Northern Great Plains: Summer 2016

Summer 2016: 1 Jun–31 Jul

Ron Martin

Recommended citation:

Martin, R. 2021. Summer 2016: Northern Great Plains. <> North American Birds.

Temperatures were generally above average across the region with precipitation above average in the east, but drier in the west. Snowy Plovers made a strong showing in MN and ND. A Summer Tanager was photographed in MN. Lingering warblers added some spice in the Dakotas. SD had first records for Gull-billed Tern and Black-chinned Hummingbird.

Contributors (state editors in boldface)

MN: Bill Blake, Diane Borgreen, Andy Boyce,  Dan Casey, Josh Covill, Nancy Drilling, Ed Harper, Paul Hendricks, Beth Hill, Jeff Marks, Ron Martin, Craig Miller, Gail Moser, Barry Southard.

ND: Bob J. Anderson, Sandy J. Aubol, Courtney L. Comer,  Corey D. Ellingson, Candace Fleck, Steve Howell, Noah Kuck, Dave O. Lambeth, Ron E. Martin, Evan Obercian, Zach M. Poetzsch, Mike J. Rabenberg, Denise J. Ray, E. Scott Ray, Dean W. Riemer, Breanna L. Wagner.

SD: Doug Chapman, Roger N. Dietrich, Todd Jensen, Ran Mabie, Ricky D. Olson, Jeffrey S. Palmer, Barry Parkin, Kelly Preheim, Scott Stoltz, Dave Swanson, Cheryl Vellenga.

Geese through Shorebirds

A flock of over 100 Snow Geese lingered through the season in Stutsman, ND (REM). This was one of 66 reports for this species in ND. In contrast, only one report for Snow Goose was noted in SD. The 3rd nesting report for ND, Trumpeter Swans were seen with cygnets in Grand Forks, ND through the end of June (p.a., DOL); this species continues to expand into ND from western MN. Unusual in summer, a Red-breasted Merganser was in Grand Forks, ND 2 Jun (DOL, SJA).

Five Northern Bobwhite reports from four SD counties was above average for the species. Ten Chukars were seen 30 Jul in northeast Bismarck, ND where they have been breeding for over a decade (CDE).

Rare in summer in MN, a Cattle Egret was near Malta 15–16 Jun (BS), and a Snowy Egret was at Freezout Lake 16 Jun. The only Glossy Ibis report came from Barnes, ND 12 Jun (BJA). Seventeen Yellow Rails were calling in Grand Forks, ND 23 Jun (DOL). This species has become increasingly difficult to find recently in ND away from Grand Forks Co. Continuing to increase across ND, Black-necked Stilts were confirmed nesting at Watford City with three young birds seen 30 Jul (NK). Only the second record in June in SD, an American Golden-Plover was in Brown 7 Jun (p.a., BP). The 10th record for MN, 1–2 Snowy Plovers were in Blaine 16–27 Jun (p.a., CM, JM). Irregular in ND, two Snowy Plover nests were found in Emmons in June (MJR, ZMP), and singles were at two locations in Kidder 7 Jun (MJR, ZMP) and 6 Jul (BLW, CLC). A first record for June in SD, a Buff-breasted Sandpiper was in Brown 7 Jun (p.a., BP).

Terns through Thrushes

The first record for SD, a Gull-billed Tern was on the MN-SD state line in Deuel 3 Jun (p.a., DC). Only the 6th sighting in MN away from known breeding areas, two Least Terns were on Lake Elmo in Billings 19 Jun (DC).

Very unusual in eastern ND in recent years, a single Burrowing Owl was in Walsh 5 Jun (SJA). Confirmed nesting of Northern Saw-whet Owls continues to increase in ND; this year young were photographed in Mandan 27 Jul (CF).

The first record for SD, a Black-chinned Hummingbird was in Meade 22–31 Jul (p.a., TJ, RDO, DS, JSP, RM). Calliope Hummingbirds noted in South Dakota were in Custer 23 Jul (RDO) and in Meade 24 Jul (SS).

Northwest of their usual range in ND, a Yellow-throated Vireo was in Divide 10 Jun (ESR). Increasingly seen at Bowdoin NWR in the last few years, up to 11 Sedge Wrens were noted there 13 Jun–14 Jul (EH, BB, AB, JC).

A Swainson’s Thrush in Gregory, SD 24 Jun was likely an unusually late migrant (p.a., RM). Two wandering Wood Thrushes were reported in ND. Singles were in Minot 1 Jun (REM) and in West Fargo 5–12 Jun (REM, DWR). A casual nester in Roberts, SD, a single Wood Thrush was there 20 Jun (CV).

Thrashers through Old World Sparrows

A vagrant Sage Thrasher was well east of breeding range in Charles Mix, SD 1 Jun (p.a., KP, RM). Northern Mockingbirds reported were singles 19 Jul in West Fargo, ND (DWR) and in Jackson, SD 28 Jul (RND). In MN a Northern Mockingbird was on the Crow Reservation 23 Jun (DC, JM, PH), and 1–2 were in Sheridan 2 Jul to the end of the season (DB).

Accidental in summer in ND, a Hooded Warbler was in West Fargo 5 Jun (p.a., REM). The latest record for June in the state, a Blackburnian Warbler was singing at Denbigh Experimental Forest, McHenry, ND 19 Jun (REM). A Chestnut-sided Warbler was late 22 Jun in Roberts, SD (p.a., CV). Casual in June in eastern SD, Yellow-rumped Warblers were in Charles Mix 10 Jun (RM), and in Roberts 16 Jun (CV). Accidental in July in SD, a Wilson’s Warbler was in Custer 3 Jul (p.a., SS).

Nearly annual in ND, a Henslow’s Sparrow was in Grand Forks 8–15 Jun (EO, SH). Harris’s Sparrows lingered to 2 Jun in Turner, SD (KP), and in Grand Forks, ND 6 Jun (DOL). Seemingly spreading west along the northern border in recent years in MN, Nelson’s Sparrow reports included five through the season in northeast Valley (ND), and three at Bowdoin NWR 13 Jun (EH).

Casual in summer in ND, a Western Tanager was in Kidder 11 Jun (REM). The 9th record for MN, a Summer Tanager was in Helena 1 Jun (p.a., GM). Casual in MN, a Dickcissel was at Medicine Lake NWR 23 Jun (DB). Unusually far west in MN, a Baltimore Oriole was in Great Falls 20 Jun (BH).

The Eurasian Tree Sparrow reported on Mountrail, ND in the spring season was seen sporadically until 30 Jun (ESR, DJR).

Report processed by Daniel Miller, 3 Mar 2021.