Hudson-Delaware: Fall 2020

Fall 2020: 1 Aug–30 Nov

Amy Davis
[email protected]

Shai Mitra
[email protected]

Robert O. Paxton
[email protected]

Frank Rohrbacher
[email protected]

Recommended citation:

Davis, A., et al. 2021. Fall 2020: Hudson-Delaware. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-aDB> North American Birds.

Overall, 2020 was the second warmest year on record for NJ and DE, and the third warmest for NY. In New York City, LaGuardia Airport and Central Park reported their warmest average Nov temperatures ever. Portions of NY state were abnormally dry this season with unusually low streamflow. On 4 Aug, Tropical Storm Isaïas generated significant rainfall, flooding, and wind damage, as well as delivering Sooty Terns, South Polar Skua, and Band-rumped Storm-Petrel to the region’s fearless storm birders. Western hummingbirds graced more of the region’s feeders than usual. A winter finch superflight began and gained steam. The season’s state firsts included Black-chinned Hummingbird (DE), Wood Sandpiper (NJ), Tropical Kingbird (NY), and Bell’s Vireo (DE). Also noteworthy in the region were Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Little Stint, Masked Booby, Yellow-green Vireo, and Painted Redstart.

Waterfowl

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, a species that has been experiencing a population boom and attendant range expansion since the 1950s, has turned up in the region with increasing regularity, annually for the last decade. This season boasted sightings of the species in all three states in the region. In Lewes, Sussex Co, DE, two were reported on 2 Aug (Susan Gruver), and one on 11 Sep (Delaware Birdline). A flock of 17 appeared in Absecon, Atlantic Co, NJ 19 Aug (D. Kleinschmidt). Albany, NY, hosted a flock of seven on 31 Aug (Susan Beckhardt). A handful of reports came from Atlantic Co, NJ, in the vicinity of Edwin B. Forsythe Brigantine Unit, where two or three of the handsome ducks were seen 5–11 Sep (Amy Davis, Don Crawford, Josh Gant, Brandon Henry, Joel Marcinik, Maria Pacheco). The species appeared near Freeville, Tompkins Co, NY 6 Sep–1 Oct (Nanci McCraine, m. ob.), and elsewhere in the NY Finger Lakes Region, there were as many as four at Montezuma NWR, Seneca Co 9–11 Sep (Tim Lenz, Betty Beckham, Sandy Podulka, John Killiany, Jamey McDermott).

Greater White-fronted Geese have been increasing in the East. This fall, the species occurred in four NJ counties: Middesex 13–20 Oct (Drew McQuade, m. ob.); Hunterdon 23 Oct–3 Nov (David Bernstein, Peter Kwiatek, m. ob.); Bergen 24 Oct–30 Nov (Joan Fazio Cohen, m. ob.); and Morris 20 Nov (Merrill and Andrew Eppedio). In DE, individuals were seen at Cods Road Bridge in the vicinity of Prime Hook NWR, Sussex Co, 28 Oct (Bruce Peterjohn); Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, 28 Nov (Edward Johnson); and Hockessin, New Castle Co, 29 Nov (Andy Ednie, Jim White). In NY, there were at least a dozen reported, primarily along the Lake Ontario shore and the I-90 corridor; outliers occurred in Westchester Co and on Long Island and Staten Island.

The fall’s earliest reports of Pink-footed Goose came from northern NY, at Old Fly Marsh Nature Preserve in Onondaga Co 15–21 Nov (Andrea Burke, m. ob.), and it or another was seen at Malone Memorial Recreation Park in Franklin Co 21–24 Nov (Janelle Hoh, m. ob.). Pink-footed Goose has appeared almost annually in the region since its first accepted record, from NY in 2007.

A Barnacle Goose appeared in the company of four apparent Barnacle × Canada hybrids in the Black Dirt region of Orange Co, NY 24–30 Nov (Bruce Nott, m. ob.), while another Barnacle was in the Allentown area, Monmouth Co, NJ 28–29 Nov (James Parris, m. ob.). The species has been annual in the region since its first accepted record, from NJ in 2002; the region’s previous reports were thought to pertain to escapees.

Trumpeter Swans made a good showing in the region near Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River, and Montezuma NWR; away from this stronghold, a lone bird was at the Saranac River mouth, Clinton Co, NY 27 Sep (William Krueger), and a pair was a nice find in DE at Bombay Hook NWR 10 Nov (Rich Ziegler). Another pair returned to Assunpink WMA, Monmouth Co, NJ 25+ Nov (Trey Hendrix) for the eighth consecutive fall, this time with a juvenile in tow.

Eurasian Wigeon are rare but regular in the region in fall and winter, and several of the individuals present this fall appear to be returnees. The earliest reports of the species came from NY’s Montezuma NWR 10 Sep–26 Oct (Brad Carlson, m. ob.) and Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge 11 Sep–25 Nov (Doug Gochfeld, Peter Paul, m. ob.). Later in the season, another was seen in Hudson Co, NJ, at the Bayonne Golf Club 7–20 Oct (Dede Kotler, m. ob.). Subsequent observations came from NY—at Hamlin Beach SP, Monroe Co, 8 Oct (Andrew Guthrie, m. ob.)—and NJ, at Lake Como, Monmouth Co 10–28 Oct (Paul Mandala, m. ob.) and Cape May Point SP and the vicinity 17 Oct–30 Nov (m. ob.). Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE hosted two Eurasian Wigeon 21–24 Oct (Jack and Jean Filigenzi) and one on 15 Nov (Robert Line). Several more were observed in NY: in Suffolk Co at West Lake 25 Oct–11 Nov (Darlene McNeil Moore, John McNeil, m. ob.); Alley Pond Park, Queens Co, 8–28 Nov (Long Island Botanical Society, m. ob.); and Tung Ting and Mill Ponds, Suffolk Co, 11–25 Nov (Taylor Sturm, m. ob.). Finally, one was spotted at the American Cyanamid Superfund Site in Somerset Co, NJ 30 Nov (Jeff Ellerbusch).

Common Eiders made some half a dozen unusual appearances at DE’s Cape Henlopen SP this period, including that of a continuing immature male present through 7 Sep (Eliza Wein). Also in DE, Harlequin Ducks were noteworthy at the Cape Henlopen Hawk Watch, Sussex Co 20 Nov (Bruce Peterjohn) and inland on the Brandywine Creek between Alapocas and Brandywine Park, New Castle Co 24 Nov–6 Dec (Marie Vayo-Greenbaum). A Barrow’s Goldeneye on Long Island at Frank Melville Memorial Park in Suffolk Co, NY 27–30 Nov (Raina Angelier, Cayla Rosenhagen, Iris Rosenhagen, m. ob.) was remarkable away from the species’ usual wintering sites.

Grebes through Rails

Eared Grebes have been rare but regular in the region for the past five decades. This season, the species turned up in NJ on Jarvis Sound, Cape May Co 21–24 Aug (Erik Bruhnke, m. ob.) and at the Meadowlands IBA’s Merhof Pond in Bergen Co 9–16 Oct (Christopher Takacs, Milton Collins, m. ob.). NY’s Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge hosted one 31 Oct–29 Nov (Douglas Futuyma, m. ob.), and another was at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR Brigantine Unit, Atlantic Co, NJ 21–28 Nov (Yong Kong, Jason Denesevich, m. ob.).

Eurasian Collared-Doves made brief appearances in NJ in Millburn, Essex Co 5 Aug (Brett Karley) and Cape May, Cape May Co 6 Aug (Tom Reed). Another frequenting Rome, Oneida Co, NY 31 Aug–5 Sep (Dennis and Dina Waters, m. ob.) may have been present for months prior; and in Sussex Co, DE, only two remained of the dwindling colony at Selbyville, where they were reported 27 Sep (Sharon Lynn, Jen Ottinger). Selbyville is the species’ only toehold in the region, although it has successfully colonized much of the rest of the U.S., as well as Mexico, the Caribbean, and southwestern Canada since the 1970s.

NJ’s 5th Common Ground Dove was characteristically shy at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR’s Cedar Bonnet Island, Ocean Co 11 Nov (Beth Freiday, Amy Davis, m. ob.). NJ also hosted a handful of White-winged Doves this season, including individuals at Barnegat Light SP, Ocean Co 3 Aug (J. McCormick); Sandy Hook, Monmouth Co 31 Aug (Keith Leonard); Cape May, Cape May Co 26–28 Nov (A. Crawford, A. Bernzweig); and Clark, Union Co, 27 Nov–1 Dec (G. Valadares, David Bernstein, Peter Kwiatek, m. ob.).

A Chimney Swift survey at two sites in Wilmington, New Castle, DE produced the following counts (Sally O’Byrne, m. ob.):

28 Aug

316

29 Aug

227

30 Aug

315

4 Sep

321/430

5 Sep

289

7 Sep

204

9 Sep

207

6 Oct

556

10 Oct

750

13 Oct

890

15 Oct

987

16 Oct

1194

18 Oct

361

19 Oct

253

20 Oct

259

An abundance of western hummingbirds attended the region’s feeders this fall, possibly due to several mild winters in a row attracting returning strays, and maybe due to western wildfires forcing eastward migration rather than southward. A Black-chinned Hummingbird was an overdue DE first at Harbeson, Sussex Co 24 Oct–9 Nov, where it was banded and identified as a hatch-year female (Bob Edelen); another, an apparent hatch-year male, was photographed in Goshen, Cape May Co, NJ 8 Nov (Dustin Welch, J. Nemeth). No fewer than eight Selasphorus hummingbirds not identified to species were noted in NJ alone this fall. A Calliope Hummingbird made sporadic visits to a yard in Point Pleasant, Ocean Co, NJ, starting around 1 Nov and continuing through the period (Deb and Tom Dishon); another in Bear, New Castle Co 19–21 Nov (Mariano Mazal, Michael Moore) was DE’s 2nd.

Along with the rarer western hummers, the region hosted many Rufous Hummingbirds this season, with individuals documented in Del Haven, Cape May Co, NJ 10–13 Oct (Bob Fogg, David La Puma); Pemberton, Burlington Co, NJ 15 Oct–30 Nov (B. Street, David La Puma); East Amherst, Erie Co, NY 17 Oct–1 Nov (Karen Lee Lewis); Heislerville, Cumberland Co, NJ 23–26 Oct (David La Puma); Egg Harbor Twp., Atlantic Co, NJ 25 Oct–7 Nov (Lester Block); Greenwood Lake, Orange Co, NY 25–26 Oct (Alayna Vreeland); Pennington, Mercer Co, NJ 28 Oct–30 Nov (James Parris, David La Puma); and Bayard Cutting Arboretum SP, Suffolk Co, NY 31 Oct–25 Nov (Ian Resnick, m. ob.).

Two Allen’s Hummingbirds visited the Garden State this fall, representing NJ’s 6th and 7th records of the species: one in Ocean City, Cape May Co 18–22 Sep (Nancy Larrabee, David La Puma), and another in Bayville, Ocean Co 12–22 Nov (Joyce Havey, Amy Davis, David La Puma, m. ob.).

A Yellow Rail was a rare find in Tuckerton, Ocean Co, NJ 1 Sep (E. Hahn, J. Penkala). A Purple Gallinule was out of place in a Franklinville, Cattaraugus Co, NY schoolyard 23 Oct (Levi O’Brien fide Alec Humann).

Shorebirds

It was another record-breaking year for DE’s Piping Plovers: 21 nesting pairs produced a total of 51 fledged young for an average of 2.4 fledglings per nest. This is the third consecutive year of all-time high counts for DE’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC)’s Piping Plover monitoring program (Shawn M. Garvin, DNREC).

A Ruff was noteworthy at Whitesbog, Burlington Co, NJ 1–4 Aug (Jim Schill, Larry Zirlin, m. ob.); another was at Edwin B. Forsythe Brigantine Unit, Atlantic Co, NJ 10–12 Nov (Bill Elrick). DE’s 3rd Sharp-tailed Sandpiper was at Bombay Hook NWR 5–15 Nov (Lynn Kohler, m. ob.).

Baird’s Sandpipers are scarce migrants through the region. This fall, the species appeared at Prime Hook Road impoundment, Sussex Co, DE 11–14 Aug (Eric Hartshaw) and 28 Aug–5 Sep (Chris Bennett); there were two on the latter dates. One to two were at Cranbury, Middlesex Co, NJ 15 Aug–3 Sep (Tom Ostrand, m. ob.). Tuckahoe WMA, Atlantic/Cape May counties, NJ hosted as many as three 26 Aug–5 Sep (Christina Marks, m. ob.). A flock of five was in Winslow, Camden Co, NJ 30 Aug (Sandra Keller, m. ob.). There were three at Laurel Road, Laurel, Sussex Co, DE 8 Sep (Chris Haddon). One was photographed at Cape May Point SP, Cape May Co, NJ 9 Sep (Eric Bruhnke). Edwin B. Forsythe NWR Brigantine Unit hosted the species 15 Sep (Doug Kibbe, m. ob.) and 11–21 Oct (Bill Elrick, m. ob.). There was one at Andrews Lake Road, Frederica, DE 1 Oct (Aaron Reb).

A Little Stint at Edwin B. Forsythe Brigantine Unit, Atlantic Co 5–12 Sep (Yong Kong, m. ob.) was NJ’s 4th; the state’s three previous records were all from July. NJ’s first Wood Sandpiper was a crowd-pleaser for masked and distanced birders at Richard W. DeKorte Park, Bergen Co, 20–22 Sep (Milton Collins, m. ob.); the species has made previous appearances in both DE and NY, but there are only about a dozen total ABA records away from Alaska.

Sussex Co, DE hosted Wilson’s Phalaropes at Dupont Nature Center 8 Aug (Jeff Kietzmann) and at the Prime Hook Road impoundment 14 Aug (Chris Bennett). Elsewhere, this scarce migrant turned up at Montezuma NWR, Seneca Co, NY 20 and 23 Aug (Lori VanKirk; Bryce Robinson, m. ob.); Edwin B. Forsythe Brigantine Unit, Atlantic Co, NJ 25 Aug (Greg Miller); Tuckahoe WMA, Cape May Co, NJ 30 Aug (Yong Kong, m. ob.); Sagaponack Pond, Suffolk Co, NY 5 Sep (Anthony Collerton, Noah Strycker); Island Beach SP, Ocean Co, NJ 14 Sep (Jeanine Apgar, Greg Prelich, Steven Weiss); Cape May Point SP, Cape May Co, NJ 26 Sep (Jesse Amesbury); Walker Avenue Wetlands, Passaic Co, NJ 30 Sep–1 Oct (Richard Klockner, m. ob.); Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens Co, NY 7–12 Sep (Karlo Mirth, m. ob.) and 7–9 Oct (Ken Feustel, m. ob.); and Little Creek Wildlife Area, Kent Co, DE 10 Nov (Jen Ottinger).

Most Red-necked Phalarope sightings this season occurred along the shores of Lakes Ontario and Erie, with a few others coming from the Finger Lakes region of NY. The species also turned up offshore in NJ waters, and outliers appeared at Osgood Pond, Franklin Co, NY 1 Aug (Brian McAllister, Connor Vara); Willis Lake Swamp, Hamilton Co, NY 31 Aug (Ken Chaisson); and Kiwassa Lake, Franklin Co, NY 13 Sep (Laurie Keefe). Red Phalaropes were seen from shore at Fowlers Beach, Prime Hook NWR, Sussex Co, DE 12 Sep (Joseph Freiberg); Wildwood Crest Beach Pier, Cape May Co, NJ 17 Sep (Kevin Graff); and inland on Lake Parsippany, Morris Co, NJ 26 Sep (Sean Ondich, m. ob.). A handful of reports also came from NY’s Finger Lakes region and the shore of Lake Ontario, and another at the Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant, Genesee Co 2 Oct was noteworthy (Celeste Morien).

Skuas through Pelicans

A South Polar Skua was borne north over the Hudson River on the winds of Tropical Storm Isaïas on 4 Aug (Adrian Burke, Jordan Spindel, Ryan Zucker, m. ob.); another seen that day was barely extralimital on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, constituting that state’s first. A more conventional sighting of the species occurred off Cape May Co, NJ 7 Sep (Amy Davis). Two Pomarine Jaegers were seen from shore during Isaïas at Eatons Neck, Suffolk Co, NY 4 Aug (Brent Bomkamp). A Long-tailed Jaeger was a very rare find at Bluegrass Lane Natural Area, Tompkins Co, NY 8 Sep (Chris Sayers, Tristan Herwood); another was viewed from shore at Robert Moses SP, Suffolk Co, NY 23 Oct (Shai Mitra).

A Thick-billed Murre stranded onshore at Robert Moses SP, Suffolk Co, NY 25 Nov was rescued and released (Taylor Sturm); another three were seen off Cape May Co, NJ 27 Nov (Alex Bernzweig, Jason Denesevich, Chris Daly, Milton Collins, m. ob.).

Sabine’s Gull is a rare fall migrant in the region, with most reported far offshore or on the Great Lakes. Two appeared off Ocean Co, NJ 11 Sep (Larry Scacchetti); others were seen on Lake Ontario at Hamlin Beach SP Lake Watch, Monroe Co, NY 30 Aug and 14 Sep (Dominic Sherony, m. ob.); Cape Henlopen SP, Sussex, DE 12 Oct (Bruce Peterjohn); Onondaga Lake, Onondaga Co, NY 31 Oct–3 Nov (Tony Carapella, m. ob.); Derby Hill Hawk Watch, Lake Ontario, Oswego Co, NY 14 Nov (Sarah Dzielski, Nick Bonomo, Drew Weber); and on Lake Erie in Buffalo, Erie Co, NY 27–30 Nov (Bruce Hoover, m. ob.). Reports of Little Gull away from the Great Lakes have been on the decline, but this season the species was seen from Oak Beach, Suffolk Co, NY 27 Aug (Shai Mitra, m. ob.) and nearby Robert Moses SP 13 Nov (John Gluth), as well as off Cape May Co, NJ 27 Nov (Alex Bernzweig, m. ob.). Franklin’s Gulls turned up at DeKorte Park, Bergen Co, NJ 9 Aug (Milton Collins, m. ob.); Upper Lisle County Park, Whitney Point, Broome Co, NY 7 Oct (Jonathan Weeks, David Nicosia, Glenn Wilson); Avalon Seawatch, Cape May Co, NJ 17 Nov (Tom Reed); and Ditch Bank Road, Madison Co, NY 17 Nov (Gregg Dashnau).

Tropical Storm Isaïas brought Sooty Terns to the region 4 Aug, and as is typical for this tropical aerialist, all reports were associated with the storm. Sightings came from Edwin B. Forsythe Holgate Unit, Ocean Co, NJ (Amy Davis); Kings Point, Nassau Co, NY (Michael McBrien); Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary, Westchester Co, NY (Sean Camillieri); the New York City area, where reports were widespread from Gravesend Bay up the Hudson River north to Inwood Hill Park; Fire Island Inlet, Suffolk Co, NY (Ken and Suzy Feustel); Culvers Lake, Sussex Co, NJ (Fred Weber, Marianne Ofenloch, m. ob.); and Swartswood Lake, Sussex Co, NJ (Dennis Briede, Alan Boyd, Kevin Cronin, m. ob.). A final sighting of the species came from the Hudson River at Cold Spring, Putnam Co, NY, the day after the storm (Charlie Roberto).

The season’s only reports of Pacific Loon came from Cape May Co, NJ, where two were seen from Cape May Point 10 Oct (Louise Zemaitis, Michael O’Brien, Tom Johnson), and another was tallied on the Avalon Seawatch 2 Nov (Tom Reed). The species is a casual fall and winter visitor in the region.

Two White-faced Storm-Petrels were seen in the general area of the Hudson Canyon 9 Aug, one in Suffolk Co, NY waters and one in Ocean Co, NJ waters (Amy Davis, Al Della Bella, Bob Leifeste, Chris Thomas). Another report of the species came from nearby Ocean Co, NJ waters the following day (Jason Denesevich). A Band-rumped Storm-Petrel was seen from shore during Isaïas at Robert Moses SP, Suffolk Co, NY 4 Aug (Shai Mitra, Patricia Lindsay), as was a Manx Shearwater on the same day at Great Kills Park, Richmond Co, NY (Seth Wollney); the latter species was seen again from shore at Robert Moses SP 18 Oct (Shai Mitra, m. ob.).

Magnificent Frigatebirds lived up to the moniker at Fair Haven Beach SP, Cayuga Co, NY 27 Oct (Gregg Dashnau) and Cape Henlopen SP, Sussex Co, DE 7 Nov (Jen Ottinger, Susan Gruver, Chris Haddon).

NJ’s third Masked Booby delighted birders on a whale watching trip in Cold Spring Inlet, Cape May Co 15 Sep (Melissa Laurino, Michael O’Brien, m. ob.). Reports of Brown Booby have been increasing dramatically in the region within the last half decade, and this season, there were remarkable inland sightings in NY at Indian Lake, Adirondack Park, Hamilton Co 14–22 Aug (Ryan Sarsfield, m. ob.), as well as at Ashokan Reservoir, Catskill Park, Ulster Co 30 Aug–15 Sep (Andrew Block, m. ob.). Moriches Inlet, Suffolk Co, NY was host to a flyby 9 Aug (Michael McBrien); elsewhere, the specie was seen at Higbee Beach, Cape May Co, NJ 29 Sep (Daniel Irons); Newark Bay, Essex/Hudson counties, NJ, where there were two 4 Oct–30 Nov (H. Carola, Christopher Takacs, David Bernstein, m. ob.); Avalon Seawatch, Cape May Co, NJ 5 and 6 Oct (Tom Reed) and 23 Oct (David Weber); East Quogue, Suffolk Co, NY 29 Oct–1 Nov (Eileen Schwin, Mike Higgiston, Kevin Munroe, m. ob.); just off Holgate, Ocean Co, NJ 21 Nov (Steve Lessel); and Inwood Hill Park, New York Co, NY 22 Nov (Nathan O’Reilly, Nadir Souirgi, Miles Ross).

DE’s 2nd Anhinga was a flyover photographed in Frederica, Kent Co 5 Sep (Aaron Reb). A Neotropic Cormorant strayed to Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant, Genesee Co, NY 5–11 Aug (Kyle Gage, m. ob.).

American White Pelicans have been increasing in the region for the last few decades as the species’ breeding range expands eastward. This season, sightings came from the Thousand Acre Marsh area, New Castle Co, DE 5 Aug (Joe Swertinski) and 15–20 Nov (VESP Rowe, m. ob.); Gull Island and the vicinity, Cape May Co, NJ 15 Aug–4 Sep (Tom Baxter, m. ob.); Oak Orchard WMA, Genesee Co, NY 19 Aug–13 Oct (Chris Rockwell, m. ob.); Ashokan Reservoir, Ulster Co, NY 21 Aug–3 Oct (Sean Camillieri, Michael Reid, m. ob.); Kearny Marsh East, Meadowlands IBA, Hudson Co, NJ 25 Aug (Christopher Takacs); Tuscarora Lake, Madison Co, NY 31 Aug–1 Sep (Michael Howell, m. ob.); Hamlin, Monroe Co, NY 1 Sep (Andrew and Danny Guthrie) and on the nearby Braddock Bay on the same date (Mitchell Barry); Prime Hook NWR, Sussex Co, DE 10–14 Sep (Sharon Lynn, m. ob.); Terrell River County Park, Suffolk Co, NY 17–18 Oct (Stefan, Farah, and Ernst Mutchnick, m. ob.); Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens Co, NY 19 Oct–1 Nov (Andrew Baksh, m. ob.); Edwin B. Forsythe NWR Brigantine Unit, Atlantic Co, NJ 7–29 Nov (Yong Kong, m. ob.); and Cape May Point SP, Cape May Co, NJ 28 Nov (Jesse Amesbury, m. ob.). A Brown Pelican was remarkable on Lake Erie, Chautauqua Co, NY 26–29 Aug (Fred Rosing, m. ob.).

Kites through Shrikes

Two Swallow-tailed Kites were in the Kendall area, Monroe/Orleans counties, NY 9–16 Aug (Patricia Martin, m. ob.), and may have been present for a week prior; two more were seen at Sandy Hook, Monmouth Co, NJ 11 Aug (Chase Schiefer). Several reports of the species came from Cape May, Cape May Co, NJ 13 Aug (Greg Mandel, m. ob.) as well, and another was seen in the area 30 Aug (Bill Roache). Fall records are rarer than spring records for this species.

In NY, a Swainson’s Hawk was photographed at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens Co 19 Sep (David Chernack), and likely the same individual subsequently appeared at Governor’s Island, New York Co 26 Sep (Benjamin Cacace). Further reports of the species came from Cape Henlopen Hawk Watch, Sussex Co, DE 6 Oct (Jen Ottinger, m. ob.); Cape May Hawk Watch, Cape May Co, NJ 18 Nov (Tom Reed, m. ob.); and Barnegat Light SP, Ocean Co, NJ, also on 18 Nov (Chris Thomas). The latter two reports, occurring on the same day some 80 miles apart, pertain to two different individuals, and the BLSP bird appeared to be outfitted with a transmitter.

Counters at Franklin Mountain Hawkwatch in Oneonta, Otsego Co, NY noted a precipitous decline in Red-tailed Hawks this season, in what looks to be a downward trend for the species. There were 57% fewer redtails tallied this year there, a trend also noted at other hawk watches in the Northeast. Other species experiencing significant declines at the site were Osprey and Cooper’s Hawk (down 46% and 23%, respectively), while Broad-winged Hawks and Bald Eagle counts were up.

It was a good fall for Ash-throated Flycatchers in the region. The species made appearances in Sandy Hook, Monmouth Co, NJ 18 Oct (Linda Mack, m. ob.); Lido Beach Passive Nature Area, Nassau Co, NY 15 Nov (David Pace, Christopher Braut); Cape May Co, NJ, where there were at least two on 19–20 Nov and one on 27–28 Nov (Tom Johnson, Ruth Bergstrom, Chris Daly, Roger Horn, m. ob.); Green-Wood Cemetery, Kings Co, NY 19–29 Nov (Alan V. Bacchiochi, m. ob.); Ashland Tract, Augustine WMA, New Castle Co, DE 20–29 Nov (Andrew Ednie, m. ob.); Forest Park, Queens Co, NY 28–29 Nov (Karlo Mirth, m. ob.); Conference House Park, Richmond Co, NY 29–30 Nov (Richard Veit, m. ob.); and Galloway, Atlantic Co, NJ 30 Nov (Jeanine Apgar).

A Tropical Kingbird was well documented with photos and recordings at Dobbs Ferry, Westchester Co 27–29 Oct (Tom Warren, Julien Amsellem, m. ob.), where it was NY’s first; previously, DE had been the only state in the region to host this species. Western Kingbirds turned up at Island Beach SP, Ocean Co, NJ 22 Sep (Alyssa Suder, Amy Davis, Donna Ortuso); Governor’s Island, New York Co, NY 26 Sep–5 Oct (Loyan Beausoleil, m. ob.); Robert Moses SP, Suffolk Co, NY 23 Oct (Shai Mitra, m. ob.); Fort Tilden, Queens Co, NY 17 Oct (Gordon Lam, m. ob.); and Thirteen Curves Road, Sussex Co, DE 31 Oct–4 Nov (David Fees, m. ob.). There were about a dozen sightings on Cape Island, Cape May Co, NJ in Sep and Oct. Subsequent reports came from Sandy Hook, Monmouth Co, NJ 7 Nov (Jeff Ellerbusch, m. ob.); Breezy Point Tip, Queens Co, NY 7 Nov (Corey Finger, m. ob.); and Mount Loretto Unique Area, Richmond Co, NY 28 Nov (Jennifer Kepler, Anthony Ciancimino, m. ob.).

A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was seen briefly at Conference House Park, Richmond Co, NY 23 Aug (Richard Veit); most records in the region have occurred in spring. A Fork-tailed Flycatcher was at the Ashokan Reservoir, Catskill Park, Ulster Co, NY 17–18 Oct (Linda Armstrong, m. ob.). A Pacific-slope Flycatcher was at Kissena Park, Queens Co, NY 31 Oct–11 Nov (Mike Gottlieb, Brendan Fogarty, m. ob.); another at Dorbrook Recreation Area, Monmouth Co 9–10 Nov (Melody Ragle, David Bernstein, Sam Skinner) was NJ’s 3rd. A “Western” Flycatcher at Ashland Tract, Augustine WMA, New Castle, DE 20–21 Nov (Andrew Ednie, m. ob.) was not identified to species. Almost all “Western” Flycatchers in the Northeast that are identified to species have ended up being Pacific-Slope, although there are a handful of records of Cordilleran Flycatcher from east Texas and Louisiana. Say’s Phoebes turned up in Candor, Tioga Co, NY 23 Sep (Adam Troyer, m. ob.) and Warren Twp., Somerset Co, NJ 17 Oct (Tom Smith, m. ob.).

A Loggerhead Shrike was a good find at Fowler Beach Road, Sussex Co, DE 25 Sep (Bruce Peterjohn); the species is in steep decline in the East.

Vireos through Dickcissels

A Bell’s Vireo at Rehoboth, Sussex Co, 5 Oct (Peggy Clapp) was a perhaps overdue first for DE. NJ’s 3rd Yellow-green Vireo was banded in Cape May, Cape May Co 1 Oct (L. diBiccari, E. Chen, J. Tattoni, m. ob.); all three records come from Cape May Point SP and the adjacent South Cape May Meadows and have occurred since 2018, but almost certainly pertain to three different individuals. These are the only records from the region, and there are few out-of-range records away from Florida.

Cave Swallows have turned up in small numbers annually in the region in fall since the 1990s, and this fall was no exception. Reports came from Almond Lake, Steuben Co, NY 1 Nov (Robert Buckert, Jules Wagner); Port Mahon, Kent Co, DE 2 Nov (Mary Brennan); Avalon Seawatch, Cape May Co, NJ 2 Nov (Tom Reed, Martina Nordstrand, Baxter Beamer); Hamlin Beach SP, Monroe Co, NY 6 Nov (Andrew Guthrie); Krull County Park, Niagara Co, NY 8 Nov (Brad Carlson, m. ob.); and Raritan Bay Waterfront Park, Middlesex Co, NJ 17 Nov (Jason Denesevich). Some half dozen sightings of Cave Swallows also came from Breezy Point Tip, Coney Island Beach, and Floyd Bennett Field in Queens/Kings counties, NY 17–18 Nov (Doug Gochfeld, m. ob.); Jones Beach, Nassau Co, NY 19 Nov (Vincent Glasser); and there were many reports from Cape May, Cape May Co, NJ starting 31 Oct and continuing through the period, with a high count of 30 in West Cape May 18 Nov (Tom Johnson, m. ob.).

A Northern Wheatear was a charmer at Edwin B. Forsythe Brigantine Unit, Atlantic Co, NJ 9 Oct (Steve Shreiner, Amy Davis, Donna Ortuso, Ann Marie Morrison, m. ob.).

A boreal finch population boom followed by widespread mast crop failure ushered in an incredible super flight this fall. All the irruptive species— “honorary winter finches” Blue Jay, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Bohemian Waxwing, as well as Evening Grosbeak, Pine Grosbeak, Purple Finch, Common and Hoary redpolls, Red and White-winged crossbills, and Pine Siskin—appeared in the region, some in large numbers, demolishing previous high counts. No fewer than 11,589 Pine Siskins were tallied at Higbee Beach WMA, Cape May Co, NJ 25 Oct (Daniel Irons), and a total of 256 Red Crossbills passed through Cape May, Cape May Co, NJ 22 Nov (Tom Johnson). Evening Grosbeaks were thrillingly widespread. A smattering of Bohemian Waxwing sightings in the region mostly came from the Adirondacks and Lake Ontario area, but a lone individual ventured south to Round Valley Reservoir in Hunterdon Co, NJ 31 Oct (Frank Sencher, David Bernstein). Common Redpolls trickled into the coastal areas of NJ and DE, with one reaching Cape Henlopen SP, Sussex Co, DE 27 Nov (Jen Ottinger, Susan Gruver). Hoary Redpolls began to appear in the region, with the southernmost record being from Tompkins Co, NY 26–29 Nov (Jeremy Collison, Jay McGowan). A handful of White-winged Crossbill sightings included one in West Cape May, Cape May Co, NJ 8 Nov (Michael O’Brien).

LeConte’s Sparrows made rare appearances in the region at Sandy Hook, Monmouth Co, NJ 9 Oct (Simon Lane, Andrew Marden, Susan Treesh) and Conference House Park, Richmond Co, NY 25–27 Oct (Richard Veit, m. ob.). A Henslow’s Sparrow was a very good find near Lewes, Sussex Co, DE 23 Oct (Bruce Peterjohn); the species has declined greatly in the region since the 1970s. A “Gambel’s” White-crowned Sparrow was out of range at Duke Farms, Somerset Co, NJ 1 Nov (Jeff Ellerbusch).

Yellow-headed Blackbirds have been experiencing a range expansion since the 1950s and have appeared annually in the region in fall and winter since then. This season, they were observed at Higbee Beach WMA, Cape May Co, NJ 3 Aug (Tom Reed) and 24 Aug (Tom Johnson, m. ob.); Palmyra Cove Nature Park, Burlington Co, NJ 30 Aug (Jim Schill, Matthew Jewell); West Cape May, Cape May Co, NJ 31 Aug (Michael O’Brien); Cape May Point SP, Cape May Co, NJ 9 and 24 Sep (Tom Reed); Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens Co, NY 16 Sep–29 Nov (Gigi Altajeros, m. ob.); Edwin B. Forsythe NWR Brigantine Unit, Atlantic Co, NJ 16 Sep (Johnny Votta); Mill Creek Marsh, Meadowlands IBA, Hudson Co, NJ 21 Sep (Rick Wright); West Cape May, Cape May Co, NJ 13 Oct (Alex Wiebe, Dan Liang, Dave Wilcove); and Augustine Wildlife Area, New Castle Co, DE 21 Nov (Bert Filemyr, Michael Rosengarten, m. ob.).

Black-throated Gray Warblers are a casual stray to the region, and this fall, they appeared at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens Co, NY 4 Sep (Robin and Lowell Taubman, m. ob.); Cape Henlopen SP, Sussex Co, DE 11 Sep (Deborah Dohne) and 22 Sep (Carole Blye, m. ob.); and Cape May, Cape May Co, NJ 19–22 Sep (K. Myers, Melissa Roach, Tom Johnson, m. ob.).

NY’s 2nd Painted Redstart was a gaudy one-day wonder at Floyd Bennett Field in Kings Co 18 Oct (Richard Payne, m. ob.). The state’s (and region’s) lone previous record is from Livingston Co in 1980, and there are only about a dozen records east of the Mississippi River.

Painted Buntings have been visiting the region more frequently. One was in Dover, Kent Co, DE 31 Aug (Leila Jones), and another, a singing male, was at Island Beach SP, Ocean Co, NJ 6 Oct (Greg Prelich, Larry Zirlin, Amy Davis, m. ob.). Elsewhere, the species appeared at Troy Meadows, Morris Co, NJ 9 Nov (Roger Johnson); Ashland Nature Center, New Castle, DE 27 Nov (Carol Spease, David Brown, Rod Murray); and Lewes, Sussex Co, DE 27 Nov (Maria and Bob Evans), a returning male. A Western Tanager was at Green-Wood Cemetery, Kings Co, NY 13–25 Nov (David Olesky, Gordon Lam, m. ob.). Dickcissels were widespread this fall.

Report processed by José Ramírez-Garofalo, 28 May 2021.

Photos–Hudson-Delaware: Fall 2020

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