Tennessee & Kentucky: Fall 2016

Fall 2016: 1 Aug–30 Nov

Chris Sloan
[email protected]

Brainard Palmer-Ball, Jr.
[email protected]

Sloan, D., and Palmer-Ball, B. Jr. 2021. Fall 2016: Tennessee & Kentucky.

<https://wp.me/p8iY2g-a3t> North American Birds.

Weather conditions during fall 2016 were quite variable. Temperature averages at all major stations were a bit above normal during Aug, but significantly warmer than normal during Sep through Nov; Oct was the most extreme (6.5–7.0°F above normal) regionwide. Except for the eastern third of TN, which was near average, precipitation was well above normal during Aug, with all major stations recording at least one-and-a-half times the normal amount and Paducah, KY, recording a record amount of rainfall (9.6 in—three and a half times normal]). In contrast, Sep was dry across the region with most stations recording one-half to one-fourth the normal amount of precipitation. Even drier conditions took hold during Oct and Nov, when precipitation became particularly scarce and drought conditions began to appear in many areas. In fact, most major stations recorded less than an inch of rainfall during both months. It was driest during Oct, when Paducah recorded only about a tenth of normal precipitation.

Excessive rainfall during Jul and Aug resulted in the appearance of transient lakes across southern KY, some of which persisted into the fall season and provided excellent shorebird habitat during the period. Rarity highlights in KY included Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Cinnamon Teal, Swallow-tailed Kite, Inca Dove, White-winged Dove, and Say’s Phoebe. In TN, the rarity highlights were unquestionably the three first state records: Brown Booby, Northern Wheatear, and Bohemian Waxwing. Other rarities included Eurasian Wigeon, Neotropic Cormorant, Red Phalarope, Roseate Spoonbill, Pomarine Jaeger, Parasitic Jaeger, two Sabine’s Gulls, two Smith’s Longspurs, two Clay-colored Sparrows, and a Black-headed Grosbeak. For the first time in three years, numbers of Red-breasted Nuthatches appeared, but irruptive winter finches, particularly Pine Siskins, were very scarce.

Contributors (subregional editors in boldface): Sharon Arnold, Audubon Society of Kentucky (ASK), Michael Autin, Jamie Baker (JBa), Rebecca Bates (RBa), Matthan Beachy, Colleen Becker (CBe), Tom Becker, Beckham Bird Club (BBC), Jane Bell (JBe), Pat Bell, Sarah Bell, Jerry Bevins (JBv), Clay Bliznik (CBl), Scott Block, Karen Bonsell, Ray Bontrager (RBo), Barbara Brand, Kevin Calhoon (southeast TN), Ruth Ridley Carr (RRC), Ron Carrico (RCa), Patricia Case, Phillip D. Casteel (PDC), Hap Chambers, Larry Chitwood (LCh), Lisa Combs (LCo), Derek Coomer, Linda Craiger (LCr), Charlie Crawford, Rodney Crice, Bobbi Davis (BDa), Brenda Dean (BDe), Roseanna Denton, Kurt Dorman, Douglas Downs, Bruce Dralle (BDr), Tom Durbin, Melissa Easley, Dean Edwards, Glen Eller, Matthew Erickson (MEr), Harry Farthing, Frank Fekel, Preston & Shari Forsythe (P&SF), Rob Foster, Scott Freidhof, Graham Gerdeman, Steve Graham, Teresa Graham, Mark Greene, Joe Hall, Rob Harbin, Lana Hays, Ron D. Hoff (RHo), Eric Hope (EHo), Eddie Huber (EHu), Susan Hubley, William Hull, Lauren Jackson, Sonya Jackson (SJa), S.K. Jones (SJo), Kentucky Ornithological Society (KOS), Steve Kistler, Nancy Kitchen, Richard L. Knight (northeastern TN), David Lang (DLa), Ed LeGrand, Bill Lisowsky, David Lusk (DLu), Terri Lusk, Frank Lyne, Morton Massey (MMa), William Matthews, Larry McDaniel (LMcD), Lee McNeely (LMcN), Susan McWhirter, Andrew Melnykovych, John Meredig, Joe Meyer (JMey), Hal Mitchell, Mark Monroe (MMo), Daniel Moss (DMo), Dollyann Myers (DMy), Justin Nation, Chuck Nicholson, Ronan O’Carra, Brainard Palmer-Ball, Jr., Robert Peak, Lydia Phillips, Joshua Powell, Dick Preston, Tommy Quarles, Reuben Raber, Pete Range, Doug Raybuck, Jordan Rolen, Cyndi & Steve Routledge (C&SR), ‎Mike Ryon, Mike Sanders (MSa), Jeffrey Schaarschmidt (JSch)‎, Beth Schilling (BSc), Richard Schwartz (RSch), Randy Scoggins (RSco), Tanner Shepard, Damien Simbeck (DSi), Chris Sloan, Michael B. Sledjeski (MBS), Mike Smith, Jennifer Snyder (JSn), Jeff Sole (JSo), Pam Spaulding, Jack Stenger (JSte), Bryan Stevens (BSt), Ruben Stoll (RSt), Victor Stoll, Jay Sturner (JStu), Colin Sumrall (CSu), Dave Svetich (DSv), Mark Taylor (MTa), Michael C. Todd (MCT) (west TN), Melanie Torres (MTs), Gretchen Tremoulet, Allan Trently (ATy), Mark Tower (MTw), Alan Troyer, Jimmy Tucker, Debby Tyson, Steve Tyson, Alice Van Zoeren, Jim Varner, Chloe Walker, James Wheat, Robert Wheat, Eileen Wicker, Barbara Woerner (BWo), Libby Wolfe, Stefan Woltmann, Brian Wulker (BWu), Ben Yandell, Mary Yandell, Jack Zipperer, Stephen Zipperer (middle TN).

Abbreviations: Barren River Lake (Allen/Barren Cos, KY); Duck River (Duck River Unit, Tennessee NWR, Humphreys Co, TN); Ensley (Ensley Bottoms, including the EARTH Complex, southwest Shelby Co, TN); Jonathan Creek (Jonathan Creek embayment of Kentucky Lake, Marshall Co, KY); Morgan Pond (northwest of Oak Grove, southern Christian Co KY); Pace Point (Pace Point, Big Sandy Unit, Tennessee NWR, Henry Co, TN); Rankin (Rankin Bottoms, Cocke Co, TN); Sauerheber (Sauerheber Unit Sloughs WMA, Henderson Co, KY); Sinclair Unit (Peabody WMA, Muhlenberg Co, KY).

Whistling-Ducks through Loons

At least two Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks lingered from summer at West Paducah, McCracken Co, KY to 16 Sep (PC). The high count recorded at Ensley was a relatively normal 169 on 28 Aug (ATr, RSt). Three thousand Greater White-fronted Geese were at Sauerheber by 16 Nov (CC), and one along Friendship Road, Rockcastle Co, KY 22 Nov (RD) was relatively far east. Even further east, two flocks totaling 224 birds at Watts Bar Dam, Meigs Co, TN 19 Oct represented an extremely high number for east TN.

A Cackling Goose in northeast Jefferson Co, KY 20–29 Oct represented a new early arrival date for the state by six days. Fifteen Tundra Swans were first observed at Sauerheber 20 Nov (CC). The male Gadwall that summered at Morgan Pond was last seen 12 Aug (JH). A male Eurasian Wigeon was at Duck River 25–26 Nov. An apparent Cinnamon Teal at Jacobson Park, Lexington 10 Sep would represent a first fall report for KY.

The male Redhead that summered at Freeman Lake, Hardin Co, KY was reported 11 Sep and 22 Oct (JSn). A male Lesser Scaup at the Brown Power Plant, Mercer Co, KY 16 Sep (BWu, TQ, TS, BP) may have summered there. A massive influx of diving ducks on Reelfoot Lake, Obion Co, TN 8 Nov (MG) included a state record high count of 10,500 Lesser Scaup and a near record high count of 3500 Ruddy Ducks.

There was only one report of White-winged Scoter: three on Barren River Lake 24 Nov (TB). Black Scoters were found three times in KY: two on Green River Lake, Adai Co 12 Nov (RD) and seven on the Ohio River at the Falls of the Ohio 12–13 Nov, with at least one at the same locale 20 Nov (AM, BBC). There were five more Black Scoter reports from TN 8–27 Nov, including up to six at S. Holston L., Sullivan Co 8–10 Nov (PR, m.ob.) and four around Pickwick Dam, Hardin Co  Nov (RSt). There were five reports of Surf Scoter, all from Tennessee: two at Pace Point 20 Oct (RSt), four at Fort Loudoun L., Knox Co 10 Nov (BSc), and singles at Carroll County Lake, Carroll Co 24–25 Oct (MCT / VS), Melton Hill Dam, Loudon Co 5 Nov (MR, m.ob.), and in Humphreys Co 25 Nov (RSt, VS). Two Long-tailed Ducks on Lexington Reservoir #2 & #3, Fayette Co 26 Oct, established a new early arrival date for KY by nearly a week.

Eight Common Mergansers on the Levisa Fork, Pike Co, KY 31 Oct (SF) were odd for the season and could possibly suggest a family group raised locally. Similarly, up to eight female-type Common Mergansers at Watauga R. Washington Co, TN 18 Aug–7 Sep (RLK) and 10 at Beaver Creek, Sullivan Co, TN 15 Nov (HF) were continuations of late spring and summer sightings and suggest local breeding.

A female Common Goldeneye at Pickwick Landing SP, Hardin Co, TN 7 Sep established a new record early date for the state. An early male Ruddy Duck was on Morgan Pond 17 Aug, with a female present there 29 Sep+ (BP).

Presumed early migrant Common Loons included two on Cave Run Lake, KY 3 Sep (RD) with four there 4 Sep (RC), and two on Lake Cumberland above Wolf Creek Dam, Russell Co, KY 16–18 Sep (BWu, TS, TQ, BP). There were four reports of Red-throated Loon: single individuals at Grays Landing Lake Access, Land Between the Lakes NRA, Stewart Co, TN (RSt, ATr), at Paris Landing SP, Henry Co, TN 24 Nov (ATr, RSt, VS), and at Pace Point 29 Nov (RSt, VS), and two juveniles at Pickwick Lake, Hardin Co, TN 27 Nov (RSt, VS). Single Pacific Loons were at Britton Ford, TN NWR, Henry Co, TN 24 Nov (ATr, VS, RSt) and Pickwick Lake, Hardin Co, TN 27 Nov (RSt, VS).

Grebes through Raptors

At least 98 Pied-billed Grebes (including at least four family groups of chicks [some tiny]) were counted at Morgan Pond 25 Sep, with peak counts of no less than 126 (including several family groups) there 3 Oct (BP et al.), 165 there 8 Oct (HC, ME, JH), and 100 still there 21 Oct (JH). Two Horned Grebes at South Holston L., Sullivan Co, TN 10 Aug (MSa) established the second earliest fall date for the state. One at Edgar Evins SP, DeKalb Co, TN 30 Sep (MTa) was also early.

A Wood Stork was at the Department of Energy Oak Ridge Reservation, Roane Co, TN 13 Aug. A Neotropic Cormorant was at Tiptonville Bar, Lake Co, TN 27 Sep. An Anhinga at Beaver Lake, Shelby Co, TN 12 Nov (DP, RHa) established a record late date for the state. Tennessee’s first Brown Booby was an adult at Duck River 20–21 Oct (†RSt, VS, MMa, SZ, ATr, JZ).

High counts of American White Pelican included 1750 at Keystone Pocket, Reelfoot Lake, Lake Co, TN 10 Nov (MG) and 1200 on the Blood River embayment of KY Lake, Calloway Co, KY 21 Sep (HC).

American Bitterns were found at three KY locales: singles at Morgan Pond 1, 3, and 15 Oct (JH, ph. SA, ph. JBa, TG, SA, BP, JH); one at Sauerheber 15 Oct (BP, BBC); and one along KY 239 at Bayou de Chien, Hickman, 9 Nov (MG). One in Montgomery 22 Aug (JH) was the only one reported from TN. Nesting Least Bitterns lingered at the Sinclair Unit into Aug (SG, TG, et al) with two last seen there 25 Aug (JSo).

Snowy Egret tallies of 15 in western Henderson Co, KY 23 Aug (ph. CC) and 51 at Mitchell Lake, Ballard WMA, Ballard Co, KY (RD) were impressive for recent years; two at the Pfeiffer Fish Hatchery, Fralin Co, KY 4–24 Sep (LCo, DSv, ph. TQ, TS, et al) with three there 7 Sep, were the farthest east to be reported.

A tardy Cattle Egret was found at Britton Ford, TN NWR, Henry, TN 3 Nov (RW) and another was north of Burlington, Boone Co, KY 8 Nov (LMcN). A Tricolored Heron was at Ensley 19–22 Aug (HM, RHa, m. ob.).

There were eight reports of single immature White Ibis from nine TN locations 5 Aug–2 Oct. A Plegadis ibis was seen at Swallow Spring Pond, Christian Co, KY 19 Sep (†JH). A Roseate Spoonbill was at Ensley 21 Aug (DP).

A Swallow-tailed Kite was present northwest of Harrodsburg, Mercer Co, KY 1 Aug. Swallow-tailed Kites returned to Bledsoe Co, TN for the first time in a few years 2–17 Aug (EL, m. ob.), with a high count of six. Four were also found near Lancing, Morgan Co, TN 5 Aug (RSch fide CN). Single individuals were found in two other east TN and two west TN locations from late Jul–25 Aug. As has become increasingly common, a number of Mississippi Kites were reported from middle TN away from their historical breeding range in west TN, notably including 12 at Duck River 21 Aug (RSt) and two to five in Conklin, Washington Co, TN 24–31 Aug (RLK, m.ob.), the latter representing the fifth record for northeast TN and the first outside of spring. A Golden Eagle at Pace Point 11 Oct (RSt) was early.

Rails through Phalaropes

Virginia Rails were detected at four KY locales: two heard at the Sinclair Unit 20 Sep (TG, SG); one found injured at Louisville 29 Sep; singles at Morgan Pond 1 and 9 Oct (JH, SA/JBa, JW, BP, TG, SG); and one northwest of Powderly, Muhlenberg 12 Oct (TG). In TN, one or more were present through the period at Standifer Gap Marsh, Hamilton Co, TN. Peak tallies of Sora included 20 at Morgan Pond 29 Sep and 3 Oct (BP et al.) and at least 17 at Sauerheber 15 Oct (BP, BBC). Single Common Gallinules were found at two KY locales: one heard at Adkins Swamp, Sinclair Unit 25 Aug (JSo, DLa) and one heard northwest of Powderly. Muhlenberg Co 19 Sep (TG, SG).

A Black-necked Stilt on the Blood River embayment of KY Lake, Calloway Co, KY 19 Sep (HC, MTs) was the only one reported away from local breeding colonies in Shelby Co, TN. It was an excellent season for American Avocet with one to five reported at eight KY and seven TN locales 8 Aug–26 Oct.

One to two Black-bellied Plovers were reported at six KY and four TN locales 13 Aug–30 Oct. It was a good season for American Golden-Plover in KY, with reports of one to 14 at eleven locales 3 Sep–3 Nov; the peak count of 14 came from Morgan Pond 9 Oct (JW, BP, et al.). A very tardy individual was at Frogue Pond, Todd, KY 26 Nov. In TN, American Golden-Plover numbers were average for the fall season, with one to five individuals reported from six locations 22 Aug–5 Nov. A banded Piping Plover was at the Fishing Creek embayment of Lake Cumberland, Pulaski Co, KY 22 Aug. Correspondence with Piping Plover researchers indicated that the bird had been banded as a chick in Wisconsin (fide AV). Forty-five Semipalmated Plovers at Rankin 16 Aug (RLK) was a noteworthy high count. One at Bristol, Sullivan Co, TN 25 Oct (GE, PR) was unusually late.

Likely the same Marbled Godwit, always rare in the region, was at Humphreys, TN 28 Aug (RSt) and 5 Sep (ATr). Two were at Rankin 13–14 Aug (JStu, JT, m.ob.) and another was at South Holston L., Sullivan Co, TN 22–31 Aug (RLK, RCa, m.ob.).

Single Ruddy Turnstones were reported at three locales: Rankin 10–23 Aug (RLK, m.ob.); at the Falls of the Ohio 28–31 Aug (JW, BBC, et al.), 17 Sep (MA), and 24/29 Sep (BP); and at the Minor Clark Hatchery, Rowan, KY 31 Aug–3 Sep. Peak counts of Stilt Sandpipers included 21 along Uniontown-Mt. Vernon Road, Union, KY 31 Aug (BP); 23 at Jonathan Creek 8 Sep (HC); and 30 at Swallow Spring Pond, Christian, KY 19 Sep (TG, SG, SA). It was a relatively poor season for Sanderling, with reports of only one to 20 at seven KY and seven TN locales 13 Aug–11 Oct; in addition, two tardy birds were on Lake Barkley, Lyon Co, KY 24 Oct (BP, JBa, TG, SG). Baird’s Sandpipers put in a below-average showing across the region.

Reports of tardy flocks of Least Sandpipers included at least eight at Walnut Creek embayment, Barren River Lake, KY 20 Nov (BP); 38 at Frogue Pond, Todd Co, KY 26 Nov (ATr); and three at the J. C. Jones sinkhole ponds, Hart Co, KY 29 Nov (JSo). Rare in fall, only two White-rumped Sandpipers were found in KY: one at Murl Pond, Wayne 5–10 Sep, and one at Morgan Pond 8–30 Oct (JH). Two at Cross Creeks NWR, Stewart, 6 Aug (JH) and one at Rankin 29 Aug (MBS) were the only ones reported in TN.

It was a decent season for Buff-breasted Sandpipers in KY, with reports of one to three at nine KY locales, and one to seven at eight TN locales 21 Aug–21 Sep; a very tardy individual at Morgan Pond 2–3 Nov, represented a new late departure date for the state by three weeks. Fifty Western Sandpipers at Ensley 19 Aug (RSt, VS) represents the fifth highest count ever for the state. The peak high count of Long-billed Dowitchers was 28 found at Morgan Pond 14 Oct (SA, TG, SG). One to five Willets were reported from five TN locations 4 Aug–18 Sep. An Upland Sandpiper at the Sinclair Unit 9 Aug was the only one reported in KY. In TN one to three individuals were reported from four locations 4–28 Aug. Two Greater Yellowlegs at Jonathan Creek 26–30 Nov (HC, ME, JP) were tardy.

Two Wilson’s Phalaropes at the Melco Flood Retention Basin, Jefferson 14–15 Aug were the only ones reported in KY. Two at Cross Creeks NWR, Stewart Co 13 Aug (JH, SA),1–2 at Rankin 21 Aug–3 Sep (MBS, m.ob.), and one at Humphreys 6 Sep (RSt) were the only ones reported in TN. A Red Phalarope was at Upper Douglas L., Cocke Co, TN 23 Aug–2 Sep (DS, m.ob.).

Jaegers through Falcons

The previously reported sub-adult Pomarine Jaeger continued at Paris Landing S.P., Henry Co, TN through 2 Aug (m. ob.). A Parasitic Jaeger at Gibson County Lake, Gibson Co, TN 9 Sep established the state’s seventh record.

Juvenile Sabine’s Gulls were found at Big Sandy Flats, Henry, TN (†RSt, VS) and Tiptonville Landing Lake, Lake Co, TN, both on 5 Oct. Laughing Gulls were found at four KY locales: two at the Falls of the Ohio 13 Aug (†JW) with one there 5 Oct; two at Kentucky Dam 3 Sep (†JP); one at Morgan Pond 5 Oct; and one on Kentucky Lake, Marshall 24 Oct (BP, JBa, TG, SG). In TN, one to four were reported from five locations 26 Aug–20 Oct. Franklin’s Gulls were found on four occasions in KY: one at Morgan Pond 8 Oct; two on Lake Barkley, Lyon 24 Oct (SG, TG, JBa, BP); one at Barren River Lake 31 Oct (RBo); and four on the Ohio River at Louisville 19 Nov. In TN, single individuals were reported from Keystone Pocket, Reelfoot Lake, Lake Co 27 Sep (MG) and Obion 29 Nov, while 12 were at Pace Point 3 Nov (RSt).

Two Herring Gulls at Gray’s Landing Lake Access, Land Between the Lakes NRA, Stewart, TN 7 Sep (MEr) were early. A Lesser Black-backed Gull was at Pace Point by 4 Sep (RSt) and at Jonathan Creek by 5 Sep (†HC); at least six were on Lake Barkley, Lyon Co, KY and two on Kentucky Lake, Marshall Co, all 24 Oct (BP, JBa, TG, SG). One Lesser Black-backed Gull at Upper Douglas L., Cocke Co, TN 21 Aug (SH) established a record early date for the state. Eleven at Gray’s Landing Lake Access, Land Between the Lakes NRA, Stewart Co, TN 21 Sep (MCT) more than doubled the state’s previous record high count.

Least Terns are rare away from the Mississippi River, so one in Humphreys Co, TN 10 Sep (ATr, RSt) and a remarkable 10 at Pace Point 6 Oct (RSt) were noteworthy. A high count of 100 Caspian Terns at Pace Point 31 Aug (RSt) equaled the state’s fifth highest count. One to 63 Black Terns were reported from nine KY and nine TN locales 11 Aug–15 Sep; the peak count of 23 came from Morgan Pond 9 Sep and 63 came from Ensley 19 Aug (RSt, VS). Fifty-two Common Terns at Pace Point 31 Aug was an unusually high count. A Common Tern at Jonathan Creek 13 Sep (HC) was the only one reported in KY.

An Inca Dove was at Schochoh, Logan, KY 7–9 Aug. A White-winged Dove was present on the southeast side of Lexington, KY 24–26 Nov. There were six KY and four TN reports of Black-billed Cuckoo 24 Aug–19 Oct; the latest bird, which was at Cherokee Park, Louisville Co (†BWo), was relatively tardy. Single Yellow-billed Cuckoos at Bells Bend Park, Nashville, TN 2 Nov (FF) and Pace Point 3 Nov (RSt) were also unusually late.

There were four KY reports of Barn Owl from Christian Co (SB), Jefferson Co (BP et al), and Logan Co (2) (ST, DT). A Short-eared Owl was first seen at the Sinclair Unit 10 Nov (P and SF); also reported was one along Bliss Road, Adair Co, KY 26 Nov (DC). One in Shady Valley, Johnson Co, TN 26 Oct (RLK) furnished only the ninth northeast TN record. A Long-eared Owl was flushed from a day roost and found again later by another observer near Hop-In Refuge, Obion, TN 30 Nov (RSt, VS, MG). There was an above-average flight of Northern Saw-whet Owls with 47 new birds banded in Jefferson, KY 21 Oct–20 Nov (MMo et al.); peak nights included 14 banded 3–4 Nov and 10 banded 5–6 Nov (MMo); a bird was caught 20 Nov that had originally been banded at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, Chippewa Co, MI 29 May 2014 (MMo). Also reported were singles on the southeast side of Lexington, KY 12–13 Nov and an injured bird retrieved near Cherokee Park, Louisville, KY 26 Nov (fide EW). None were reported in TN away from high-elevation breeding areas.

Two Rufous Hummingbirds were found in KY: an immature female at Salt Lick Bend, Cumberland Co 3 Nov+ (banded 20 Nov) (SJa, ba. BP), and an immature male at Douglass Hills, Jefferson Co. 13 Nov+ (BDa, ph. JBa). Two were also reported in TN: one in Nashville 30 Sep (GG) and one in Carter mid-Oct–5 Nov (BSt et al.). A Selasphorus hummingbird was at Boone L., Sullivan Co, TN 19–20 Oct (JBv, GE).

A Belted Kingfisher flying over Carver’s Gap, Roan Mountain, Carter, TN 8 Nov (RLK) was a surprise at 5500 feet.

Merlins at Cox’s Park, Louisville, KY 30 Aug and at Edgar Evins SP, DeKalb, TN 30 Aug (MTa) were the earliest to be reported; singles were reported at more than a dozen additional KY and seventeen additional TN locales during the season (mostly eBird data) with two in Marshall, TN 16 Oct (RSt, ATr) and two at Spindletop Farm, Fayette, KY 13 Nov (DLa, MTw, ASK). It was a good season for Peregrine Falcons in KY with more than 20 reports away from known nesting territories. At least 15 were reported from 15 different locations in TN 11 Sep–6 Nov.

Flycatchers through Waxwings

Ten Olive-sided Flycatchers were reported from seven KY locales and six were reported from six  TN locales 18 Aug–20 Sep. Reports of Yellow-bellied Flycatcher are hard to assess from field descriptions (sometimes even photos), but there were at least 13 reports from KY (most without details in eBird) 5 Sep (†JW)–5 Oct (†RD); one at Land Between the Lakes NRA, Trigg, 12 Oct that seems to be adequately documented with photos established a new late departure date for the state by one day. The situation was similar in TN with 16 reports from 12 locations, including unusually late individuals at Crooked Branch Park, Old Hickory, Davidson, TN 10 Oct (PDC), at Pace Point 11 Oct (RSt) and at Radnor Lake SNA, Nashville, TN 11–12 Oct (FF, GG). A Great-crested Flycatcher in Knox Co, TN 12 Oct established the third latest fall record for the state.

A Western Kingbird in Dyer, TN 17 Aug (MG) was the only one reported away from the local breeding range in southwestern TN. A Say’s Phoebe was reported southeast of Mt. Zion, Allen Co, KY 18 Sep (†MB). A particularly tardy Eastern Kingbird was reported at Barren River Lake SRP, Barren Co, KY 30 Oct (LCr, BB).

A Blue-headed Vireo at Mt. Zion, Pulaski Co, KY 30 Aug (RD) was quite early away from known breeding areas, while one at Salt Lick Bend, Cumberland Co, KY 20 Nov (BP) was tardy. A Red-eyed Vireo at Bells Bend Park, Nashville, TN 31 Oct (LP) established the second latest date for the state. A Warbling Vireo at Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville 13 Nov represented a new late departure date for KY by over a month.

A Fish Crow heard on the Little River embayment of Lake Barkley, Trigg Co, KY 24 Sep (BP, TG) was a local first. Only slightly to the south, single Fish Crows at Britton Ford, TN NWR, Henry Co, TN 28 Oct (RSt) and Eagle Creek, Henry Co, TN 5 Nov (SZ, JN) suggest that perhaps the species’ expansion in the region continues. There were two KY reports of Common Raven away from the Cumberland Mountains: one at Dewey Lake Dam, Floyd Co 25 Oct (SF) and one along Bevins Branch, Floyd Co 28 Oct (SF).

A Purple Martin at Duck River 6 Oct (RSt) was unusually late. A tally of 50 Bank Swallows at Murl Pond, Wayne Co, KY 25 Aug (RD, RBo) was an impressive tally away from known nesting areas.

Four unusually late Barn Swallows were reported: one at Barren River Lake SRP, Barren Co, KY 30 Oct (LCr, BB); one in Maury Co, TN (RHo, DMy); one at Britton Ford, TN NWR, Henry Co, TN 18 and 24 Nov (SW/ATr, VS, RSt); and one at Reelfoot L, Obion Co, TN 30 Nov (RSt, VS).

For the first time in three years, a significant flight of Red-breasted Nuthatches occurred; singles at Independence, Kenton Co, KY 3 Sep (RC) and at Mammoth Cave NP, KY 4 Sep (SK et al) were the earliest to be detected, with small numbers fairly widespread by mid-Sep. Up to four Brown-headed Nuthatches continued at the Marshall Co, KY nesting area through the period (m. ob.).

Several House Wrens were still in KY as of mid-Nov with singles at the Dry Creek Unit, Barren River Lake WMA, Barren Co 24 Nov (TB, CBe); at Pope Lick Park, Jefferson Co 26 Nov (JW); and at Marion Co WMA 30 Nov (RD) being the latest to be reported. One to two Sedge Wrens were found at eight KY locales 2 Aug–18 Oct. In TN, 3–14 were counted at Ft. Campbell, Montgomery 12 Aug–2 Sep (DMo). Singles were reported from seven other locations 24 Sep–17 Oct. It was an excellent season for Marsh Wren in KY with more than two dozen reports; those of greatest interest included five at Morgan Pond 3 Oct (JBa, TG, SA, BP); three at Spindletop Farm, Fayette Co 21 Oct (DSv); and at least 10 at the Melco Flood Retention Basin, Jefferson Co 2 Oct (BP, JBa, JW, et al). In TN, one to two were reported from six locations 29 Sep–17 Oct; one at John Sevier L, Hawkins Co 30 Nov (SH) was unusually late.

A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Shelby Farms, Shelby Co, TN 4 Nov (DD) was unusually late. A Veery in Nashville, TN 19 Oct (CS) established the second latest fall date for the state. According to nest-box monitoring, it was a more successful year for Eastern Bluebird nesting at Land Between the Lakes NRA and Lake Barkley SRP, Trigg Co, KY (RP).

A Northern Wheatear at the Windy Hill Farm, Loudon, TN 13–20 Nov established a long-expected state first. A Bohemian Waxwing at Sequoyah Park, Knoxville, Knox Co, TN 22 Nov furnished a more surprising first state record.

Siskins through Blackbirds

Pine Siskins were very scarce during the season with only 11 reports in KY, all but one of single birds. One (very likely continuing from being reported at the same location during mid-Jul) was seen northeast of Defoe, Henry 11–16 Aug and again 20–23 Sep (†RR) with another or the same there 24 Oct (RR).

Up to seven Lapland Longpsurs at Spindletop Farm, Fayette during the last week of Nov (DSv, LCo, DLa, JSo) were the only ones reported from KY. As many as 2800 were present in a corn stubble field in Obion, TN 30 Nov (RSt, VS). One to two Smith’s Longspurs were present at the traditional site at Cates Landing, Lake Co, TN 30 Nov (RSt, VS) for the first time in a number of years. A Snow Bunting was at the end of Viking Mountain Road near Greeneville, Greene Co, TN 6 Nov.

A Northern Waterthrush at Cherokee Park, Louisville 14 Nov (†EHo) established a new late departure date for KY by two weeks. It was another good season for Golden-winged Warbler with about two dozen reports from KY and eight from TN 1 Sep–12 Oct (mostly eBird data); reports of interest included three at Big Bone Lick SP, Boone Co 6 Sep (LMcN); five at Mammoth Cave NP 11 Sep (PB, BBC) with three there 15 Sep (SK et al) and at least six there 16 Sep (TD); three at Cumberland Co, TN 12 Sep (EL); three southeast of Mt. Zion, Allen Co 17 Sep (MB); and five at Radnor Lake SNA, Nashville, TN (FF).

There were nearly 20 Orange-crowned Warbler reports in KY 27 Sep–10 Nov (mostly eBird data); singles at the UK Arboretum, Lexington Co 17 Nov (DR) and at Curtis Gates Lloyd WMA, Grant 27 Nov were the latest to be reported. Only two were reported from TN. A Nashville Warbler in Nashville, TN (SB) 3 Nov was very late.

A Connecticut Warbler, rarely detected in the region in fall, was observed at the Stoll Farm, Perry Co, TN 23 Sep (RSt). Only two Mourning Warblers were reported in KY: one on the Anchorage Trail, Louisville Co 3 Sep (PB, JBe) and one northeast of Defoe, Henry 29 Sep (RR). Five were reported from five different locations in TN 3 Sep–16 Oct. Single Common Yellowthroats just northwest of Sauerheber 20 Nov (†JM) and at Hardy Slough, Sauerheber Co, 27 Nov (†JM) were tardy. A Hooded Warbler at Lexington Co, KY 27 Oct (†GT) was particularly tardy.

Tallies of 12 Blackburnian Warblers at Big Bone Lick SP Boone Co, KY 6 Sep and 10 there 8 Sep (LMcN) were impressive. Unusual in fall away from the eastern part of the region, five Cape May Warblers were reported from four locations in middle TN and one in west TN 18 Sep–4 Oct. A Northern Parula at Pace Point 20 Oct (RSt) was late. Forty-seven Bay-breasted Warblers at Pace Point 11 Oct (RSt) represented a noteworthy high count. There were five reports of Blackpoll Warbler in KY, including a flock of six at Fredericks Landing Park, Campbell Co 5 Oct (†WH) that surely represents a new state high count for fall. In TN, one was at Newman’s Trail, Sumner Co, TN 10 Oct (MS) and another was at Pace Point 11 Oct (RSt).

A Black-throated Blue Warbler in Cumberland Co, TN 12 Sep (EL) was west of its expected range. A Canada Warbler at Sauerheber Co 14 Oct established a new late departure date for KY by two days. Two Palm Warblers at Bells Bend Park, Nashville, TN 4 Nov (FF) were late. A Black-throated Green Warbler in Rutherford Co, TN 8 Nov (CW) represents the fifth latest date for the state.

An “Oregon” Dark-eyed Junco (presumably the same bird that wintered at the same location 2015–2016), was first observed at Douglass Hills, Jefferson Co, KY 5 Nov (BY, MY).

An American Tree Sparrow had arrived at the Airpark Inn, Lake Co, TN by 30 Nov (RSt, VS). A remarkable three Clay-colored Sparrows were reported in TN: one at Chester Frost Co Park, Hamilton Co 1 Oct (BDr), one at Discovery Drive, Hamilton Co 4 Oct (LW), and one in Knoxville 8 Oct (DE). A Clay-colored Sparrow was also found along KY 200 northeast of Powersburg, Wayne Co, KY 17 Oct (†RBo).

A Grasshopper Sparrow north of Dot, Logan Co, KY 22 Oct and 2 Nov was tardy. Away from known breeding colonies, only three transient Henslow’s Sparrows were reported: one at Pace Point 27 Oct (RSt et al.), one at Bells Bend Park, Nashville, TN 31 Oct–1 Nov (FF, PDC), and one at O’Neal Lake, Hatchie NWR, Haywood Co, TN 25–27 Nov (ATy, RHa, LCh/DP) A Le Conte’s Sparrow at Sauerheber Co 15 Oct (BP) was the only one reported in KY. In TN, singles were reported at Duck River 29 Oct and 5 Nov (RSt), and one at Johnson City, Washington Co 23 Oct (LMcD, RLK) established the sixth northeast TN record.

Lark Sparrow is a good find in the region during fall; two were reported in KY: one at Spindletop Farm, Fayette 16 Aug (DSv) and one southeast of Millville, Woodford 24 Oct (†WM). Three were reported in TN: one at Ensley 19 Aug (RHa, HM); one at Shelby Farms, Shelby Co 22 Aug (JV); and one in Gibson Co 24 Aug (MG).

A Summer Tanager in Jefferson Co, KY 25 Oct (ph. KB) was tardy.

A Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Berea, Madison Co, KY 4–5 Aug was unusual for so early away from known breeding areas; a flock of 40 in Pulaski Co, KY 9 Oct (RD) was impressive; one northeast of Kings Mountain, Lincoln Co, KY lingered to 30 Oct (NK). A male Black-headed Grosbeak was at the Stoll Farm, Perry, TN 11–12 Oct (VS, †RS). A Dickcissel at Britton Ford, TN NWR, Henry Co, TN 27 Oct (RSt) was late.

A flock of at least 52 Bobolinks passed over Wolf Creek Dam, Russell Co, KY 18 Sep (BP, KOS). Seven Brewer’s Blackbirds at Bark Camp Barrens Sod Farm, Coffee Co, TN 30 Nov (SM) were very rare for middle TN.

Addendum to the Summer 2016 report:

An extensive survey coordinated by the KY Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to locate nesting Barn Owls during the 2016 breeding season resulted in the documentation of 76 confirmed nesting locations, plus an additional 18 non-breeding roost locations in the following counties: Bath, Boyle, Breckinridge, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Christian, Clinton, Crittenden, Cumberland, Daviess, Edmonson, Franklin, Graves, Grayson, Green, Hardin, Hart, Henderson, Hickman, Hopkins, Livingston, Logan, Madison, Marion, Marshall, McCracken, McLean, Muhlenberg, Nelson, Nicholas, Ohio, Owen, Scott, Simpson, Todd, Union, Warren, and Webster (Slankard 2016).

Additional Source: Slankard, K. 2016. 2016 Barn Owl Inventory Report. KY Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Frankfort, KY. 10 pp.

Report processed by Randi Minetor 8 Mar 2021.

Photos–Tennessee & Kentucky: Fall 2016

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