Date of this Version
Silcock, "Winter Field Report, December 2001 to February 2002" and "Species Accounts," from Nebraska Bird Review (March 2002) 70(1).
This winter was generally mild with most parts of the state at least somewhat dry. The most interesting avian phenomena were a major incursion of White-winged Crossbills and a warm-up in late January which resulted in several waterfowl species putting in very early appearances. Because of the latter, it was difficult to assess the status (wintering or migrant) of birds reported in late January to early February from major reservoirs and waterfowl concentration spots without some information on ice conditions. Thanks to Larry Einemann, I had detailed information about ice conditions at Branched Oak L, but I would appreciate a few notes on other reservoirs during the winter.
Jan Johnson pointed out that my reporting of records from the Wakefield School feeders that she maintains did not make it clear that these feeders are in fact in Wayne County, as are the southern 3 blocks of the town. My apologies; I believe (hope) that this may only be a problem in the Winter 2000-2001 report, recently published in Nebraska Bird Review.
This winter offered many items of interest; a brief summary follows. Surprising late sightings included the 2nd-latest ever American Bittern; the 4th-latest Baltimore Oriole; and 5 species of shorebirds-most of which were spotted at Pawnee L-that were as much as 3 weeks later than previous latest dates. In contrast, several waterfowl species had influxes in late January, noticeably Greater White-fronted Goose. The Eurasian Collared-Dove continues to increase, although so far it has avoided major population centers in the east. A major invasion of White-winged Crossbills occurred, and Snowy Owls were more in evidence than usual. Noticeable for their absence were American Black Duck and Evening Grosbeak. Rarities were unspectacular; the best were 5 species usually not encountered in a winter report: Cinnamon Teal, Sage Thrasher, Pine Warbler, Smith's Longspur, and Lesser Goldfinch. Also good finds were Tufted Duck, Mew Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Mountain Chickadee, and Varied Thrush.