Download Bob Spahn’s Noteworthies NOV 2014 table here.
To report your December (or future) records: When possible, please enter bird lists into eBird or post on geneseebirds. Otherwise, please send December’s reports by the 5th of January to Lynn Bergmeyer. 107 Longridge Ave., Greece, NY 14616.
- A cold, wintry month, as several cold air masses swept southward across the region. One of these brought an historic snow event to areas mostly to our west, though snow to a foot or so depth reached into the SW corner of Monroe County. Temperatures reached as low as 15°F on the 19th. There were a few short warm spells, including a 70 degree day on the 24th right after the big snow. The only record set was a tie of the record low high temperature for November at 26°F on the 18th (prior 1951). A first official recording of 32° on the 8th was the 5th latest for this “event” on record locally. Temperatures averaged 38.7°F, 1.8° below normal, and precipitation totaled 2.41”, 0.53” below normal. There was at least a trace of snow on all but 5 days, but measurable snow on only 13 days. Snowfall totaled 9.1”, 1.8” above normal.
- Among the waterbirds, nearly all expected species were reported, with the rarer exceptions being King Eider, Barrow’s Goldeneye, and Northern Gannet. We again had the now-expected sightings of Greater White-fronted, Ross’s, and Cackling geese. As illustrated in the noteworthy table, peak counts for most species were well below expectations, especially for the diving ducks such as Canvasback, Redhead, both scaup, and even the scoters. Peak counts for the regular loon species were low, but there was again an appearance by Pacific Loon at Hamlin Beach and several Eared Grebes were reported. Once again we also had the late appearance of Cattle Egrets at two locations, with three birds in the one case.
- Raptors were generally scarce, no Black Vultures, late Ospreys, or Northern Goshawk, and only a few Rough-legged Hawks. An immature Golden Eagle photographed by Jim Adams in Oatka Creek Park was particularly noteworthy. Early in the month saw the start of another substantial influx of Snowy Owls. There was even note on the internet of one of those outfitted with a transmitter in Project Snowstorm arriving in transmission distance just to our north. Short-eared Owls also arrived in small numbers at one of last winter’s sites. Numbers of reports for both Merlin and Peregrine Falcon were lower than usual this month. Northern Shrike reports were scattered about through the month.
- Only a very few Sandhill Cranes were reported in our Region, though big numbers (to 82 in early December!) continued past season’s end just south into Region 1 in the NMWMA. Late marsh bird reports were few, other than a lingering American Bittern.
- Several expected shorebirds lingered to fairly normal departures dates, though numbers were low and there were no surprises. Purple Sandpipers were not reported past the 1st; a relatively poor showing.
- Reflecting the new taxonomic order, we next have only a single jaeger for the month, but then the bird of the month, a murre species (very likely Thick-billed), was seen passing Hamlin Beach by Steve Taylor. Among the gulls, there were no reports of Black-legged Kittiwake or Little Gull, but the first Iceland and Glaucous gulls for the season and three Lesser Black-backed Gulls were reported.
- Non-passerine landbirds again contributed few reports other than the owls previously noted. There were again no reports for either Eurasian Collared-Dove or Monk Parakeet. Only a lone Red-headed Woodpecker was reported and very few lingering Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.
- Among the passerines, birds seemed so-so at feeders and generally scarce in the field. There are very few even decent high counts this month. However, there was a good number of reports of interesting late species, including: Eastern Phoebe, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher, and eight species of warblers. Several of the late birds were at dates beyond their latest in the Monroe County Checklist (1985) departure distributions. Some will be listed as RL (record late), but the assessment of RL or winter lingerer should be made with some additional discussion by a local records committee and others. The winter irruptive species we look for were represented by a lone Bohemian Waxwing, a few passing White-winged Crossbills, a few more Pine Siskins, and Evening Grosbeaks at one feeder. Lapland Longspur and Snow Bunting were around, with even a report of 520 of the latter, but with little snow cover to push them to road edges they could be hard to find. The lone passerine rarity was a cooperative Lark Sparrow – the region’s 8th – at Hamlin Beach. Cave Swallow was missed, but this was not a month for fast systems from the southwest.
This Month’s Observers:
Jim Adams, Janet Akin, John Ballou, Jessie Barry, Jim Barry, Sue Barth, Doug Beattie, Don Bemont, Lynn Bergmeyer, Barry Bermudez, John Boettcher, BBBO = Braddock Bay Bird Observatory, Robert Buckert, Kim Byrd, Bruce Cady, Brad Carlson, Doug Cameron, Donna Carter, Kelly Close, Seaghan Coleman, Andrew Consler, Charlie Cowling, Kathleen Dalton, Doug Daniels, Willie D’Anna, George Ford, Kurt Fox, Kyle Gage, Andy Garland, Kristine Genegon, Sheryl Gracewski, Jay Greenberg, Kevin Griffith, Ralph & Georgia Guenther, Michael Gullo, Judy Gurley, Andrew Guthrie, Richard Guthrie, Ethan Gyllenhaal, Helen & Chris Haller, Kim Hartquist, Jim & Al Healy, Dick Horsey, Bill Howe, Roger Johnson, Vicki Kadow, Laura Kammermeier, Jim Kimball, Kathy Kirsch, Elijah Kruger, Leona Lauster, Greg Lawrence, Tim Lenz, Joan Lindberg, Peggy Mabb, Cindy Marino, Pat Martin, Lauri Mattle, Jay McGowan, Bob McGuire, Chita McKinney, Joe Mitchell, IBA Monitoring, Celeste Morien, Brian & Brooke Morse, Allen Nash, Ann Nash, Tom Nash, David Pippin, Norma Platt, Jay Powell, David Prill, Bill Purcell, Carolyn Ragan, RBA Field Trips, Wade & Melissa Rowley, Jesse Rubenstein, Jennifer Rycenga, Shirley Shaw, Dominic Sherony, Tom & Pat Smith, Robert & Susan Spahn, Dave Spier, Chris Stanger, Joe Stevenson. Kimberly Sucy, Jim Tarolli, Steve Taylor, Mike & Joann Tetlow, Mike Wasilco, Ann Watson, Bill Watson, Dave Wheeler, Sean Williams, Joe Wing, Chris Wood.