Hudson-Delaware: Summer 2019
Summer 2019, June 1–July 31
Robert O. Paxton
Paxton, R. O., et al. Summer 2019: Hudson-Delaware. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-8U6> North American Birds.
Summer 2019 was hotter and wetter than average in most of this region. The average temperature was the highest ever in some localities, though July was only the fifth hottest in DE and the eleventh hottest in NY. According to NOAA, the period January–August was the wettest on record for the contiguous U. S., and in most of the Hudson-Delaware region, rainfall was generally well above average in June and July.
Rarities included Bridled Tern, Gray Kingbird, and Fork-tailed Flycatcher.
Frank Rohrbacher comments: “Birds are shifting further and faster north than we thought. A dozen Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, two dozen American White Pelicans, and hundreds of White Ibises in Delaware in summer is not normal.”
Observers (sub-regional compilers in boldface)
Deborah Allen (Central Park, NYC), Andrew Baksh, Chris Bennett (D. N. R. E. C.), Michael Bochnik (Lower Hudson Valley, NY: firstname.lastname@example.org), Jeff Bolsinger (JBo) (St. Lawrence, NY: email@example.com), Joseph Brin (Syracuse, NY, RBA), Mike Britt, T. W. Burke (NYC RBA), Marc Chelemer, Kathy Clark (N. J. D. F. W.), Joan Collins, John Confer (J. Co.), Scott Crocoll (N. Y. D. E. C.), Willie D’Anna, Greg Dashnau, Christina Davis (N. J. D. F. W.), Alyssa Della Fave, Audrey DeRose-Wilson (D. N. R. E. C.), Joe DiCostanzo (Great Gull), Andrew P. Ednie (Birdline Delaware), Ken & Sue Feustel, Sam Galick (Cape May Bird Observatory), Susan Gruver, Mike Gullo, Andy Guthrie, Richard Guthrie, Emily Heiser (Conserve Wildlife Foundation, New Jersey), Kevin A. Jennings (N. Y. D. E. C.), Alissa Kegelman, Sandra Keller, Bill Krueger (Adirondacks/Champlain, NY: firstname.lastname@example.org), William Kuk (Susquehanna, NY: email@example.com), David La Puma (Cape May Bird Observatory), Patricia J. Lindsay, Pat Martin, Irene Mazzocchi (N. Y. D. E. C.), Jay McGowan (Finger Lakes, NY: firstname.lastname@example.org), Michael Morgante (Niagara, NY: email@example.com), Dave Nicosia, Bill Ostrander (Finger Lakes, NY: firstname.lastname@example.org), Andrea Patterson (BBBO), Matt Perry (Oneida Lake Basin, NY: email@example.com), Bill Purcell, Don Riepe (Jamaica Bay), Derek Rogers, Kevin Rogers, Livia Santana, Sean Sime, Robert G. Spahn (Genesee, NY: firstname.lastname@example.org), David Suggs (RBA Buffalo), Anne Swaim, Paul Sweet, Mike Tetlow, Susan Treesh, Lance Verderame (Sullivan, NY), R. T. Waterman Bird Club (Dutchess, NY), David Wheeler (Oneida Lake Basin, NY: email@example.com), Tom Williams (Hudson-Mohawk, NY:firstname.lastname@example.org), Joe Wing, Peter Yoerg, Robert P. Yunick, John Zarudsky.
Bombay Hook (N. W. R., Kent, DE); Braddock Bay (W. M. A. and bird observatory, Monroe, NY); Brigantine (Brigantine Unit, Edward P. Forsythe N. W. R., Atlantic, NJ); Cupsogue (county park e. of Moriches Inlet, Suffolk, NY); D. N. R. E. C. (Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control); Fort Drum (U. S. Army Military Reservation, Jefferson, NY); Great Gull (island off e. LI); LI (Long Island); Howland Island (W. M. A. near Savannah, Cayuga, NY); Iroquois (N. W. R., Genesee-Orleans, NY); Jamaica Bay (wildlife refuge, New York City); Lakehurst (Naval Air Engineering Station, Ocean, NJ); Little Galloo (island, e. L. Ontario, off Jefferson, NY); Montezuma (N. W. R., Seneca/Wayne/Cayuga, NY); Nickerson Beach (county park, Lido Beach, Nassau, NY); N. J. D. F. W. (New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife); N. Y. D. E. C. (New York Department of Environmental Conservation); Pea Patch (island, Delaware R., New Castle, DE); Walkill River (N. W. R., Sussex, NJ and Orange, NY).
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, suddenly annual since 2000, now venture all the way to Canada. The largest group in NY was a highly mobile dozen or so in e. Nassau, moving from Freeport on May 21 (Brendan Fogarty) to the Marine Nature Study Area in Oceanside (K. R.), Nickerson Beach (m. obs.), and Jones Beach S. P. (m. obs.) through the following three weeks. Record far north in NY were singles at Buffalo Harbor 1 June (Dean DiTommaso) and at Clarence, Erie 5 June (Sue Barth, et al.), perhaps the same bird, and at Clayton, Jefferson, 17 June (Nick Leon). Other northerly singles appeared at the SUNY Albany campus—a first county record (Brian Smith), on Cayuga L. at Stewart Park, Ithaca, 17 June (Carol Cedarholm), and at the nearby Newman Golf Course 23 June (Dave Nutter). In NJ, a flock frequented Cape May (maximum 18 on 15 June), while a singleton was at Point Pleasant Beach, Ocean, 9–10 July (Ray Bogan, John C. Collins). They visited all three counties in DE: four around Bombay Hook 29 June (Patrick McGill) to 5 July (Sara Nooner); a group of up to 14 in the wetlands southwest of Cape Henlopen, first discovered at the Wolfe’s Neck Water Treatment Plant 26 June (A. K.) and present spasmodically there and near Lewes up to 25 July (m. obs.). Four flew up the Delaware R. at Veterans’ Park, Delaware City, New Castle, during the Pea Patch heronry count 26 June (C. B., Anthony Gonzon).
A pair of increasing Trumpeter Swans bred for a second summer at Iroquois, well west of previous locations, raising seven young (m. ob.). Among the less frequent summering diving ducks were a persisting male Canvasback at Montezuma 1+ June (J. McG., L. Sa., et al.), an adult Redhead there 26 July (D. N.), and 2 female-plumaged Common Eiders at Lewes Harbor, DE 14 June (Daniel Irons). Summering scoters are not unusual, but 53 Black Scoters at Cape Henlopen, Sussex, DE 4 June (Ronald Ketter) was impressive. A winter-plumaged Long-tailed Duck at Port Mahon 26 June and Bower’s Beach 26 July, both Kent (Dan Small, Maren Gimpel), may have constituted the first midsummer record for DE.
Grouse to Cranes
The N. J. D. F. W. closed Ruffed Grouse hunting in NJ indefinitely on 25 July for lack of quarry. The 13th Ruffed Grouse drumming survey in New York State, based on data from 171 Wild Turkey hunters, showed a further decline to 0.12 detections per hour, compared to a five-year average of 0.22, though the rates were a little higher in the Adirondacks (0.38) and the St. Lawrence River valley (0.28) (N. Y. D. E. C.).
A notable Pied-billed Grebe count of 117 at the Knox-Marsellus and Puddler’s Marsh sections of Montezuma 11 Aug. included many juveniles (D. N.).
Single Eurasian Collared-Doves at Parma Park, Monroe, NY 14 and 30 July (Mike Wasilco, Steve Taylor) and at Cape May, NJ 27 July (T. R.) were the only reports; this introduced species so successful elsewhere has still not taken off here. A White-winged Dove at a feeder at Newburgh 28-29 July (Shelby Grimm) was a first record for Orange, NY and for the lower Hudson River Valley; most previous records, fewer than annual, have been coastal.
For the first time in many years, Common Nighthawks were absent from Buffalo and Jamestown, NY, their last regular urban breeding locations in the region (M. M.).
A Virginia Rail with two chicks at the Robert W. Nichols Nature Preserve, in Hancock, Delaware, NY was a first county breeding record (Rick Keyser, Kate Jensen). A remarkable 65 Common Gallinules were counted at Van Dyne Spoor, N. Montezuma W. M. A., 5 June (G. D.). Sandhill Cranes, expanding eastward, bred again in NY, as they have since 2003, this time at Oak Orchard W. M. A., Genesee (Debbie Sharon), and made a second attempt in Pharsalia S. F., Chenango (Mike DeWispelaere). More notably, a Sandhill Crane was observed on 6 June on a nest with two eggs at Walkill River (Judith Cinquina). The only previous Sandhill Crane breeding record in NJ involved a bird of unknown provenance mated with an escaped Eurasian Common Crane in Salem in 1995. The regional maximum was 21 in the N. Montezuma W. M. A. 21 July (Bob McGuire, Susan Danskin, et al.)
Fall shorebird migration was underway typically early, with single Whimbrels on LI at West Meadow and Shinnecock, both Suffolk, on 6 July (Edward Landi, Molly Adams), 59 Lesser Yellowlegs at Montezuma 7 July (M. T., Joann Tetlow) and about a hundred Short-billed Dowitchers at Cupsogue 9 July (Bob Lewis).
Single Black-necked Stilts, less than annual in NY, especially inland, appeared at Frog Island, Erie, 19 June (ph. Paul Leuchner) and at Montezuma 5–23 June (G. D., m. obs.), but there is still no evidence of breeding in the state. Relatively few American Avocets paused on the Great Lakes on their way to their post-breeding assemblage in DE, but one was very early 11 July at Braddock Bay (P. M., M. G.). Other, more timely singles were at the Irondequoit Bay outlet, Monroe, NY 22 July (Jim Miles) and at Woodlawn Beach, Erie, NY 31 July (Joy Saunders, Peter Joerg). Two Willets on L. Ontario at Sodus Point, Wayne, NY on 19 July (M. G., Wade and Melissa Rowley, J. W.) were almost certainly Western.
Upland Sandpipers persist at the Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Center, Ocean, NJ (e.g., six on 4 June [D. V. O. C.]), but further north, only four widely-scattered upstate NY counties harbored summering Upland Sandpipers: Erie (Tillman Road W. A., Clarence); Jefferson (Fort Drum and Chaumont Barrens Preserve); Montgomery (West Ames); and Washington (Fort Edward and Saratoga battlefield). Whimbrels, that often migrate offshore, came ashore in unusual numbers at the end of July, apparently without weather problems: 35 at Cape Henlopen, Sussex, DE, 29 July (Sean McCandless), and the following day 38 at Bear Creek Harbor and 25 at Sodus Point, both on L. Ontario in Wayne, NY (J. W.).
The annual assemblage of Red Knots in Delaware Bay at the end of May revived to 30,000 (Larry Niles), up from a low of just 10,000 in the early 2000s, but only about a third of their 1980s level. The rufa race of Red Knot was listed as threatened by the Federal Government in 2015. At least 500 Sanderlings counted in seven miles by all-terrain vehicle on the beach between Watch Hill and Point o’ Woods, on Fire Island, Suffolk, LI 28 July (P. S.) was reassuring.
Exceptionally late spring migrants included a Semipalmated Sandpiper 19 June at Braddock Bay (Sheryl Gracewski) and a Stilt Sandpiper in bright breeding plumage Nickerson Beach 20 June (Tim Healy, K. R., Matt Klein). Two very early fall migrant Dunlins in breeding plumage were found at Bombay Hook 18+ July (Sussex Bird Club). Such birds may never have reached breeding territory.
Most Western Sandpipers angle across in fall to the southern part of this region. One was unusually far north and early at Cohoes Flats, Albany, 11 July (ph. Zach Schwartz-Weinstein). An apparently territorial Wilson’s Snipe at Cincinnatus, Cortland, NY on 1 July (D. N.) was at the southern limit of known breeding range.
A lingering northbound Wilson’s Phalarope 4-5 June at Nickerson Beach (Adrian Burke, Ken Rogers, Doug Futuyma) was not atypical. The first southbound Wilson’s Phalaropes arrived 23 July Cape May Pt. (T. R.) and 25–30 July at Bombay Hook (Peter Gibb, et al.)
Gulls through Boobies
An imm. Laughing Gull, a nearly annual straggler to L. Ontario, was at Sodus Pt., Wayne, NY 13–14 June (ph. M. G.). At Little Galloo, where they have nested since 1999, Herring Gulls declined 16% to 996 nests because of high lake levels (I. M.). A few Herring Gulls nested on the roof at Harrah’s Atlantic City (Walter Gura). Lesser Black-backed Gulls increase steadily; at least 75 were counted in an eight-mile ATV ride down Fire Island, Suffolk, NY from Watch Hill to Point o’ Woods on 28 July (P. S.). Other notable counts were a record 39 on the Captree, LI, June Bird Count, and 16 well south at Stone Harbor, Cape May, 31 July (C. D., Bill Stewart, et al.).
For the fourth summer in a row, a Bridled Tern returned to the great Common/Roseate Tern colony on Great Gull, off e. LI, from 8 June into August (J. DiC., m. obs.). Least Terns occupied 20 sites in NJ, where an estimated 1,825 adults fledged 376 young. Predation limited productivity, and the terns responded by switching colonies, making accurate counting difficult (C. D., E. H.). Figures were lacking for the other two states. Three nesting Gull-billed Terns in the brackish marshes of Hempstead, Nassau, NY (J. Z.) marked this species’ northern limit. The Caspian Tern colony on Little Galloo declined to 1,715 nests because of high lake levels and rain pools, down 57% from last year’s 2,700 (I. M.). Caspian Terns seem to be establishing a permanent new colony in Buffalo Harbor, where they nested for the third year. There were 75 birds there on 1 June (M. M.).
The Great Gull Island ternery housed about 9,000 Common Terns and 2,000 Roseate Terns (J. DiC.), the largest colony of the latter in the western hemisphere. A half-dozen Arctic Terns ashore on LI in the first half of June (m. obs.) was in keeping with recent observations; none were reported further south. Breeding Forster’s Terns increased to 455 in the marshes of Hempstead, Nassau, NY (J. Z.), the species’ northern limit on the Atlantic coast. A few Sandwich Terns strayed to LI as usual: two at Plumb Beach, Brooklyn, 2 June (Peter Paul), and one at Nickerson Beach 17 June (S. S. M., P. J. L.). Further south, two were reported at Cape May Pt., NJ, 15 June (Alan Crawford, Andrew Marden) and one at Fenwick Island S. P., Sussex, DE 31 July (Chris Runk).
Black Skimmers are still largely confined to two colonies in NY: Edgemere, Queens, and Nickerson Beach. Edgemere contained 350 skimmers on 16 June (Corey Finger), while the Nickerson Beach colony had an estimated 778 individuals (J. Z.). This year a potential third skimmer colony formed in late summer at Breezy Pt., Queens and fledged 13 chicks (Don Riepe). NJ’s predominant skimmer colony at Seaview Harbor Marina, Longport, Atlantic, still had 67% of the state’s skimmers, but increased vegetation so diminished productivity that 1,425 adults produced only 147 chicks. Some other colonies were more successful: Stone Harbor Pt., Cape May, with a maximum count of 518 adults and 177 fledges, and Point Pleasant, Ocean, with 87 adults and 79 fledges (C. D., E. H.). A few skimmers lingered in coastal DE, but they do not breed there.
An overnight pelagic trip out of Brooklyn to warm waters beyond the continental shelf 22 July produced three Black-capped Petrels, two Audubon’s Shearweaters, and 17 Band-rumped Storm-Petrels, species once considered accidental but now understood to be regular far enough offshore. They accompanied the more traditionally expected Leach’s Storm-Petrels (26), Wilson’s Storm-Petrels (600), Manx (one), Cory’s (six) and Great (four) shearwaters (See Life Paulagics; Paul Guris, et al., ph. S. S.). Northern Fulmars, formerly seen around factory fishing ships outside territorial waters, were absent, as were Sooty Shearwaters, which are more usual in early summer. A Manx Shearwater was a good find from land in the rips off Cape May 27 July (T. R.).
The recent run of Brown Booby records continued in 2019, with one in the New York Harbor mouth 27 July (Isaac Grant) and another (or the same) at Heckscher S. P., Suffolk, 28 July (Vincent Glasser).
Pelicans through Herons
American White Pelicans, once mostly far western, have become annual in this region since establishing nesting colonies on the w. Great Lakes around 2000. In w. NY, one visited Iroquois 3 June (Janie Mellas,) and another, or the same, frequented Buffalo Harbor periodically 23 June–12 July (P. Y., m. obs.). One overflew De Korte Park, Lyndhurst, Bergen, NJ 16 July (S. K.). DE had the most, starting with 10-12 around Bombay Hook in early June (Dale Murphy), and increasing to 21 there 27+ July (Amber Walraven, et al.).
A couple of Brown Pelicans reached LI, and 184 on the NJ leg of the Lewes-Cape May ferry crossing on 31 July (m. obs.) were impressive.
Great Blue Herons declined on the Saint-Lawrence R. (I. M.), but increased at Pea Patch (C. B.), their northernmost coastal breeding colony. Great Egrets continue to extend their breeding range northwards. On Donens Island in the Saint Lawrence R., nesting pairs increased from 7 in 2016 to 32 (I. M.). Cattle Egrets have abandoned former breeding areas in NY. At their new northern limit in this region, the Pea Patch colony in the Delaware River, a count of 706 on 31 July was well above the long-term average and median (C. B., et al.). A straggler made it as far north as the Rochester, NY, International Airport on 2 July (R. Bishopp) and another (or the same) to Irondequoit Bay, on L. Ontario, 11 July (Candy Giles, et al.), both Monroe, NY.
Black-crowned Night-Herons are being negatively impacted by expanding Double-crested Cormorant colonies; heron nests declined from 47 in 2003 to one this year on Bass I., in e. L. Ontario, while on the Saint Lawrence R. they fell from 47 in 2011 to 6 on Strachan I., and from 37 to 3 on Bergen I. (I. M.).
White Ibis surpassed the historic invasion of 2015 in DE. Some were present along the coast in all three counties, with a maximum of 225 at Gordon’s Pond, Sussex, 23 July and the next day at nearby Dewey Beach (Eric Houser). Only a few ventured into NJ: an immature at Negri-Nepote Grasslands, Somerset 16–19 July (Christopher Daly, S. T., Rollin Deas) and 5+ around Cape May at the end of July (T. R.).
Vultures through Raptors
Two Black Vultures at Letchworth S. P., Wyoming/Livingston, NY 9 June (Rick Stevens, Mike Landowski) testified to this species’ continuing northward expansion (the first NJ nest dates from only 1981, and the first in NY from 1997). A small colony persists since 2011 on the Niagara R. at Lewiston, Niagara. A “stupendous” 172 Ospreys on the Captree, Suffolk, NY June Count on 8 June, up from 111 the previous year (S. S. M.), was further testimony of the vigor of Osprey recovery since their near extinction in the 1970s. The NJ Osprey population reached a new historic maximum of 652 active pairs, 480 of which fledged 921 young, for a productivity rate of 1.92 (Ben Wurst, Conservation Foundation of NJ).
A pair of Mississippi Kites nested in Waretown, Ocean, NJ, for the fourth consecutive year, and observations continued in NY, following one on 31 May at Binghamton (Stephen Gorgos): one soared with Turkey Vultures at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Westchester, 22 June (Lenore Swenson, Isabelle Conte), and another over the Cemetery of the Resurrection, Staten I., 8 July (Anthony Ciancimino).
Bald Eagles, which resumed breeding on LI only around 2006, have more than doubled there in the past two years. Seven active pairs fledged 13 young there in 2019 (S. C.). In NJ, about 85 volunteers monitored 238 Bald Eagle pairs, and found that 189 active nests produced 248 chicks (Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ), another spectacular recovery from near zero. Broad-winged Hawks used to breed in the Delaware Piedmont, but no longer do, so one at the Ashland Nature Center Hawk Watch 12 July (Joe Sebastiani) was a surprise.
Mysterious mid-summer movements of mostly immature raptors continue along the L. Ontario shore. On 25 June 49 Broad-winged Hawks (P. M., M. G.), on 11 July 67 Bald Eagles (M. T.), and on 28 July 94 Red-tailed Hawks (M. T.) passed the Braddock Bay Hawk Watch.
Owls through Falcons
Three Saw-whet Owls were unprecedented on the Captree, LI, June Count 8 June (S. S. M.), though they have bred nearby.
Red-headed Woodpeckers defy easy summary. On the L. Ontario Plain, they inhabited seven localities around Rochester (fide R. G. S.), but fared poorly in DE, with only two locations (F. R.).
Merlins have dramatically expanded their breeding range in n. NY since the first fully confirmed nest in 1992. This summer there were two nests in Buffalo (P. Y.), seven in Ithaca (J. Co.), and one at Fairport, Monroe (Sean Carroll), to mention only those outside the Adirondacks. Peregrine Falcons had 33 active nests in NJ (40 in 2018) that produced 71 fledges (K. C.), but data were not available from NY and DE.
Flycatchers through Wrens
It was a good summer for southern flycatchers. A Gray Kingbird was a rare vagrant 21 July at Smith’s Pt., Suffolk NY (ph. Camron Robertson), typically coastal but atypical in date: most of the ten or so NY records have occurred in fall. Nearly annual, a male Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at Tom’s River, Ocean, 17 June (S. T., Larry Zirlin, m.obs.) was a fairly typical late spring overshoot. Less than annual was the Fork-tailed Flycatcher at Brigantine 20 June (ph. Caleb Hawley, Arthur Sanchez, Mackenzie Roeder); there have been about 22 previous NJ records.
Red-eyed Vireos seem to be maintaining good population levels, as evidenced by 61 singing males 24 June in New Michigan S. F., Chenango, NY (D. N.). A Common Raven nest with young in downtown Albany, NY (John Kent) was further evidence of this species’ massive reconquest of historic lowland range. In DE, ravens are even venturing south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, with one at the Charles E. Price Memorial Park, Middletown, New Castle 16 July (Bert Filemyr, Michael Rosengarten).
A measure of Carolina Wren prosperity was a record count of 130 on the Captree, LI, June Count; the previous high was 81 (S. S. M., et al.). In addition to their Jefferson strongholds (Fort Drum, Clayton, Philadelphia), Sedge Wrens were detected at six other NY localities: Argyll, Washington (John McKay), Magnolia-Stedman Road, Chautauqua (Kirk Vanstrom); Three Rivers W. M. A., Onondaga (G. D.); Canton, St. Lawrence (eBird anonymous); Montezuma (Steve Benedict); and Greece, Monroe (Greg Lawrence). Sedge Wrens went undetected in NJ and DE.
Thrushes through Dickcissels
In Keene Twp., Essex, NY, the Thaxtons reported that the local thrush populations are shifting in apparent response to climate change. The Swainson’s Thrushes that reached their lower altitude limit there years ago have disappeared, while the Hermit Thrushes that became their backyard thrush now sing only further up the mountain. This year for the first time a Wood Thrush sang on their property (John and Pat Thaxton). John and Sue Gregoire had no nesting Wood Thrushes for the first time in 33 years at Burdette, Schuyler, in the Finger Lakes district of NY. Dana Rohleder blames deer browse for decline of Wood Thrushes around Port Kent, on L. Champlain. A few Hermit Thrushes still breed on LI; they sang on 14 July at Brookhaven S. P., Wading River, Suffolk, NY (Joel Horman), but sustainable populations there are probably a thing of the past (S. S. M.). A Wood Thrush nested in Central Park for the first time in several years (Robert DiCandido, D. A.).
A Red Crossbill, thought to be type 1, was a surprise Higbee Beach, Cape May, NJ 24 July (T. R.).
Clay-colored Sparrows are now well-established across the L. Ontario plain since first breeding in NY in the 1970s; one at Argusville, Schoharie 26 June (Naomi Lloyd, fide Philip Whitney) suggested further expansion south and east.
A Nelson’s Sparrow photographed at the Times Beach Nature Preserve, Buffalo, on 4 June (Tony Dvorak, ph. Josh Ketry) was the first June record in the Buffalo area; most records are in Nov. A Henslow’s Sparrow sang at the Negri-Nepote grasslands, Franklin Twp., Somerset, NJ 22+ June (Jeff Ellerbusch, S. T., S. K., et al.); the last confirmed breeding in NJ was in 2006. Our only other report of this vanishing species is two birds at Chaumont Barrens Preserve, Jefferson, NY on 6–7 June (G. D.). A late White-crowned Sparrow Lakeside S. P., Orleans, NY on 16 July (Don Bemont), was surprising but not unprecedented. Yunick attributed the absence of Dark-eyed Juncos at Jenny Lake, Saratoga, NY to deer browse (R. P. Y.).
Early warbler migration was apparent at Cape May as 60+ Yellow Warblers flew west past Cape May Dunes 25 July, followed by another 25 on 26 July (T. R.). A male Lawrence’s Warbler settled in Kakiat County Park, Montebello, Rockland, NY 2+ June, as in every June since 2013 (Michael Kravatz); another sang at Teeter Lake, Finger Lakes National Forest, Schuyler, NY on 13 June (J. McG.).
Prothonotary Warblers are doing well at their northern limit. Three in the Iroquois N. W. R. on 17 June (David Crowe, Doug Beatty) suggested a new breeding area, while six were observed from a canoe circumnavigating Howland I. 8 June (J. McG., L. S.) A Swainson’s Warbler sang at Higbee Beach, Cape May, NJ 26–28 July (T. R.), following some late spring observations there; breeding is still unknown north of MD. Seven Nashville Warblers were banded at Braddock Bay after 14 July, three molting, and three still in full juvenal plumage; they molt near their breeding grounds (Andrea Patterson).
Yellow-throated Warblers solidified their recent establishment on LI. They probably bred again at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River (K. & S. F.), and one was territorial at Manorville from Apr. through June, both Suffolk, NY (Patricia Aitken, et al.). An explorer reached Letchworth S. P., Wyoming, NY on 23 June (Kyle Gage). At their former northern outpost in w. NY in Allegany S. P., Cattaraugus, however, Yellow-throated Warblers were absent for the third straight year (fide M. M.). Twenty-four Cerulean Warblers were counted from a canoe circumnavigating Howland I. 8 June (J. McG., L. S.); 12 at Old Mine Road, Warren, NJ (Johnny Votta) on 9 June was the best count at another classic site. Hooded Warblers are rare north of the Mohawk R.; three birds showing territorial agitation at Sanders Preserve, Schenectady, NY 26 July were north of atlas records (Matt Medler).
Summer Tanagers probably nested at Northeast Harbor in May (Anthony Collerton), and breeding continued at the Calverton grasslands, both Suffolk, NY. LI, where NY’s first nesting occurred in 1990, remains this species’ northern limit.
Reversing two decades of gradual and tentative re-establishment in this region as breeders, Dickcissels fell back to one small colony at the entrance to Prime Hook N. W. R., Sussex, DE 4+ June (Sue Gruver, et al.).
A pair of Piping Plovers bred again at Sandy Island S. P., Oswego, for the third successive year (fide J. B.), as this species re-establishes itself on the eastern Great Lakes after a long absence. Long Island had about 398 breeding pairs in 2018, the latest figure available. In NJ, Piping Plovers bounced back well after a poor summer in 2018, but the 114 pairs were still below the long-term average of 117, and well below the 144 present in 2003. Productivity was a fairly healthy 1.24 chicks fledged per active pair. About half of New Jersey’s Piping Plovers now nest under federal protection at Sandy Hook and elsewhere in n. Monmouth, the breeding population in the southern part of the state having declined (C. D., E. H.). After shrinking to three pairs in DE by 1993, all at Cape Henlopen, Sussex, Piping Plovers have rebounded. There were 19 pairs in DE in 2019: four that fledged 8 young at Cape Henlopen, and 15 that fledged 44 young at Fowler’s Beach, Sussex (Henrietta Bellman, D. N. R. E. C.).
The Double-crested Cormorant population continues to surge upward, now that a federal court ruling in early 2016 has halted N. Y. D. E. C. control operations on L. Ontario. The colony on Little Galloo, reduced last year by high lake levels, rebounded to 3563 nests, and another 414 nests were on other islands in eastern L. Ontario, including 340 on Bass I., where there had been none since 2007, and 150 on Little Grenadier I., where there were none until last year (I. M.). Islands on the U. S. side of the Saint Lawrence R. contained 2,745 nests, including two new islands (Susan and Frederick), up on eight, down on four (a substantial increase since 2018, when there were 2,372) (I. M.).
Cliff Swallows continued their Appoquinimink Bridge colony near Odessa, New Castle, DE (25 birds) and established new colonies further south along Route 9 in Kent: at the Fleming’s Landing bridge over the Smyrna R. (six birds), and at the Leipsic R. bridge (eight birds) (fide A. P. E.). The latter is now the southernmost Atlantic coastal Cliff Swallow colony.
Report processed by Amy Davis, 30 Sept. 2020.
Photos–Hudson-Delaware: Summer 2019
Hover or click on each image to read the caption.