Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



The Nebraska Bird Review Vol. 86 No. 3 (2018), pp 102-123


Published by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, Inc.


This was a rather lackluster summer season, notably among waterfowl, shorebirds, and gulls. However, the discovery of a couple of amazing rarities spiced things up. Not only were there a few reports of the increasing Black-bellied Whistling- Duck, but the Fulvous Whistling-Ducks in Lancaster Co were a first state record, albeit a bit overdue. Another major rarity was a Reddish Egret, Nebraska’s third, in Hall Co, seen by almost as many folks as the Fulvous Whistling-Ducks. Close behind were the 6th and 7th Nebraska records of Black-chinned Hummingbird, probably on its way to regular occurrence in the next few years. Seasonal rarities often get short shrift, but are genuine rarities nonetheless. Only the 3rd summer report of Greater Scaup, all females, was photographed, and only the 5th spring record of Broad-tailed Hummingbird showed up. Perhaps in this category also was an amazing record of a Wood Thrush recorded in Garden Co, the first record west of Platte Co since the 1970s. The meat of the Summer Seasonal Report, however, is changes in breeding ranges and population sizes. New breeding records of the secretive Hooded Merganser came to light, an extralimital breeding record for Western Grebe occurred, and Sandhill Cranes continue to pop up in summer in several areas. Exciting are apparently-establishing breeding populations of Plumbeous Vireo in the Wildcat Hills, Song Sparrow at Smith Lake WMA, numerous Ovenbirds at NNF Halsey, and Northern Cardinal struggling to maintain a Pine Ridge foothold. Northern Bobwhites occurred virtually statewide, whereas Gray Partridge is at a very low ebb. Two other items: a carefully-estimated 9800 Bank Swallows were in a flock in Otoe Co, and I ask observers to note possible species involved in “domestic geese” reports. Finally, a note on hummingbirds out west. Two very active feeders were in play in Scotts Bluff Co, providing observers many happy days (and state list checks). Colin Croft operated feeders just north of the Wildcat Hills, luring a Black-chinned Hummingbird among others, and Marie Smith’s operation, using only three feeders, attracted 63 hummers of five species during the season : another Black-chinned, and numerous Broad-tailed, Calliope, and Rufous, as well as at least one Ruby-throated. The Smith yard is amply planted with hummer-attracting flowering plants and a 1:4 sugar water mix is used. No reports were received of the Ron and Susan Whitney photo-recording hummingbird operation in Lancaster Co this year.