Date: 7/16/17 5:53 pm From: Ned Brinkley via va-bird <va-bird...> Subject: Re: [Va-bird] The Next Fifteen (Bird) Species for Virginia?
And thanks for Bob Ake for reminding me that Lesser Goldfinch was missing from the second sentence - I completely forgot about that great bird.
On Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 8:57 PM, Bill McGovern <bmcgovern...> wrote:
> Ned: > Ned, this is an amazing document--it must have taken weeks to compile > the data, with countless re-writes! > Thanks! I will keep it at the ready! > Bill > > -----Original Message----- > From: va-bird [mailto:va-bird-bounces+bmcgovern=<cox.net...>] On > Behalf Of Ned Brinkley via va-bird > Sent: Friday, July 14, 2017 6:06 PM > To: VA-BIRD <va-bird...> > Subject: [Va-bird] The Next Fifteen (Bird) Species for Virginia? > > Virginia’s Next 15 Species? > > Every 10 years or so, I ask regional birders to help predict Virginia’ s > “Next 20 Birds.” Ten years after the publication of the Gold Book (2007), > many of the predicted species have now been detected and documented in the > state, including Red-billed Tropicbird, Smith’s Longspur, Crested Caracara, > Dusky Flycatcher, Townsend’s Solitaire (one report from Northern Virginia > had not been accepted), Brown Noddy, Calliope Hummingbird, Roseate > Spoonbill, Northern Lapwing, Ancient Murrelet, and Violet-green Swallow. > Other species that were not predicted, mostly because their patterns of > occurrence in the East were very weak, were nevertheless welcome additions > to our avifauna: Zone-tailed Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Bulwer’s Petrel, > Brewer’s (Timberline) Sparrow, Lucy’s Warbler, Brown-chested Martin, Lesser > Sand-Plover. And of course, those great rarities no one saw coming have > knocked our socks off, even if we might have missed them ourselves: Terek > Sandpiper, White-crowned Pigeon, Violet-crowned Hummingbird. (In the > business of predicting new species, being wrong is extraordinarily > enjoyable.) > > Perhaps because pelagic trips are so few off our Commonwealth, Bermuda > Petrel was not predicted to be detected, even though tracking devices > indicate that these rare birds do transit the state’s waters routinely, and > North Carolina birders have documented at least 31 there since 1993. But > sharp-eyed Tom Johnson found one at sea far east of Rudee Inlet and managed > to get good images from a research vessel, for Virginia’s first. > > Virginia has now added so many species with moderate to strong occurrence > patterns in the East at this point that in predicting the next set of > birds, I have limited the list to 15 rather than 20 species. > > Below are consideration of the various “groups” of birds (seabirds, > raptors, passerines, etc.), with notes on the likelihood of occurrence of > new species based on records from surrounding states as well as Canada > (Ontario eastward) and Bermuda. The records mentioned for potential new > species are not exhaustive by any means, just an indication of context for > possible Virginia appearances. > > SEABIRDS > > Not all seabirds are seen from boats, but because Virginia has so few > pelagic trips these days (1-2 per year lately), only one seabird is > predicted to be among the Next 15 Birds added to the state list. > > North Carolina has multiple records of Black-bellied Storm-Petrel, > Swinhoe’s Storm-Petrel, European Storm-Petrel, and Cape Verde Shearwater, > while Georgia and South Carolina each have a record of Red-footed Booby (as > does Nova Scotia). Records of Zino’s Petrel and White-chinned Petrel off > North Carolina are essentially singular in the western North Atlantic, > though Maine has a record of the latter. None of these birds above seem > likely to be recorded in Virginia unless more pelagic trips are undertaken, > though researchers might well encounter any of them. Masked Booby is > recorded almost annually now off North Carolina, with single recent records > from New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York, and I predict that > Virginia will soon add that species, probably from a research vessel > studying marine mammals. > > Lesser Frigatebird might have already occurred in Virginia; photographs of > the Wythe County frigatebird from 1988 look very much like a Lesser to my > eye. No measurements were taken of that bird, unfortunately. In North > America, the species is known from Michigan, Maine, Wyoming, and California. > > Tufted Puffin, as well as other Pacific alcids, now have open seas in the > higher latitudes in late summer, making plausible more Atlantic records in > addition to Maine’s (and England’s) recent records. Long-billed Murrelet > (two records each from North and South Carolina, three from Florida, and > about seven each in there Midwest and Northeast) could occur on an inland > Virginia lake in October/November, but inland records in North America have > plummeted in recent years. > > We’d love to see an Arctic Loon (Ohio, Vermont, Colorado; possibly a few > more) but far more likely is Yellow-billed Loon (Maine, Massachusetts, > Pennsylvania, Georgia, Indiana, with multiples from New York, Tennessee, > Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and many in the Great Plains and > Rockies)which makes my Next 15 List. If one is hoping to add new seabirds > via “splits,” then Scopoli’s Shearwater and Madeiran Storm-Petrel would be > the next likely additions for Virginia (these are currently treated as > types of Cory’s Shearwater and Band-rumped Storm-Petrel). Both have been > observed off Virginia in recent years. Barolo Shearwater, recorded a few > times off Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, seems a long shot off Virginia; > the species apparently forages in very deep waters and would potentially be > seen only by researchers. > > WADERS > > Western Reef Heron has been photographed in New York, New Hampshire, > Massachusetts, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, with others in the Caribbean, > and it seems a good candidate to occur in Virginia some day, though records > are still few and far between. Scarlet Ibis—hardly known in the United > States except as escapees or released birds in Florida, with one found > breeding in South Carolina in 2001—was recently reported in western > Virginia with photographs, but the record is not accepted. > > WATERFOWL > > Pink-footed Goose! The Northeast has a lot of recent records, with the > southernmost to Maryland (three records) and Delaware (at least two). Just > a matter of time for Virginia then! Less likely, by far, would be a Tundra > Bean-Goose (records from Nova Scotia and Quebec) or Lesser White-fronted > Goose (W. L. Sladen reported one in Maryland many years ago), or Masked > Duck (multiples in Florida, singles in North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, > Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Wisconsin), or Smew (New York, > Rhode Island, Illinois, Ontario), or Common Shelduck (records increasing in > the Northeast, with records south to Delaware). Mottled Ducks, introduced > to South Carolina, do not seem to be straying northward much, but Ontario > has a record, and the species has strayed in North Carolina as Lake > Mattamuskeet, so it should be looked for. See a funny-looking waterbird? > Take a photo! > > RAPTORS > > Neighboring states have records of Snail Kite (North Carolina has had one, > South Carolina two recently), Short-tailed Hawk (Georgia, Alabama; and > Michigan!), Eurasian Kestrel (Florida, Massachusetts, Nova Scotia, > Bermuda), Eurasian Hobby (Massachusetts), Red-footed Falcon (Massachusetts; > sight record at Cape May). Cape May has a possible banding record of Hen > Harrier, plus a sight report of Eurasian Sparrowhawk, to whet one’s > studying. None of these make the Next 15 cut, but any could occur! > > CRANES AND RAILS > > Virginia already has a record of Paint-billed Crake, and there are few > other rare rails we might add, though Corn Crake comes to mind (old records > from Maryland, New Jersey, New York, recent Maine record, and a suggestion > from Back Bay NWR’s first manager Romey Waterfield that he might have seen > one there many years ago!). Pennsylvania and Texas have records of Spotted > Rail, so almost anything in that family would be imaginable; Delaware and > Georgia and Bermuda have records of Purple Swamphens, and New York has a > record of Azure Gallinule, though some of these records are not favored by > local committees. > > SHOREBIRDS > > This is a huge group of species, mostly migratory, but many that have not > yet been reported in Virginia have weak patterns of vagrancy in the East. > None of the following would make the cut: Southern Lapwing (Florida, > Maryland), Wood Sandpiper (New York, Rhode Island, Delaware, Bermuda, > Newfoundland), Great Knot (Maine, West Virginia), Broad-billed Sandpiper > (New York, Massachusetts), Common Snipe (Newfoundland, Bermuda, and maybe > Maryland), Gray-tailed Tattler (Massachusetts), Surfbird (Pennsylvania, > twice in Florida, Maine, at least four times in Texas), and Greater > Sand-Plover (Florida). > > More likely would be European Golden-Plover (Delaware, twice in New > Jersey, Maine, many times in Atlantic Canada), Little Stint (multiples for > New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, with singles > for Rhode Island, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ontario….we need not continue), > Spotted Redshank (North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, > Massachusetts several times, ditto Ontario, with singles in Ohio, Indiana, > Wisconsin, Kansas, Texas….), Pacific Golden-Plover (New York, New Jersey, > Maine, Florida, Delaware, Vermont), and Common Ringed Plover (North > Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland many > times, Ontario). Of these, Little Stint and Pacific Golden-Plover seem most > likely to be among the Next 15 Birds. > > GULLS & TERNS > > Certainly among Virginia’s Next 15 should be Slaty-backed Gull, now known > from dozens of records in the Northeast and Midwest, with other records > from Pennsylvania (two) and North Carolina. There have been reports already > in Virginia of Ross’s Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, and Ivory Gull, not > currently accepted, but those could be probably the next most likely gulls > to be found, with single records of Ross’s from Maryland and Delaware the > closest to Virginia. Equally likely, perhaps, is Kelp Gull (Maryland, > Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, with many more from > the Gulf Coast states), but far less likely would be Belcher’s Gull > (Olrog’s Gull? Florida has three records), Gray-hooded Gull (New York, > Florida), and Gray Gull (Louisiana) could reach us. Large-billed Tern (old > records from New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, Bermuda) seems a pipe dream, but > Whiskered Tern (two in New Jersey, one of those shared with Delaware) less > so - though freshwater habitats near the coast in Virginia are sadly very > limited in recent years. Cayenne Tern is not recognized in the United > States as a distinct species, but it’s certainly a plausible visitor to the > state; it has been photographed as close as Dare County, North Carolina. > > PIGEONS & DOVES > > Band-tailed Pigeon, an irruptive and migratory species, should be among > Virginia’s Next 15, with oddly no reports from Maryland or Delaware but > records from North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, New York, > Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Ontario, > Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois and many more from Ontario and parts > farther west. Inca Dove seems less probable but still possible, with > records from Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland (but > still none from the Carolinas), while European Turtle-Dove (Florida, > Massachusetts) would be a shocker in Virginia. > > OWLS & NIGHTJARS > > With the warming of the planet, visits from Northern Hawk Owl, Great Gray > Owl, or Boreal Owl seem less and less likely every year; records stop at > about the latitude of New York City or north of it for these birds, but > there is an odd report, not substantiated, of a hawk owl from West > Virginia. Antillean Nighthawk, with two North Carolina records (and one > from Louisiana), seems possible, but far more likely would be Lesser > Nighthawk, recorded in New Jersey (twice), West Virginia, and many times in > the Gulf Coast states. Lesser gets my vote. > > SWIFTS & SWALLOWS > > Hurricanes have produced (or been associated with) records for Common > Swift in Massachusetts and Black Swift in New Jersey (and both have been > seen in Bermuda after storms), and these are possible in Virginia, but the > records are not yet numerous enough to get the nod. Virginia has recorded > most if not all likely swallows and swifts; an addition to the Virginia > avifauna from either group of aerialists would be a remarkable rarity, > possibly from the Caribbean or Mexico but perhaps from Europe. Records of > Alpine Swift from the Caribbean suggest that these powerful long-distance > migrants can clearly survive the trans-Atlantic crossing. > > HUMMINGBIRDS > > Records of Violet-crowned and Magnificent Hummingbirds from the Virginia > mountains are truly remarkable, but consider that Virginia is almost > surrounded by records of Mexican Violetear (reported once in Virginia but > without photographs; records from West Virginia, Maryland twice, New > Jersey, Maine, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, etc.), and we still lack > an Anna’s Hummingbird record (3x in North Carolina, 2x each in > Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Ohio). Both should be on the Next 15 > list. Likewise possible are Broad-tailed Hummingbird (North Carolina, > Delaware, New Jersey, many times in Georgia), Buff-bellied Hummingbird > (multiples for both Carolinas and for Georgia), Blue-throated Hummingbird > (Georgia, Louisiana), Costa’s Hummingbird (Alabama, Florida, Michigan), > White-eared Hummingbird (Alabama, Mississippi, Michigan), and Berylline > Hummingbird (Michigan again!), or perhaps a Bahama Woodstar/Sheartail > (Pennsylvania), Amethyst-throated Hummingbird (Texas, Quebec), or > Green-breasted Mango (North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Wisconsin)? > > The non-passerines don’t have many more other groups that would provide a > likely vagrant, though New York has a record of Williamson’s Sapsucker, and > Pennsylvania has some tantalizing older records of Black-backed Woodpecker. > > PASSERINES > > Although Virginia has made up some ground lately and added Dusky > Flycatcher (and has a nice photographic record of Tropical/Couch’s > Kingbird, probably Tropical), the Next 15 will almost certainly include a > few new flycatchers, my guesses being Hammond’s Flycatcher, which is known > from Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Alabama, Nova Scotia, and > Massachusetts (four times!), and Tropical Kingbird, with three in North > Carolina, one in Maryland, two each in Delaware and Pennsylvania, three in > Massachusetts, one in Maine; the latter species has nested in Florida now, > and records from Gulf Coast states are increasing. Couch’s Kingbird > (Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan) and Cassin’s Kingbird (three > each Massachusetts and Ontario, plus two in New York, many in Florida) > would be next in line, but less likely, with Thick-billed Kingbird > (Ontario, Texas) a dream-on sort of vagrant, and Great Kiskadee (New York, > South Carolina, recently to South Dakota!) slightly less so. Gray > Flycatcher (Massachusetts, Delaware, North Carolina, at least twice each in > Ohio, Louisiana, Ontario) seems very likely to appear in Virginia, but > records are not quite numerous enough to put it on the Next 15. The same is > true for those streaky enigmatic Sulphur-bellied, Variegated, and Piratic > Flycatchers, any of which could appear in Virginia, most likely in fall on > the coast: records of vagrants are widespread but thin on the ground. A > silky-flycatcher like Phainopepla (not a flycatcher, of course) would > brighten birding in Virginia, but records of vagrants only reach Ontario, > Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. > > Of the other passerine groups, thrushes, warblers, blackbirds, and finches > are more likely than vireos or smaller taxonomic groups to produce new > records, but White Wagtail is worth a mention: though there are only about > nine U. S. records east of the Mississippi, three are from the Carolinas. > Yellow-green Vireo also merits honorable mention, with records from > Florida, South Carolina, and Massachusetts but many more from coastal Texas > through Alabama. > > Of the thrushes, it is tempting to imagine a Fieldfare or Redwing in > Virginia, but both are still represented by only a sprinkling of records in > the Northeast. North American wood-warblers are more likely: Virginia’s > Warbler would be especially appreciated in Virginia (Maryland, West > Virginia, New York, Rhode Island, Maine, Georgia, with many more in the > Midwest), but a Hermit Warbler (multiples for Connecticut, New York, > Massachusetts, one for Maine), Grace’s Warbler (New York, Ontario, > Illinois), or Red-faced Warbler (Georgia, Louisiana) would be fine, as > would a Painted Redstart (New York, Massachusetts, Alabama, Ohio, Ontario, > twice in Wisconsin). Unlikely, surely, is Golden-cheeked Warbler: single > vagrants have made it to California, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Florida. > > Among sparrows, we still await our first Cassin’s Sparrow (North Carolina, > New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, and many more) and Golden-crowned > Sparrow, for which there are perhaps two-dozen records from Maryland to > Maine, a similar number in the nearer Midwest, and singles from South > Carolina and Tennessee. Both make my Next 15. > > In the blackbird family, a stealth vagrant, Western Meadowlark seems > likely enough to get a vote for the Next 15, with multiples documented in > North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, etc. The slowly expanding > Bronzed Cowbird, with a record north to South Carolina, could be a > contender. Of the orioles (as a group, very much on the rise as vagrants in > fall/winter), Scott’s Oriole (North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, > Pennsylvania, Kentucky) and Hooded Oriole (Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, > twice in Ontario) would be most likely, if not more likely than the > meadowlark and cowbird, but there are far-flung records of Altamira Oriole > (Mississippi) and Audubon’s Oriole (Indiana) and now Black-backed Oriole > (Pennsylvania, Connecticut). We can dream. Finally, a Brambling or > Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch or Eurasian Tree Sparrow could pop up at a feeder > in winter, as there are increasing patterns beyond the West/Midwest for > all. Georgia and Massachusetts have single records of McCown’s Longspur, > and Tennessee has three; this bird seems unlikely to make the cut to me. > > We would be remiss in neglecting records from Bermuda, which is closer to > us than is Chicago! There, Arctic Warbler, Dark-sided Flycatcher, > Ferruginous Duck, Booted Eagle, White Tern, Eurasian Dotterel (a 2015 > record from Ontario provides some hope!), Caribbean Martin, Common > House-Martin, among other gems. For veteran birders in Virginia, one of > these species has probably been seen, if distantly, at Craney Island, way > way back. Hmmmmm…. > > So what does this give us for our list of the Next 15 Birds? > > Masked Booby > Yellow-billed Loon > Pink-footed Goose > Pacific Golden-Plover > Little Stint > Slaty-backed Gull > Band-tailed Pigeon > Lesser Nighthawk > Mexican Violetear > Anna’s Hummingbird > Hammond’s Flycatcher > Tropical Kingbird > Cassin’s Sparrow > Golden-crowned Sparrow > Western Meadowlark > > Most of these have been on previous rounds of “Next 20 Birds,” though not > the Pink-footed Goose or Yellow-billed Loon. If one had to pick five more? > A hummer, a flycatcher, a shorebird, a gull, and an oriole! > > Why do this exercise every decade or so? Careful study of the birds that > are in front of us is greatly enriched when we are aware of all > possibilities, even remote ones, and critically identify the birds we see, > rather than logging the species we know to be most likely. Perhaps our > state lacks records for Western Meadowlark because most of us assume all > meadowlarks we see are Easterns? And perhaps we should pay more attention > to plovers with rings or with gold tones above? When we study birds closely > and we eliminate vagrants from consideration, we affirm these > identifications more definitively, confidently. Naturally, we don’t have > time to study every meadowlark we see to rule out Western, but when birding > is slow, why not look and listen to them for a few minutes, or hours? > They’re really beautiful birds to study for a good while, every now and > then. And when we study birds closely, we learn not just about plumage and > vocalizations but also about habits, habitat, and ultimately their status > and distribution where we are birding. Part of picking out something new > and unusual is learning the variation in the plumages, calls, and behaviors > of the birds that are not unusual. We sometimes see aberrant plumages or > even hybrids when we’re looking at each bird carefully, but often we learn > a new vocalization or see a new behavior. Some describe bird identification > as “educated guessing,” but careful birding can have a very high degree of > accuracy, of course. Having a few silent meadowlarks recorded on our lists > as “Eastern/Western” can remind us to spend more time looking and > listening. We also benefit from knowing what birders in surrounding regions > are seeing, as our planet changes and birds respond to these changes; we > continue to witness profound shifts in bird populations, and this > witnessing puts us in closer touch to our planet and our fellow species. > And we can communicate what we see to members of our own species, perhaps. > Finally, there is the particular thrill of seeing something we’ve never > seen before, or never seen in our local area, and sharing the discovery > with others. > > Ned Brinkley > Cape Charles, Va. > *** You are subscribed to va-bird as <bmcgovern...> If you wish to > unsubscribe, or modify your preferences please visit > http://mailman.listserve.com/listmanager/listinfo/va-bird *** > > *** You are subscribed to va-bird as <lists...> If you wish to unsubscribe, or modify your preferences please visit http://mailman.listserve.com/listmanager/listinfo/va-bird ***