Alabama & Mississippi: Spring 2022
Spring 2022: 1 Mar–31 May
Gardella, Lawrence. 2023. Spring 2022: Alabama & Mississippi. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-eZN> North American Birds.
Birders this spring continued to find various birds expanding their ranges north, west, and south. Although overall migration was relatively slow, the season had its highlights, including several rarities, an influx of unusual numbers of eastern migrants to coastal Alabama and good numbers of American Golden-Plovers in several parts of the region.
I once again thank Bob Duncan for much helpful information regarding the season’s weather. March started warm; dry in the south but wet in the north. On 9 March, a storm brought tornados to coastal Mississippi and western Mobile, the first of a series of strong storms arriving roughly weekly. A major cold front dropped temperatures below freezing even at the coast on 13 March. The bulk of this severe weather came before migrants arrived, so it had little impact on the birds. On the night of 30 March, heavy weather came to the coast when conditions for takeoff looked good in the Yucatan with southerly winds at about 2200 feet. Because it was early for a major migration event, not much came of it. Migration continued to be slow for the next ten days, particularly on the coast. A front on 7 April brought strong west-to-northwest winds into the Gulf of Mexico and may have vectored migrants toward the Florida peninsula. By 9 April that front had penetrated all the way to the northwest Caribbean Sea, shutting down northward movements. On 10 April, winds swung around to the south and later the southeast, but rain did not arrive when the migrants did, so birding continued to be slow. Inland Mississippi had heavy rain 12 April, but not much in the way of a fallout resulted. Generally, many species of birds that breed in the region moved north along paths to the east or west of Mississippi, so did not provide many early records or large numbers. In the Starkeville area wintering birds tended to depart somewhat early (both waterfowl and passerines), most nesting species arrived about the usual time or slightly later than usual, and migrants were relatively scarce.
A continental polar high-pressure system brought cool weather to the region, but by 22 April things changed. A warmer air mass located in the western Atlantic (Bermuda High) became ensconced, bringing east and southeast winds for more than a week. By 23 April the Alabama coast was inundated by birds that normally migrate to the east of the region: Blackpolls, Cape Mays, and Black-throated Blues. The Mississippi coast had smaller numbers of these eastern warblers, and very few showed up in inland Mississippi. May started dry and followed with heavy storms that were too late in the month for the vast majority of migrants.
Greg D. Jackson (Alabama), Terence L. Schiefer (Mississippi).
References to Regions of the States
Alabama has long reported data by region: Gulf Coast, Inner Coastal Plain, Mountain Region, and Tennessee Valley. Last summer, Mississippi adopted a regional system for reports, dividing the state into ten regions established by county borders, rather than physiological divisions. Region 1 is the Northwest, consisting of Coahoma, DeSoto, Marshall, Tate and Tunica Counties. Region 2 is the Tri-Lakes: Calhoun, Grenada, Lafayette, Panola, Quitman, Tallahatchie, and Yalobusha. Region 3 is the Northeast: Alcorn, Benton, Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lee, Monroe, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomongo, and Union Counties. Region 4 is the Upper West-Central: Attala, Bolivar, Carroll, Holmes, Humphreys, Leflore, Montgomery, Sunflower, and Washington Counties. Region 5 is the Upper East-Central: Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Webster, and Winston Counties (previously referenced as the seven-county area near Starkeville). Region 6 is the Lower West-Central: Claiborne, Copiah, Hinds, Issaquena, Madison, Rankin, Sharkey, Simpson, Warren, and Yazoo Counties. Region 7 is the Lower East-Central: Clarke, Jasper, Kemper, Lauderdale, Leake, Neshoba, Newton, Scott, and Smith Counties. Region 8 is the Southwest: Adams, Amite, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Pike, Walthall, and Washington Counties. Region 9 is the Southeast Inland: Covington, Forrest, Greene, Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Marion, Perry, and Wayne Counties. Region 10 is the Coast: George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, and Stone Counties.
Dauphin Island (Dauphin Island, Mobile Co, AL); Eufaula NWR (Eufaula National Wildlife Refuse, Barbour Co, AL units); Ft. Morgan (Fort Morgan State Historic Site, Baldwin Co, AL); G.C. (Gulf Coast region, Mobile Co/Baldwin Co, AL); I.C.P. (Inland Coastal Plain region of south and central Alabama); M.R. (Mountain Region of north central Alabama); T.V. (Tennessee Valley region of north Alabama); Wheeler NWR (Limestone/Morgan/Madison Cos, AL), Wilson Dam (Tennessee River, Lauderdale/Colbert Cos, AL); acc. (accepted by state bird records committee); ph. (photographed); v.r. (voice recorded).
Waterfowl through Hummingbirds
Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks continue their expansion in the region. Rare but now locally regular in the I.C.P., the ducks were in five new locations; two were in Brundidge, Pike Co 1 Apr (Geoff Hill), where workers said a flock had been present for two years; two were in Northport, Tuscaloosa Co 29 Apr (Eugene Huryn, Satchell Watts-Kerr, m. ob., ph.); two were in Tuscaloosa 8 May (Kevin Shaw, ph.); one was southwest of Tuscaloosa 29 May (K.C. Nishant, ph.); and two were in Wetumpka, Elmore Co 30 May (Todd DeVore, ph.). In Mississippi Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks continue expanding into Region 9; five were on Duncan Lake, Forrest Co 18 Apr (Love Tucker, Scottie Whigham, ph.); and two were in Laurel, Jones Co 18 and 20 May (Patti Armistead, ph.). Rare across the region, up to five Fulvous Whistling-Ducks were in Pascagoula, Jackson Co, MS 5–7 Apr (Gary Herritz, Brian Johnson, ph.); five were by the Washington Street Pier, Hancock Co, MS 15 Apr (Rhonda Plitt, Dena Temple, Joseph Dimberger); and one was in the Seaman Road Lagoons, Jackson Co, MS 19 May (David Reed, Brian Johnson, ph.). In Gadsden, Etowah Co 17 Mar (Reinhard Beatty, Mara Grossman), an estimated 140 Northern Shovelers established a spring Mountain Region maximum. A Green-winged Teal on Columbus Lake, Lowndes Co, MS 2 May (Terence Schiefer, Marion Schiefer) was the latest to depart the area by one day. At Meaher State Park, Baldwin Co, 4000 Gadwall 27 Mar (David Hewitt) provided a Gulf Coast spring maximum. White-winged Scoters are rare in the spring; one was at Bellefontaine Beach, Jackson Co 7 Mar (Emiliy Novak); two in Ocean Springs, Marion Co 15 Mar (Marion Andrews); off Dauphin Island 19 Mar (Carol Eldridge), 16 set a new Alabama spring maximum. On Lake Tuscaloosa 16 Mar (Pamela Green, ph.), 20 Horned Grebes tied a Mountain Region spring maximum. Casual in the region, a Western Grebe was at Ross Barnett Reservoir, Madison Co, MS 24 Mar–16 Apr (Andy Bell, Gene Knight, Tom Moorman).
On the Birmingham area spring count 30 Apr (John Imhof, m. ob.), 17 Eurasian Collared-Doves tied a Mountain Region spring maximum. Inca Doves are rare but increasing in the Gulf Coast Region and occasional but becoming regular in the I.C.P. Away from regular sites, one was at Creola, Mobile Co 1 Mar and 19 Apr (Nikki Burkett); one was north of Foley, Baldwin Co 2 Mar (Jim Wilson, ph.); another was on Dauphin Island 11 Mar (Carolyn Pomarius); one was at Perdido Beach, Baldwin Co 3 Apr (Autumn Nickle, v.r.); two returned to Ashford, Houston Co 3–18 Apr (Renea Simpson, Bob Kornegay); one was in Mobile 4 Apr (John Faggard); one was on Dauphin Island 17 Apr (Rachel Stewart); one was at a feeder near Bon Secour, Baldwin Co 19 Apr (August Herre, ph.); another was heard on Dauphin Island 23 Apr (Geoff Hill); and two were in Mobile 26 Apr (Jacqueline Wittmann, ph.). Accidental far from the coast, a Common Ground-dove was at Crowder, Quitman County, MS 13 Mar–1 Apr (Cullen Brown, Gene Knight). White-winged Doves continued their expansion up the Mississippi River corridor; singles were in Jones Co 26 Mar (Lillie Gibb); Forrest Co 27 Mar (Jeffrey Harris); Meridian, Lauderdale Co 28 Mar (Susan Kirk); Forrest Co 2 Apr (Logan Firmin); Jones Co 8 Apr (Patti Armistead), and Leake Co 30 Apr (Jeffrey Harris); two to three were in Greenville, Washington Co 3–6 Apr (Ann Tanner); five were in a different part of Greenville 17 Apr (Andy Bell, ph., v.r.); and two in Jones Co 23 Apr (Patti Armstead). They also continued expanding in Alabama; locally rare in the I.C.P., up to three were at a new site in Camden, Wilcox County 9 Mar and 12–20 Apr (Thomas Moorman); occasional in the T.V. and M.R., one near Tuscumbia, Colbert Co 31 Mar–5 Apr (Dana Aycock, ph.) provided the second T.V. spring record; one was in Birmingham 13 May (Carolyn Brockman); and another was near Auburn 15 May (Ralph E. Mirarchi). Buff-bellied Hummingbirds are quite rare in the region; one was in Pascagoula, Jackson Co, MS 17 Mar (Gary Herritz).
Rails through Terns
Common Gallinules are rare in north Alabama. At Wheeler NWR, seven were back at a regular site 10–30 Apr (Scot Duncan, Eva Ledvina, Milton Harris, Ken Ward, m. ob.); one was at a new site near Leighton 16 Apr (Damien Simbeck); and on the Wheeler NWR area count 30 Apr (Scot Duncan, Eva Ledvina, C. Dwight Cooley, m. ob.), nine Common Gallinules established a T.V. spring maximum. Rare but likely part of the species’ expansion, a Limpkin at Columbus Lake, Clay Co/Lowndes Co continued from winter season until 30 Apr; a Limpkin was in Tallahatchie NWR, Tallahatchie Co, MS 21 Apr (Rebecca Crofton, Walter Harmon, ph.); one was at Chewacla State Park, Lee County, AL 24 Apr (Amber DeBardalaben, m. ob.); another was near Starkeville, Oktibbeha Co, MS 20 May (Vicki Maples, Terence Schiefer, Marion Schiefer, Joby Czernecky, Jeffrey Harris, ph.); and one was at Hatchechubbee Creek Park, Russell Co, AL 22–28 May (Kristen Walsh, m. ob., ph.). Rare in the region and casual away from the coast, a Yellow Rail was found during a controlled burn in Tallahatchie NWR, Tallahatchie Co, MS 4 Mar (Amber Floyd).
Rare but becoming regular in northwest Alabama and having bred there, a Black-necked Stilt was near Muscle Shoals, Colbert Co 4–14 May (Greg D. Jackson, Debra G. Jackson, Damien Simbeck, m. ob., ph.) Black-bellied Plovers are rare in Mississippi’s upper east central region; one was at McLeod, Noxubee Co 7 May (Terence Schiefer, Marion Schiefer, Dianne Patterson, Jim Patterson, ph.). Excellent numbers of American Golden-Plovers appeared in the region. Up to 165 near Leighton, Colbert Co, AL 25 Mar–3 Apr (Rick Kittinger, Ron Kittinger, Damien Simbeck, Ted DeVore, Bala Chennupati, ph.) provided the third highest total for Alabama, second for the T.V.; and 112 were at Wheeler NWR 31 Mar (Sue Moske). Near Shannon, Lee Co, MS 27 Mar (Wayne Patterson) 154 American Golden Plovers appear to have established a local maximum. The day before, 26 Mar, another high number, 200, were at McLeod, Noxubee Co, MS (Jeffrey Harris). These plovers are rare in upper west central Mississippi in the spring; one was in Isola, Humphreys Co, MS 6 Apr (Ann Tanner, v.r.). Occasional in recent decades on the G.C., a Long-billed Curlew showed up for one day on Pelican Island, Dauphin Island 31 Mar (Sabrina Cobb, Andrew Haffenden, m. ob., ph.). Hudsonian Godwits are accidental in the region; two were at Phillips Catfish Complex, Yazoo Co, MS 7 May (Gene Knight, Andy Bell, m. ob., ph.), and another at Catalpa Creek Bottoms, Lowndes Co, MS 27–28 May (Terence Schiefer, m. ob., ph.). Across the region, Marbled Godwits are rare inland; at McLeod, Noxubee County 14 Apr (Marion Schiefer, Jeffrey Harris), a lone bird established an early arrival record for the upper east central region, and then on 18 Apr, 10 Marbled Godwits were present (Marion Schiefer, Terence Schiefer, Jeffrey Harris, Dianne Patterson, Jim Patterson, ph.). Rare inland in spring, a Sanderling at Eufaula NWR, Barbour Co 4 May (Geoff Hill) yielded the second spring record for the I.C.P. Rare but regular in spring on the G.C. and rare in northwest Alabama, one Baird’s Sandpiper was at Battleship Park, Mobile (Lawrence Gardella, Geoff Hill, m. ob., ph.); one was on Pelican Island, Dauphin Island 30 Apr (Rodney Cassidy); and at least two were near Leighton, Colbert Co 4–11 May (Greg D. Jackson, Debra G. Jackson, Damien Simbeck, ph.). At McLeod, Noxubee Co, MS 24 Apr, two Western Sandpipers furnished the seventh spring record for region 5 (Jeffrey Harris, Wayne Patterson, Terence Schiefer, Marion Schiefer, ph.). At Jones Catfish Ponds, Sunflower Co, MS 9 Apr (anonymous), two Wilson’s Phalaropes provided rare spring records away from the coast, and another was at McLeod, Noxubee Co, MS 7 May (Terence Schiefer, Marion Schiefer, Dianne Patterson, Jim Patterson, ph.). A rarer Red-necked Phalarope was at McLeod, Noxubee Co, MS 23 Apr (Terence Schiefer, Marion Schiefer, Jeffrey Harris, ph.). Alabama’s twenty-seventh Black-legged Kittiwake, the fifth discovered in spring and sixth occurrence in spring, was at Magnolia Springs Landfill 12–19 Mar (Craig Litteken, Lawrence Gardella, m. ob., ph.). Laughing Gulls are rare inland; on 28 Mar an adult was at Sardis Lake, Panola Co, MS (Gene Knight), and on 15 Apr three adults were present there (Gene Knight). Parasitic Jaegers are occasional in the region; two miles offshore from Gulfport, Harrison Co, MS, two flew off from the water 24 Mar (Timothy Guida, ph.). A large fish die-off, mainly consisting of Redfish, brought 325 Herring Gulls to the Dauphin Island/Ft. Morgan area 3 Apr (Nancy Donald, Christopher Davies, Bonita Davies, Andrew Haffenden, Craig Litteken, Lawrence Gardella), the most ever for the G.C. in spring. A rare Iceland Gull was at Pass Christian, Harrison Co, MS 21 Mar (Gary Herritz, ph.).
Rare but regular in the G.C., an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was in Daphne 1 Mar (Lawrence Gardella, ph.) and an immature 14 Mar (Lawrence Gardella), a new site for the species. Rare in Mississippi, a Great Black-backed Gull was at Pass Christian 11 Mar and 21 Mar (Gary Herritz, Collin Stempien, ph.). A Glaucous Gull, rare but regular on the G.C., was on Dauphin Island 4 Apr (Andrew Haffenden, ph.). Rare in spring in north Alabama, a Least Tern was at Town Creek Marsh, Colbert 8 Apr (Jim Rowoth, ph.). A Caspian Tern at Columbus Lake, Lowndes Co and Clay Co, MS 21 Mar (Terence Schiefer, Marion Schiefer, Dianne Patterson, Jim Patterson, ph.) tied the earliest arrival date for region 5. At Wilson Dam, Lauderdale/Colbert Co 8 Apr (Jim Rowoth, ph.), 225 Caspian Terns provided an inland Alabama maximum. Rare in spring in the M.R., a Caspian Tern was at Oxford, Calhoun Co 14 Apr (Susano Medina, ph.). A Black Tern in Magnolia Springs, Baldwin Co 14 Apr (James Dugger, ph.) was the earliest ever for the G.C.
Loons through Spoonbills
Rare Red-throated Loons were at Bay Springs Lake, Tishomigo Co, MS 2 Mar (Gene Knight), and at Ross Barnett Reservoir, Madison Co, MS 24 Mar–16 Apr (Andy Bell, m. ob.). A Red-throated Loon on West Point Lake, Chambers Co 13 Mar (Geoff Hill) furnished the fourth spring record for the M.R., where the species is occasional. Pacific Loons are occasional in spring in Alabama; one at Gulf State Park, Baldwin Co 15 May (Eric Haskell, m. ob., ph.) was the latest spring state record. At the same date and location, five Common Loons (Eric Haskell, Kim Miller, ph.) constituted a large number for so late in the spring. By the second half of May, Common Loons are occasional in the I.C.P.; two were near Eutaw, Greene Co 17 May (David P. George).
Wood Storks are rare in the G.C. and the T.V.; 10 in Mobile Co 19 Apr (Joe Cain, ph.) provided the fifth G.C. spring record; an adult at Wheeler NWR 22 May (Brendan Cramphorn) was the first in spring for the T.V. Rare on the G.C., three Masked Boobies were at Fort Morgan Peninsula 22 May (Tom Howe). Rare in the T.V., four Anhingas were at Wheeler NWR 10 Apr (C. Dwight Cooley, Ken Ward, Milton Harris, m. ob.) where the species has become almost regular in recent years; and two were at Red Bank, Colbert Co 9 May (Rick Kittinger, Ron Kittinger), not a regular site. At Hacoda, Geneva Co 11 Apr (Odis H. Johnson), 22 soaring Anhingas tied the second highest spring total for Alabama. A Great Cormorant at Perdido Pass 12 Apr (Mike Stempien, ph.) furnished Alabama’s twentieth record and the fourth in spring. Rare in the region, a lone Neotropic Cormorant was at Hillside NWR, Holmes Co, MS, 8 Apr (Jeffrey Harris). Rare and irregular in most inland areas, a Brown Pelican at Phenix City, Russell Co 30 May (Kirsten Walsh, ph.) yielded the sixth spring I.C.P. record.
At Eufaula NWR 16 Mar (Geoff Hill, v.r.), seven American Bitterns tied the maximum number for Alabama in any season. A Brown Pelican was at Sardis Lake, Panola Co, MS from 9 Mar into July (Gene Knight, m. ob., ph.). Rare away from the coast in spring, a single Least Bittern was heard at Hillside NWR, Holmes Co, MS, 15 Apr (Jeffrey Harris). Rare inland and only occasional in spring in the I.C.P., a Tricolored Heron was at Eufaula NWR 30 May (John McMahan). More than 400 adult White Ibis at Turcotte WMA, Madison, MS 28 Apr (Gene Knight) apparently established a maximum for the area, and 1000 White Ibis at Yazoo NWR, MS 15 May (Norah Bruce) was an all-time high for region 4. Roseate Spoonbills are rare but regular and increasing, especially in south Alabama, but remain only occasional in spring; three were by the Mobile Causeway, Baldwin Co and flew to Daphne 3 Mar (Sabrina Cobb, Hayley Keevan, Amanda Keevan, m. ob., ph.); and one was at the Dauphin Island airport 24 Apr (Hayley Keevan, Amanda Keevan, ph.).
Ospreys through Flycatchers
On the Wheeler NWR area count 30 Apr, 17 Ospreys set a spring maximum for inland Alabama. Golden Eagles are rare in the region; one near Scooba, Kemper Co, MS 21 Mar (Daniel Greene) appears to be the first for Mississippi’s region 7. Mississippi Kites are rare and local but continue increasing in the M.R. and T.V.; singles away from regular sites were in Huntsville 30 Apr (Charles W. Boley), near Ashville, St. Clair Co (Greg D. Jackson); and Ranburne, Cleburne Co 29 May (Greg D. Jackson, Debra G. Jackson). North of Talladega, 26 Mississippi Kites 29 May (Rick Kittinger, Ron Kittinger, ph.) furnished a new spring maximum for north Alabama. Near Huntsville 1 Apr (Sue Moske), 21 Bald Eagles provided an Alabama spring maximum. Harris’s Hawks are casual in the region; one was at Arkabutla Reservoir, Tate County, MS 2–4 Apr (T.J. Ray, m. ob.). A Broad-winged Hawk in west Mobile 17 Mar (Ben C. Garmon) tied the earliest record for the G.C. Burrowing Owls at Gulf State Park, Baldwin Co 2 Mar (Olivia Morpeth, ph.) and west Mobile 31 Mar (Jonathan Perez, ph.) provided the twenty-second and twenty-third records for Alabama, the seventh and eighth in spring.
A pair of Peregrine Falcons returned to Birmingham 23 Apr (Greg Harber, ph.) and were copulating and probably nesting, which has not been confirmed in Alabama since 1962. Tropical Kingbirds are at best casual in Mississippi, while Alabama still lacks an accepted record (it has several accepted records of Couch’s/Tropical); one was at Clay Point Park, Harrison Co 6–17 Mar (Holly Cox, Connor Ties, Noah Daun, Jason Lins, Andy Hudson, ph.). On Dauphin Island 27 Apr (Jerry Maxwell), six Gray Kingbirds tied Alabama’s spring maximum. Gray Kingbirds are rare at the western end of their range in southern Mississippi. One to two (a pair) were in Biloxi, Jackson, MS 30 Apr–2 May (Andy Bell, m. ob., ph.), and one was in a different part of Biloxi 28 May (Troy Hibbits). Rare in spring, an Olive-sided Flycatcher was in Madison, Madison Co, AL 8 May (Sue Moske, Bala Chennupati, ph.); one was seen and heard singing in Wheeler NWR 14 May (Charles W. Boley); and another was in Lafayette Co, MS 27 May (Gene Knight, Gary Herritz).
A Yellow-throated Vireo at Wehle Nature Center, Bullock Co 11 Mar (Eric Soehren, Ron Kittinger, Richard Kittinger, ph.) was the earliest for the I.C.P. Rare but nearly regular in spring in the T.V., single Warbling Vireos were in Wheeler NWR 15 Apr (M. Scott Gravette, ph.); Wilson Dam, Colbert Co 26 Apr (singing) (Damien Simbeck); Waterloo, Lauderdale Co 1 May (at a frequent breeding site) (Jeff T. Garner, Bob Butler); Huntsville 9 May (Charles W. Boley); and Swan Creek WMA (singing) (Sue Moske). Another Warbling Vireo was on Dauphin Island 28 Apr (Libby Mojica); they are also rare in spring in the G.C. A Red-eyed Vireo at Blakeley Historic State Park, Baldwin Co 13 Mar (Craig Litteken) set an early record for Alabama, and one heard at Monte Sano State Park, Madison Co 28 Mar (Robert Goss) was the earliest for the T.V. A Philadelphia Vireo at Leroy Percy S.P., Washington Co 28 Apr (Ed Harper, Robin Wolcott) is apparently the first for Mississippi’s region 4 in spring.
Horned Larks are occasional breeders in the I.C.P., but becoming regular in Houston Co, AL; three were calling near Newville, Houston Co 29 May (John Trent). Tree Swallows continue extending southward; four that fledged a young in Hacoda, Geneva Co 21 May (Odis H. Johnson, ph.) provided Alabama’s southernmost nesting confirmation; they are rare breeders as far south as Lake Martin, Elmore Co, where a pair returned to a nest site 22 May (Sally Bergquist, ph.). At Bayou La Batre, Mobile Co, two Tree Swallows 29 May (Joseph Olson) furnished the latest spring season record on the G.C.; there is one June record. Near Tuscaloosa 22 Apr (Eugene Huryn, Satchell Watts-Kerr), an estimated 100 Northern Rough-winged Swallows established an I.C.P. spring maximum. At Oxford, Calhoun Co 10 Mar (Susano Medina), two Cliff Swallows furnished the earliest M.R. record. Rare but regular in spring in the G.C., two Cave Swallows were on Dauphin Island 31 Mar (David Simpson, ph.). Also rare in Mississippi, one to three Cave Swallows were at Bay St. Louis, Hancock County 29 Mar–19 May, (Harold Webe, m. ob., ph.). Another Cave Swallow was at Pascagoula, Jackson County, MS 9 Apr (Collin Stempien, Gary Herritz, Tim Gouda, ph.).
Ruby-crowned Kinglets appeared this spring in high numbers. At Blakeley Historic State Park, Baldwin Co 13 Mar (Craig Litteken), 22 Ruby-crowned Kinglets set a spring maximum for the G.C., which was then tied in Daphne 2 Apr (Chuck Estes); and in Tuscaloosa 9 Apr (Satchell Watts-Kerr, Kevin Shaw, Sam Heraghty), 25 Ruby-crowns tied the I.C.P. spring maximum. A calling Ruby-crowned Kinglet seen near Huntsville 12 May (Dee Scott) provided the latest record for the T.V. White-breasted Nuthatches are casual on Dauphin Island where one was found 7 Apr (Kay Grinnell, Linda DiSantis). The Wheeler NWR area count on 30 Apr yielded T.V. spring maxima for both Carolina Wrens with 184 and House Wrens with five. There appear to have been no spring records for Winter Wren before one seen 28 Mar, Carrollton, Carroll Co (Jeffrey Harris); a second was seen at Yazoo NWR, Washington Co 7 Apr (Steve Alley).
Lark Sparrows are rare in the M.R.; one was in Harpersville, Shelby Co 30 Apr (Todd DeVore). The sparrows are casual in the eastern T.V.; and one was at Paint Rock, Jackson Co 19 May (Scott Duncan). West of Florence, Lauderdale Co 3 Mar (Damien Simbeck), 12 Vesper Sparrows furnished a spring maximum for the T.V. East of Montrose, Baldwin Co 19 Mar (Eric Haskell, ph.), 11 Vespers gave a new spring maximum for the G.C. Rare in spring in the I.C.P., a lone Lincoln’s Sparrow was in Tuskegee National Forest 10 Apr (Christopher Burney).
The rare Western Meadowlark present late in winter at Columbus Lake, Lowndes Co, MS remained through 1 Mar (Marion Schiefer, ph.). Yellow-headed Blackbirds are rare in the region; a male was at Magnolia Birding Pier, Jackson Co, MS 6 Mar (Gary Herritz), and a female was there 19 Apr (Gary Herritz). In Bon Secour, Baldwin Co, AL 7–14 Mar (Donald Dehm, Becky Humphries, m. ob., ph.), an immature male and a female Yellow-headed regularly came to a feeder. In Slocomb, Geneva Co 8 Apr (Braelon Jenkins, Jeff Taylor, ph.), an adult male Bullock’s Oriole provided the thirteenth inland Alabama record, eighth for the I.C.P. An adult male Baltimore Oriole in Huntsville 15 Mar (Harry Dean, ph.) was probably the earliest T.V. record, rather than a locally wintering bird. Rare and irregular in spring in the G.C., a Shiny Cowbird was on Dauphin Island 22 Apr (Geoff Hill). Rare in the region, five Bronzed Cowbirds were in Ansley, Hancock Co, MS 29 Mar–1 Apr (Gene Knight, Andy Bell). A male Brewer’s Blackbird in Oxford, Lafayette Co, MS 6 Apr established a new departure date ten days later than the previous one. Occasional throughout most of the I.C.P. but becoming regular at Eufaula NWR, up to 2 Boat-tailed Grackles were at the refuge 19 Mar–4 Apr (Geoff Hill, m. ob.).
Warblers through Buntings
At Lake Lurleen State Park, Tuscaloosa 24 Apr (Eugene Huryn, ph.), four Worm-eating Warblers set an I.C.P. spring maximum. Two Worm-eating Warblers in Scooba, Kemper Co, MS 31 May (Jeffrey Harris) were possible breeders outside their known breeding range. A Louisiana Waterthrush at Monte Sano State Park 11 Mar (Robert Goss, ph.) was the earliest for the T.V. On the Wheeler NWR area count 30 Apr, 14 Louisianas furnished a T.V. maximum. A Blue-winged Warbler at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens 20 Mar (Lawrence Sincich) was the earliest for inland Alabama. At Lake Lurleen State Park on 24 Apr (Eugene Huryn), 12 Black-and-white Warblers established an I.C.P. maximum, and 15 Tennessee Warblers yielded an I.C.P. spring maximum. The male Tennessee Warbler in Hoover, Jefferson Co 14 Mar (Sandy Sipe, Bob Sipe, ph.) was the earliest ever for inland Alabama. Rare in spring on the G.C., a Nashville Warbler on Dauphin Island 31 Mar (Andrew Haffenden, Sabrina Cobb, Jennifer Hammer, Ed Hammer) was also early; another was on Dauphin Island 19 Apr (Rick Kittinger, Ron Kittinger). On 5 May, a singing male Mourning warbler, rare in Mississippi, was at Rowan Oak, Oxford, Lafayette Co (Gene Knight, J.R. Rigby). Rare but regular in spring in the T.V., two singing Mourning Warblers were in a part of Wheeler NWR in Morgan Co 8 May (M. Scott Gravette, v.r.) and another in a part of the refuge in Madison Co the same day (Charles W. Boley). A Mourning in Tuscaloosa also 8 May (Satchell Watts-Kerr, Eugene Huryn, Kevin Shaw, ph.) provided the first spring record for the I.C.P. The Wheeler NWR area count on 30 Apr yielded a total of 41 Kentucky Warblers, tying the T.V. maximum, and 24 Northern Parulas, setting a T.V. maximum. Casual in Mississippi, a Cape May Warbler was in Biloxi, Harrison Co, MS 29 Apr (Gene Knight, Andy Bell). In Monte Sano State Park, Madison Co 7 May (Greg D. Jackson, Bala Chennupati), more than 20 Bay-breasted Warblers tied the T.V. spring maximum. Rare but regular on spring migration in the M.R., one Black-throated Blue Warbler was in Birmingham 10 Apr (Katyln Todd, v.r.), another was at Little River Canyon N.P. 23 Apr (Doug Marcum), one was in Lee Co 28 Apr (Geoff Hill), and one more was in Birmingham 28 Apr (Rick Remy). A single Black-throated Blue Warbler was at Greenwood Cemetery, Hinds Co, MS 22 Apr (Jimmie Dufault, Brian Johnston, Lucy Jacobson, ph.). A Canada Warbler at Ft. Morgan 12 Apr (James Dugger) was the earliest ever for Alabama. Another in Huntsville 20 Apr (Charles W. Boley) was the earliest for the T.V. A Wilson’s Warbler in Daphne, Baldwin Co 13 Mar (Lawrence Gardella, Craig Litteken) was probably a rare wintering bird as opposed to the earliest spring arrival for the G.C.
Summer Tanagers are occasional inland in Alabama in the winter; one near Tuscaloosa starting in late February continued through 12 Mar (Patricia Pitts). These tanagers are rare but regular in winter on the G.C.; one in Daphne, Baldwin Co 13 Mar (Lawrence Gardella, Craig Litteken) and one heard calling near Elberta, Baldwin Co also 13 Mar (Jan Lloyd) were either wintering birds or early records for Alabama. Also rare but regular in winter on the G.C., a Western Tanager in Foley, Baldwin Co 2–21 Mar (Michael Jordan, Eva Barnett Jordan, m. ob., ph.) either wintered in the general area and then relocated to Foley or was a rare spring visitor. Casual in winter in north Alabama a Rose-breasted Grosbeak near Chelsea, Shelby Co 1 Mar (Donn Maruska) most likely had wintered locally, rather than being an early spring arrival. Another Rose-breasted on Dauphin Island 12 Mar (Gail Drew, ph.) was either a local wintering bird or a record early arrival for Alabama. Occasional in inland Alabama, one Black-headed Grosbeak in Dothan, Houston Co 3–5 Apr (David Plunkett, ph.) was the sixth for the I.C.P. and Alabama, the state’s tenth in spring, and sixth inland in spring; and one near Huntsville 5–18 Apr (Mike Dalen, m. ob., ph.) was the third for the T.V. and eleventh in Alabama in spring and seventh inland in spring. Painted Buntings are occasional in the M.R., mostly in spring; one was at a feeder in Cahaba Heights, Jefferson Co 14–19 Apr (Miriam Rueger, ph.); and one was in Birmingham 25 Apr (Joseph Olson). An adult male Painted in Triana, Madison Co 2–12 May (Meghan Gibbs, ph.) provided the eighth record for the T.V. and the fifth T.V. spring record. A male Painted Bunting in Crowder, Quitman Co, MS 15 Apr (Gene Knight) was the earliest for Mississippi by two days.
Report processed by Andrew Keaveney, 03 Apr 2022.