Moni Usasz, Matthew & Cynthia Van Den Broeke (M&CV), Gordon Warrick, Cassidy Wessel, Bruce White, Juanita Whittecar, Mary K. Wilcox, Michael Willison, Elizabeth Winter. KANSAS: Henry Armknecht, Will Britton, Andrew Burnett, Jeff Calhoun, Kathy Carroll, Tom Flowers, Christopher Frick, Matt Gearheart, Andrew George, Kurt Grimm, Will Jaremko-Wright (WJW), David Kirsch (DKh), William Kirsch, Dave Klema, Patty Marlett, Mick McHugh (MMH), Debra McKee, Christi McMillen (CMc), Sue Newland, Mark Nolen, Jamie Osterbuhr (JOs), Chuck Otte, Rob Penner, Audrey Percy-Muenz (APM), Diane Persons, Mark Pheasant, Mike Rader, Dave Rintoul, Sarah Sales, John Schukman, Carolyn Schwab, Sara Shane (SSh), Tom Shane (TSh), Faith Shapley-Queen (FSQ), Dylan Smith (DSm), Diane Thomas (DTh), Max Thompson, Mary Wilcox (MWi). OKLAHOMA: David Arbour, James W. Arterburn, Brent Barnes, Kevin Burke, Bill Carrell, Chad Ellis, Braden Farris, Tony Goza, Joseph A. Grzybowski, Glen Hensley, Will Jaremko-Wright (WJW), Jerilyn Johnson (JJo), Matt Jung, Scott Loss, Rod Lusey, Chris Lynch, Brian Marra, Caleb McKinney, Steve Metz (SMe), John Moyer, Landon Neumann, Jack Olson, Don Pearson (DPe), Mark Peterson (MPe), Zach Poland, William Radke, Justin Roach, Janet Rogers (JRo), Curtis Stewart (CSt), Terry Stuart, John Tharp (JTp), Simon Thompson, Pat Velte, Ned Wallace, Michael Webb (MWe), Dennis Wilson, Rachel Wrenn, Mike Yough.
Abbreviations: Cheyenne Bottoms (Cheyenne Bottoms W.M.A., Barton, KS); Hackberry Flat (Hackberry Flat W.M.A., Tillman, OK); McConaughy (L. McConaughy Res., Keith, NE); Quivira (Quivira N.W.R., Stafford, KS); Red Slough (Red Slough W.M.A., McCurtain, OK); Salt Plains (Salt Plains N.W.R., Alfalfa, OK).
Whistling-Ducks through Limpkin
Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks continue to be reported in all three regional states, mostly in eastern and central Oklahoma (fide JAG) including 16 at the Salt Plains 14 Jun (CSt); adults with broods were in Meade, KS 20 Jul (TF); and Barton, KS 3 Jul (DM, MP); with 14 individuals reported from three locations in Nebraska 9–23 Jun (fide WRS). Vagrant summer Greater White-fronted and Cackling Geese are still noteworthy; singles of the former were in Wyandotte, KS 1 Jun (KC, DP) and Jefferson, NE 25–28 Jul (SMa, WF); and of the latter in Kimball, NE 5 Jun (SM); Saunders, NE 14 Jun (SMa); and Scotts Bluff, NE 8 Jul (SM, CC). A Wood Duck brood was quite westerly in Gove, KS 20 Jul (CF). Among summer vagrant waterfowl were Gadwalls in Tulsa, OK 8 Jun (ZP) and Phillips, KS 20 Jun (HA); American Wigeon at Hackberry Flat 20 Jun (LN); single Green-winged Teal in Garfield, OK 16 Jun (CSt) and at Hackberry Flat 7 Jul (JAG); a Canvasback in Canadian, OK 24 Jul (WR); six reports of Ring-necked Duck from Oklahoma and Nebraska 8 Jun–25 Jul (fide JAG, WRS); and Lesser Scaup in Atchison, KS 11 Jun–29 Jul (SN) and Tulsa, OK 26 Jun–1 Jul (ZP). Other summer vagrants among diving ducks were a most unexpected Greater Scaup at Quivira 29 Jul (KC, DP); along with Bufflehead in Hall, NE 13–14 Jun (CCh) and Garden, NE 27 Jun (EK); and two male Common Goldeneye in Cedar/Knox, NE 16 Jun–26 Jul (MB, EBr, LBr) with a female in Miami, KS 13 Jul (APM). Hooded Mergansers are rare breeders in the eastern region; there were five reports of singles more westerly 4 Jun–21 Jul (fide WRS, CO, JAG). A Common Merganser persisted another summer in Oklahoma, OK (m. ob.). More unusual was a vagrant Red-breasted Merganser in Garfield, OK 5–25 Jun (ZP, CSt).
By far a record spring and/or summer tally for Nebraska was the 1295 Eared Grebes at Goose Lake, Garden 4 Jun (SM); likely a mix of migrants and potential summering birds. Single Eareds at Hackberry Flat 20 Jun (LN) and in Loup, NE 11 Jul (KSk) were summer extralimitals. Two Clark’s Grebes at Cheyenne Bottoms 20 Jun–3 Jul (DM, MP) were intriguing as possible breeders. Becoming rare in recent years, a Black-billed Cuckoo was found in Carter, OK 5 Jul (DPe); with others in Brown, NE 19 Jun (DT); Cass, NE 23 Jun (CNK); and Cherry, NE 7 Jul (FM). Along the northerly edge of its range was a Chuck-will’s Widow in Knox, NE 23–26 Jun (LBr, EBr, NP); with others westerly in Harlan, NE 11 Jun (PD); and Jewell, KS 10 Jun (KC, DP). Chimney Swifts have recently established far west in Kimball, NE; reports were from two locations 5–25 Jun of five–six birds (NP, SM, DTh).
An immature male Rivoli’s Hummingbird in Kingfisher 4 Jun (JJo, ph.) provided OK with its first record of the species. Westerly Ruby-throated Hummingbirds summered in Custer, OK, where one–two were seen through the period (JO); and Pratt, KS where a nest and hatchling were found 2 Jul (fide MR). Black-chinned Hummingbirds continue their recent 2019–2020 surge into western Nebraska with a male in Dawes 9 and 20 Jun (JW, video) and a female in Scotts Bluff 19 Jul (MS, KD). Others probing more easterly were in Cleveland, OK 16 Jun & 4 Jul (JTp, RW); Oklahoma, OK 27 Jul (BB); and Woodward, OK 27–28 Jul (NW, JRo). Nebraska’s fifth Anna’s Hummingbird, all since 2016, was a young male in Scotts Bluff 13 Jul through the period (MS, photo, m. ob.). First of nine Calliope Hummingbirds for Nebraska were singles at two locations in Scotts Bluff and one in Dawes 11 Jul (JW, MS, KD). Rufous Hummingbirds were reported only from the Nebraska Panhandle this season 11–25 Jul (fide WRS). The status of Broad-tailed Hummingbird as a possible breeder in the Nebraska Panhandle is suggested by a female in Dawes all spring accompanied by a male 8 Jun (JW), and a male in Scotts Bluff 16–23 Jun (SM, RS, JN). A Broad-tailed Hummingbird in Cimarron, OK 3 Jul (SMe) was a “summer surprise” there; and a male was early in Scotts Bluff, NE 30 Jun (JW).
A rare regional breeding record for King Rail was of adults with young in Cowley, KS 7 Jul (SN); Oklahoma outliers were two–three at Hackberry Flat 20 Jun and 7 Jul (LN, JAG). Virginia Rails were in Stanton, NE 6 Jun (JTh) and Butler, NE 4 Jun (JGJ); possible breeding locations. A Sora was late in Cimarron, OK 3 Jun (WJW). Common Gallinules are thinly distributed over most of the region, mostly as metapopulation pop-ups; two were in Cherokee, KS 4 Jun (AG); with singles in Payne, OK 14 Jun (SL) and at Hackberry Flat 27 Jun (JAG, BF). As usual, Purple Gallinules were reported only at Red Slough, where an excellent count of 75 were present 2 Jun (DA). Among the outstanding records this season was the first Limpkin for the region at Red Slough 9 (DA, SMe et al.) and 18 Jul (DW).
Shorebirds through Falcons
Three Black-necked Stilts were easterly in Cherokee, KS 5 Jun (AG). Mid-summer shorebirds can be difficult to classify as tardy, early, or suspended migrants. Such were a Black-bellied Plover in Butler, NE 16 Jun (LE), and single American Golden-Plovers at Quivira 15 Jun (MN) & 10–24 Jul (MR). Mountain Plover has a limited range on the western edges of the region; two in Sioux, NE 2 Jul (TL, KMD) were exceptions at this location in recent times. A Long-billed Curlew in Morton, KS 25 Jun (WJW) was probably a failed breeder moving early, as were two Marbled Godwits at McConaughy 19 Jun (JGJ). Fifty-two Marbleds in Morrill, NE 5 Jul (TL, KMD) was an excellent count; and three were easterly in Tulsa, OK 29 Jul (ZP). Ruddy Turnstones lingered in Garfield, OK until 13 Jun (CM) and at Quivira until 15 Jun (MN). Among suspended migrant candidates were single Stilt Sandpipers—possibly the same individual—20 and 28 Jun at two nearby Lancaster, NE locations (SK, photo; MW, LS, photo); a Baird’s Sandpiper at the Salt Plains 20 Jun (GH); a Pectoral Sandpiper at Hackberry Flat 20 Jun (LN); a Lesser Yellowlegs in Lincoln, NE 13 Jun (BW); a Greater Yellowlegs in Lincoln, NE 18 Jun (BE); four Long-billed Dowitchers at Hackberry Flat 20 Jun (LN); and Wilson’s Phalaropes at the Salt Plains 15 Jun (three; GH) and at Hackberry Flat 20 Jun (two; LN).
Eight White-rumped Sandpipers in basic winter plumage at the Salt Plains 15 Jul (JAG, GH) were a surprising July find and may have been one-year-old birds that shorten their migration loop to breeding areas. Among early migrants that more frequently begin appearing during early July were 11 Stilt Sandpipers in Wagoner, OK 2 Jul (JWA); three Baird’s Sandpipers in Box Butte, NE 3 Jul (KMD, TL); and one in Buffalo, NE 7 Jul (WK, DKh); Semipalmated Sandpipers at Hackberry Flat 27 Jun (JAG); Lancaster, NE 27–28 Jun (LE, MW); and Tulsa, OK 1 Jul (2; ZP); and two Western Sandpipers in Canadian, OK 4 Jul (SL). Very early for the number were 22 well-described Sanderlings in Box Butte, NE 3 Jul (TL, KMD). Tracking the hendersoni subspecies of the Short-billed Dowitcher were two in Tulsa 12 Jul (JWA); three at the Salt Plains 15 Jul (JAG, GH), and one in Wagoner 28 Jul (JWA). Possible early migrants were Lesser Yellowlegs at Hackberry Flat 20 Jun (LN). Single Willets in Cleveland, OK 3 Jun (JM) and at McConaughy 6 Jun (JN) were tardy or suspended migrants; likely early fall migrants were singles at Hackberry Flat 20 Jun (LN); in Lancaster, NE 27 Jun (LE); and Sedgwick, KS 3 Jul (PM).
Laughing Gulls wandered north this season to McConaughy 28 Jul (SM); with singles in Wagoner, OK 2 Jul (JWA); and Oklahoma, OK 16 Jul (RL). Early arrivals of California Gull, rare in Oklahoma, were singles at the Salt Plains 15 Jul (JAG, GH) and Wagoner 23 and 26 Jul (JWA). Two immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls were present through the period at McConaughy (SM, JN) with one at Cheyenne Bottoms 22–26 Jul (KC). An oddball summer Sterna tern was a Common in Morrill, NE 5 Jul (TL, KMD). Presumed non-breeding Common Loons were one–two in Oklahoma, OK during Jun (PV, m. ob.) and 21 Jul (MJ). Summer vagrant Wood Storks appeared at Red Slough, a southeast corner-of-region locality by 14 Jun (BC), early, with five noted there seven Jul (DA). Single northerly Neotropic Cormorants were in Woodson, KS 14 Jun (CS) and Cowley, KS 11 Jul (FSQ). Several were scattered across central and eastern Oklahoma (fide JAG) with the best count of seven in Wagoner 25 Jun (JWA). The only Anhinga reported, a bit out of range from Red Slough, was in Sequoyah, OK 25 Jul (ZP).
Least Bitterns were scattered throughout the region; five at five southeastern Nebraska locations (fide WRS); singles in Washington, OK (MPe) and Payne, OK (MY); both on 15 Jun. Rare westerly, Great Egrets were in Grant, NE 7 Jun (BE) and Dawes, NE 21 Jun (KO). The six Snowy Egrets at McConaughy 28 Jul appeared to be post-breeding wanderers with residual plumes (SM); two others also northerly at two Lancaster, NE locations 10–11 Jun (RS, LP, MU, TB). Reports of Little Blue Heron in Nebraska have declined; the only report was of an immature in Saunders 27 Jul (EW). The only Tricolored Heron away from Red Slough, where rare even there, was one in Johnston, OK 17 Jun (JR). Cattle Egret numbers and reports in Nebraska have declined in recent years; the best count was only four in Hall 5 Jun (RF). An immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was northerly in Dodge, NE 27 Jul (D&JP). Peak count of White Ibis at Red Slough was an impressive 612 on 14 Jul (DA, CL). Reports of hybrid Plegadis ibises continue, as expected; this season, three were photographed together in Morrill, NE 5 Jul (TL, KMD) and one was at the Salt Plains 19 Jul (CSt). The first Roseate Spoonbill to arrive at Red Slough was there 17 Jun (TS).
Nesting by Osprey in recent years has expanded at opposite ends of the region. Among eight known nesting sites in Nebraska, four nests in Scotts Bluff (Riverside, South Mitchell, Shannon-Berggren, and Winters Creek) each fledged three young; a fifth, south of Morrill (Jirdon’s), was inactive (D&JC, KD). One nest in Scottsbluff may have been removed; adults were still trying to establish a nest at the end of Aug (D&JC). A nest at Keystone in Keith, NE had two young 19 June (JGJ); both still present 12 Jul (CB). Another nest near Keystone was established this spring, had three eggs by early Jun, but was abandoned by the end of the period; power company personnel are erecting a nest pole there (fide JGJ). A nest at Fort Calhoun, Washington, NE had three young 23 Jun (CP) and two large chicks 22 Jul (SMa). In northeast Oklahoma, Osprey were reported nesting from multiple sites: incubation was under way in Wagoner 25 Jun (JWA); two nests were located in Cherokee; one with two young 2 Jul (JWA) and another under incubation the same day (JWA); and young were in a Wagoner nest 7 Jul (JWA).
An Osprey was tardy for spring in Cimarron, OK 4 Jun (CE). Odd Ospreys can wander widely, perhaps explaining singles in Mayes, OK 7 Jul (JWA), Stephens, OK 10 Jul (ST, KB) and Leavenworth, KS 12 Jul (JS). Becoming annual more southeasterly, two–four Swallow-tailed Kites were in Atoka, OK 28–31 Jul (fide DA, CL). The first Mississippi Kite nests reported in Scottsbluff, NE since 2011 were discovered near each other 2 and 9 Jul; adults were feeding young at each nest 13 and 26 Jul (TL, KD). Red-shouldered Hawks keep edging northwesterly with individuals this season northerly to Dakota, NE 18 Jun (BFH, JP); and westerly to Scott, KS 11 Jun (SSh) and Ford, KS 7 Jul (CMc). Barn Owls, rare in the eastern Region, were in Keya Paha, NE 18 Jun (DT) and Dixon, NE 12 Jun (JJ). The easternmost known Nebraska breeding location for Burrowing Owl in Clay continued with seven counted on 25 Jul (MSh, PS, m. ob.); and 14, including 11 fledglings, in Keya Paha 27 Jul (KCo). Barred Owl, also edging westward, was in Brown, NE 29 Jul (MKW). The data for breeding Northern Saw-whet Owls is still limited; a family group was found in Sioux, NE 4 Jun (JCa); and one was heard calling in Scotts Bluff 5 Jun (SM).
A Lewis’s Woodpecker, outside the edge-of-range this spring in Morton, KS, was still present 28 Jun (WB). Unexpected was a summer record of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Washington, NE 21 Jun (RR). Ladder-backed Woodpeckers (one–two) edged out into Garfield, OK, noted 5–12 Jun (ZP). Pileated Woodpecker, also edging westerly, was in Cedar, NE 27 Jun (EBr, MB). A Merlin photographed in Phillips, KS 12 Jun (DTh) was extralimital by season. Three of the four active Peregrine Falcon sites in Douglas, NE were successful in fledging three–four birds (JT, G&SE, JGJ), but the Lancaster site was unsuccessful (JGJ). A rare mid-summer Peregrine Falcon sighting away from the east was of one in Box Butte, NE 5 Jul (TL, KMD).
Flycatchers through Longspurs
Western Wood-Pewees extending their breeding range eastward were found with fledglings in Scott, KS 31 Jul (TSh, SSh); up to five were present there 11 Jun–4 Jul (JC, SSh). A westerly Eastern Wood-Pewee was in Dundy, NE 9 Jun (SM). A Willow Flycatcher in Scotts Bluff, NE 24 Jul (JN) was likely a fall migrant. Among few summer records of Least Flycatcher in Nebraska were singles in Knox 16 Jun (DSa) and Stanton 2 Jul (JTh). A tardy Cordilleran Flycatcher was out of breeding range in Kimball, NE 5 Jun (SM). A surprising four Say’s Phoebes were in northeastern Nebraska, where rare, but without breeding evidence: singles were in Keya Paha 2 Jun (MB), Brown 19 Jun (DT), Cedar 27 Jun (MB), and Knox 18 Jul (CW). Vermilion Flycatcher is rare but expected in Cimarron, OK; singles were found 3–4 Jun (CE) and 22–23 Jun (WJW). Another Vermilion, a male, was an outlier in Garvin, south-central OK 19–31 Jul (BM, m. ob.). Away from its breeding range was a Cassin’s Kingbird in Dundy, NE 18 Jul (SM). A westerly White-eyed Vireo was in Riley, KS 6 Jun (DR, DSm); and an excellent count of Bell’s Vireos was the 36 in Dundy, NE 18 Jul (SM). A Yellow-throated Vireo was westerly in Keya Paha, NE 17 Jun (DT) and a Blue-headed Vireo was tardy in Pawnee, NE 1 Jun (PR).
Two Fish Crows in Alfalfa, OK 10 Jul (ZP) were on the western range-edge. Violet-green Swallows nesting 24 Jun in Sheridan, NE are easternmost for the Pine Ridge (TM). A vagrant Cave Swallow was northerly in Sumner, KS 25 Jun–28 Jul (MT, KG); possibly wandering northward post-season. Lingering Red-breasted Nuthatches in western Kansas implicating potential breeding were in Ford 3–27 Jun and 29 Jul (CMc); and in Finney 6–27 Jun (SSh). Marsh Wrens in Atchison, KS 11 Jul (DM, MP) and Neosho, KS 16 Jul (AB) were unexpected during summer. A tardy Veery was in Burt, NE 4 Jun (PT) and a very late or vagrant Swainson’s Thrush was in Lancaster, NE 19–22 Jun (M&CV, photo). A westerly Wood Thrush was in Payne, OK 7 Jul (LN). The only report of Sage Thrasher was of one in Kimball, NE 25 Jun (RS, photo). A Northern Mockingbird in eastern Cherry, NE 27 Jun (JED) was northerly.
Most remarkable for date was a male Purple Finch in Bryan, OK 12 Jun (TG); the only summer record ever for Oklahoma. It was a good summer for Red Crossbills in western Nebraska with adults noted feeding fledglings in Dawes 7 Jun (CNK) and Valentine, Cherry 13 Jul (GW); among very few away from the Pine Ridge. Good numbers of adult and juvenile Red Crossbills persisted in Scotts Bluff, NE through 22 Jun; estimated at 100–101 on three dates (KD, m. ob.). Pine Siskins occasionally breed well outside their expected summer range; two begging juveniles were accompanied by adults at feeders in Omaha, Douglas, NE; the juveniles last seen 24 Jun (J&RH); and a fledgling with seven other siskins was observed in Finney, KS 6 Jul (TSh, SSh). There were numerous additional reports of one–two siskins at feeders in Kansas through Jun (fide CO), and 26 Jul in Ford (TSh, SSh). Lesser Goldfinch continues to edge north and east in the region with individuals in Dawes, NE 1 Jul (JH fide JGJ); and in central Kansas to Russell 10–11 Jun (DK) and Barton 13 Jun (RP).
Longspurs through Dickcissel
The disjunct Chestnut-collared Longspur population(s) in northeastern Nebraska persist; one–two were in Holt 3 Jun and 6 Jul (MB, EBr); another in Keya Paha 8 Jun (CNK); and three at a different Keya Paha location 27 Jun (KCo). Single Lark Buntings were easterly in Holt, NE 20 Jun (J&LS) and Custer, NE 13 Jun (J&LS). Clay-colored Sparrow, unexpected in the summer period, were in Dixon, NE 12 Jun (EBr) and Douglas, KS 17 Jul (MWi). A White-crowned Sparrow was in Kearny, KS 13 Jun (JOs). The northernmost Henslow’s Sparrow on record for the region was one in Knox 29–30 Jul (JTh, m. ob.). A new summering location for Henslow’s in Saunders, NE hosted four birds 16 Jun–3 Jul (NR, m. ob.). A few Rufous-crowned Sparrows persisted in southwestern Kansas, but one in Scott 4 Jul (DKh, WK) was quite northerly. Easterly summer Spotted Towhees were in Jewell, KS 10 Jun (KC) and two locations in Saunders, NE 16 Jun (EW) and 20 Jul (TK). An Eastern Towhee singing a typical song was westerly in Thomas, NE 5 Jul (BE). This far west, fewer than 10% of Pipilo towhees are unspotted.
Westerly Bobolinks were singles in Sioux, NE 29 Jun (EA); and at separate Dawes, NE locations 22 Jun (DTh, TM). In an area of rarification for Eastern Meadowlarks in northeastern Nebraska, there were seven reports in the Niobrara River Valley and east to Sioux City (fide WRS); fully half the known records in this area. A spectacular tally of 116 Orchard Orioles was at Rock Creek SRA, Dundy 18 Jul; a mix of small migrant groups of 10–15 and local breeders carrying food (SM). Westerly Baltimore Orioles were in Sioux, NE 20 Jun (SM) and Dawes, NE 23 Jul (TK). A Bronzed Cowbird in Seward, southwestern KS 3–10 Jun (KC, m. ob.) was a 3rd state record, and about 100 miles east of Cimarron, OK where the species appears to be establishing itself (fide JAG, SMe, m. ob.).
Two Worm-eating Warblers were northerly in Johnson, KS 21 Jun–3 Jul (MG). Westerly was a Louisiana Waterthrush in Kingman, KS 18 Jul (AG). A tardy Tennessee Warbler was in Sioux, NE 6 Jun (JN, photo). On its range edge were a Hooded Warbler in Nemaha, NE 14 Jun (JE, recording) and a Yellow-throated Warbler there 13 Jun (JE). Westerly Northern Parulas were in Buffalo, NE 2 Jun (RH) and Finney, KS 20 Jun (SSh, TSh); with two at the Salt Plains 4 Jun (CSt). A Chestnut-sided Warbler in Sioux, NE 21–23 Jun (KO, DKi, MGo) was odd for range and season. Quite amazing for Kansas was a Pine Warbler fledgling photographed in Kingman 10 Jul accompanied by at least one apparent adult (SS); several counties past its current breeding range. Another Pine Warbler was even more westerly in Ford, KS 29 Jun (JC). Among few state records for Nebraska was that of a Prairie Warbler in Kimball, NE 5 Jun (SM, photo). An immature male Summer Tanager was westerly in Cherry, NE 9 Jun (AE, photo). An adult male Scarlet Tanager in Thayer, NE 28 Jul (WF) leaves status uncertain; and a Western Tanager in Garden, NE 4 Jun (SM) was tardy. A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was south of its expected summer range in Kay, OK 16–23 Jun (MWe). Dickcissel numbers were high in Nebraska this season with numerous reports west into the Panhandle; outliers were two in northwestern Sioux 3 Jun (WM).
Report processed by José R. Ramírez-Garofalo, 11 Feb 2021.