Date of this Version
"Winter Field Report, December 1999 to February 2000" (Silcock) in Nebraska Bird Review (March 2000) 68(1).
This rather mild season stood out for its wintering waterfowl, most obviously at Keystone L, where Stephen Dinsmore counted an amazing 22 species of waterfowl on 29 January. Check the species accounts for the incredible wintering numbers; species were topped by Nebraska's first Tufted Duck, and assorted other goodies, such as 5 Barrow's Goldeneyes, Waterfowl, loons, and grebes also rewrote the midwinter record book, including no fewer than 3 Red-necked Grebes, Some interesting wintering birds also appeared at Harlan Co Res,
Other interesting winter records, some no doubt due to the mild fall, included Greater Yellowlegs at two locations, Franklin's Gull and an adult Black-legged Kittiwake at Harlan Co Res, wintering Hermit Thrush at L Ogallala, a January Gray Catbird in the northwest, a male Dickcissel at Alma, and Orange-erowned and Northern Parula warblers in December, the latter at Keystone L! Sparrows which generally winter only very rarely in NE were well-represented, although poorly-documented, including a Smith's Longspur in Cass Co,
Present in good numbers were Northern Shrike and Purple Finch, the latter welcome after some low years, and Townsend's Solitaire appeared in low numbers. The Eurasian Collared-Dove continued its expansion in the state, even breeding during the winter period! Westerly reports involved a Red-bellied Woodpecker in Scotts Bluff Co, Carolina Wrens pushing westward, and Winter Wrens wintering in the L McConaughy area,
This winter produced some outstanding rarities also, Hiding among the numerous scaup,a Tufted Duck at Keystone L proved a frustrating dip-twitch for many, while a Pomarine Jaeger and Mew Gull were well seen only by one Stephen Dinsmore (who also found, and refound many times for others, the Tufted Duck), Possibly most frustrating was what would likely have been a first state record Slaty-backed Gull at Harlan Co Res, which could not be refound despite a two-day search, A tantalizing record was of Golden-crowned Sparrows in Cherry Co in early December, the 2nd winter in a row for this species. A Dark-eyed (Gray-headed) Junco was spotted in Papillion, and a couple of White-winged Crossbills were found.