New late departure dates were established for Marbled Godwit, White-eyed Vireo and Bell’s Vireo. A new high count was reported for American Pipit. Black Vultures continue to expand northward with one at Fountain Grove Conservation Area and three at Katy Trail State Park adjacent to Weldon Spring Conservation Area. Red-breasted Nuthatches appeared in numbers, but other winter irruptive species were not really evident, though one flock of Red Crossbills was reported from Iowa.
There were a few interesting banding records. An adult male Piping Plover photographed among a group of four birds at Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary was banded as an adult on the Missouri River in Yankton, South Dakota, in July 2015. A Yellow Rail was banded during nocturnal wetland surveys at Fountain Grove CA, MO on 3 September, and Northern Saw-whet Owls continue to be banded in significant numbers at the World Bird Sanctuary near St. Louis, MO.
Contributors (state editors in boldface)
Danny Akers (DAk), Nic Allen (NA), Pam Allen (PHA), Reid Allen (RIA), Connie Alwood (CA), Chris Barrigar (CB), David Becher (DBe), Bruce Beck (BB), Lisa Berger (LB), Tom Billerbeck, John Bissel (JB), Bill Blackledge (BBl), David Blevins (DB), Aaron Brees (AB), Mark Brown (MHB), Klee Bruce (KB), Charley Burwick (CBu), Michael Beck (MB), Ashley Casey (AC), Brandon Caswell (BCC), Raymond Cummins (RLC), Karen Davis (KD), David Dean (DD), Steve Dilks (SD), Stephen Dinsmore (SJD), Joseph Eades, David Easterla (DE), Chris Edwards (CRE), Carolyn Fischer (CJF), James Forde (JF), James Fuller (JLF), Marilyn Friedich (MF), Allen Gathman (AG), Joe Garvey (JGa), Jacob Gilliam (JG), Rita Goranson (RG), Corey Gregory (CG), Kathy Haas (KH), Mark Haas (MH), Christian Hagenlocher (CH), Tyler Harms (TMH), Jill Hays (JH), Larry Herbert (LH), Paul Hertzel (PH), Doug Hommert (DH), Eric Hough (EH), James Huntington (JH), Brad Jacobs (BJ), Ann Johnson (AMJ), Betty Johnson (BJo), Timothy Jones (TJ), Joe Junger (JJ), Andrew Kinslow (AK), Rich Koestcke (RKos), Jeff Livingston (JRL), Justin Lehman (JL), Betty Lucas (BVL), Pat Lueders (PL), Debbie Martin (DM), Steve Martin (SM), Chrissy McClarren (CMc), Kelly McKay (KMc), Mark McKellar (MMc), Kevin Mortensen (KM), Joseph Mosley (JMo), Marky Mutchler (MM), Mary Nemecek (MN), Larry Olpin (LOl), Lisa Owens (LO), Marilyn Owens (MO), Bradley Painter (BP), Jess Painter (JP), Diana Pesek (DP), Bryan Prather (BPr), Tom Parmeter (TP), Mark Proescholdt (MP), Andy Reago (AR), Lane Richter (LR), Bill Rowe (BR), Billy Reiter-Marolf (BRM), Paul Roisen (POR), Linda Rudolph (LGR), Greg Samuel (Gsa), Ruth Simmons (RS), Lee Schoenewe (LAS), Paul Skrade (PDBS), Al Smith (AS), Ron Stackland (RS), Tommy Stone (TGS), Greg Stoner (GSt), Greg Swick (GSw), Mike Thelen (MT), Dennis Thompson (DTh), Jerry Toll (JT), Karen Viste-Sparkman (KVS), Harley Winfrey (HW), Rod Wittenberg (RW).
†-indicates documentation received.
GOAS-Greater Ozarks Audubon Society.
NWR-National Wildlife Refuge.
RMBS-Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, St. Charles.
Ducks through Grebes
A group of 3 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks continued from the summer season until at least 5 Aug at Horseshoe L Buchanan (LOl, HW). Migrating Greater White-fronted Geese were noted with 95 at RMBS 20 Oct, 150 over the Weldon Interpretive Center St. Charles 23 Oct, 180 just outside RMBS 3 Nov, and another 160 seen overhead at Confluence Road SP St. Charles on the same date (BR). A phenomenal local fall high count of 8200 Greater White-fronted Geese was made near Marshfield Webster 8 Nov (GSa). A group of 10 Ross’s Geese, mixed in with a similar number of Snow Geese was seen just outside of RMBS 3 Nov (BR). The official RMBS swan count tallied 300 Trumpeter Swans 22 Nov (PL). A single Ring-necked Duck first observed at RMBS 1 Aug continued until at least 19 Sep (BR). Iowa reported record numbers of Surf (41) and Black Scoters (44) for the season. Approximately 15 White-winged Scoters were found at 5 Iowa locations; the earliest a single on 20 Oct at Saylorville Res Polk (SJD). In Missouri, a Surf Scoter first seen at Smithville L Clay 25 Nov stayed through the end of the season (RW) and a Black Scoter was observed at RMBS 5 Nov (BR). Iowa’s seasonal total of 11 Long-tailed Ducks was the highest since 2007. In Missouri, a Long-tailed Duck was observed at Smithville L Clay 9 Nov (LO) and family group of 7 at Maryville Sewage Lagoons Nodaway 22-25 Nov established a new fall high count and is the second-highest number ever recorded in the state (DE). In Iowa, 1 or 2 Red-necked Grebes were observed at Trumbull L Clay through 30 Sept (JB, JG, KVS, DA) after successful breeding there [Dinsmore, J. 2016. Field Reports – Summer 2016. Iowa Bird Life 86:138–158]. The only other Iowa report was 1 at Saylorville Res 20-27 Nov (SJD, AB, RLC). In Missouri, one was observed 5 Nov at Longview L Jackson (KD). Western Grebes also successfully bred at Trumbull L; up to 11 were counted there 27 Aug (JB, KVS). Iowa first Inca Dove was found by †Melissa Cory at her backyard feeders in Polk on 22 Sep (†AMJ, †BCC, †POR, †RIA, †SJD).
Cuckoos through Plovers
A Black-billed Cuckoo observed 29 Oct at Ritter Springs P Greene MO established a new record-late date (†SM, DM, †CBu, KB, MO). A couple of Rufous Hummingbird reports came from southwest MO, with an adult male at a feeder in Springfield Greene 27 Aug (DT), probably the same individual found at another nearby residential feeder 12, 13 & 19 Sep (LB, CBu) and an immature, also in Springfield Greene, 20 Nov through the end of season (BJo). Two Rufous Hummingbirds were reported from IA: 26 Sep-12 Oct in Carrol (ph., †POR, ph., †AB, ph., †JG, Diane Dentlinger) and 20 Nov in Johnson (ph., †BC, ph., †MHB, ph., †LGR, ph., CRE). A few early Sep Yellow Rails were flushed in Iowa while mowing. One flushed 21 Oct in Sioux was third latest (JJ). In Missouri, one was found 2 Sep (JL) and subsequently banded during nocturnal surveys at Fountain Grove CA Livingston 3 Sep (KM, ph.). A Black Rail was flushed in Louisa, IA 21 Sep (†Chuck Fuller). A King Rail continued from the summer season in Palo Alto (JB, PDBS) until at least 28 Aug. A Common Gallinule was at Otter Slough CA Stoddard 2 Oct (MH). A count of 32 from at least five different families were counted at Green Island Jackson, IA 9 Aug (Linda Rudolph). A Black-necked Stilt was seen at RMBS 19 Sep–20 Oct (BR). A nice flock of 7 American Avocets was at Otter Slough CA Stoddard 26 Aug (MH), a single was at RMBS 10 Sep (BR) and a rather late one was at Maryville Sewage Lagoons Nodaway 8 Nov (DE); another 13 Nov at Red Rock Res was second latest for Iowa (ph., SJD). A group of 4 Piping Plovers at RMBS 8 Sep (DBe, m. ob., ph.) included an adult male banded as an adult 18 Jun 2015 on the Missouri River near Yankton SD! (MF in comm. with DH, the photographer fide, BR). A single Piping Plover was seen at Saylorville Res Polk 25 Aug (SJD).
A Whimbrel was reported 14 Sep at South Sabula Lakes P Jackson (Tony Moline). Hudsonian Godwits were reported from Saylorville Res (2) on 19 Aug (AB), Sand Point Johnson 13 Sep, 3 were at L Macbride Johnson 28 Sep (JLF) and the last was at Hawkeye WMA Johnson 19 Oct (JF). A Marbled Godwit was at RMBS 29 Aug–8 Sept (CA, BR) and perhaps the same bird was observed there again 27 Sep–4 Oct, establishing a new record-late date (m. ob., ph.). The 19-day gap between eBird submissions is hard to interpret, but some birders reported this as a “continuing” bird. The bird was noted to have an injured leg, which may have been a factor in the late departure. A group of 6 Stilt Sandpipers in Hancock IA were record late by a day (RG, CJF, POR, PH). The last 4 Least Sandpipers detected in Iowa were observed 23 Nov at Terry Trueblood RA Johnson (POR, MHB, LGR). White-rumped Sandpipers were documented twice at RMBS, with 3 on 6 Sep (†DH, ph., DD) and a single 8 Oct (†CMc, AR, ph.). The last 2 Long-billed Dowitchers reported from Iowa were very late near Clear Lake Cerro Gordo 21 Nov ((BVL, RG). Other late Iowa shorebirds included a Greater Yellowlegs in Lee 2 Nov (JLF) and a Lesser Yellowlegs in Floyd 17 Nov (RG). Red-necked Phalaropes were reported a half-dozen times in Iowa, with high counts of 6 birds (m.ob.). In Missouri, a single was found at RMBS 11 Sep (MT). An adult Red Phalarope molting into basic plumage was found a Saylorville Res 6 Aug, a second earliest date (ph., †SJD).
Jaegers through Terns
A juvenile Parasitic Jaeger drew many birders to Smithville L Clay 16-21 Sep (†MN, MM, †EH, MMc, KD, RS, BBl, m. ob.) and a striking adult Long-tailed Jaeger was observed 13 Aug at Stockton L, Aldrich Arm Polk (†DB, ph.). A second-cycle Black-legged Kittiwake was found at L MacBride Johnson 10-13 Oct (MHB, JF, BCC), a second earliest date for Iowa. In Missouri, one was at Mark Twain L Ralls 26 Oct (AC, ph.). Sabine’s Gull made a very nice showing in both states this fall. In Missouri: one 17 Sep at Smithville L (NA), and 3 on 26 Sep (MM, MN), a juvenile was at Longview L Jackson 7-24 Sep and 2 juveniles were present there 24 Sep (KD). Another was at RMBS 27 Sep–4 Oct (LR, PL, m. ob.). In Iowa, the first was a juvenile at Spirit L Dickinson 5 Sep (DAk, LAS); 2 other juveniles were found there 25 Sep and 1 Oct (SJD). At Red Rock Res an adult and 4 juveniles were present 15-24 Sep. Up to 3 at a time were at Saylorville Res 17 Sep–8 Oct (BCC, KVS, AB, SJD, RIA, PHA). Single juveniles were at Davenport 17 Sep (JF), Hitchcock Pottawattamie 24 Sep (TMH) and L MacBride Johnson 26 Sep–15 Oct (JF, LGR, DP, MHB, BCC). A robust count of 550 Bonaparte’s Gulls was made at Mark Twain L Ralls and Monroe 11 Nov (BR). A Little Gull may have worked its way up and down the Des Moines R system, where a juvenile was first reported at Saylorville Res 3 Sep (†AB); 12 days later a juvenile was keeping company with 2 Sabine’s Gulls at Red Rock Res (†SJD). Laughing Gull was widely reported from Missouri, with one at Stockton L Polk 18 Aug (†GSw, LB), a juvenile at RMBS 21-22 Aug (BPr, BR), and an adult there 20 Oct (BR, TP, ph.). Another 3 were at Mark Twain L Monroe 29 Aug (†AC, ph., CG). A tally of 110 Franklin’s Gulls at RMBS 3 Nov was a pretty good number for the eastern edge of Missouri (BR). An estimated 100,000 were at Spirit L Dickinson 1 Oct (JJ). A first-year California Gull was at Saylorville Res Polk 25 Sep (ph., †AB). Two first-of-season adult Herring Gulls returned to RMBS by 1 Sep (BR). A Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen at Stockton L Dade 14 Nov (DB). An adult and juvenile Least Tern observed at RMBS 10 Sep was evidence of late-fledging from a second nesting attempt. The first 10 nests produced 23 eggs, 20 of which were predated by a raccoon (BR, pers. comm. with LR). In Iowa, singles were reported in Woodbury 1 Aug (POR), Saylorville Res Polk 11 Aug and Red Rock Res Marion 5 Sep (TGS). Two Common Terns were at RMBS 10 Sept (BR). Late Common Terns were reported from 2 Iowa locations on 8 Oct: a single at L Macbride Johnson (MHB) and 2 at Saylorville Res Polk (LAS, PH). Iowa’s fifth Arctic Tern was found at Spirit L Dickinson 30 Oct (†LAS, †JJ).
Loons through Spoonbill
The only Red-throated Loon report was from L Macbride Johnson 26 Oct-1 Nov (JF, MHB, CRE, BCC). Pacific Loons were found at Saylorville Polk 2-7 Nov and Red Rock Res 26 Nov (SJD). A Neotropic Cormorant was observed at Eagle Bluffs CA Boone 2 Sep (†BJ, ph.). There were several reports of late-lingering herons. An American Bittern was observed at Loess Bluffs NWR Holt 26 Nov (BP, JP, ph., m.ob.). An amazing 29 Great Egrets remained at RMBS until 3 Nov with 18 still there 5 Nov, and none remained by 14 Nov (BR). Other lingering Great Egrets included 8 at Donaldson Point CA New Madrid 2 Nov (MH, BB, JGa) and one at Mingo NWR Stoddard 6 Nov (MH, GSt). A count of 26 Snowy Egrets was made 10 Sep at RMBS and adjacent West Alton (BR). In Iowa, Snowy Egrets were observed at Lock & Dam 14 Scott 9 Aug (KMc), Jester P Polk 19 Aug (AB, DAk, DTh), in Dallas 25 Sep (POR) and Powershiek 6 Oct (EH). A Little Blue Heron at RMBS 13-18 Oct was near record-late (BR, TP). A seasonal high count of 64 Cattle Egrets was made at Greenbrier Bollinger 27 Aug (MH) and a large number lingered at Loess Bluffs NWR Holt with 27 on 18 Nov (MMc and MN). Record-late for Iowa, 3 Cattle Egrets were at Hawkeye WMA Johnson 30 Nov (LGR, JF). A late Black-crowned Night-Heron was seen at Springfield L Greene 6 Nov (GSa, CBu). An adult Glossy Ibis was photographed near Hawkeye WMA Johnson 19 Oct (†JF). A White-faced Ibis in Scott, IA 18 Oct (KMc) was 3rd-latest. A Roseate Spoonbill was observed at Otter Slough CA Stoddard 28 Aug (SD, †MH, ph., KH).
Vultures through Falcons
Black Vulture continues to expand its range in Missouri with one at Fountain Grove CA Livingston 3 Sep (†KM) and 3 seen flying down the ridge above Katy Trail SP St. Charles 17 Nov (BR). At least 2 Swallow-tailed Kites were reported from Iowa: one, or possibly 2 were at Hawkeye WMA Johnson 19 Aug–4 Sep (†Bill Blackburn, †MHB, †LGR, †Jim Scheib, †CRE, Tom Billerbeck, JF) and one was seen briefly from the hawk watch tower at Hitchcock Pottawattamie 21 Sep †Bethany Johnson). There were 11 Golden Eagles reported from Iowa, the earliest 2 on 7 Oct at Hitchcock hawk watch. The total of 7 at Grammer Grove hawk watch Marshall was one short of the record high (MP). A total of 6 Northern Goshawks were reported from Iowa, the earliest and latest at Hitchcock hawk watch Pottawattamie on 12 Oct and 29 Nov (JT). Away from Hitchcock, a juvenile was found at Owego wetlands Woodbury 29 Oct (POR) and Zirbel Sl Cerro Gordo 1 Nov (BVL, RG). A nice count of 18 Mississippi Kites was made 7 Aug at Columbia Bottom CA St. Louis (PL). As many as 12 were seen in Woodbury, IA on 6 Sep ((POR) and one in Powershiek 6 Oct was second latest for IA (EH). For the second season in a row, less than 100 Swainson’s Hawks were reported at Hitchcock. The first was on 10 Sep, the most was 13 on 8 Oct and the last 3 were observed on 12 Oct (JT). There were 3 Snowy Owls reported from Iowa in late November (fide SJD). A total of 13 Northern Saw-whet Owls were banded 13 Oct–30 Nov at the World Bird Sanctuary St. Louis (PL). One HY bird, was a re-capture, banded in northeast Ontario 1 Oct 2016. The first Saw-whet in Iowa were detected on 30 Oct, including 8 captured at the banding station in Pottattamie (Jean Martin). Bill Rowe observed 3 Merlins during the season: a female/immature columbarius 10 Sep at RMBS, another there, age/sex unspecified, 13 Oct and a female/immature richardsoni 17 Nov at Weldon Spring CA St. Charles. A Peregrine Falcon thought to be a migrant tundrius was observed following a ridge over the Katy Trail SP St. Charles 17 Nov (BR). Peregrine numbers were slightly above average at Iowa hawk watch locations. Single Prairie Falcons were reported at Hitchcock hawk watch on 16 Sep and 30 Oct (JT).
Flycatchers through Pipits
A Say’s Phoebe was observed 12 Sep at Bean L Platte (†NA). A Western Kingbird was observed at Lake Ozark SP Camden/Miller 25 Sep (KMc). A Northern Shrike found at Bradford Farm Boone 30 Oct remained through the end of the season (BJ, SM, DM, JH, m.ob.). A Philadelphia Vireo in Scott, IA 5 Aug (KMc) was Iowa’s second earliest. A White-eyed Vireo near Ben Cash CA Dunklin 7 Nov beat the previous record late date by three days (†TJ, ph.) and a Bell’s Vireo at Valley Water Mill P Greene 2 Oct beat the previous record late date by a day (†LB, †JH, †DM, SM). Late Fish Crows included 8 at Donaldson Point CA New Madrid 2 Nov (MH, BB, JGa) and one 17 Nov at Juden Creek CA Cape Girardeau (MH). A report of two Cliff Swallows on 3 Nov at Greencastle Airport Johnson, IA (JLF) would be a record late, and the extreme date suggests a tantalizing possibility that they may have been Cave Swallows. A few Barn Swallows lingered into early Nov with one at Maryville Sewage Lagoons Nodaway 8 Nov was noteworthy (DE). Red-breasted Nuthatches began arriving early with 2 birds on 12 Sep at Gen. Watkins CA Scott (MH) and other sightings of as many as 6 birds on 24 Sep, Lake Ozark SP Camden/Miller (KMc) suggested an irruption year. A late House Wren was observed 27 Nov at Apple Creek CA Cape Girardeau (AG). A record-early Golden-crowned Kinglet was observed at Tower Grove P, St. Louis City 10 Sep (†CMc, AR, ph.). A Townsend’s Solitaire was spotted on 30 Sep from the Hitchcock hawk watch tower Pottawattamie (Bethany Thornton). A Swainson’s Thrush at Sodalis Nature Preserve Marion, MO 21 Aug established a new record-early date (†AC, ph.). A Bohemian Waxwing was found 25 Nov at Waterman Creek O’Brien, IA (DAk). New MO high counts were met and exceeded for American Pipit, with 250 at Keeteman Road Lincoln 7 Nov (BR) and 375 same location 1 Nov (AS, TP, fide BR). A Sprague’s Pipit was heard calling overhead at Settle’s Ford CA Cass 23 Oct (EH). The species is considerably scarcer in IA; one was identified by flight pattern and call note in Polk 24 Sep (†AB).
Crossbills through Blackbirds
On 25 Nov, 13 Red Crossbills were heard calling overhead at Waterman Creek O’Brien, IA (DAk). Smith’s Longspurs were reported from the following IA locations: 25 on 23 Oct Emmet (DAk), 3 on 25 Oct in Hancock (RG), 3 on 3 Nov in Decatur (JRL) and 4 on 5 Nov in Clay (LAS). In MO, a flock of 10 Smith’s was observed at Penn-Sylvania Prairie Dade 20 Nov (CBu) and a Chestnut-collared Longspur was with 7 Smith’s at Prairie SP Barton 23 Nov (CH). Mark Haas continued the tradition of having Chipping Sparrows visit his Cape Girardeau feeder into the last week of the season and likely beyond. A Clay-colored Sparrow in Raytown Jackson 7 Sep established a second-earliest date for MO (†JMo). A Lark Bunting was flushed from an Audubon, IA roadside 1 Sep (†DAk). An immature Harris’s Sparrow was observed at Clarence Cannon NWR Pike 30 Oct (BR). Yellow-headed Blackbird is always an exciting find along the eastern edge of MO, and one was encountered at Duck Creek CA Bollinger 22 Oct (MH). A careful study revealed 3 Western Meadowlarks among Easterns at Keeteman Road Lincoln 30 Oct (BR). A late adult male Baltimore Oriole was at Bois D’ Ark CA Greene 5 Nov (MO, LB, et al.). Rusty Blackbird was minimally reported in Missouri: the first 3 were at Clarence Cannon NWR 30 Oct (BR) and a sad-but-true high count for GOAS of 8 at was made at McDaniel L Greene 20 Nov (DB). Delving into eBird data revealed many, though widely scattered, Missouri observations with the earliest 15 Oct in Clay (MB). The most observations and highest numbers were reported 24-30 Nov. The highest Missouri counts for the season were 138 at RMBS 24 Nov (CMc, AR), 200 at Busch CA 30 Nov (RKos), and 225 at Forest P, St. Louis City 30 Nov (TP). The earliest report from IA was 4 birds on 2 Oct at Sunken Grove Pocahontas (DAk) and the state high count was 100 on 27 Oct at Pool Slough WMA Allamake (BRM). Missouri Brewer’s Blackbird reports submitted to the editor were few, with 4 at Keeteman Road Lincoln 30 Oct; 6 there on 6 Nov and 19 at RMBS 14 Nov (BR). A good-sized flock of 32 Great-tailed Grackles was found in Springfield Greene 16 Sep (DB).
Warblers through Dickcissel
A Northern Waterthrush near Ben Cash CA Dunklin 22 Oct furnished a third latest date for MO (†TJ, ph.). A Blue-winged Warbler at Parker’s Woods Cerro Gordo 25 Sep (RG) was the third latest date for IA, while one 4 Oct at Hawkeye WMA (JF) was record late. Late Tennessee Warblers included three at Rotary L Cape Girardeau 30 Oct and one at RMBS 3 Nov (BR). Two Orange-crowned Warblers were observed feeding on insects in a large weed patch with sparrow and goldfinches at Maryville Sewage Lagoons Nodaway 19 Nov (DE). A late Nashville Warbler was observed 2 Nov in Cole (CB). A Hooded Warbler on 18 Sep at Macbride NA Johnson (CRE) was the second latest for IA. An always-exciting Black-throated Blue Warbler was observed 17 Sep at Rock Bridge SP Boone (AK). There were five reports from IA including a female at Cottonwood RA Polk on 24 Aug (RLC) that matched the third earliest date. A Rose-breasted Grosbeak in Jackson, Cape Girardeau (MH, KH) 14-21 Nov provided Missouri’s second latest fall date, though there are five winter records. A Blue Grosbeak at Valley Water Mill P Greene MO 18 Oct furnished Missouri’s fourth latest date (JH, ph.) while two females 19 Oct at Waterworks Prairie P Johnson, IA were record late, with one lingering another day (ph., BCC). A late Dickcissel visited a Joplin Jasper yard 30 Nov (LH).
Report processed by Byron Swift, 28 Dec 2020.