Alabama & Mississippi: Spring 2020

Spring 2020: 1 Mar–31 May

Lawrence F. Gardella
[email protected]

Recommended citation:

Gardella, L.F. 2021. Spring 2020: Alabama & Mississippi. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-9Pz> North American Birds.

The season began wet and warm in most of the region, but seasonally cooler and much drier in the extreme southern portion of the region. By the end of March, temperatures soared to record highs in the southern portion, and got somewhat cool in May. Rainfall at the immediate coast continued well below average, while rainfall farther north was above average.

This April was different from the typical April. The Bermuda High, with its clockwise winds, was located much farther east than its usual April position. This allowed a series of surface and upper-level lows to track farther south across the southern US from west to east. This general westerly (winds out of the west) influence brought squall lines and cold fronts regularly to Alabama and Mississippi coasts, although the rainfall on the immediate coast was generally light. This caused the “Yucatan Express” to bring birds to stop on our region’s coast, as well as northwest Florida, more than at the coasts of Louisiana and Texas.

Though not significant for the birds, the rapid spread of COVID-19 had an immense effect on birding. In Alabama, many critical birding sites were closed for most of migration, including most of Fort Morgan State Historical Park and the best shorebird site on Dauphin Island, the peninsula still generally called Pelican Island. Both Alabama and Mississippi issued “shelter-in-place” edicts in early April, but as with most across the country they included an express exception for hiking in nature with social distancing. Many birders took it to authorize anything other than stationary birding, but in part because of messaging about staying home to avoid spreading the disease, many birders did a lot less birding away from home in spring 2020.

Birders were out in the field often enough to see that the expansion of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks continued in the region. In Alabama, Inca Doves, White-winged Doves, and Common Gallinules also continued to expand their ranges. An unusually high number of birds of interest appeared in Tuscaloosa. Alabama’s first occurrences of the spring migrant warblers were spread somewhat evenly across the State and not concentrated as much on the Gulf Coast and Tennessee Valley. In both northern Mississippi and northern Alabama, surprising numbers of rare Mourning Warblers appeared; and in some cases lingered for several days.

Contributors (subregional editors in boldface):

Skyler Abell; Sandra Allinson; John Anderson; Danielle Aube; Melinda Averhart; Trisha Baker; Robert Baker; Larry Basden; Wayne Baumgartner; Mary Ann Beauchemin; Andrew Bell; Matthias Benko; Charles W. Boley; Ned Boyajian; Cullen Brown; Chris Buff; James Burdette; Mary Burke; Fred Carney; P. Chappell; Bala Chennupati; Jonah Cohen; C. Dwight Cooley; Cary Cooper; Eric Cormier; Holly Cox; Ellen Crotty; Jamie Dalton; Abby Darrah; Jennifer Dial; John Diener; Lizzie Diener; John Faggard; Bob Foehring; Lawrence F. Gardella; Ben C. Garmon; Steve Garrison; Franco Gigliotti; Robert Goss; M. Scott Gravette; Timothy Guida; Alban Guillaumet; Evelyne Coronado Guillaumet; Eric Gustafson; Andrew Haffenden; Charlie Hagan; Stan Hamilton; Gregory J. Harber; Rob Harbin; J. Milton Harris; Amber Hart; Eric Haskell; Louise Hewlett; Geoffrey E. Hill; Jason Hoeksema; David Hopper; Howard E. Horne; Eugene Huryn; Debi Jackson; Greg D. Jackson; Wes Jarnigan; Brian Johnston; Michael Jordan; Rick L. Kittinger; Ron J. Kittinger; Gene Knight; Lianne Koczur; Bob Kornegay; Alaina Lamb; Dwight Lammon; James Latane; David Lewis; Herbert Lewis; Coryn Litteken; Craig Litteken; Denise Littleton; Fran Loyd; Robert Lukasik; John McMahan; Jessica McAlpine; Rodney McCollum; Frank McGhee; Michael McIver; Olivia Morpeth; Keith McMullen; Laura Meeks; Cindy Mirarchi; Ralph E. Mirarchi; Hal Mitchell; Kristina Mitchell; Matt Morrow; Sue R. Moske; Scott Mullens; Janice Neitzel; Dee Patterson; Wayne Patterson; Jack Paul; Braden Paulk; Darrell Paulk; Ansel Payne; Ashley Peters; Stephanie Pluscht; Rachel Reed; Robert Reed; Rick Remy; Michelle Reynolds; Emma Rhodes; J.R. Rigby; Mitchell Robinson; Pelham A. Rowan; Patsy Russo; Frank Sandford; Thomas W. Savage; Marion Schiefer; Terence L. Schiefer; Carlton Schooley; Damien Simbeck; Grace Simms; Renea Simpson; Kiehl Smith; Skip Smith; Billie Snell; Eric Soehren; Collin Stempien; Jimmy Stephenson; John W. Taylor; Sandi Templeton; Luke Thompson; Luke Teirlinck; Nathan Todt; Tarik Townsend; Tom True; Jim Varner; Ken Ward; Joe Watts; Satchell Watts-Kerr; James White; Pullen Watkins; Scottie Whigham; Dawn White; Mike Williams; Kenneth Wills; Susan Wood; Joe Wujcik

Abbreviations: Blakeley (Blakeley Island dredge disposal ponds or “mud lakes”, Mobile, AL); B.B.S. (Breeding Bird Survey); Dauphin (Dauphin Island, Mobile Co, AL); Clack Rd. (Clack Road, Tunica Co, Mississippi); Eufaula NWR (Eufaula NWR, Barbour Co); Fort Morgan (Fort Morgan State Historical Park, Baldwin, AL); G.C. (Gulf Coastal region of s. Alabama); I.C.P. (Inland Coastal Plain region of s.-cen. Alabama); M.R. (Mountain region of n. Alabama); Swan Creek (Swan Creek WMA, Limestone Co, Alabama); T.V. (Tennessee Valley region of n. Alabama); Wall Doxey (Wall Doxey St. Pk., Marshall Co, Mississippi); Wheeler NWR (Wheeler NWR, Limestone Co/Morgan Co/Madison Co, AL). “Seven-county area” refers to the following seven counties in Mississippi near Starkville: Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Webster and Winston.

DUCKS THROUGH IBIS

On 24 Apr, seven Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks in Birmingham (JWa, ph., APa, LK, m. ob.) provided the third record for the MR, second in spring. Local but increasing in the I.C.P., Black-bellieds were at the following new sites: two near Autaugaville, Autauga Co 28 Apr (CH); two near Prattville, Elmore Co 20 May (GEH); two in Choctaw NWR, Choctaw Co 24 May (JDi); and two in Demopolis, Marengo Co 26 May (JDi, ph., LDi). Rare but increasing in the T.V., four Black-bellieds near Florence, Lauderdale Co 2–9 May (MMo, ph., m. ob.) yielded the fourth T.V. spring record, and three at Wheeler NWR, Morgan Co 6 May (MSG) the fifth. Occasional in Alabama, a Fulvous Whistling Duck was at Blakeley 25 Apr (KMcM, ph., CrL, LFG). Ross’s Geese are rare in the I.C.P.; one was near Hardaway, Macon Co 4–5 Apr (DH, ph., ES, et al.). Rare but almost regular in Alabama and casual in spring, a Cackling Goose in Florence, Lauderdale Co 24 Mar (DeP, ph.), was the third recorded in spring in the T.V. In Fairhope, Baldwin Co 28 May (JB, et al.), 115 Canada Geese yielded a G.C. spring maximum. Occasional for the region, a Cinnamon Teal from the winter continued into spring at Pipeline Road, Madison Co, Mississippi 8 Mar (PW, ph.). Casual in Alabama, a Blue-winged x Cinnamon Teal hybrid was near Tuscaloosa 9–25 Mar (SW-K, ph.). On the Mobile Causeway, Baldwin Co 1–10 Mar (KMcM), 40 Canvasbacks set a G.C. spring maximum. Four Ring-necked Ducks in south Etowah Co 20 May (GDJ) established a new MR spring late date; there are old summering records. Rare but regular in the I.C.P. in spring, 20 Greater Scaup at Tallassee, Elmore Co 8 Mar (GEH) set a spring maximum that was then tied by 20 at West Point L., Chambers Co 17 Mar (GEH); eight were in Eutaw, Greene Co 25 Mar (JWh); and two at Lakepoint Resort SP, Barbour Co 12 May (PC, ph.), which set a late spring record. At West Point L., Chambers Co 17 Mar (GEH), 220 Lesser Scaup established an MR spring maximum. An Alabama spring record 250 Bufflehead were at Wheeler NWR 11 Mar (SW-K), and 120 at West Point L., Chambers Co 17 Mar (GEH) set an MR spring record. In Birmingham, a Ruddy Duck 19 May (RB) was the latest ever recorded in spring in the MR; the species is casual in summer.

In Maplesville, Chilton Co (JWu, ph.), 45 Pied-billed Grebes provided a maximum for southern Alabama. Rare in the T.V., lone Eared Grebes were in Leighton, Colbert Co 20–28 Mar (DS) and 7 May (SRM). Still rare in Alabama but expanding in the region, Inca Doves both returned to regular locations and appeared at new sites. On the G.C., where they are rare but increasing, Inca Doves were at new sites in Satsuma, Mobile Co 6 Mar (JS); Daphne, Baldwin Co 15 Mar (JMcA, ph., MMcI); and Foley, Baldwin Co 25 Apr–12 May (ECr, ER). They were at regular sites in Mobile 22–30 Mar (DLi, ph.) and Robertsdale, Baldwin Co 5 May (JA). Casual in the I.C.P., Incas were at a new site in Ashford, Houston Co 16 Apr (RS) and a regular one in Faunsdale, Marengo Co 15–23 May (RLK, ph., RJK, LH, m. ob.). In Mississippi, Incas were at Warfield Point Park, Washington Co 23 May (AB, ph., GK) and Moss Point, Jackson Co 30 May (CSt, ADa). Rare but increasing in the I.C.P., a White-winged Dove was at a new site near Auburn, Lee Co 16 Apr–29 May (RMi, ph., CMi). A Yellow-billed Cuckoo heard on the Fort Morgan Peninsula, Baldwin Co 14 Mar (CaC) provided the earliest G.C. record. Rare in spring in the I.C.P., a Black-billed Cuckoo was heard at Eufaula NWR 18 Apr (RS, BK). In Huntsville 24 May (HL), 133 Common Nighthawks established a spring maximum for northern Alabama. A Chuck-will’s-widow heard in Grant, Marshall Co 6 Apr (MMo) was the earliest ever for the T.V. In Auburn, Lee Co 11 Mar (GEH), a Ruby-throated Hummingbird (ECr, ph., b., et al.) provided an early record for northern Alabama. A Black-chinned Hummingbird in Foley, Baldwin Co 10 Mar–27 Apr stayed later than any other in Alabama in spring.

Rare for the MR, a Common Gallinule was in Saginaw, Shelby Co 25–26 Apr (GJH, ph., KWi). Mobile Co’s first Limpkin—Alabama’s sixteenth—was in good habitat at Chickasaw Ponds, Mobile Co 22–26 Apr (KMcM, ph., m. ob.). Black-necked Stilts are rare but increasing in the T.V.; up to three were at Leighton, Colbert Co 4–24 May (DS, ph.); and two were near Florence, Lauderdale Co 9 May (GDJ, ph.). In inland Alabama, American Avocets are occasional in spring; up to four were at Leighton, Colbert Co 6–13 May (GDJ, ph., DJ); and two were south of that site 6 May (ES, ph.). Rare but regular in spring in the T.V., a Black-bellied Plover was at Leighton, Colbert Co 6 May (GDJ, ph., DJ). On 23 May, Alabama’s latest spring American Golden Plover record came from Leighton, Colbert Co (DS, ph., et al.). An inland Alabama maximum for Semipalmated Plovers was set by 79 at Leighton, Colbert Co 9 May (GDJ, ph.), and topped by 80 at Swan Creek 13 May (RJK, RLK). Upland Sandpipers are rare but regular in spring in the T.V.; one at Hazel Green, Madison Co 13 May (SRM, ph., JDa) tied the late Alabama spring record. That record was broken a week later when an Upland was at Ft. Morgan 20–21 May (JN, ph., et al.). Baird’s Sandpipers are rare in spring on the G.C. and in the T.V.; one was at Blakeley 20–24 Apr (KMcM, CrL, et al.), and one at Marthaler Pond, Colbert Co 13–14 May (DS, BC, et al.). A Buff-breasted Sandpiper on Dauphin 18 May (OM, ph.) tied the Alabama late spring record. In Leighton, Colbert Co and Courtland, Lawrence Co—respectively—23 May (GDJ, et al.), 300 Semipalmated Sandpipers established an inland Alabama maximum. Long-billed Dowitchers are rare in the MR; three were at White Plains, Calhoun Co 23 Apr (SS, ph., BPa, DaP). Near Holley Crossroads, Tallapoosa Co 23 May (FC), a Lesser Yellowlegs set an MR late spring record. Rare in early spring in Mississippi, a Whimbrel was at Jones Park, Harrison Co 1 & 5 Mar (SWh, ph., TG, CSc). Occasional in spring in the I.C.P., two Willets showed up in a neighborhood in Northport, Tuscaloosa Co 10 May (MBu, ph., TTr). Rare but regular in spring in the T.V., one was at Swan Creek 23 May (GDJ). In spring, Wilson’s Phalaropes are rare but regular on the G.C., rare in the T.V., and occasional in the I.C.P. and MR. A group of up to 14 was at Blakeley Island 20 Apr–1 May (KMcM, ph., CrL, BCG, et al.); six were at Swan Creek (BC, ph.); one was near Tuscaloosa 23 Apr (EHu, ph., SW-K, FG, et al.); one was near Piedmont, Calhoun Co 24 Apr (SS, ph.); seven were near Florence, Lauderdale Co 30 Apr (DS); and up to four were in Leighton, Colbert Co 3–13 May (AHar, ph., et al.). A Red-necked Phalarope at Marthaler Pond, Colbert Co 23 May (GDJ, ph.) provided the fourth spring inland record, third T.V. record and first for the T.V. in spring.

Rare in spring, a Franklin’s Gull was at Ocean Springs, Jackson Co, Mississippi (TG, DA, ph.). Laughing Gulls are rare but regular in the T.V., and the one at Guntersville 24 Apr and 17 May (BC, ph.) was at a regular site. A very rare Iceland (kumlieni) Gull was at Cat Island, Harrison Co, Mississippi 11 Mar (CSt, ph, ADa, TG, et al.). Lesser Black-backed Gulls are rare but regular, and increasing, in the G.C. and coastal Mississippi; one was at Blakeley 22 Mar (CrL, ph., CoL) and one at Court House Rd. Pier, Harrison Co, Mississippi 24 Apr (HC, ph.). Also rare but regular in spring on the G.C., a Glaucous Gull was on Dauphin 14–18 Mar (TTo, et al.), and the same or another appeared first on Dauphin 5–7 May (CrL, ph., AHaf, m. ob.), and later at Fort Morgan 10 May (SP, ph.). Rare in the MR in spring, five Caspian Terns were at Gadsden, Etowah Co 1 Apr (CBu), and one was at L. Neely Henry, Etowah Co 8 Apr (GDJ). At Leighton, Colbert Co 5–9 May (SRM, BC, ph.) there were a maximum of nine Black Terns, which are rare inland in spring. At Wheeler Dam, Lawrence Co and Lauderdale Co 25 Apr (WB), 150 Forster’s Terns set a spring inland maximum.

A Red-throated Loon found in Tuscaloosa 23 Mar (SW-K, ph., WJ, EHu, RL) was the first for the county; only the sixth overall for the I.C.P, and second in spring. At Tuscaloosa 21–23 Mar (WJ, SW-K), 41 Common Loons set a spring inland maximum. A rare Brown Booby landed on a cruise ship at least twenty miles south of Mobile Bay, Baldwin Co 12 Mar (FL, ph.). In Orange Beach, Baldwin Co 6 Mar (EG), 500 Northern Gannets provided an Alabama spring maximum. An Alabama spring maximum of 11 Anhingas were at Meaher SP, Baldwin Co 23 May (EHu). On 15 Mar an estimated 10,000 Double-crested Cormorants on the Dauphin I. Causeway (KMcM) set an Alabama spring maximum. An Alabama spring maximum of at least 500 American White Pelicans was established on the Coosa R. near Glencoe, Etowah Co 5 Mar (SGa, ph.), and then broken by at least 1000 at L. Martin, Elmore Co and Tallapoosa Co 5 May (FM, ph.). Occasional inland, a Brown Pelican at Gantt L., Covington Co 22 May (TWS) was the fifth spring I.C.P. record. The Great White Heron form of Great Blue Heron is occasional in the region; one at Auburn, Lee Co 4 Apr–31 Aug (LTe, GEH, ph., m. ob.) was the fifth for inland Alabama, first inland in spring, and second for the I.C.P. More than 500 Cattle Egrets at Wheeler Dam, Lawrence Co 23 May (DS) provided a spring maximum for north Alabama. Nesting Black-crowned Night-Herons at East L., Birmingham are doing well; 19 on 4 Apr (RB, TB) set an MR spring maximum. At Eufaula NWR 23 Mar–23 May (JMcM, ph., RS, BK, RoR, m. ob.). Eighteen Plegadis, several of which were definitely Glossy Ibis, set a maximum inland Alabama count for the genus, which is rare inland. Alabama’s only two White-faced Ibises for the season were one at Eufaula NWR 12–22 Apr (AG, GEH, ph.) for the sixth I.C.P. record and fourth in spring in the I.C.P., and one at Chickasaw, Mobile Co 26 Apr (BCG, PRu) for the eighth G.C. spring record. Roseate Spoonbills are rare in the region in spring. One at Eufaula NWR 22 Apr (AG, ph.) was the third found inland in spring. In Mississippi single Roseates were at Buccaneer SP, Harrison Co 16 May (JL, ph.); Jackson Ridge, Hancock Co 17 May (NB); Hillside NWR, Holmes Co 17 May (NT); and Pascagoula Beach, Jackson Co 22 May (BJ, ph.).

In Gulf Shores, Baldwin Co 5 Mar (KS), 20 Black Vultures established a G.C. spring maximum. A Swallow-tailed Kite near Auburn, Lee Co 29 Apr (MW) provided the eighth MR spring record. Mississippi Kites are rare in the MR and local but increasing in both the MR and the T.V. In the T.V., Mississippis were found in Hazel Green, Madison Co 1 Apr (BC, ph.); Tuscumbia, Colbert Co 22 Apr (DS); Leighton, Colbert Co 25 Apr (SAb); and Agua Vista, Lauderdale Co 22–30 May (JP, ph.). In the MR, one was near Hanceville, Cullman Co 17 Apr (ECo, et al.); two near Talladega, Talladega Co 5 May (FC); two in Birmingham 11–18 May (MRe, ph., et al.); one in Hoover, Jefferson Co 13 May (KWi); two at White Plains, Calhoun Co 16 May (SS, ph.); up to eight at Hamilton, Marion Co (CB, ph., SW); and one at Oxford, Calhoun Co 19 May (ST). Alabama’s earliest spring Broad-winged Hawk was at Homewood, Jefferson Co 13 Mar (BCG); they are casual in winter inland.

OWLS THROUGH VIREOS

A rare Short-eared Owl was at New Round Island, Harrison Co 16 Mar (TG, ph., MA). Peregrine Falcons have not been confirmed as nesting in Alabama since 1962; a pair was in downtown Birmingham 11 Apr–27 Aug (GJS, ph.). Alabama’s second Couch’s Kingbird identified by voice was at Triple D Ranch, Sumter Co 4–8 Mar (JeD, ph., GDJ, v.r., m.ob); there are now eight Alabama records for the Tropical/Couch’s complex. In spring Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are rare between the Coast and established breeding areas; at Birmingham Airport, a Scissor-tailed perched on a fence 16–17 May (GJH, ph., et al.) was the fifth in spring for the MR; and one nest-building near Piedmont was the sixth and the second confirmed as nesting in the MR. In spring Olive-sided Flycatchers are rare in the region. On 10 May one was at Sauta Cave NWR, Jackson Co, Alabama (DLe); one was heard near Shanghai, Limestone Co 12 May (DS); one was at a private residence in Tate Co, Mississippi 15 May (JV, ph.); one at Clack Road 16 May (AB, ph.); and another Olive-sided was outside the entrance to a private hunting and fishing club in Monroe Co, Mississippi 24 May (WP, ph.). Rare in the T.V. in spring, a single Willow Flycatcher was singing near Courtland, Lawrence Co 4 May (DS), and another was calling and/or singing at Hazel Green, Madison Co 9–15 May (KWa, CDC); neither was at one of the few regular nesting sites in the T.V. A high count of five rare Alder’s Flycatchers were singing at Clack Rd. 11 May (BF, RH) where two had been found 9 May (BF, HM, RH, et al.), just part of the contingent of singing Alder’s in Mississippi. Another was at Wall Doxey 11 May (CB, MRo, v.r., et al.). One was reported from the other side of Holly Springs at Coldwater River, Marshall Co 13 May (HM, KM RH, v.r.), along with a rare Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (HM, KM RH, ph.), Acadian, Willow and Least flycatchers and other empids left unidentified. Yet another was at Bagley Bottoms, Lafayette Co 14 May (JHoe, v.r.), and one at Crenshaw, Panola Co 18 May (RH, v.r.). Occasional inland, a Vermilion Flycatcher near Emelle, Sumter Co 8 Mar (EHu, ph., SW-K, JeD, KMcM, et al.) was the fifth in spring for inland Alabama and fourth for the I.C.P. A very rare Bell’s Vireo, which has never bred in Mississippi, sang “constantly” from an exposed position at Tunica, Tunica Co 5–18 May (RH, JHoe, ph., m. ob.). The earliest White-eyed Vireo for the T.V. was heard in Salem, Limestone Co 16 Mar (CDC). Warbling Vireos are rare in Alabama, where one sang in Mountainbrook, Jefferson Co 11 Apr (PAR); one was heard in Wheeler NWR, Morgan Co 20 Apr (MSG, v.r.); one at Cahaba NWR, Bibb Co 21 Apr (JWu, ph.); one at Dauphin 26–30 Apr (AHaf, m. ob.); one near Waterloo, Lauderdale Co 7 May (RJK, RLK); and one at Chewacla SP, Lee Co 7 May (RMcC). A Red-eyed Vireo at Coker, Tuscaloosa Co 20 Mar (DLa) provided an early I.C.P. record. Black-whiskered Vireos are rare but regular on the G.C.; one was on Dauphin 13–21 Mar (DLi, ph., m. ob.).

CROWS THROUGH BLACKBIRDS

In Tuscaloosa 14 Mar (EHu, SW-K), 150 Fish Crows established an I.C.P. spring maximum. Now rare in the I.C.P. where they breed occasionally, six Horned Larks were singing and displaying at Hartford, Geneva Co 23 Mar (GEH), and two were singing near Chancellor, Coffee Co 14 Apr (GEH). In Daphne, Baldwin Co 28 May (LFG), a Tree Swallow set a late spring record for the G.C.; there is one June record. A Barn Swallow in Auburn, Lee Co 5 Mar (GEH) was the earliest ever for the MR. Cave Swallows are rare but regular in spring in the G.C.; one was at Fort Morgan 14 Mar (TTo); Dauphin had singles 18 Mar (MBe, ph.) and 5 Apr (EHa, ph., LFG); and one was on the Mobile Causeway, Baldwin Co 25 Apr (CrL).

Golden-crowned Kinglets provided late spring records for the T.V. with one at Monte Sano SP, Madison Co 25 Apr (BC, ph.), and for the I.C.P. with one heard at Smith’s Station, Russell Co 27 Apr (JWT). Another T.V. spring late record came from two Ruby-crowned Kinglets at Monte Sano SP, Madison Co 11 Mar (BC, ph., JMH), and a Ruby-crowned in Gadsden, Etowah Co 13 Mar (BS) tied the record for the latest in north Alabama in spring. A Veery heard singing and calling in Wetumpka, Elmore Co 18 Apr (GEH) was the earliest ever for the I.C.P. In Huntsville 24 Mar (HL), 580 Cedar Waxwings established a T.V. spring maximum. An American Pipit in Leighton, Colbert 7 May (SRM) set the late spring record for north Alabama and tied the latest Alabama spring record.

At Chickasawhay WMA, Jones Co 26 Mar (LB) 12 Bachman’s Sparrows established a Mississippi maximum. Rare in the MR and occasional in the MR in spring, a Lark Sparrow was at Bankhead N.P., Lawrence Co 8 Apr (MSG). At Salem, Limestone Co 16 Mar (CDC), 10 Vesper Sparrows provided a north Alabama spring maximum. A Dark-eyed Junco that stayed in Alabaster, Shelby Co until 17 May (SAl) tied the late MR spring record. In Daphne, Baldwin Co 19 Apr (LFG), 53 White-throated Sparrows provided a spring maximum for south Alabama. At Gulf SP, Baldwin Co 10 Mar (SMu), eight Song Sparrows set a spring G.C. maximum. Rare in the MR, especially in spring, single Lincoln’s Sparrows were in Saginaw, Shelby Co 17 Apr (FS), and near Hanceville, Cullman Co 24 Apr (ECo). At Blakeley 4 Apr (EHa), 26 Swamp Sparrows established a G.C. spring maximum. A young birder found the first Nelson’s Sparrow recorded on eBird for Barbour Co, Alabama at Eufaula NWR 21 Mar (LTh); it was the tenth for the I.C.P. and second in the I.C.P. in spring. Occasional in inland Alabama, a Yellow-headed Blackbird at Marthaler Pond, Colbert Co 14 May (GDJ, ph.) was the eighth for the T.V. and its second in spring. A singing male Bobolink at Saginaw, Shelby Co 14 Apr (GS, ph.) was the earliest for north Alabama. Occasional now on the G.C., the region’s first Shiny Cowbird in several years came to feed on Dauphin 2–6 May (HEH, PRu, ph., AHaf, m. ob.). Brewer’s Blackbirds are local and erratic in the T.V.; 58 at Leighton, Colbert Co 4 Apr (DS) provided a T.V. spring maximum.

An Ovenbird heard in Phenix City, Russell Co 17–23 Mar (JWT, v.r.) was the earliest ever for inland Alabama. A Worm-eating Warbler heard in Tallassee, Elmore Co 28 Mar (GEH) set an early I.C.P. spring record. At Ft. Morgan 18 Apr (MJ) a Golden-winged Warbler X Blue-winged Warbler hybrid was the fifteenth of this phenotype for Alabama, the tenth in spring and the fifth in spring on the G.C. The I.C.P. spring maximum for Black-and-white Warblers was tied by 10 at Lake Lurleen SP, Tuscaloosa Co 20 Apr (EHu). A Tennessee Warbler at Wheeler NWR, Madison Co 23 May (CDC) was the latest in spring for the T.V. In Birmingham 9 Apr (RLK, RJK, GDJ), 10 Orange-crowned Warblers provided an Alabama spring maximum. Rare in spring in the G.C., a Nashville Warbler was on Dauphin 19 Apr (JF). Rare but regular in spring in the MR, a Nashville was heard in Birmingham 2 May (GDJ). Rare but regular in spring in the T.V., for Mourning Warblers were heard in the region; one sang at Monte Sano, Madison Co 6–10 May (GDJ, JMH, m. ob. ph., v.r.); another sang at Wheeler NWR, Morgan Co (MSG, v.r.); a different one sang at Swan Creek WMA, Morgan Co, Alabama 9 May (MSG, v.r.); and another was heard in Madison, Madison Co (KWa). On 10 May Mourning Warblers appeared at two locations in Mississippi, where also rare; one sang in Columbus, Lowndes Co 10 May (RH, MS, v.r.); another one (or two, if not the same bird the two dates) sang at Wall Doxey May 10 & 13 (JR, v.r., BF, ph.). One more was at Coldwater River, Marshall Co 13 May (HM, KMi, RH, ph., v.r.), one at Bagley Bottoms, Lafayette Co 20 May (JR, CB, ph.) and one at Starkville, Oktibbeha Co 20 May (MS, TLS, ph., m. ob.). Late records for Cape May Warbler were established for the MR by one at Bankhead N.F., Winston Co 17 May (AHar) and for the T.V. by one near Scottsboro, Jackson Co 20 May (AHar). The earliest ever Northern Parula for the T.V. was at Round Island Creek P.U.A., Limestone Co 10 Mar (CDC). In Tuscaloosa, a Magnolia Warbler 3 Apr (EHu) provided an I.C.P. early record. A Bay-breasted Warbler in Elkmont, Limestone Co 21 May (CDC) was the latest in spring for the T.V. At Monte Sano SP, Madison Co 27 Apr (RG), nine Blackburnian Warblers tied the T.V. spring maximum. The earliest MR record for Chestnut-sided Warbler came from one in Birmingham 3 Apr (SH). A Chestnut-sided in Salem, Limestone Co 22 May (CDC) tied the late date for the T.V. At Chewacla SP, Lee Co (RMcC), a Blackpoll Warbler 28 Apr set an I.C.P. late spring record. Rare in the MR but more regular in recent years, Black-throated Blue Warblers were near Chelsea, Shelby Co 25 Mar (Ala, ph.); in Birmingham 22 Apr (GDJ) (singing) and 27 Apr (JC); and at Cahaba River NWR, Bibb Co 1 May (JWu, ph.). Occasional in the I.C.P., a Black-throated was in Wetumpka, Elmore Co 26 Apr (AG, ph., ECG). At Ft. Morgan 1 Mar (MAB), 20 Palm Warblers tied the G.C. spring record. At Splinter Hill Bog, Baldwin Co 3 Mar (LFG), 24 Pine Warblers established a G.C. spring maximum. A Yellow-rumped Warbler in Tuscaloosa 27–28 May (SW-K) was the latest in spring for Alabama; there are two mid-June records. A singing male Black-throated Green Warbler in Tuscaloosa 19 May (SW-K) was the latest in spring for the I.C.P. Rare in spring in Alabama, four single Wilson’s Warblers were in the MR, and one in the T.V. They were also found in Birmingham 6 Apr (RRe); Hoover, Jefferson Co 6 Apr (KWi); near Hanceville, Cullman Co 24 Apr (ECo, v.r.); Hoover, Jefferson Co 25 Apr (KWi, GJH); and Wheeler NWR, Madison Co 17 May (SRM).

In Pine Level, Autauga Co 27 Mar (APe), a Summer Tanager was the earliest recorded in spring in inland Alabama; there are several winter records. A Rose-breasted Grosbeak in Huntsville 11 Apr (CWB) was the earliest in spring for the T.V. In Deatsville, Autauga Co 22 Apr (RaR, ph.), 15 Rose-breasteds provided an I.C.P. spring maximum. Occasional in the MR, mostly in spring, Painted Buntings were at Hackleburg, Marion Co 19 Apr (DW) and Homewood, Jefferson Co 25 Apr (GS, ph.).

Report processed by José R. Ramírez-Garofalo, 14 Jan 2021.

Photos–Alabama & Mississippi: Spring 2020

Hover or click on each image to read the caption.