWMA on 29 November (Nathan Farnau).
DICKCISSEL - A female observed carrying food at Brandon Farm Road, Bartow Co., on 15 August may represent a second nesting attempt (Ken Blankenship, Nathan Farnau, Joel McNeal). Late birds were seen in Clarke Co. on 6 October (Joel McNeal) and at AP on 28 October (Jim Flynn).
BOBOLINK - The first record of the fall was 8 birds in Greene Co. on 15 August (Paul Sykes), and the last record of 2 birds came from CSU on 24 October (Chris Lambrecht).
BREWER'S BLACKBIRD - Three observed on PCR on 13 November (Joshua Spence) were the first of the fall.
ORCHARD ORIOLE - Late records came from AWMA on 10 October (Paul and Joan Sykes), and OM on 16 October (John McMahan). One immature male was found at Lake Herrick, Clarke Co., on 21 October and was still present until early December (see below).
WINTERING ATTEMPT BY AN ORCHARD ORIOLE IN CLARKE COUNTY
On 21 October, the author was surprised to find a small yellow oriole in a Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) and kudzu (Pueraria lobata) thicket at Little Lake Herrick, Clarke County. The small size and short tail gave the bird a warbler-like appearance, favoring immature Orchard Oriole over Hooded Oriole. Surprisingly, the bird remained faithful to the same small area for several weeks, and commenced molt. By early December, the bird had attained a fully black throat and some black feathering in the crown, as well as some dark orange feathers in the breast and flanks, confirming its identification as a first calendar year male Orchard Oriole. It was last seen on 4 December, when sub-freezing conditions may have caused it to perish or move on. The site had been birded almost daily through the fall, and the local breeding Orchard Orioles were last seen on 29 August, suggesting that this bird was a new arrival. According to Birds of North America Online (http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/ species/255), Orchard Orioles commence molt after leaving the United States, on their wintering grounds in Central America. According to the ACOGB, this represents only the third winter record of Orchard Oriole in Georgia, following observations in Dalton in winter 1974-75 and Atlanta in December 1980. Over the last 10 years, wintering Orchard Orioles in the United States have been reported in California (multiple records annually), Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana (www.eBird.org).
BALTIMORE ORIOLE - Four birds were reported from Dublin on 12 November (fide Clifford Gibbons).
WINTER FINCHES - It appeared to be the start of another banner winter for observations of Pine Siskins and Purple Finches, with several records statewide, including some as far south as the Coastal Plain.
RED CROSSBILL - Two birds were heard calling in the Cohutta Wilderness, Gilmer Co., on 9 October (Ken Blankenship).
Richard Hall, Odum School of Ecology, 140 E. Green Street, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602