Date of this Version
Silcock, "Fall Field Report, August–November 2016," from Nebraska Bird Review (December 2016) 84(4).
As usual, there was quite a bit to chew over in the Fall Seasonal Report, although it was generally a pretty uneventful season, especially among waterfowl and shorebirds. The mild fall allowed some good counts to occur, such as the 20+ Surf Scoters, 465 meadowlarks in Garfield Co, and at least 11 White-winged Doves.
First State Records are hard to come by; amazing was an Anna's Hummingbird that showed up in the Manning Family's central Omaha yard. How many pass through the yards of non-birders undetected? Always a mind-boggling thought. A 3rd state record Costa's Hummingbird came to light from photos taken in 2010 through a chance conversation with an experienced birder. Almost as exciting was the 5th state record Canyon Wren which settled at a remote central Sandhills Ranch that required a 3.5 mile sand road trek in. Several happy birders made the trip without mishap, however, enjoying the fine hospitality of Mary Sue Shoemaker. And even more: the state's 9th Curve-billed Thrasher was photographed at Chadron State Park near the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies' banding station. Other less exciting but possibly more significant discoveries were a pair of Lewis's Woodpeckers as far east as Keya Paha Co, a 6th fall record of Hooded Warbler, and a first Panhandle record of Blue-winged Warbler, also at the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies' banding station. Notable rare warblers were a Black-throated Blue and a Pine, both in Omaha.
Other good counts were the 27+ Sabine's Gulls reported, with 6 in a day at each of 3 locations, 31 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds on a single day in a Lancaster Co yard, reminding me of hummer feeders I've seen in the west, and 11 Canada Warblers that passed through the east. At the other end of that spectrum were virtually no Pine Siskins, there being only two reports between June and late Nov, and the absence of Red Cross bills away from the Pine Ridge, where they remained in good numbers.
Of concern is the continuing scarcity of Black-billed Cuckoos, the absence of Black-billed Magpies this fall east of Harlan Co, and the current low ebb of Gray Partridge populations in the north and east.