The Month In Birds, March 2015

Download Bob Spahn’s Noteworthies MAR 2015  here.  To report your future records:  When possible, please enter bird lists into eBird or post on geneseebirds.  Otherwise, please send your reports by the 5th of the month to Lynn Bergmeyer, 187 Longridge Avenue, Rochester, NY 14616.

Notes:

  1. A cold, dry, quiet month! Given the snow pack, the slow warm up and melting was a blessing. However there were no strong systems or real warm spells to induce early migrants to head our way; few were reported. By month’s end, all but minor shore ice had melted in our part of Lake Ontario, but much ice remained on the east end of the lake and on the Finger Lakes and other smaller ponds. Only two days reached even 50°F, with the maximum 53° on the 16th. There was light snow on 15 days, but only 12.8” total, 3.5” below normal. Temperatures averaged 30.0°F, 4.3° below normal. Precipitation totaled 1.34”, 1.16” below normal.
  2. 2. Given the snow and ice cover and generally cold weather, it is not a great surprise that migration was slow and the high counts reported were low across the spectrum of species. Snow Goose was an exception, with some very high counts noted in locations scattered across the region. Also, there were at least 29 new arrivals and some interesting birds and numbers as noted in the Noteworthy table. The species counts for March and the year to date were below the 10-year averages but better than last year.
  3. Along with the Snow Geese, we had a good number of Ross’s Goose reports. Given recent input on the incidence of hybridization with Lesser Snow Goose, whose presence is easily detected by the blue morph birds accompanying flocks, there is still some uncertainty around the identification of some of the individuals. Among the waterfowl, some of the rarer birds reported were a Greater White-fronted Goose, Eurasian Wigeon in two locations, a Green-winged “Eurasian or Common” Teal, a few more reports of the near-adult King Eider, Barrow’s Goldeneye, and a Common x Barrow’s Goldeneye hybrid.
  4. The official counter at the hawkwatch this year is Dave Tetlow. As expected with the weather, it was slow this month. The data is posted regularly to geneseebirds and to the hawkcount website. Again, the bulk of the birds (over 80%) were Turkey Vultures and over half of those in the last three days of the month. The only Black Vultures reported were at the Riga Landfill. Again, there were Golden Eagles after the 20th and a few Sandhill Cranes reported away from the hawkwatch.
  5. The only shorebirds reported were Killdeer, Yellowlegs, American Woodcock, and Wilson’s Snipe. The usual congregation of Great Black-backed and white-winged gulls at the north end of Irondequoit Bay was either largely missing or poorly reported, though all the expected gull species plus a Thayer’s Gull and an early Caspian Tern were reported.
  6. Snowy Owls persisted, especially at the Batavia (or Genesee County) airport vicinity, though many fewer than the tail of last year’s irruption. The migrant owls in the “Owl Woods” area on Manitou Beach Road were counted daily. Numbers were low, and it was suspected that the singles on many days were just a lone bird continuing in the area. By month’s end, Red-headed Woodpeckers had not yet turned up in Hamlin Beach SP and no Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers had been reported.
  7. Passerine arrivals were slow, with the highlights Eastern Phoebe and an early Tree Swallow and a few other species at expected dates. The only winter finch in numbers was Common Redpoll at a few locations plus a few Pine Siskins and only small numbers of Purple Finch.

Observers:

Jim Adams, Janet Akin, Ted Barnett, Jessie Barry, Jim Barry, Liz Barry, Mitchell Barry, Sue Barth, Bob Beal, Doug Beattie, Don Bemont, Steven Benedict, Lynn Bergmeyer, Barry Bermudez, John Boettcher, George Briggs, Bruce Cady, Brad Carlson, Gary Caryk, Kelly Close, Clyde Comstock, Andrew Consler, Lisa Cook, Charlie Cowling, Kathleen Dalton, Doug Daniels, Willie D’Anna, Laura Dirkx, Daena Ford, George Ford, Kyle Gage, Andy Garland, Sheryl Gracewski, Jay Greenberg, Kevin Griffith, Ralph & Georgia Guenther, Michael Gullo, Judy Gurley, Andrew Guthrie, Chris Guthrie, Richard Guthrie, Anita Gwara, Ethan Gyllenhaal, Robert Haggett, Helen & Chris Haller, Kim Hartquist, Jim & Allison Healy, Dick Horsey, Bill Howe, Nichlas Kachala, Brian Keyes, Jim Kimball, Kathy Kirsch, J. Gary Kohlenberg, Chris Lajewski, Jenny Landry, Tom Lathrop, Leona Lauster, Greg Lawrence, Tim Lenz, Joan & Vern Lindberg, Peggy Mabb, Bill Maier, Melissa Mance-Coniglio, Cindy Marino, Pat Martin, Jay McGowan, Chita McKinney, Jim Miles, Celeste Morien, Roy Morris, Brian & Brooke Morse, Tom Nash, Joe Ovsiovitch, Michael Palermo, Norma Platt, Jon Podoliak, Jay Powell, David Prill, Carolyn Ragan, RBA Field Trips, Thomas Riley, Wade & Melissa Rowley, Jesse Rubenstein, Jennifer Rycenga, Andrea Sammarco, , Zaphir Shamma, Shirley Shaw, Tom Smith, Robert & Susan Spahn, Dave Spier, Chris Stanger, Joseph Stevenson, Kim Sucy, Steve Taylor, Mike & Joann Tetlow, Mike Wasilco, Bridget Watts, Kinsley Whittum, Joe Wing, Aaron Winters, Chris Wood.

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