Date of this Version
Silcock and Jorgensen, “Winter Field Report, Dec 1997 to Feb 1998,” from Nebraska Bird Review (March 1998) 66(1).
As one observer (DH) noted, this was a "weird" winter. January and February were more like March, producing winter reports of species with few such previous reports; the species involved come from all parts of the taxonomic list, from loons to icterids. Almost certainly, a first (in recorded history) was a slam of all the Nebraska grebe species in January, even Red-necked and Clark's! Also in January, a Pacific Loon was reported. As shown in the species' accounts below, the list of rare midwinter species is long.
Another significant, related finding involved early-arriving spring migrants, also a long list. In some cases it cannot be determined whether these were wintering nearby or indeed were very early migrants. The February weather certainly was conducive to early arrival of “opportunist-type" migrants, such as waterfowl and blackbirds.
Rarities were not earth shattering, but a nice list nevertheless. Included were an "Eastern" Brant, Black Scoter, Barrow's Goldeneye, a Merlin of the blackish subspecies Falco columbarius suckleyi, three Mew Gulls, two Iceland Gulls, and a Black-throated Sparrow.