Whistling-ducks through hummingbirds
Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks away from Red Slough, southeastern Oklahoma were scattered across to west-central portions of the state (fide Joe Grzybowski), and further west and north to Finney Co, KS 1 Jun (five birds; Kurtis Meier), with singles in Fillmore Co, NE 3 Jun (Caleb Strand) and Lincoln Co, NE 5–14 Jun (Bruce White, m. ob.). An injured Snow Goose was found in Major Co, OK 19 Jun (Zach Poland). Lingering Greater White-fronted Geese were singles in Nemaha Co, NE 9 Jun (Sam Manning, Ben Ream) and Douglas Co, NE 14 Jun (Sam Manning). Single Cinnamon Teal were found in the Rainwater Basin 3 Jun (Joel Jorgensen) and 19 Jun (Caleb Strand); breeding has not yet been confirmed there. Among summer vagrants in Oklahoma were two Gadwall in Canadian Co 2 Jun (Bill Diffin), an American Wigeon in Custer Co 22 Jun (Jonathan and Tessa Dowell), and single Green-winged Teal in Garfield Co 8 Jun (Adrianh Martinez Orozco) and Major Co 11 Jun (Curtis Stewart), and Bufflehead in Oklahoma Co 21–30 Jun (Devin Bosler). Ring-necked Duck is less than annual during summer in Nebraska; single males were at each of two Douglas Co locations, one continuing from spring through 19 Jul (Sam Manning) and the other found 16 Jul (Sam Manning). A very late immature White-winged Scoter was at Crescent Lake 2 Jun (John Sullivan, m. ob.). Five Bufflehead were at Crescent Lake 2–24 Jun (John Sullivan, m. ob.). Hooded Mergansers have shown a scatter-pattern of potential breeding sites in Oklahoma evident this season as well (fide Joe Grzybowski).
An Eared Grebe in Washita Co, OK 19 Jun (Jerry Vanbebber) was a surprise vagrant there, while tardy were one and two at two Alfalfa Co, OK locations 1–5 Jun (Kevin Wilson, Larry Versaw, Mark Miller). Increasing White-winged Dove numbers were evident north to Nebraska with reports of one–five at nine locations (fide Ross Silcock). Only three Black-billed Cuckoos were reported in Nebraska, all in the northeastern part 5–28 Jul (Mark Brogie, Jan Johnson, Renee Tressler). Northeastern Kansas showed more Black-billeds, the westernmost outlier in Russell Co (Dave Klema); none were reported from Oklahoma. A disjunct population of Common Poorwills occurs in rocky habitat in south-central Nebraska; two were heard in Franklin Co 2 Jun (Joel Jorgensen) and one was recorded in Webster Co 3 Jun (Joel Jorgensen). A northerly outlier Chuck-will’s-widow was recorded in extreme northern Knox Co, NE 28 Jun (Caleb Strand, Mark Brogie). An Eastern Whip-poor-will was westerly in Madison Co, NE 7 Jul (William Flack).
Westerly in the Nebraska Panhandle was a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Dawes Co 6 Jun (Juanita Whittecar photo). Black-chinned Hummingbirds continue to penetrate into central Oklahoma (fide Joe Grzybowski) with outliers in Scotts Bluff Co, NE 11–14 Jun (male; Colin Croft, m. ob.), a puzzling bird with a strongly decurved bill in Lancaster Co, NE 30 Jun–17 Aug (fide Michael Willison; verified by Sheri Williamson), and a first-year male in Pawnee Co, KS 26 Jul (Atcha Nolan, Carolyn Schwab, Tom Ewert). Calliope Hummingbirds, regular but rare along the western edge of the region, appeared in Scotts Bluff Co, NE 17–18 Jul (Kathy DeLara), Pawnee Co, KS 24 Jul (Donna Meyer), Scotts Bluff Co 28 Jul (Kathy DeLara), Gove Co, KS feeder 24 Jul (Christopher Frick), and 21–25 Jul in Cimarron Co, OK (Steve Metz); one was far easterly in Seward Co, NE 24 Jul (Liz Garcia). Broad-tailed Hummingbird in Nebraska has shown a mixed pattern of June and July occurrences recently; this season, a male and a female were at a Dawes Co feeder 11–19 Jun (Juanita Whittecar, videos), and one was in a Scotts Bluff Co, NE yard 17 Jun (Kathy DeLara).
Rails through Caspian Tern
Common Gallinules are still showing a weak pattern on the plains away from Red Slough and one nucleus area in central Kansas at Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira; singles were in Clay Co, NE 2 Jun (Caleb Strand), Fillmore Co, NE 3 Jun (Caleb Strand), and Shawnee Co, KS 4 Jun and 2–12 Jul (Linda Zempel, Mark Pheasant). Sandhill Cranes were confirmed breeding at three continuing locations in Nebraska, and, this year, at two more: near Lake Wanahoo, Saunders Co, where adults with a colt were seen 13 Jun–19 Jul (Weldon and Paula Hoppe), and near North Platte, where adults with one colt were observed 9–10 Jun (Boni Edwards) and adults with two colts 18 Jul (Boni Edwards). A single Sandhill Crane was out-of-season in Meade Co, KS 6 Jul (Tony Leukering).
The summer season brings the end of spring migration, summer vagrancy and the beginning of fall migration together for shorebirds. There also are those during June of uncertain statuses, such as singles of Stilt Sandpiper in Payne Co, OK 23 Jun (Scott Loss), Semipalmated Sandpiper in Logan Co, KS 23 Jun (Christopher Frick), Long-billed Dowitcher 19 Jun at Quivira (Robert and Kelly Ducham), and Lesser Yellowlegs in Garden Co, NE 17 Jun (Boni Edwards) and Linn Co, KS 18 Jun (Malcolm Gold, Micky Louis). Some fall migrants appear as early as mid-late June; this season were a Willet in Rooks Co, KS 17 Jun (Greg Cooksey) and 8 in Payne Co, OK 21 Jun (Scott Loss), a Greater Yellowlegs in Logan Co, KS 21 Jun (Christopher Frick), and a Solitary Sandpiper in Ellis Co, OK 28 Jun (Joe Grzybowski).
Among the array, a Black-bellied Plover in Cleveland Co, OK was early 29 Jul (Tomasz Kuder). Very early, possibly a summer vagrant, was an American Golden-Plover in Tulsa Co, OK 23–29 Jul (Zach Poland). Piping Plover is uncommonly reported in migration; the only report was of one in Tulsa Co, OK 24–25 Jul (Terry Mitchell). A lone Mountain Plover in Cimarron Co, OK 20 Jun (Jimmy Woodard) was difficult to link with status. Normally early and likely failed nesters, were 18 Marbled Godwits in Garden Co, NE 24 Jun (Kirk and Kate LaGory); a single was in Tulsa Co, OK 23 Jul (Zach Poland). Normally expected during spring well into Junee, single White-rumped Sandpipers were tardy in Jackson Co, OK 24 Jun (Nick Ramsey) and Logan Co, KS 23 Jun (Christopher Frick). Single early dowitchers, one of each species, were in Fillmore Co, NE 4 Jul (Caleb Strand). Northwesterly in Nebraska were a “peenting” American Woodcock in Cherry Co 10 Jul (Renee Tressler) and another in Knox Co 20 Jun (Ross Silcock, Shari Schwartz, John Carlini). The four Wilson’s Phalaropes in Cimarron Co, OK 19 Jun (Doug Wood) was considered an “odd” summer record.
The 11 Franklin’s Gulls in Riley Co, KS 21 Jun (Ted Cable) were summer vagrants. Now a rare but annual summer visitor, three Laughing Gulls were reported; singles were in Platte Co, NE 2 Jun (fide Steve Kruse), Oklahoma Co, OK 1 Jun (Bill Diffin, Steve Davis, Jerry Vanbebber) and Jackson Co, OK 24 Jun (Nick Ramsey). A surprising number for the summer period was the group of five first-cycle Lesser Black-backed Gulls at McConaughy 1 Jun (John Sullivan); possibly one of these was a bird present 10 Jul (Gavin Stacey). Caspian Terns of uncertain status were in three Oklahoma counties (Oklahoma, Muskogee and Wagoner) during June (fide Joe Grzybowski).
Common Loon through falcons
Common Loons, mostly immatures, are occurring more often in the southern and eastern region in June and July; three were in eastern Nebraska 12 Jun–17 Jul (Tom Gannon, Steve Kruse, m. ob.), seven in eastern and central Oklahoma (fide Joe Grzybowski), and at several locations in Kansas (fide Chuck Otte). Anhingas appeared at Tishomingo NWR, Johnston Co, OK; one was there 16 Jun and a surprising seven on 21 Jul (Justin Roach). Neotropic Cormorants were scattered throughout most of Oklahoma (fide Joe Grzybowski) and north to Nebraska—three 8 Jun–21 Jul (Sam Manning, Colleen Childers, Steve Kruse, m. ob.). Exciting was the discovery of two large American White Pelican nesting colonies in Garden Co, NE. In late May, John Sidle found a colony of some 1200 birds on an ephemeral island in Wolf Lake, Garden Co (see photo). Soon after, in mid-June, Marlin French found a colony of 75–100 nests at Island Lake, Crescent Lake; young were hatching 7 Jul. The only prior Nebraska record of colony-nesting was of about 37 adults at Crescent Lake in 2018.
A total of six Least Bitterns were found at three Rainwater Basin locations 3 Jun–10 Jul (Caleb Strand, Rita Flohr, David Cunningham); elsewhere one–two were in Knox Co, NE 12–21 Jun (Caleb Strand, Mark Brogie, Roger Dietrich) and two in Stanton Co 30 Jun (Jason Thiele). Rare westerly egrets were a Great in Sheridan Co, NE 25 Jul (Lucy Vick), and six in Garden Co, NE 9 Jun (Steve Mlodinow). Three Glossy Ibises were reported, singles in Clay Co, NE 3 Jun (Joel Jorgensen, Caleb Strand, Mary Clausen), Major Co, OK 5 Jul (Curtis Stewart), and Garden Co, NE 11 Jul (Boni Edwards, Colleen Childers). The only Glossy x White-faced Ibis hybrid reported was at Crescent Lake 9 Jun (Steve Mlodinow).
Nesting Ospreys have been a continuing success story in certain parts of the region. In Nebraska the well-established four–five sites in Scotts Bluff Co fledged young (fide Kathy DeLara), the nest below McConaughy was active (fide Ross Silcock), as was the nest in Washington Co (Sam Manning). A new nest site was discovered in Cass Co, NE (Randy Skaggs, Sam Manning, Mary Clausen). Oklahoma too has seen an increase in Osprey nesting; several sites in Wagoner and Cherokee Cos were active this summer (Jim Arterburn, Chris Hampton, Zach Poland). Sightings of Sharp-shinned Hawk during summer are exceptional: one was in Scotts Bluff Co, NE 14 Jun (Steve Mlodinow), and another was in Carter Co, OK 5 Jul (Don Pearson). Very exciting was Oklahoma’s second Common Black Hawk; a single was observed at Wichita Mountains WR, Comanche Co 2–3 Jun (Jimmy Woodard, Jerry Vanbebber, Steve Metz, Patricia Norris). A far northwesterly Broad-winged Hawk was in Sioux Co, NE 4 Jun (John Sullivan, Laura Johnson, Linda Sullivan). Far easterly for Kansas were single Swainson’s Hawks in Linn Co 18 Jun (Simon Thompson, John Hanna) and in Crawford Co 24 Jul (Alex and Mary Marine). Great excitement was generated in Oklahoma by the continuing first-state-record Zone-tailed Hawk at the Wichita Mountains WR, Comanche Co through the period by many. Quite tardy immature Red-tailed Hawks in Nebraska were a calurus in Kimball Co 13 Jun (Ted Keyel) and a harlani in Sioux Co 13 Jun (Edward Raynor). The only Lewis’s Woodpeckers reported were at two sites in Sioux Co, NE 2 Jul (Matt Steffl) and 23 Jun (Kyrie Newby). A tardy Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was in Johnson Co, KS 2 Jun (Mick McHugh). Merlins nest rarely on the Nebraska Pine Ridge; one of very few summer reports was of one in Sioux Co 11 Jul (Colin Croft). Reports of Peregrine Falcon away from known breeding sites in Jun and early Jul are few and likely wandering immatures; singles were in Texas Co, OK 26 Jun (Ardell Winters), Cimarron Co, OK 27 Jun (Curtis Stewart), Banner Co, NE 2 Jul (Sam Manning), and Knox Co, NE 6 Jul (Ruby Rolland).
Olive-sided Flycatcher through Swainson’s Thrush
An Olive-sided Flycatcher in Harvey Co, KS 14 Jul was very early (Dick Zerger). An unexpected surprise at Scott State Park, Scott Co, KS was a Western Wood-Pewee carrying nesting material 8 Jun and present 6 Jun–23 Jul (Carolyn Schwab). An Acadian Flycatcher was northerly in Dakota Co, NE 1 Jun (Bill F. Huser) and a Willow Flycatcher was early in Payne Co, OK 16 Jul (Matthew Van Den Broeke). Least Flycatcher, quite rare anywhere in Nebraska during summer, was southeast in Lancaster Co 25 Jun (Tom Gannon). Easterly was a Say’s Phoebe in Dixon Co, NE 27 Jul; one was previously seen there in Apr (Jason Thiele). A pair of Vermilion Flycatchers in Harmon Co, OK 16 Jun (Lou and Mary Truex) were easterly extralimitals, but part of a pattern of incidental occurrences in southwestern Oklahoma. Also extending northward was an Ash-throated Flycatcher in Kimball Co, NE, Nebraska’s fifth. Two Ash-throated Flycatchers were a few counties north of their expected summer range in Major Co, OK 17 Jun (R.J. Baltierra). Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is now an annual breeder in Nebraska, but rare; two nestings likely took place in Pawnee Co during the period (fide Ross Silcock).
A Black-capped Vireo in Caddo Co, OK 12 Jun (Joe Grzybowski, John Tharp) was in an area of former occurrence. Somewhat westerly were single Yellow-throated Vireos in Buffalo Co, NE 12 Jun (Barbara Brown) and Ellsworth Co, KS 23 Jun–6 Jul (Dave Klema). The presence of as many as four singing Plumbeous Vireos in the Wildcat Hills, Scotts Bluff Co 14–20 Jun (Steve Mlodinow, m. ob.) suggests continuing establishment there since the mid-2000s, although breeding is yet to be proven. An easterly Black-billed Magpie was in Madison Co, NE 5 Jun (Jason Thiele). The first modern Nebraska Common Raven pair continued in Sioux Co 13–14 Jun (Edward Raynor, Steve Mlodinow). Tufted and Black-crested titmice hybridize in extreme southwestern Oklahoma; the two–three hybrids in Roger Mills Co 13 and 25 Jun (R.J. Baltierra, Nick Ramsey) were northerly. Vagrant Cave Swallows were found at Cheyenne Bottoms 3–8 Jun (one; Dave Klema) and in Payne, OK 4 Jul (two; Jerry Vanbebber, Scott Loss). Easterly nestings of Red-breasted Nuthatch continued in Nebraska at two or possibly three locations in Madison Co (Jason Thiele, Mark Brogie, David Heidt). Quite unexpected during summer was a Red-breasted in Cleveland Co, OK 7 Jul (R.J. Baltierra). White-breasted Nuthatches breeding on the Nebraska Pine Ridge are western nelsoni, but two pairs of eastern carolinensis were documented in lower elevation habitat near Chadron SP, Dawes Co 24 and 25 Jun, one of which was carrying food (Steve Mlodinow), and by a recording along Squaw Creek Road, Dawes Co 4 Jul, also in riparian habitat (Sam Manning). Four Brown-headed Nuthatches were relocated at a historic westerly site in Atoka Co, OK 10 Jul (R.J. Baltierra). Nesting by Blue-gray Gnatcatchers northerly in a recently colonized section of Nebraska occurred at Fort Niobrara NWR, Cherry Co (Renee Tressler).
Up to four Rock Wrens were at Glass Mountain SP, Major Co, OK 8 Jun–24 Jul (Curtis Stewart, R.J. Baltierra, Braden Farris), part of a local escarpment group. A single singing Marsh Wren of eastern subspecies palustris was far out of range in Scotts Bluff Co, NE 14 Jun (Steve Mlodinow). Marsh Wrens extending summer range southward this season seemed to arrive in Kansas during early Jul; singles were in Douglas Co 2 Jul (Mark Robbins), Leavenworth Co 21 Jul (John Schukman) and Republic Co 23 Jul (Tom Ewert). A Carolina Wren was northerly in Knox Co, NE 20 Jun (Jeremy Birket). Sage Thrasher, rare during summer in the Nebraska Panhandle, was noted at two locations in Kimball Co 22 Jun (Edward Raynor) and 30 Jul (Henry Meade). A Townsend’s Solitaire at McConaughy 8 Jun (Stella Uiterwaal) was tardy or vagrant. Swainson’s Thrush can still be a spring migrant in mid-June; one tardy Swainson’s was detected by call overhead at night in York Co, NE 19 Jun (Caleb Strand).
Finches through buntings
Almost unprecedented during summer away from the Nebraska Pine Ridge was the appearance at feeders about 10 miles apart in Otoe Co of perhaps the same male Evening Grosbeak 3 Jun (Josh Stubbendick) and 6 Jul (Jeff Rodgers). A quite late Purple Finch was in Shawnee Co, KS 1 Jun (Stephen Davidson). A Red Crossbill was easterly in Knox Co, NE 1 Jun (Mark Brogie). There were three reports of Red Crossbill from northeastern Cherry Co, NE, including adults feeding mobile young among 11 birds at feeders near Valentine for two weeks up until 2 Jul (Gordon Warrick). There were numerous reports of Pine Siskins, although the only confirmed breeding was in Finney Co, KS, where an adult was feeding two young 10 Jun–5 Jul and three juveniles were present 20 Jun (Sara Shane). Late and summer Pine Siskins were singles in Cherokee Co, OK 8 Jun (Christy Morrow) and Tulsa Co, OK 8–9 Jun (Nathan Moses), and in Sarpy Co, NE 12 Jul (Mary Clausen). Two Bachman’s Sparrows were at a historic westerly location in Atoka Co, OK 10 Jul (R. J. Baltierra). Two Clay-colored Sparrows were tardy in Thomas Co, NE 4 Jun (Caden Klanderman). Stretching the summer range eastward were four Brewer’s Sparrows in Morrill Co, NE 23 Jun (Caden Klanderman); Cassin’s Sparrows also occupied the area. Out-of-pattern White-throated Sparrows were in Douglas Co, KS 7 Jul (Scott Kimball) and Tulsa Co, OK 6–8 Jun (Zach Poland). A significant surprise was a pair of Lincoln’s Sparrows in suitable breeding habitat in Sioux Co, NE 14 Jun (Steve Mlodinow), possibly breeding there. A Canyon Towhee in Morton Co, KS 2–9 Jun (Debra McKee, Mark Pheasant) was an easterly outlier. A perhaps tardy Green-tailed Towhee was in Morton Co, KS 2 Jun (Debra McKee, Mark Pheasant). A phenotypic (plumage and song) Eastern Towhee was a bit westerly in Nuckolls Co, NE 3 Jul (David Ely).
A Yellow-headed Blackbird was a southerly summer vagrant in Payne Co, OK 27 Jun (Scott Loss). South of the expected summer range was a Bobolink in Wabaunsee Co, KS 9 Jul (Jackie Augustine). A total of 10 Bobolinks during the period in the Nebraska Panhandle, where breeding is rare, was more than usually encountered there (fide Ross Silcock). Baltimore Oriole is rare in the Nebraska Panhandle, the six reports suggesting increasing numbers westward (fide Ross Silcock). Great-tailed Grackles, expanding their range for some time in Nebraska, were north and west in Cherry Co 19 Jun (three birds; Alison Wagner, Zac Cota), and in Sheridan Co 22 Jun (Dave Sandahl).
An Ovenbird in territorial mode was still present south of the expected summer range in Douglas Co, KS 8–27 Jun (Roger Boyd). The surprising discovery of a breeding pair of Louisiana Waterthrushes at a westerly outlier location in Fort Falls, Fort Niobrara NWR, Cherry Co, NE 31 May was followed up by recordings 6 and 14 Jun and the presence of two fledglings there 6 Jun (Renee Tressler). Two territorial singing males were found at nearby Smith Falls SP, Cherry Co 7 Jun (Paul Dougherty). Also westerly was a Louisiana Waterthrush in Ellis, OK 15 Jun (R.J. Baltierra). A late Tennessee Warbler was in Harvey Co, KS 10 Jun (Carolyn Schwab). Fort Falls, Cherry Co, NE also provided Northern Parula far westerly outliers—one–two through at least 23 Jun (Stephen Brenner, m. ob.). Also out-of-range during summer was a Northern Parula in Jefferson Co, NE 5 Jun and 3 Jul (Sam Manning, Susan Quinn). An apparent adult male Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler in Sarpy Co, NE 29 Jul (Mary Clausen, photo) was a real surprise. Scarlet Tanagers far westerly were in Norton Co, KS 23 Jun (Aaron Brees) and in northeast Cherry Co, NE 10 Jul (Renee Tressler); one in Pawnee Co, OK 22 Jun (Scott Loss) was a rare sighting there. Westerly Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were in Keya Paha Co, NE 13 Jun (Kristal Stoner), Custer Co, NE 14 Jun (Larry Richardson) and Rush Co, KS 30 Jul (Pete Janzen). A Black-headed Grosbeak in Cimarron Co, OK 28 Jun and 4 Jul (Govind Kumar, m. ob.) was a summer vagrant there. Hybrids of Lazuli and Indigo buntings are not unexpected on the Nebraska Pine Ridge; eight were reported there 9–29 Jun (Paul Dougherty). Painted Buntings were westerly to central Kansas with a total of five in three counties west to Ellis Co 21 Jun–6 Jul (fide Chuck Otte), and in Oklahoma even farther west, with one–two at each of two locations in Cimarron Co 28 Jun-5 Jul (Brian Marra, Alex Harman, m. ob.).