Iowa & Missouri : Winter 2017-2018

December 1, 2017–February 28, 2018

Francis L. Moore
[email protected]

Recommended citation:

Moore, F. Winter 2017-2018: Iowa & Missouri. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-9cA> North American Birds.

This winter season in Iowa had above normal temperatures in December and February with January alternating between periods of very cold weather with equally warm spells. Precipitation totals for December were below normal at every reporting point in the state. Other than a major blizzard in far northwestern Iowa, snowfall was notably lacking across the state in January, but precipitation was much more frequent during February than the previous two months with storm systems passing through Iowa almost every day during the first third and the last third of the month.

Most gallinaceous bird numbers were still on the low side with many showing above average with numbers increasing from last year. There were 12 reports of Northern Bobwhite and 9 for Gray Partridge, indicating that these species are starting to show higher numbers. American White Pelicans were found in good numbers at Red Rock and Saylorville Reservoirs and at the locks and dams along the Mississippi River throughout the period. There were several late winter, or really early spring reports of Turkey Vulture this year beginning on 25 February. Bald Eagles were found in good numbers along the Mississippi River and at the Army Corps of Engineer impoundments but were also down from the last few years. Reports of Accipiters were fair this season with average numbers of Sharp-shinned Hawks and usual numbers of Cooper’s Hawks this winter. Northern Shrikes were found in good numbers throughout the state.

Gull reports were widespread in all three months. For northern owl species, Snowy Owls were found in average numbers and there were good numbers of Northern Saw-whet Owls at the usual locations. Long-eared Owls were more abundant in all three months and Short-eared Owls were more numerous in December and February.

Merlins were widely reported but only a few Peregrine and Prairie falcons were noted with a record of Gyrfalcon in the mix. Numbers of Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs and Snow Buntings were more numerous in December and January with a few records from February. Winter finch numbers were up this year with reports of both species of crossbills, Common Redpolls and several Hoary Redpoll records included with good numbers of Pine Siskins. Eurasian Tree Sparrows continue to expand their range with several found in Buchanan and Polk counties.

In Missouri, December 2017 came in mild, a trend increasingly common over the past few decades. Despite a cold spell at the end of the month, 2017 is estimated to rank as the 6th or 7th warmest year on record in Missouri. Continuing the dry spell from November, rainfall was below normal. Combined with November it was the driest Nov-Dec since 1989, with just 30% of the average rainfall.

January averaged 1.6 degrees below normal statewide, becoming only the 3rd month out of the past 18, and the only January in the past 4 years, with below-average temperatures in Missouri. The cumulative impact of below average temperatures and below average precipitation resulted in low water levels in ponds for livestock, wells going dry and winter grass fires. Mark Haas commented on the winter in Cape Girardeau, “It was cold but snowless …. In January we did get a one-inch deposit of sleet followed by a week of sub-freezing temps. We even dropped below zero once or twice, which is unusual for here.”

February came in like a lion, but mild temperatures soon followed and bumped average temperatures to 1.1 degrees above the long-term average for the state. Extremely wet conditions also followed in the second half of the month, making it the wettest February on record. By the end of the month the winter tallied slightly above the long-term average in temperature and the drought was over.

Red Crossbills took top billing for the season, being reported during the beginning and end of the season and interestingly scarce during the heart of winter. Common Redpolls were not far behind in generating excitement. The state had its first accepted record of the Dark-eyed (Pink-sided) Junco subspecies. A lone Inca Dove and several White-winged Doves were also reported during the period. Snowy Owls joined the irruption trend and all three scoters were reported at Riverlands Migratory BS.

Highlights of the season in Iowa were Cinnamon Teal, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Great Black-backed Gull, Gyrfalcon, Mountain Bluebird, Evening Grosbeak and Hoary Redpoll. Seasonal highlights in Missouri were Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Cinnamon Teal, Spotted Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, American Bittern, Dark-eyed (Pink-sided) Junco, Nashville Warbler and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Contributors (state editors in boldface)

IOWA: Danny Akers (DAk), Kristin & John Anderson-Bricker (KJA), Brian L Blevins (BLB), Fawn Bowdin (FB), Aaron Brees (AB), Ethan Brown (EB), Mark H Brown (MHB), Iza Bruen-Morningstar (IBM), Brandon Caswell (BC), Linda Coady (LC), Jan Collins (JC), Raymond L Cummins (RLC), Stephen J Dinsmore (SJD), Seth Dudley (SD), Jesse Ellis (JE), Bery Engebretsen (BE), James Forde (JF), Silvia Fredericks (SFr), Steven Freed (SF), Jim L Fuller (JLF), Jay Gilliam (JG), David Griffin (DG), Caleb Hanson (CH), Douglas C Harr (DCH), Justin Hill (JH), Ann M Johnson (AMJ), Thomas N Johnson (TNJ), Joe Jungers (JJu), Patrick Keenan (PK), Kip Ladage (KL), Connor Langan (CL), Tucker J Lutter (TJL), Joe Manning (JMa), Kelly J McKay (KJM), Eric Moody (EM), Tom Moon (TM) , Francis L Moore (FLM), Anna Nesterovich (AN), Jacob Newton (JN), Wolfgang Oesterreich (WO), Cindy Owsley (CO), Skip Perkins (SP), Mark Proescholdt (MP), Kay Pudil (KP), Susan Quinn (SQ), Billy Reiter-Marolf (BRM), Paul O Roisen (POR), Linda G Rudolf (LGR), Rex Rundquist (RR), Dean Schettler (DSc), Lee A Schoenewe (LAS), Ross Silcock (RS), Bob Sperry (BSp), Tommy Stone (TGS), Ed Thelen (ET), Bill Tollefson (BT), Dennis Thompson (DTh), Marilyn Vincent (MV), Karen Viste-Sparkman (KVS), Gerald L Von Ehwegen (GLV), Bob Walton, (BW), Matt Wetrich (MW).

MISSOURI: Miguel Acosta (MA), Dale Anderson (DA), Chris Anderson (CA), William Baldridge (WB), Laura Beasley (LBe), Bruce Beck (BB), David Becher (DB), Lisa Berger (LB), Barbara Blevins (BBl), David Blevins (DBl), John Bolin (JB), Bo Brown (BBr), Charles Burwick (CBu), Jeff Cantrell (JC), Ashley Casey (AC), Ginny Culver (GC), (KD), Reva Dow (RD), Tony Elliot (TE), Steve Findling (SF), Rob Francis (RF), Marija G (MaG), Thomas Gains (TG), Allen Gathman (AG), Jeanne Gearin (JG), Karen Gleason (KG), Malcolm Gold (MGo), Jessie Goodwin (JG), Tommy Goodwin (TG), Mike Grant (MG), Cory Gregory (CG), Mark Haas (MH), Mark Hahn (MH), Shari Harden (SH), Jill Hayes (JH), Jerry Hemmers (JH), Dustin Hillis (DH), Andrew Hodge (AH), Doug Hommert (DH), Brad Jacobs (BJ), Steve Johnson (SJ), Tim Jones (TJ), Tim Kaven (TK), Steve Kinder (SK), Caine Kelso (CK), Bruce Klee (BK), Peter Kondrashov (PK), Dan Larson (DL), Sherry Leonardo (SL), Roy Lee (RL), Kendell Loyd (KL), Pat Lueders (PL), Charlene Malone (CM), Jim Malone (JM), Debbie Martin (DM), Steve Martin (SM), Chrissy McClarren (CMc), Lisa McClendo (LM), Kelly J McKay (KJM), Paul McKenzie (PMc), Terry McNeely (TM), Bill Mees (BM), Robert Mustell (RM), Marky Mutchler (MM), Mary Namecek (MN), Paul Nelson (PN), Yvonne Nixon (YN), Ron Papsdorf (RP), Rosemary Paul (RP), Peter Quadarell (PQ), Andy Reago (AR), Natalie Rekittke (NR), David Rogles (DR), Bill Rowe (BR), Mike Rowe (MR), Jan Ruckman (JRu), Joel Rurik (JR), Greg Samual (GSa), Matt Schamber (MS), Brent Schindewolf (BSc), Bruce Schuette (BS), Ruth Simmons (RS), Karen Stair (KS), Greg Swick (GSw), Mike Thelen (MTh), Josh Uffman (JU), Allison Vaughn (AV), Brad Warrick (BWa), Brooke Widmar (BW), Mary Kate Wilcox (MKW), Ted Wolff (TW), Bob Ziegler (BZ).

Abbreviations: BS (Bird Sanctuary); CA (Conservation Area); CBC (Christmas Bird Count); L&D (Lock & Dam); L (Lake); M (Marsh); NWR (National Wildlife Refuge); R (River); RA (Recreation Area); Res (Reservoir); SP (State Park); WA (Wildlife Area); WMA (Wildlife Management Area); m.ob. (many observers); * (documentation accepted); ph (photograph).

Waterfowl

The group of 10 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks first found in late September at Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO, had dwindled to 6 (one adult, 5 juvenile) by 9 Dec (*BR, PL, MTh, m.ob.) and continued in numbers from 1 to 8 until last reported 27 Dec (BZ). This was the second winter record, and the first of birds known to be wild. A seasonal high count for Snow Goose was 100,000 on 28 Feb at Neal Smith NWR Jasper, IA (KVS) with another 200,000 on 27 Feb at Blue L Monona, IA (GLV). Ross’s Goose numbers included a high of 158 on 28 Feb at Saylorville Res Polk, IA (RLC). The highest number for Greater White-fronted Goose was 13,250 on 27 Feb at Waterloo-Cedar Falls Black Hawk, IA (CL), 7,000 on 28 Feb at Green Island WMA Jackson, IA (MHB). Cackling Goose reports included a high of 170 on 24 Feb at Orleans Dickinson, IA (AB); 10 also turned up on 10 Jan at Creve Coeur L and County Park St. Louis, MO (MG). The highest concentrations for Canada Goose were 10,000 on 26 Feb at Russell Wayne, IA (MV) and 50,000 on 27 Feb Woodbury, IA (GLV). Trumpeter Swan high count was on 1,375 on 2 Jan at Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO (JG, JR), 160 on 24 Feb at Great Western Bike Trail Warren, IA (JG) and 239 on 28 Jan at Heron Bend Lee, IA (CO). High count for Tundra Swan was 60 on 26 Feb Jackson, IA (BW) with a high in Missouri of 76 on 19 Dec at Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO (PL).

Rare outside of southeastern Missouri, Wood Ducks kept a strong presence at Forest Park, St. Louis City St. Louis, MO during the first half of the season with 92 on 26 Dec (MS) and 50 on 19 Jan at the same location (MG), reports in Iowa included 17 on 28 Feb at Green Island WMA Jackson, IA (BW). Blue-winged Teal were completely absent from Missouri until early migrants began to arrive in mid to late February with the earliest being 7 birds on 9 Feb at Otter Slough CA Stoddard, MO (BB); there were two reports from Iowa with 1 on 3 Dec at Bacon Creek Park Woodbury, IA (RR) and 2 on 16 Dec at Riverton WMA Fremont, IA (RS). A Cinnamon Teal was photographed on 15 Dec at Sweet Marsh WMA Bremer, IA (*TM) and beating the previous early record by a day, 2 males were observed on East Farm Road in Springfield Green, MO on 28 Feb (GSw, DBl, DM, SM, *KL, *BK). In Iowa, Gadwall was reported throughout the period with high counts of 230 on 2 Dec at Polk City WA Polk, IA (AB), 13 on 15 Jan at Big Creek SP Polk, IA (AB) and 80 on 28 Feb at Red Oak Road Allamakee, IA (BRM). Highest count for Northern Pintail was 800 on 19 Dec at Mississippi R Clinton, IA (KJM). Green-winged Teal lingered in northern Missouri with 2,600 reported on 20 Dec at Loess Bluffs NWR Holt, MO (MM), there was also a high number of 300 on 3 Dec at Polk City WA Polk, IA (AB). The highest count of Canvasbacks in Iowa was 2,810 on 19 Dec at Mississippi R Clinton, IA (KJM). High count for Ring-necked Duck was 490 on 2 Dec at Polk City WA Polk, IA (AB). The highest number of Greater Scaup was 11 on 2 Dec at Orleans Dickinson, IA (JJu) and the highest number of Lesser Scaup was 170 on 19 Dec at Mississippi R Muscatine, IA (KJM).

A single Surf Scoter was at Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO on 2 Dec (TE) and on 23 Dec (CM, JM). There were 1-2 White-winged Scoters found on 2-16 Dec at Emerson Bay, Big Spirit L Dickinson, IA (LAS). Individual birds were in three counties in Missouri; 10 Dec-19 Jan Smithville L Clay, MO (MGo), on 24 Feb at Delaney L CA Mississippi, MO (LM) and on 1 Dec (MH) and 21 Feb (DH) at Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO and at Confluence SP St. Charles, MO on 24 Jan (KS, SL). Two birds were at Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO (CK) on 14 Jan and 3 on 14-15 Feb were at Lake Wappapello that spans Butler and Wayne, MO (AG, RF) and 17 Feb (RD). A Black Scoter was observed on 2 Dec at Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO (TE) with an additional 1-2 on 2-16 Dec at Emerson Bay, Big Spirit L Dickinson, IA (LAS) and 1 female on 2 Dec at Pool 9, Mississippi R Allamakee, IA (SJD). There were four reports of Long-tailed Duck in Missouri with 1 continuing from Nov that stayed until 1 Jan at Longfellow L Greene, MO (TE). Another lone bird was found on 29 Dec at Smithville L Clay, MO (MN), 1 on 6 Dec at Long Branch L SP Macon, MO (AC, CG) and 1-2 on 26 Dec-15 Jan at Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO (MTh). There were 6 reports of this species in Iowa, mostly on the Army Corps impoundments and along the Mississippi R. Highest number of Bufflehead was 36 on 28 Feb at Cone Marsh Louisa, IA (LGR). High counts for the season for Common Goldeneye were 2,000 on 15 Dec at Mississippi R Scott, IA (SF) and 2,000 on 5 Jan at Sycamore Access Polk, IA (AB). There was a record of 1 adult male Barrow’s Goldeneye on 20-31 Jan at Le Claire Scott, IA (*JF, *MHB, BC). Highest count for Hooded Mergansers numbered 34 on 16 Dec at Rathbun L Appanoose, IA (RLC). A high count of 6,400 Common Merganser occurred on 17 Dec at Red Rock Res Marion, IA (AB). Red-breasted Mergansers were present during the winter period at many of the large lakes and reservoirs across the state of Missouri with a new seasonal high of 30 on 19 Dec at Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO (PL) with 60-77 on 26-28 Feb at Whitebreast Rec Area Marion, IA (JG) in Iowa. High count for Ruddy Duck was 485 on 3 Dec at Big Spirit L Dickinson, IA (LAS). There were 17 reports of Ruddy Duck in Iowa with a high count of 40 on 10 Dec at Milford Dickinson, IA (JJu).

Grouse through Rails

There were twelve reports of Northern Bobwhite in Iowa with highs of 12 on 11 Dec at Neal Smith NWR Jasper, IA (KVS) and 15 on 17 Jan at Woodburn Clarke, IA (JG). This year there were nine reports of Gray Partridge from Iowa with 18 on 2 Dec southeast of Slater Polk, IA (AB) and 20 on 24 Feb Humboldt, IA (JN). Ring-necked Pheasant was reported from 75 locations with a high of 60 on 16 Dec at Owego Wetland Complex Woodbury, IA (GLV) and 52 on 13 Feb at Moeckly Prairie Polk, IA (AB). A lone Red-necked Grebe was observed by many at Riverlands Migratory BS on 11 Nov-4 Dec St. Charles, MO (DB, TE, m.ob.). Eared Grebe were scares during December in Missouri with 1 on 17-28 Dec at Smithville L Clay, MO (MN, ph) and 1 on 2 Dec at Table Rock Dam Taney, MO (GSw, KL, JH, SM, DM, GSa, BBr), then absent for the remainder of the period. A single Inca Dove visited Henry, MO on 15 Jan (*TE, ph, RP). White-winged Doves turned up in four locations in Missouri; 1 throughout the season at the Kinder residence Livingston, MO (*SK), 1 on 18 Dec Vernon, MO (CBu, DM, SM), 1 on 2 Jan Morgan, MO (RL) and 1 on 23-27 Jan near Senath Dunklin, MO (*TJ). Flowers still in bloom at Valley Water Mill Greene, MO hosted a female Rufous Hummingbird 16-20 Dec (ph, GSw, KL, BW, m.ob.). A Virginia Rail was found and photographed on 18 Dec at Montrose Lee, IA (SJD). A high count of 1,200 American Coot were reported on 4 Dec at DeSoto NWR Harrison, IA (POR).

Cranes through Woodpeckers

There were 15 reports of Sandhill Cranes in Iowa this year, with high counts of 38 on 1 Dec at Cone Marsh WMA Louisa, IA (FB), 8 on 28 Jan at Cone Marsh WMA Louisa, IA (SD) and 8 on 28 Feb at New Haven Mitchell, IA (PK). In Missouri, they were reported in five counties, including these observations: 2-4 on 27 Jan-5 Feb at Grand Pass CA Saline, MO (LBe, WB, KL), 1 on 27 Dec-11 Jan at Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO (PL, MTh), 2 on 20 Feb at Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO (BWa), 40 on 5 Dec at Loess Bluffs NWR Holt, MO (YN), 2-4 on 20 Dec 2 at Loess Bluffs NWR Holt, MO (TG, JH, MA, RM) and 2 on 9 Dec at BK Beach CA Lincoln, MO (BS). Dunlin were found at the beginning and end of the period in the southeast corner of Missouri with a high count for the year of 60 on 16 Dec Dunklin, MO (TJ) and 34 on 10 Dec Dunklin, MO (TJ). Least Sandpiper were reported in nine counties in Missouri during the period, in numbers from 1 to 21. Most reports came from Dec with one in early Jan and two in Feb. One late Pectoral Sandpiper on 3 Dec was at Clarence Cannon NWR Pike, MO (JH, TG, RM) and 19 early ones on 26 Feb Dunklin, MO (TJ). Single late Spotted Sandpipers were at Perry Community L CA on 2 Dec Perry, MO (*AG) and at Longview L on 3 Dec Jackson, MO (KD). Long-billed Dowitchers were courtesy of TJ in southeast Missouri with a high for this year of 510 on 3 Dec and 400 on 10-16 Dec and 300 on 28 Feb Dunklin, MO. Wilson’s Snipe was in an astonishing 41 counties in Missouri with notable observations from the depth of the period and weather being 2 on 2 Jan at Longview L Jackson, MO (SJ), 1 on 27 Jan at L Remembrance Jackson, MO (SH) and 1 on 20 Jan at Busch CA St. Charles, MO (TG, JG). Accidental in winter outside the Missouri Bootheel, 2 Lesser Yellowlegs were reported on 17 Feb at Clarence Cannon NWR Pike, MO (*RM).

Freezing along the Mississippi R in Missouri helped gull populations and diversity in St. Louis. On the western side, there was little open water in January and much of February making gull activity challenging. A single Franklin’s Gull was at Riverlands Migratory BS on 16 Dec St. Louis, MO (DR). There were also three single Franklin’s Gulls found in Iowa with 1 on 2-17 Dec at Lakeview Rec Area Polk, IA (SJD, ph), 1 on 2 Dec at Sandbar Slough Dickinson, IA (LAS) and 1 on 27 Feb at Ottumwa Wapello, IA (SFr). There were a total of 29 reports of Iceland Gull in Iowa this period, with ebird data from Missouri showing that the two subspecies were reported in roughly equal numbers (each typically 1 per day) and almost equally as often. There were at least 12 reports of Lesser Black-backed Gull in Missouri, with an additional 9 reports from Iowa. For Glaucous Gull there were two reports from Missouri and five from Iowa. There were four reports of Great Black-backed Gull in Iowa with a first cycle bird continuing from the fall on 1-4 Dec at Saylorville Res Polk, IA (*SJD, *AMJ, *AB, BE, RLC), 1 adult & 1 immature on 17 Dec at Quad Cities Scott, IA (*BLB), 1 first cycle on 14 Dec-4 Jan at Red Rock Res Marion, IA (*JG, *JF, *AB, *SJD) and 1 adult on 8-26 Feb at South Sabula Lakes Park Jackson, IA (*JF).

There was one Red-throated Loon in Iowa on 3-5 Dec at Lake McBride Johnson, IA (JF, JLF). Red-throated Loons also appeared in three locations in Missouri: a continuing bird from November stayed until 9 Dec at Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO (MTh, m. ob.), two stayed a single-day stay on 3 Feb at Table Rock L & SP Taney, MO (*PMc, BJ) with one continuing until 18 Feb, and 1 on 6 Dec at Fellows L Greene, MO (DM, SM, JH). Smithville L Clay, MO hosted the only Pacific Loon of the period, also continuing from November until 6 Dec (GC, MN). Common Loons were present at three locations during the period with 1-3 on 2-5 Dec at Saylorville Res Polk, IA (RLC, AB), 1 on 8 Dec at Red Oak Road at Mississippi R Pool 9 Allamakee, IA (JC) and 1 on 12-25 Dec at George Wyth SP Black Hawk, IA (TGS). There were seven reports of Double-crested Cormorant in Iowa, all in December, with high counts of 1-3 on 2-17 Dec at Mississippi R Scott, IA (KJM). In Iowa there were 45 reports of American White Pelican throughout the period, most below the dams at Saylorville Res Polk, IA and Red Rock Res Marion, IA. High counts were 150 on 3 Dec at Port Louisa NWR Louisa, IA (DG), 130 on 28 Jan at Keokuk Lee, IA (CO) and 101 on 16 Feb at Mississippi R, L&D 14 Scott, IA (BT).

An American Bittern was at Clarence Cannon NWR once again Pike, MO on 15-16 Feb (*AC, AR, CMc, RM). A Great Egret was reported in Iowa on 19 Dec at Credit Island Scott, IA (SF). There was one report of Black-crowned Night-Heron in Iowa on 4 Dec at Sweet Marsh WMA Bremer, IA (KL), with them also continuing another year of overwintering in Missouri with 1-8 birds throughout the period at Forest Park-St. Louis Zoo, St Louis City St. Louis, MO (m.ob.). There were 3 reports for Turkey Vulture in Iowa this year, a more usual number for winter with all reports from February with 1 on 25 Feb at Newton Jasper, IA (CH), 1-2 on 27 Feb at Rathbun L Dam Appanoose, IA (TNJ) and 1 on 28 Feb Warren, IA (JG). There were 16 reports of Golden Eagle scattered across Iowa this year. There were also eight reports of Golden Eagles in Missouri, all of single birds. This year there were five reports of Northern Goshawk with 1 on 4 Dec at Lake McBride SP Johnson, IA (JLF), 1 on 27 Dec Johnson, IA (POR), 1 on 20 Jan at Badger Creek SP Madison, IA (DTh), 1 on 18 Jan at Ada Hayden Heritage Park Story, IA (WO) and 1 on 23-24 Jan at Iowa State University Story, IA (EM). In Iowa high counts of Bald Eagle included 665 on 12 Dec Scott & Clinton, IA (KJM), 453 on 13 Dec Scott & Muscatine, IA (KJM) and 329 on 16 Dec Louisa, IA (KJM). It was another great winter for Rough-legged Hawks in Iowa with 197 reports totaling 295 individuals during the season, with 23 dark morph individuals reported.

Snowy Owls were reported in 14 counties in Missouri, all individual birds except 2 on 20 Dec at Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO (RP) and 2 on 21 Dec near BK Leach CA Lincoln, MO (BSc, ph). In Iowa there were 39 reports of Snowy Owl found throughout the state with 28 located in Dec, 7 in Jan and 4 in Feb. There were 14 reports of Northern Saw-whet Owl in Iowa during the season which were scattered throughout the state, with a high of 3 on 22 Dec Guy Grover Timber Buchanan, IA (DAk, KJM).

Falcons through Waxwings

There was a total of 70 Merlins reported from 31 counties in Iowa with a high of 5 on 27 Jan at Jefferson Cemetery Greene, IA (MW). These reports included 5 of the columbarius race and 8 of the richardsonii race. In Missouri, Merlins upped their county presence from last year, being reported in 31 counties with a seasonal high of 3 on 20 Dec at Loess Bluffs NWR Holt, MO (MR). There was a report of 1 Gyrfalcon on 10 Dec in rural Sac, IA (*DCH). There were seven reports of Peregrine Falcon in Iowa during the period. There were five sightings of Prairie Falcon in the western and northwestern part of Iowa. Prairie Falcon was not reported in Missouri after 20 Jan with reports from 8 counties during the first half of the season, all individual birds. The warm weather spurred Eastern Phoebe reports from 31 counties in Missouri with five reported in Iowa in Dec and early Jan (all with good details). A Say’s Phoebe was in Barton, MO on 9-13 Jan (DM, SM, CBu, LB, GSw, BJ). There were two reports of Loggerhead Shrike in Iowa. There were 53 reports of 59 individuals of Northern Shrikes this winter in Iowa with them scattered mostly over of the northern two-thirds of the state. Northern Shrike was again hard to find in Missouri with the most reliable bird continuing from the end of Oct-1 Jan at Bradford Farm Boone, MO (m.ob.) Single birds were seen on 15 Feb in Clinton, MO (YN) and on 17 Feb Poosey CA Livingston, MO (TM). Accidental in winter, lone Blue-headed Vireos were reported 24 Jan Dunklin, MO (*TJ) and in Mark Twain National Forest Shannon, MO (MR, JB).

Fish Crow returned to Missouri in mid to late Feb, except for a 4 Jan report of 2 in Stoddard, MO (DH). Swallows stayed out of the Missouri almost entirely with only 3 brave Tree Swallows returning to Riverlands Migratory BS St. Charles, MO (PL, JRu) on 27 Feb. In Iowa there were 90 reports of Red-breasted Nuthatch from throughout the state with a high of 45 on 18 Dec at Clinton, IA (KJM). In Missouri, reports came from 31 counties and spanned the period. Jamesport Community L Daviess, MO had a season high count for the current year of 5 on 15 Jan (TM). Single House Wrens were seen on 9 Dec at Truman Dam Benton, MO (BBl, DBl) and on 15 Dec at Poague CA Henry, MO (MR, JB). There were 23 reports of Winter Wren in Iowa from throughout the period with a high of 4 on 15 Feb Jackson, IA (KJM). Rare in northern Missouri they showed up at Loess Bluffs NWR Holt, MO with 1-3 birds on 20 Dec (MR, MM), 2 on 13 Feb (KG) and 2 on 21 Dec at Thousand Hills SP Adair, MO (AV, PN). Sedge Wrens in Missouri were also scarce with only 1 report of a single bird coming from north of the Missouri R on 20 Dec at Loess Bluffs NWR Holt, MO (MR). Marsh Wren followed the trend with 1 on 9 Dec at Shawnee Trail CA Barton, MO (JC), 2 on 14 Dec at Mingo NWR Stoddard/Wayne, MO (JB, MR) and 1 on 21 Dec at Prairie Slough CA Lincoln, MO (BR); in Iowa there was 1 on 16 Dec at Riverton WMA Fremont. IA (RS), 1 on 18 Dec at Luton WMA Woodbury, IA (TJL, ph) and 1 on 18 Dec at Montrose Lee, IA (SJD, ph).

An accidental Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was photographed on 23 Dec at Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery Taney, MO (*GSw). A lone Ruby-crowned Kinglet, rare in northern Missouri, was at Jamesport Community L Daviess, MO (TM) on 3 Dec. There were also two reports from Iowa, 1 on 18 Dec at Syracuse SWA Clinton, IA (KJM) and 1 on 19 Dec Jackson, IA (EB). One record of Mountain Bluebird in Iowa of 1-2 individuals on 1 Jan-16 Feb at Waterman Creek O’Brien, IA (*JG, *POR, *LAS). Townsend’s Solitaire was recorded in Iowa with 1 on 19 Dec at Swan Lake SP Carroll, IA (DSc), 1-3 on 19-22 Dec at Preparation Canyon Manona, IA (JMa), 1 on 4-7 Jan on Laser Road Clayton, IA (BC) and 1 on 3-15 Feb at Waterman Creek O’Brien, IA (LAS, RLC). There were 17 reports of Hermit Thrush this year in Iowa with a high number of 8 on 15 Dec Jackson, IA (KJM). There was one report of Gray Catbird in Iowa of 1 on 12 Dec at Squaw Creek, Ames Story, IA (AN). Bohemian Waxwing was recorded in Iowa with 2 on 3 Feb at Whiterock Conservancy Guthrie, IA (IBM) with good details. Eurasian Tree Sparrow were widely reported in Iowa along the Mississippi R where high counts included 92 on 17 Dec at Quad Cities Scott, IA (KJM), 103 on 23 Dec Muscatine, IA (KJM) and 40 on 22 Dec Buchanan, IA (KJM). In Missouri, American Pipits were in 30 counties with most reports coming from the beginning and end of the season. A new, all-time high count for winter was 400 on 23 Dec at College of the Ozarks Campus Taney, MO (GSw, BBr).

An adult male Evening Grosbeak was coming to a feeder on 24-28 Feb in Ames Story, IA (Bob Sperry fide *SJD, *Linda Coady, Chicago, IL). Also in Iowa there were 57 reports of Common Redpoll this year after only one report last year; the highest number was 130 on 16 Dec at Red Feather Prairie Polk, IA (AB). An irruption brought Common Redpolls to yards and feeders in nine counties in Missouri with the highest being 1-3 off and on from 10 Dec-18 Feb at a residence in Jackson, MO (RS). This winter season in Iowa there were an amazing four reports of Hoary Redpoll with 1-2 on 11 Jan-17 Feb Dickinson, IA (*SP, *ET, *LAS), 1 on 13 Jan Clay, IA (LAS), 4 on 29 Jan near Ledyard Kossuth, IA (*DG) and 1 on 21 Feb at Norwalk Warren, IA (*JG). In Iowa there were 17 reports of Red Crossbill this winter after one report last year; the highest numbers were 22 on 18 Dec at LeMars Plymouth, IA (JH) and 13 on 11-17 Feb at East Lawn Cemetery O’Brien, IA (LAS). Missouri also had an irruption year for Red Crossbill, with highest numbers being 20 on 27 Dec at Rocky Forks Lake CA Boone, MO (SM, DM) and 2-10 from 8 Jan-3 Feb at Danforth Cemetery Greene, MO (KL, BW, CBu). There were four reports of White-winged Crossbill this year after only one report last year in Iowa: 1 on 12 Dec-19 Feb at Breda Carroll, IA (DSh), 1 on 26 Dec-13 Jan at feeders at Norwalk Warren IA (JG), 1-2 on 25-27 Jan at Scott County Park Scott, IA (JF) and 1 on 11-19 Feb at East Lawn Cemetery in Sheldon O’Brien, IA (LAS). In Iowa there were 97 reports of Pine Siskin this year after nine last year with a high count of 50 on 11 Dec at Forney Lake WMA Fremont, IA (SQ) and 60 on 18 Jan at Cedar Rapids Lynn, IA (JE).

Longspurs through Finches

Highest numbers for Lapland Longspurs in Iowa were 2,000 on 17 Dec Ida, IA (GLV) and 600 on 28 Dec Boone, IA (JG). Only 20 reports of Snow Buntings in Iowa this season with the largest flock 42 on 22 Dec Kossuth, IA (DG). Reports of Snow Bunting in Missouri were of 1-2 birds on 2-23 Dec from Long Branch Lake & SP Macon, MO (CG, BJ, PK) and 2 on 31 Dec Perry, MO (KJM, TW). A Spotted Towhee was a regular at Rockwoods Reservation on 7 Dec-7 Jan St. Louis, MO (MA, PL, JU). There were two reports of Chipping Sparrow in Iowa with 1 on 21 Dec at Liscomb Marshall, IA (MP) and 1 on 24 Jan at Dubuque Dubuque, IA (KJA). Chipping Sparrow in Missouri showed up in Cape Girardeau, MO with 1-4 on 2 Dec to the end of the period (MH) and at least one at feeders in Gladstone Clay, MO on 18 Feb (DA, ph). Three Savannah Sparrows were seen in Iowa on 15 Dec Jackson, IA (*KJM) and one on 1 Dec Des Moines, IA (JLF). Fox Sparrow was in four Missouri counties in the north where it is rare; 1 on 20-29 Dec at Loess Bluffs NWR Holt, MO (MM, MR, MKW, CA), 1 on 17 Jan at Sand Creek Adair, MO (SF), 2 on 8 Jan at Henry Sever Lake CA Knox, MO (AH) and 4 on 18 Feb again at Henry Sever Lake CA Knox, MO (AH). There were 24 reports of Fox Sparrow in Iowa with a high of 5 on 4 Jan Clayton, IA (DAk). There was one report for Lincoln’s Sparrow in Iowa of 1 on 16 Dec at Rathbun L Appanoose, IA (RLC). In Missouri the first accepted record for the state of the Dark-eyed (Pink-sided) Junco was from Peculiar Cass, MO on 2-28 Feb (*GC, ph).

There were 8 reports of Eastern Meadowlark from Iowa this winter with vocalizations. There were also 8 reports of Western Meadowlark from Iowa noting vocalizations. High counts of Red-winged Blackbird in Iowa was 3,500+ on 18 Jan Warren, IA (AMJ) and 7,000+ on 28 Feb at Dunbar Slough Greene, IA (MW). There were a total of 15 reports of Rusty Blackbird of 72 individuals from eleven counties in Iowa, with a high count of 20 on 21 Jan at Bronson Woodbury, IA (TJL) and 17 on 4 Jan at Lacona Marion, IA (JG). There was only one report of Brewer’s Blackbird in Iowa, 4 on 4 Jan at Waterloo-Cedar Falls Black Hawk, IA (CL). Iowa had two reports of Great-tailed Grackle this winter period with 1 on 17 Dec near Slater, seen both in Polk & Story, IA (SJD, ph) and 1 on 10 Jan at Water Works Park Polk, IA (KP).

In Missouri Orange-crowned Warblers were found in nine counties with a total of 15 different birds, all single birds with following exceptions: 2 on 12 Dec at Otter Slough CA Stoddard, MO (PQ) and 2 on 1 Jan at Dresser Island St. Charles, MO (MTh). A Nashville Warbler, accidental in winter in Missouri, frequented a feeder at the observer’s residence in Boone, MO (*BM) on 7-25 Dec and gave the species its second record for the season. In Iowa there was a report of 1 of the eastern race of Palm Warbler on 18 Dec 3 miles east of Toronto Clinton, IA (*KJM). In Missouri all three of the season’s Palm Warbler records came from Dec with 1 on 3 Dec at Creve Coeur Lake & County Park St. Louis, MO (NR), 1 on 25 Dec at the I-55 Borrow Pits Pemiscot, MO (TJ) and 3 on 25 Dec on County Road 530 Mississippi, MO (TK). There were 51 reports of Yellow-rumped Warbler in Iowa with the highest number reported of 42 on 8 Dec at Big Sand Mound NP Scott, IA (KJM), 26 on 15 Dec Jackson, IA (KJM) and 21 on 16 Dec at Rathbun L Appanoose, IA (RLC); all other reports were of 1 to 15 individuals from all parts of the state. A Rose-breasted Grosbeak, casual in winter in Missouri, was documented 19 Feb at Covington/Foxboro St Charles, MO (*DL). Dickcissels showed up in both states this winter with 1 on 16 Dec at North Bottoms Des Moines, IA (*JLF) and another surprising bird spent 16 Dec at Eagle Bluffs CA Boone, MO (PMc, ph).

Report processed by Byron Swift,15 Nov 2020