Tom Duckworth, Kelli Egbert, Jared Engelbert, Tom Ewert, Elsie Fisher, Malcolm Gold, Kevin Groeneweg, Peter Grund, Jennifer Hammett, Alec Hopping, Pete Janzen, Barry Jones, Jon King, Dave Klema, Matt Longabaugh, Mick McHugh (MMH), Christi McMillen (CMM), Steve Mlodinow (SMl), Debra Mootz, Art Nonhof, Chuck Otte, Jaye Otte (JOt), Galen Pittman, Jenn Rader (JRa), Mike Rader, Emily Samuel, Sara Shane (SSh), Curt VanBoening (CVB), Nick Varvel (NVa), Scott Wilson (SWi), Suntesha Wustrack, Molly Zahn, Linda Zempel. OKLAHOMA: Danny Akers (DAk), David Arbour, Jeff Arnett, (JAr), John Ault, Brent Barnes (BBa), Jessie Barry (JBa), Bill Beall, Janis Blanton (JBl), John-Edd Brown (JEB), Chris Butler, Bill Carrell, Paul Cook, Mary Couger, Steve Davis, Bill Diffin, Melinda Droege, Victoria Dropps, Sarah Dzielski (SDz), Chuck & Carolyn Fields (C&CF), Don Glass, Joseph A. Grzybowski, Debra Halter, Ford Hendershot, Glen Hensley, Ron Heubner (RHe), Emily Hjalmarson, Steve Hodge, John Hurd (JHu), Austin Jones, Tomasz Kuder, Tony Leukering, Scott Loss, Mike Ludewig (MLu), Charles Lyon, Brian Marra, Larry Mayes, Dan McDonald (DMc), Roy McGraw, Deanne McKinney (DMk), Marilyn Meador, Terry Mitchell, Roy Neher, Jack Olson, Pooja Panwar, Mark Peterson, Lewis Pond, Corey Riding, Justin Roach (JRo), Brett Roberts, Zach Roy, Ben Sandstrom, Sylvia Serpentine (SyS), Josh Smith, Brian Stufflebeam (BSt), John Tharp, Jeff Tibbits (JTi), Pam & Sarah Toner (P&ST), A. Jean Trahan (AJT), Jeff Trahan, Lou & Mary Truex (L&MT), Nadine Varner, Mike Weber (MWe), Chris Wood, Doug Wood, Jimmy Woodard, Rachel Wrenn.
Whistling-Duck through Yellowlegs
8 juvenile Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks lingered at Red Slough 6—21 Dec; just 5 remained by 28 Dec (DA). A careful estimate of 30,000 Ross’s Geese with Snow Geese in Harlan, NE 20 Feb (TS) was a record Nebraska spring count. Wintering Trumpeter Swans were prominent throughout the region, with high counts of 270 in Wyandotte, KS 3 Jan (JK), 80 in Loup, NE 28 Dec—14 Feb (KSk), and 11 in Washington, OK 19—26 Jan (MD, m.ob.). 2 Trumpeters in Custer 2—4 Jan (JW, L&MT, JHu) were westerly outliers to the normal northeastern Oklahoma wintering area for the species, and 2 in Johnston 26—28 Feb (JRo, DW) were southerly. A lone Tundra Swan wintered with Trumpeters in Douglas, NE 10 Jan—26 Feb (GR, m.ob.); in northeast Oklahoma, the high count was 8-10 in Osage 26—28 Dec (JBl, SDz, P&ST). A Wood Duck was westerly in Lincoln, NE 18 Jan (WB). The first migrant Blue-winged Teal were in Payne, OK 16 Feb (ZR, VD). Late or lingering was a male Cinnamon Teal at Hackberry Flat 13 Dec (JW) with two likely migrants, also males, recorded 17 Feb (DH, MC, MM). A Northern Shoveler was north to Cedar, NE 13 Jan (MB). “Brewer’s Duck,” a cross between Gadwall and Mallard, was identified at Red Slough 24 Jan (DA). An adult male Eurasian Wigeon, a regional rarity, was located in Sedgwick, KS 1 Dec (PJ). Single American Black Ducks were in Neosho, KS 8 Feb (AB) and Douglas, KS 17 Feb (GP).
Nebraska’s sixth Harlequin Duck, an immature male, was in Burt 23 Dec—4 Jan (BP, photo, m.ob.). Surf Scoters this season included singles in Barber, KS 31 Dec (LZ), Dickinson, KS 4 Feb (PJ), and Mitchell, KS 10 Feb (JE); in Oklahoma, 2-6 were in Pawnee 2—18 Dec (BD, BS, m.ob), and 2 were in Jefferson 13 Dec—2 Feb (JW, PC, m.ob.) and at Hefner 14 Feb (JW, NV). Northerly White-winged Scoters lingered: singles were at McConaughy 29 Dec—8 Jan (SJD, SM), in Geary, KS 15 Jan (ES) and Douglas, KS 24 Feb (ML, m.ob.); in Oklahoma, 5 were in Jefferson 23 Jan (JW, NV) and singles were in Kay 14 & 16 Jan (BS, BD et al.) and Love 28 Jan (L&MT). Only 2 individuals of the region’s rarest scoter species, Black, were reported, singles in Lancaster, NE 18—20 Dec (LE) and Jefferson, OK 16—20 Dec (DH, BS). There were 3 Long-tailed Ducks in Nebraska: at McConaughy 1 Dec (PD), at Douglas through 23 Dec (TKa), and at Lancaster 28 Feb (SK). At least 20 Long-tails were found in Kansas and Oklahoma; 5 in Jefferson, OK stayed through the period (DH, m.ob.). A male Barrow’s Goldeneye in Cimarron 31 Dec—21 Jan (TL, m.ob.) was a rare find for Oklahoma; this species is more frequent in the Nebraska Panhandle, and singles were at McConaughy 17 Feb (NA, photo) and in Scotts Bluff 16 Feb (KD). There was a mid-winter increase—likely precipitated by frozen lakes further north—of Common Merganser in Oklahoma. High counts included 1000 at Hefner 4—6 Jan (JAG) and 4700 in Alfalfa 9 Jan (GH).
The 1—2 Eared Grebes at Hefner (fide JAG) continue a northerly overwintering trend for this species; other late Eareds were in Butler, KS 26 Dec (SW), 6 on 27 Dec in Canadian, OK (BM, DMk), and 1 in Jefferson, KS 28 Dec (MMH). Red-necked Grebes are a regional rarity; this season, only one was reported, an individual wintering at Hefner from 15 Dec through the period (JAG, m.ob.). A Western Grebe in Shawnee, KS 3 Dec (KE) was easterly, and 40 stlill at McConaughy 25—30 Dec (fide WRS) were late. A Clark’s Grebe at McConaughy 30 Dec (BP, photo) was also late. Eurasian Collared-Doves in Nebraska continue to increase dramatically. 1359 were tallied during the Scottsbluff CBC, 28 Dec 2017 (fide AK), and 1000 were at a corn pile in Kearney, Buffalo 26 Dec (LR, RH). Inca Dove enters the southern Oklahoma border; northerly individuals were in Oklahoma 8 Dec (AJ) and Cleveland 10 Feb (EH, BR). Common Ground-Dove is a regional rarity, and 1-2 males were at Red Slough 5 Dec—3 Jan (DA, FH). A White-winged Dove in Lincoln 17—19 Feb (JP) was, for winter, northerly. Up to 3 King Rails wintered at Red Slough 21 De—14 Feb (DA). Wintering Virginia Rails are regular north to the North Platte River Valley in Nebraska; one was in Lincoln 18 Feb (BE). Soras, sporadic during winter in southern Oklahoma, were in Johnston 27 Jan (DW, JW, NV) and Sequoyah 27 Feb (BB). Sandhill Cranes apparently wintered in Hall, NE, with a flock of 200 present 9 Jan (AF); by 28 Feb, 11,092 were counted at Rowe Sanctuary, Buffalo, NE (CG). The 15 Sandhills in McCurtain, OK 28 Dec were easterly (FH). A family group of 3 Whooping Cranes lingered, unexpectedly, in Howard and Greeley, NE 2—24 Dec (fide JGJ), and another family of 3 were at Quivira 1—5 Dec (BJ).
Single Long-billed Curlews at Hackberry Flat 13 Dec (JW) and 28 Feb (JTi) suggest wintering, unexpected here. A Dunlin lingered at Quivira 14 Dec (KG, TE), and 3 were in Oklahoma 2 Dec (BSt), 1-3 were at Red Slough 6—18 Dec (DA), and 2 were at Hackberry Flat 13 Dec (DW). 2 Baird’s Sandpipers in Madison, NE 16 Dec (EBr) were quite late. The 50 Long-billed Dowitchers at Hackberry Flat 13 Dec (JW) likely reflect the species’ trend to linger and winter northward; 2 were still at Quivira 5 Dec (MR), and singles were at Hefner 18 Dec (RM) and Cleveland 31 Dec (JAG, JT). A few Spotted Sandpipers winter in Oklahoma; this season, 2 were in Oklahoma 6 Jan (BM) and singles were in Cleveland 13 Jan (TK) and Greer 27 Jan (JEB). 25 Lesser Yellowlegs, notably late, were with 250 Greater Yellowlegs at Hackberry Flat 13 Dec (JW). Northerly Greater Yellowlegs were found northerly Nebraska to Scotts Bluff 29 Dec (KD, AK, photo), and 2 were in Anderson, KS 23 Dec (JB).
Gulls through Falcons
There were 3 Black-legged Kittiwake reports, possibly involving the same individual: Tulsa, OK 6—15 Jan (TM, BC, photos, m.ob.), Coffey, KS 28 Jan (ABa, MG, m.ob.), and Douglas, KS 12 Feb (JH). Some Franklin’s Gulls can linger during winter in the region; this year up to 4 were present 21 Dec—15 Jan in Canadian, OK (BD, C&CF), 1 was in Tulsa, OK 26 Jan (CL, JT, AJT), and 1, northerly, was recorded at McConaughy 25 Feb (WB). Nebraska’s only Mew Gull appearances were a juvenile at Harlan County Reservoir 13—14 Dec (JGJ, WRS, photos, m.ob.), and an alternate adult at McConaughy 15 Jan (NA, photo). Surprisingly, no California Gulls were reported at McConaughy this season; the region’s only report was of an adult at Harlan County Reservoir, Harlan, NE 14 Dec (GR). Iceland (“Thayer’s”) Gulls were reported south to Oklahoma, where singles were in Payne 3—11 Jan (CR, SL), Tulsa 6—8 Jan (MP, MD, L&MT), and at Hefner 13 Jan (JAG). Paler Iceland Gulls were at McConaughy; photos suggest 2-4 adults and two first-winter birds were “Kumlien’s” Gulls (NA). Lesser Black-backed Gull is largely migrant in the northern region, so up to 4 birds at McConaughy 13 Jan (NA, m.ob.) were unexpected. Mid-winter reports in Oklahoma included 10 birds through the period in 5 counties (fide JAG). At least 10 Glaucous Gulls were found in the region, though only 2 of these were after mid-Jan: singles in Russell, KS 29 Jan (DK) and Douglas, KS 2 Feb (PG, MZ). The rarer wintering loons were restricted to Oklahoma; more Red-throateds were reported than usual—2 in Custer 21 Dec & 6 Jan (JAG, JO), and singles at Hefner 15 Dec (JT, RW), Jefferson 1—4 Jan (CL, JW, LM), and Cherokee 26 Jan (PP). 5 Pacific Loons were in Oklahoma during the period, all singles in 4 counties (fide JAG); the latest-lingering of these in the northern region were singles in Garden, NE 7 Dec (KMD) and Russell, KS 2 Dec (DK, MR).
Late Neotropic Cormorants were at Hefner 18 Dec (BD) and Jefferson, OK 20 Dec (BS), while singles in Marshall and Bryan, both on 2 Feb (L&MT), and at Red Slough 7 Feb (DA) were early. A lingering Cattle Egret was found in Payne, OK 4 Dec (CR). Quite unexpected were 2 White-tailed Kites in Riley, KS 15 (TD) & 17 Dec (CO, JOt). A Golden Eagle at Red Slough 13 Dec-17 Feb (DA, FH) was notable; another Golden, easterly, was in Burt, NE 1 Jan (SMa, GR). A Northern Goshawk was well-described in Cheyenne, NE 25 Jan (SKa); the only other sighting was in Sherman, KS 25 Feb (DK, SMl). A Harris’s Hawk in Johnson, KS continued from fall through 14 Dec (fide CO). Westerly Red-shouldered Hawks were in Buffalo, NE 28 Feb (CG), with at least 3 in Barber, KS 30 Dec (fide CO). There were 2 reports of Red-tailed Hawks identified to abieticola, the heavily-marked northern subspecies: one in Otoe, NE 14 Jan (SMa, photos), and 1-2 in Lancaster 2—16 Feb (NA, photos). A rare winter record of Barn Owl in Nebraska came from Furnas 14 Feb (DHa). There was an amazing influx, which extended south to Oklahoma, of Snowy Owls to the region. There were 7 Oklahoma birds in 6 counties 9—28 Dec, (fide JAG) and 5 birds in 5 Kansas counties 6 Dec—4 Jan (fide CO. In Nebraska, 28 Snowies were found, constituting the second-highest known winter tally (fide WRS). Barred Owl is creeping westward in the northern region; one was in Ford, KS 27 Jan (CMM). Clusters of wintering Long-eared Owls were 6 in Lancaster, NE 19 Jan (LE), and up to 5 in Jefferson, OK 4 Jan—10 Feb (JA, m.ob.). Northern Saw-whet Owls were calling before their seasonal departure in Lincoln, NE 26 Jan (LD) and in Dixon, NE 25 Feb (EBr).
Oklahoma’s—and the region’s—second Ringed Kingfisher was a remarkable discovery in McCurtain 17 Feb (CB et al., photo). The only Lewis’s Woodpecker reported was in Finney, KS 10 Dec (AN). Red-headed Woodpeckers in Nebraska, apparently wintering, were in Burt, NE 1—7 Jan (immature; BP) and Dixon, NE 7 Feb (EBr, LBr, JJ). For the second consecutive winter, a Red-bellied Woodpecker was far westerly in Sheridan, NE 18 Feb (D&MW, photo). Several Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers north and west of their expected winter range were in Antelope, NE 27 Feb (JCo), Lincoln, NE 15 Dec (2; TJW, JGJ), Thomas, KS 3 Jan (AH), and Hamilton, KS 2 Jan (JC, KG). Extralimital Crested Caracaras were in Atoka, OK 21 Jan (MLu) and at Red Slough 30 Jan (DA, MWe); this species’ expected range barely reaches the south edge of Oklahoma. A Gyrfalcon, a rare surprise was remarkably south in Cimarron, OK 14 Jan (BC, photos). A Peregrine Falcon returned to the Lincoln, Lancaster, NE nest site by 26 Feb (TG). A Prairie Falcon in Okmulgee, OK 13 Jan (BM), was easterly.
Phoebe through Dickcissel
A Say’s Phoebe wintered in Jefferson, OK 13 Dec—10 Feb (JW). A Loggerhead Shrike was north to Harlan, NE 14 Dec (WRS, photo), and a southerly Northern Shrike was in Noble, OK 17 Jan (MP). Steller’s Jays entered the western region with one in Morton, KS 2 Dec (JC, AB), and up to 13 (TL) in Cimarron, OK, throughout the period (m.ob.). 2 Woodhouse’s Scrub Jays were in Morton, KS 2 Dec through the period (JC, AB). Clark’s Nutcracker is rare and sporadic in the region; a flock of 15 was in Scotts Bluff 18 Feb (CC, photo). 2 Common Ravens wandered easterly to Stevens, KS 3 Dec (JC). 1-3 Tree Swallows, 24—30 Jan at Red Slough, were very early; 60 individuals were present there by 22 Feb (DA). Barn Swallow and Cliff Swallow were also early Red Slough 22 Feb; 3 Cave Swallows were also present then (DA). The arrival window of Cave Swallow has not yet been established in Oklahoma, and this species is not yet a known breeder in southeastern Oklahoma like it is in the southwestern area of the state. Multiple Pygmy Nuthatches in Scott, KS since Nov continued through 5 Dec (NVa). An easterly Rock Wren was in Douglas, KS 11—23 Dec (LDC), and a House Wren at Quivira 14 Dec (CVB) was late. Nebraska’s second Pacific Wren was in Dawes 24 Dec (SMa, JM; photos, recording), and another in Scott, KS continued from Nov through 5 Dec (NVa). Westerly Winter Wrens were in Morton, KS 16 Dec (KC, MG) and Harlan, NE 14 Dec (NVa). Single Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in Osage, KS 2 Dec (DM) and Oklahoma, OK 19 Dec (BD) were quite unexpected for the winter period. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet was westerly in Harlan, NE 14 Dec (JN).
A Western Bluebird in Cimarron, OK 31 Dec (DAk, RHe) was a noteworthy find. Easterly Townsend’s Solitaires included singles at 3 Lancaster, NE locations 17 Dec (LE), 2 Jan (LE), and 14 Feb (ER, MW); one was in Oklahoma, OK 17 Dec (BD). Gray Catbird is rare in winter. Individuals were found north to Scott, KS 14 Feb (SSh), Sedgwick, KS 8 Feb (JBi), and Osage, OK 19 Dec (LP). Brown Thrasher is rare during winter in Nebraska; one was noted in Lancaster 11 & 19 Feb (PL). A Sage Thrasher in Haskell, KS 27 Dec (MR) was very late, and a Northern Mockingbird lingered in Dawes, NE 25 Dec (SLe). A few Evening Grosbeaks reached the western edge of the region this season: one was in Sheridan, NE (D&MW, photo), 2 were in Morton, KS 30 Dec (DAk, JC), and singles were at different Cimarron, OK locations 27 Dec (CW, JBa) & 1 Jan (JW, DW, JS). Common Redpolls were widespread in Nebraska, the high count of 45 came from Dixon 24 Feb (EBr). There were 5 individuals noted in 5 Kansas counties 12 Dec—25 Feb (fide CO), and 1 Common Redpoll was in Oklahoma, OK 14 Jan (SD, photo), where quite scarce. Red Crossbills appeared sporadically throughout the region. In Nebraska, most reports were from the east, with the best count of 25 in Lancaster 20 Dec (LE). In Oklahoma, most Red Crossbill records also were more easterly (fide JAG), with high counts of 20 on 29 Dec in Comanche (SyS), and 23 in Oklahoma 28 Feb (BBa, m.ob.). The much rarer White-winged Crossbill was reported at 2 Nebraska locations—2 birds in Lincoln 26 Feb (WB), and up to 7 at 2 cemeteries in Madison 30 Jan-18 Feb (EBr). Winter reports of Lesser Goldfinch from extralimital locations continue to increase; singles were in Lincoln, NE 18 Jan—17 Feb (VC, BE), Morton, KS 16 Dec (KC, MG), and Rogers, OK 18—24 Dec (DG).
The winter range of Lapland Longspur is receding northward, so the 2000 in Nobles, OK 6 Dec (JW, LM) was an excellent southerly tally. 300 were also at Hackberry Flat 13 Dec (JW). Good counts for Smith’s Longspur were the 550 in Muskogee, OK 19 Dec (JW), and the 200 in Comanche, OK 5 Feb (BD), which was towards the southwest of the Smith’s Longspur’s winter range. Though this was a low year for Snow Bunting in Nebraska (fide WRS), 2 reached Kansas at Quivira 3 Dec (AB) and in Ellis 16 Dec (JRa, MR). An Eastern Towhee in Sarpy 25 Feb INR, SMe) was unexpectedly north. Nebraska CBCs tallied a record-high total of 6167 American Tree Sparrows (fide WRS); few now extend to southern Oklahoma, where singles in Comanche 20 Dec (JAG, SH, DMc) and Cleveland 28 Jan (EH, BR), along with 6 in Tulsa 4 Jan (BC) were reported. A regional rarity, Golden-crowned Sparrow, in Cleveland, OK during Feb (RN, photo) appeared for the third year. Chipping Sparrow, formerly exceptional in winter to northern Oklahoma, was found in Douglas, NE 11 Jan (ME). Quite late or lingering were Clay-colored Sparrows at Red Slough 5 Dec (DA) and in Oklahoma, OK 11 Dec (JAr, photo). Single Field Sparrows in Sarpy 19 Jan (SMa) and Buffalo 21 Feb (TS) were probably wintering in Nebraska. Henslow’s Sparrow is not found annually during winter in this region, so one at Red Slough 21 Dec (fide DA) was a surprise. A northerly Savannah Sparrow in Nuckolls, NE 25 Dec (DE), and a Lincoln’s Sparrow in Buffalo, NE 18 Feb (AP) likely wintered. Westerly for the dates were single Swamp Sparrows in Lincoln, NE 14 Feb (WB) and Harlan, NE 14 Dec (WRS). A rare easterly sighting was a well-described Dark-eyed (“Pink-sided”) Junco in Lancaster, NE 3 Dec (ER).
A Yellow-headed Blackbird in Lancaster, NE 13 Jan (M&CV) was a rare mid-winter find, and 2 at Hackberry Flat were early on 17 Feb (DH). 10 Western Meadowlarks were a bit northerly in Loup, NE 10 Feb (TJW). A Baltimore Oriole in Stephens, OK 20 Dec (BS) was a notable seasonal find. This was a good winter for Rusty Blackbird in southeastern Nebraska, with birds extending west to Keith and Harlan (fide WRS). An Orange-crowned Warbler in Nebraska was exceptionally late in Lancaster 9 Dec—1 Jan; the latter date it was found deceased (JGJ). Semi-hardy Common Yellowthroats are now distributed across much of Oklahoma during winter (fide JAG); 2 in Chautauqua, KS 19 Dec (AB, KG) were northerly; singles were in Neosho, KS 21 Dec (AB) and Sedgwick, KS 7 Jan (PJ). A Palm Warbler in Sarpy, NE 20—22 Dec (CNK, AG) and a Yellow-throated Warbler in Sedgwick, KS 12 Dec (CVB) were both late. Pine Warbler is resident in southeastern portions of the Region; one wandered north to Shawnee, KS 25 Jan (SWi). A Pyrrhuloxia in Harper, KS 1 Feb through the period (EF, m.ob.) was surprising that far north, as was another in Washita, OK 7 Feb (BS). A lingering Dickcissel in Cass, NE 15 Dec (KS) was one of fewer than 10 Dec records for Nebraska.
Report processed by Alison Világ, 22 October 2020.