The Month In Birds, May 2015

Download Bob Spahn’s Noteworthies May 2015 here. Noteworthies May 2015  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.


  1. A pleasant spring month, with a taste of summer warmth. It ended up the warmest May on record. Temperatures averaged 64.0° F, 7.0° above normal. There were two record highs on the 8th and 9th, which were also the second earliest dates for back-to-back days above 90°. On the 10th there was also a record high low temperature set. In contrast, a freeze on the 23rd was the latest freeze since 1956. Rainfall totaled 3.41”, 0.540” above average, but 1.64 of that fell on the 30th – 31st, and most of the month was relatively dry. Birding was more influenced by the fronts and systems far off to our southwest, which blocked migrants for long periods with bursts of arrivals when that mess broke down briefly, periodically.
  2. Lingering waterfowl variety was reasonable, however numbers were low for most species and especially for divers. This carried over to the loons, grebes, and waders. Many of the late puddle ducks were again from the NMWMA. Good counts of Long-tailed Duck and Red-breasted Merganser were again noted on Lake Ontario. Glossy Ibis was the only rarer waterbird reported, and even the usual late-month Brant passage was only noted in a small number of birds in a brief window.
  3. Hawk flights for the month were weak, with the biggest day on the 9th with less than 3000 birds. There were no Black Vultures passing the hawkwatch, no Northern Goshawk reports at all, and Broad-winged Hawk totaled only 7789 birds. Another Swainson’s Hawk on the 4th brought the season’s total to 4. Tally of Sandhill Crane numbers passing the hawkwatch was not kept, and numbers reported elsewhere were relatively low, though the pair with young again was in place at Carncross Road in the NMWMA.
  4. Shorebird habitat was again very poor other than for a time on Salmon Creek and nearby, the lakeshore piers and beaches, and the Carncross Road area in the NMWMA, where less productive than last year. Nearly all expected species were reported, but numbers were poor other than a late fallout of Semipalmated Sandpipers. The highlight was a short visit by a local record high five Willets at the Salmon Creek site. Numbers for gulls and terns were also poor. The highlights were an adult Franklin’s Gull seen by only two observers and a brief appearance of a Thayer’s Gull late in the month. Again, there were the expected late records for white-winged gulls and some Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
  5. The Owl Woods roost counters added no additional owls. A pair of reports of late Snowy Owls, one bearing marks indicating having been banded, were interesting. Jim Adams is preparing a report summarizing owl counts for the season.
  6. Among some of the species we have been watching, there were no reports for Eurasian Collared-Dove or Monk Parakeet. The Common Nighthawk peak count of 107 was high for recent years and the number of E. Whip-poor-will reports from the Manitou area was up a bit. Fish Crow was reported continuously from the general Charlotte/Ontario Beach area but also from an array of more distant, new sites.
  7. Again, we recorded all of the expected passerine species except for Kentucky and Yellow-throated warblers and Yellow-breasted Chat, all really not expected annually now. The weather patterns resulted in bursts of migrants, often with strange mixes of birds expected earlier and ones normally later than the dates seen. There were times when observers at the right place and time found numbers reminiscent of the “old days”, but those were really exceptions. Generally numbers were low and there were abundant locations and times of scarcity. Interesting observations included: many early dates and good counts for flycatchers – Olive-sided had the best showing in years and Great Crested was everywhere; where are the Winter and Carolina wrens?; thrushes weak; and Cedar Waxwing almost nil until the 24th when on and after that date flock after flock was seen near the lakeshore flying low headed west. Among the warblers, there were especially good numbers of reports of Golden-winged and Orange-crowned warblers, and rarer species reported included: Worm-eating, Prothonotary, Connecticut, and Prairie. Moving along, most sparrows were so-so at best, though there were several Clay-colored Sparrow reports, some from new locations. Indigo Bunting seemed scarce, then suddenly there were lots everywhere. Finally, the few lingering repolls were gone before the month’s start and only Pine Siskins were left to represent winter finches.
  8. For those interested in more details, you can start with the table of Noteworthy Records on the RBA website and then look at the banding tally for the spring season on the BBBO website. The table and these field notes are summaries the data for the month, which include nearly 50,000 eBird records, over 100 geneseebirds posts other than those entered in eBird, the banding and hawkwatch tallies, and other records submitted to the records committee.
  9. Please send your records by the 5th of the month to Lynn Bergmeyer, 187 Longridge Ave., Greece, NY 14616.


Jim Adams, Janet Akin, BBBO (Betsy Brooks, et al.), John Ballou, Ted Barnett, Jessie Barry, Jim Barry, Sue Barth, Bob Beal, Doug Beattie, Don Bemont, Steve Benedict, Linda Clark-Benedict, Mike Bergin, Lynn Bergmeyer, Barry Bermudez, Brenda Best, John Boettcher, Steve Bremner, Robert Buckert, Robert Burack, Kris Byrd, Bruce Cady, Doug Cameron, Brad Carlson, Jim Carpenter, Mark Chao, Sarah Compter, Andrew Consler, Kelly Close, Kathleen Dalton, Doug Daniels, Willie D’Anna, Crystal Doyle, Daena Ford, George Ford, Kurt Fox, Drew Fowler, Kenny Frisch, Kyle Gage, Andy Garland, Chris Gates, Sheryl Gracewski, Jay Greenberg, Kevin Griffith, Georgia & Ralph Guenther, Michael Gullo, Judy Gurley, Andrew Guthrie, Ethan Gyllenhaal, Helen & Chris Haller, Kathy Hapgood, David & Vanna Harding, David Harrison, Eleanor Hartquist, Kim Hartquist, Jim& Allison Healy, Sue Heffner, Wesley Hochachka, Doug Holland, Dick Horsey, Bill Howe, Pamela Hunt, Carolyn Jacobs, Nicholas Kachala, Laura Kammermeier, Ryan Kayhart, Tom Kerr, Jim Kimball, Kathy Kirsch, J. Gary Kohlenberg, Kevin Koss, Elijah Kruger, Chris Lajewski, Tom Lathrop, Leona Lauster, Greg Lawrence, Tim Lenz, Joan & Vern Lindberg, Peggy Mabb, James Maley, Melissa Mance-Coniglio, Cindy Marino, June & Glenn Martin, Pat Martin, Lauri Mattle, Jay McGowan, Kevin McGowan, Chita McKinney, Bob McGuire, Matt Medler, Jim Miles, Mike Morgante, Celeste Morien, Brian & Brooke Morse, Allen Nash, Ann Nash, Tom Nash, Michele Neligan, Dave Nicosia, William Norton, Dave Nutter, Sue O’Neill, Michael Palermo, Andrea Patterson, Shelley Patterson, Norma Platt, Betsy Potter, Jay Powell, David Prill, Bill Purcell, Carolyn Ragan, RBA Field Trips, Thomas Riley, Sue Robertson, Michelle Rosenbaum, Ken Rosenberg, Wade & Melissa Rowley, Jennifer Rycenga, Livia Santana, Shirley Shaw, Dominic Sherony, Judy Slein, Tom & Pat Smith, Robert & Susan Spahn, Dave Spier, Chris Stanger, Joe Stevenson, Kim Sucy, Jim Tarolli, Steve Taylor, David Tetlow, Mike & Joann Tetlow, Mary Jane Thomas, Peter Thompson, Alison Van Keuren, Lee Ann van Leer, Tom & Jeanne Verhulst, Matthew Voelker, Brad Walker, Mike Wasilco, Dan Watkins, Ann Watson, Bridget Watts, Dave Wheeler, Kinsley Whittum, Joe Wing, Chris Wood, Dan Young. [In addition, there were 190 contributors to eBird this month, only those with records used listed here.]

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