Alabama & Mississippi: Summer 2019

The Summer 2019, Jun 1, 2019-Jul 31, 2019

John A. Trent
4819 Pleasant Hill Road
Midway, AL 36053
[email protected]

Recommended Citation: Trent, J.A. 2019. The Summer 2019: Alabama and Mississippi. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-8R2> North American Birds.

Alabama’s weather this season was typical, with no notable extremes. Mississippi recorded rainfall totals slightly above average for many areas during Jun. and Jul. Hurricane Barry made landfall in Louisiana on 12 Jul., but only had minor influence on regional bird influxes. Summer bird counts took place in Alabama’s Baldwin, Limestone, and Walker counties.

Contributors (subregional editors in boldface):

Melinda Averhart, Robert & Trisha Baker, Sharon Beetem, Andrew Bell, Charles W. Boley, Robert Brisco, Karen Chiasson, Bala Chennupati, C. Dwight Cooley, Holly Cox, Dean R. Cutten, Abby Darrah, Larry Dees, Claudia Frosch, Lawrence F. Gardella, D. P. George, Robert Goss, Janice & M. Scott Gravette, Randy Haddock, Andrew Haffenden, R. Stan & Dana C. Hamilton, Jeffery Harris, J. M. Harris, Eric Haskell, Louise Hewlett, Geoffrey E. Hill, Greg D. Jackson, Lucy Jacobson, Brian Johnston, Jeff Johnston, Gina Kent, Ronald J. & Rick L. Kittinger, Craig Litteken, Andrew Lydeard, Paul Mack, Nancy Madden, Liz Masoner, John McMahan, Keith McMullen, David McVay, Shawn Smolen-Morton, Sue R. Moske, Wayne Patterson, Joethan Phillips, Robert Porter, Kenneth Priest, Daniel Redwine, Michelle Reynolds, Frank Sanford, Marion Schiefer, Terence Lee Schiefer, Don & Judy Self, Frank John Serio, Damien J. Simbeck, Renea Simpson, Collin Stempien, Victor & Ruben Stoll, Bill Summerour, John A. Trent, Stephanie Wallace, Ken Ward, Marian & Daniel West, James White.

Abbreviations:  B.B.P. (Black Belt Prairie physiographic region of cen. AL and e.-cen. MS); Blakeley (Blakeley I. dredge settling ponds, Alabama State Port Authority, Mobile, AL); Dauphin (Dauphin I., Mobile, AL); F.W.F.T.A. (Forever Wild Field Trial Area, Hale, AL); G.C. (Gulf coastal region of s. AL); I.C.P. (inland coastal plain region of s.-cen. AL); Leighton (sinkhole pond complex at Leighton, Colbert); M.R. (mountain region of n. AL); O.C.L. (Oktibbeha County Lake, Oktibbeha, MS); T.V. (Tennessee Valley region of n. AL); the “seven-county area” refers to the following seven counties in Mississippi near Starkville: Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Webster, Winston.

WATERFOWL THROUGH LIMPKIN

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks continue to increase in north Alabama: 1-2, the fifth summer record for the T.V., were e. of Muscle Shoals, Colbert 16 Jul+(DJS, BC et al.). The seven-county area had 67 individuals total across four locations (m.ob.). Alabama had two Northern Shovelers this season: males on 2 Jul at Leighton  (BJ) and 25 Jul at Blakeley  (EH et al.). The latter marked the fifth summer record for the G.C. Gadwall were recorded in AL and MS during this period. Two, likely injured, were observed at McCleod, Noxubee, MS, 6 Jun+ (TLS, JH), another was at O.C.L. (TLS), and one was recorded at Town Creek Marsh, Colbert, AL 5 Jul (RJ&RLK). A male American Wigeon was the first summer record for the seven-county area 6 Jun+ at McLeod, Noxubee (TLS, JH). One Green-winged Teal w. of Eden, Yazoo, MS was a rare summer occurrence 28 Jul (AB). Seven Redhead were scattered through the central and northern regions of AL 9 Jun–29 Jul (m.ob.).  Six Ring-necked Ducks at Leighton 5 Jul were notable for the T.V. (DRC, JJ, et al.). Two Lesser Scaup were at Leighton 3-17 Jul (BJ), and a male summered near Trinity, Lowndes, MS (PM, TLS, MS). Up to three Black Scoters, likely remnants from the previous winter’s incursion, remained through 13 June at Pass Christian Harbor, Harrison, MS. (HC, CS, AD, MA, et al.). Two Ruddy Ducks, seen through 27 Jul at Leighton, represented the fifth summer record in the T.V. (CL, KM et al.). Ruddy Ducks also continued in the B.B.P. with two each in Clay and Noxubee, MS and up to eight in Hale, AL (m. ob.). Pied-billed Grebes nested near Trinity, Lowndes, MS 23 Jul+, representing one of the few breeding records in the seven-county area away from Noxubee N.W.R. (TLS).

Inca Doves bred in Summerdale, Baldwin 1 Jun, one of only two sites in Alabama where nesting has been confirmed (BS).  Seven Common Ground-Doves 11 Jun in the Gateswood quad, Baldwin set a new  summer high count for the G.C. (LFG). Common Ground-Doves, rare in northern Alabama, were reported from Pelham, Shelby 6 Jul (AL) and e. of Oak Bowery, Chambers 15 Jul (JW).White-winged Doves were recorded from several new sites in the I.C.P.: three at Flomaton, Escambia 25 Jun (GK), three w. of Huxford, Escambia 29 Jun (D&JS), and one at Evergreen, Conecuh 30 Jun (D&JS). The I.C.P.’s  summer high count for White-winged Dove, 25, was set at a Montgomery site on 13 Jun (DM). In Mississippi up to 50 White-winged Doves constituted a good count at Greenville, Washington 8 Jul (FJS).

Nine Common Nighthawks on 19 Jul  at Swan Creek WMA, Limestone, represented the maximum summer count for the T.V. (RJ&RLK, LH). One King Rail at Noxubee N.W.R., Winston 18-28 Jun was notable, since they have not been seen regularly since 2008 (TLS, MS, JH). Purple and Common Gallinules have become more frequent nesters at Eufaula N.W.R. in recent years. Up to 27 Purple Gallinules 26 Jun–5 Jul (RS et al.) and 27 Common Gallinules 8 Jul (DR, AL) were counted, setting, respectively, the maximum summer counts for Alabama and the I.C.P. One Common Gallinule, still considered rare in the M.R., was at Riverside, St. Clair 10-22 Jun (MR et al.). Limpkins continued their scattered distribution in the region this year: single birds were present at three Birmingham sites, but it is uncertain whether this reflects multiple individuals. One continued from spring at Ebenezer Swamp Preserve, Shelby through 25 Jun (R&TB et al.), and another bird was seen nearby at Chelsea, Shelby 12 Jun–6 Jul (m.ob.). The third Limpkin was along the Little Cahaba R., Jefferson 28 Jun (RH).  Further south, one was at Eufaula N.W.R. 12 Jun (GEH).  Mississippi had one Limpkin at Pascagoula W.M.A., George 22 Jun (LD).

SHOREBIRDS THROUGH IBIS

3 Jun was a late date for three Semipalmated Plovers  at McLeod, Noxubee (TLS, MS). Eleven Piping Plovers on 30 Jul were the summer high count for Alabama at Dauphin (AH). Five Marbled Godwits, occasional in July along the coast, were on Cat I., Harrison, MS 18 Jul.(ph CS, AD), and a single was at Dauphin 13-14 Jul (GEH, AH). Six Stilt Sandpipers, rare in the I.C.P., were recorded  s. of Newbern, Hale 28 Jul (BC, SRM). A summer high count of Sanderling for AL (225, estimated) were at Dauphin on 29 Jul  (DR). A Dunlin at McCleod, Noxubee, on 2 Jun was a late date for the seven-county area (TLS, MS, JH, PM), and 3 s. of Newbern, Perry 28 Jul represent the first summer record for inland Alabama (SRM, BC). A Baird’s Sandpiper, rare in summer on the G.C., was present at Blakeley 26-28 Jul (CL et al.). A Buff-breasted Sandpiper and a Pectoral Sandpiper on 2 Jun at McLeod, Noxubee were late for the seven-county area (TLS, MS et al.). Alabama’s maximum summer count for Short-billed Dowitcher, 60, was recorded 30 Jul at Dauphin (AH et al.). A Wilson’s Phalarope, rare in summer in the I.C.P., was sw. of Cusseta, Chambers 15 Jul (JW et al.). Six Willets, notable inland in Alabama, were found e. of Muscle Shoals, Colbert 16 Jul (BC), and two more were found s. of Newbern, Perry 28 Jul (SRM, BC). In Mississippi, 1-2 Willets were at McLeod, Noxubee 4 Jul (JH). A Greater Yellowlegs on 3 Jul and a Lesser Yellowlegs on 25 Jun, both at O.C.L. (TLS, MS), were early.

A Sooty Tern on Horn Island, Jackson 27 Jul was notable because it was unrelated to a tropical system (ph. LJ). This speices has been documented to nest in Alabama but not yet in Mississippi. Common Terns nest in small numbers on the barrier islands of Mississippi, and up to 8 in breeding plumage were seen 5-18 Jul at Cat Island, Harrison. (CS, AD). Two Greater Shearwaters were found on Alabama beaches this year. One, dead, was discovered at Gulf Shores, Baldwin 6 Jul (JP), and the other, lethargic, was found at Bon Secour N.W.R., Baldwin 15 Jul and taken to a rehab center (CF). Shelby had up to four Wood Storks, rare in the M.R., at two sites at Calera and Saginaw 29 Jun–31 Jul (M&DW, SB). Hurricane Barry precipitated inland Magnificent Frigatebird dispersal. One individual found near the Tennessee state line in Lauderdale, AL 16 Jul (V&RS, AL, DR), represented the tenth inland record for Alabama. There were also up to two Magnificent Frigatebirds at Ross Barnett Reservoir, Rankin, MS 15-17 Jul (AB), and two at Vicksburg, Warren, MS 15 Jul (ph. SW). Alabama’s second inland Brown Booby was at Logan Martin Lake, Talladega 12 Jul (ph. RP). High counts of Double-crested Cormorant were tallied in Alabama: 65 on 16 Jun at Walter F. George Dam, Henry  was the maximum summer I.C.P. count (D&JS); 550 at Wheeler Dam, Lawrence was the high summer count for Alabama (AL); 187 on 31 Jul at Logan Martin Dam, St. Clair/Talladega was the high count for the M.R. Nesting was also confirmed at this site (SSM et al.).

Six Least Bittern at Eufaula N.W.R. 8 Jul set the maximum count for the I.C.P. (DR, AL).  Multiple high counts for egrets and herons in Alabama were recorded this summer: an approximate 1200 Great Egrets at Wheeler Dam, Lawrence, the high summer count for inland Alabama (AL); up to five Snowy Egrets at Saginaw, Shelby, the maximum count for the M.R. 13-30 Jul (R&TB, SB, LM, et al.); and 72 Snowy Egrets e. of Muscle Shoals, Colbert 16 Jul, the maximum summer count for north Alabama (DJS). Wading birds rare inland included single Tricolored Herons at Eufaula N.W.R. 29 Jul (JM) and Noxubee N.W.R., Noxubee 9-13 Jun (WP, et al.), and a Reddish Egret at O.C.L. 24 Jun. The egret  marked the first record for Oktibbeha and was only the second for the seven-county area (TLS, MS, JH et al.). 26 Yellow-crowned Night-Herons at Blakeley 26 Jul was the maximum number for summer in the G.C. (RL&RJK, FS).  Notable counts of White Ibis in north Alabama included up to 16 sw. of Cusseta, Chambers 15 Jul (JW), and 8 e. of Muscle Shoals, Colbert 16-17 Jul (DJS).

OSPREY THROUGH DICKCISSEL

10 Osprey set the north Alabama summer high count at Stevenson, Jackson 21 Jun (RL & RJK). The region had three summer Northern Harrier sightings. One on 28 Jul at McLeod, Noxubee, was a record early arrival—by 23 days—to the seven-county area (JH). In Alabama, female harriers were at Center Star, Lauderdale 15 Jun (DJS) and Big Cove, Madison 24 Jul (J&MSG). These represented, respectively,  the sixth and seventh summer records for Alabama. A Mississippi Kite on 19 Jul at Leighton, local in the T.V., was noteworthy (RL&RJK). Eight Barred Owls at Huntsville set the maximum summer count for north Alabama 11 Jul (RG). A male Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was seen at a historic nesting site in ne. Alabama at Bridgeport, Jackson 20 Jun. (DJS). A singing Willow Flycatcher was recorded at a new location for Alabama at Saginaw, Shelby 15 Jun (JW).  In Mississippi, a Willow Flycatcher continued from spring through 30 Jun at an established site at McLeod, Noxubee (m.ob.). For the second consecutive summer, a late Least Flycatcher was seen in Alabama, this year at Larkin Fork, Jackson 7 Jun (RJ&RLK).

The pre-migratory roost site of Purple Martins at McCleod, Noxubee held an estimated 11,500 individuals 5 Jul (JH). 10 Tree Swallows, increasing in the M.R., were in the Parrish quad, Walker 3 Jun;  nesting was confirmed (DPG). In the B.B.P., Tree Swallows are well-established and increasing. 15 were recorded on 12 Jun at the F.W.F.T.A. (JAT). Mississippi’s first summer record  of Ruby-crowned Kinglet was at Columbus, Lowndes 28 Jun–3 Jul (PM, TLS). A House Wren, rare breeder in the I.C.P., was w. of Tuscaloosa 12 Jul. This marks the fourth summer record for that region (RJ&RLK, FS). Gray Catbirds are local breeders in the G.C.; individuals were at Baldwin in the Gateswood and Barrineau Park quads 11 Jun (LFG, KC). Two late Cedar Waxwings were at Annandale, Madison MS, 4 Jun (AB). A notable count of 27 Grasshopper Sparrows, including fledged young, was tallied at a breeding site at Hazel Green, Madison 16 Jun (CWB). A Field Sparrow, rare in the G.C., was seen e. of Blacksher, Baldwin on  20 Jun (CL). A Dark-eyed Junco, very rare for summer, was recorded at Oxford, Lafayette, MS 10 Jun (ph. RB). Baltimore Orioles are local breeders in Alabama. Four were at a known site in the Cairo quad, Limestone, 12 Jun (KW, JMH, CDC), and a pair was in the Townley quad, Walker 13 Jun (RS&DCH). A female Bronzed Cowbird continued from the spring through 18 Jun at Pascagoula, Jackson, MS (BJ).

A Louisiana Waterthrush at Gulfport, Harrison 12 Jul was the third mid-summer record for coastal Mississippi (ph. NM). A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Blue Springs, Union, MS 2 Jul (vi. KP) was a rare summer occurrence for the region. Painted Buntings in the B.B.P. region of both states totaled 33 individuals throughout the season (m.ob.). A new summer high count for Dickcissel in n. Alabama was set at 91 in the Greenbrier and Tanner quads, Limestone 5 Jun (KW, JMH, et al.).

Photos–Alabama & Mississippi, Summer 2019
Hover or click on each image to read the caption.