Great Basin Bird Observatory
One East First Street, Suite 500
Reno, Nevada 89501
The fall season is typically the most exciting in the Great Basin, and so it was this year: a good scattering of sea ducks started to show up on area lakes and reservoirs by the end of the reporting period; shorebirds again made a good showing in northern Utah; and the vagrant traps hosted the usual assortment of rare passerines. Few observers were willing to generalize about the weather or to speculate about the climatological causes of avian distribution and abundance this fall. The list that follows, then, is just a random sampling of some of the most notable species that were reported: Red-throated Loon, Mississippi Kite, American Golden-Plover, Ruff, Arctic Tern, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, White-eyed Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, Prairie Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, and Common Redpoll. Records marked with a dagger (†) were documented with a written description.
Abbreviations: A.I.C., Antelope Island Causeway (Davis, UT); A.M.N.W.R., Ash Meadows N.W.R. (Nye, NV); B.R., Bodyfelt Ranch (Nye, NV); C.L., Carson Lake (Churchill, NV); C.C., Corn Creek (Clark, NV); D.C., Devil’s Canyon (San Juan, UT); F.S.N.W.R., Fish Springs N.W.R. (Juab, UT); G.R., Garr Ranch (Davis, UT); G.L., Glover Lane (Davis, UT); G.M.H.W., Goshute Mountains Hawk Watch (Elko, NV); H.B.V.P., Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve (Clark, NV); H.R., Hyrum Reservoir (Cache, UT); L.S., Lake Shore (Utah, UT); M.R., Mantua Reservoir (Box Elder, UT); M.R.S., Miller’s Rest Stop (Esmeralda, NV); P.N.W.R., Pahranagat N.W.R. (Lincoln, NV); P.L., Pyramid Lake (Washoe, NV); Q.C.R., Quail Creek Reservoir (Washington, UT); S.L., Soda Lake (Churchill, NV); S.N.W.R., Stillwater N.W.R. (Churchill, NV); W.F., Washington Fields (Washington, UT).
Loons Through Falcons
Single Red-throated Loons were found at Q.C.R. 22 Nov (RF) and at Minersville Res., Beaver, UT 27 Nov – 1 Dec (DS et al.). There are only two previous UT records, and both of them are more than 20 years old. Pacific Loons numbered 1–2 at three UT locales 20 Oct – 30 Nov (v.o.), but two at P.L. 20 Oct (TF et al.) were the only NV report. Horned Grebes numbered 1–4 at four UT locales 22 Sep – 27 Nov (v.o.); in NV the species was noted at Alamo (Lincoln) 6 Oct (MC & JCr) and at P.L. as early as 26 Aug (DSe). A Red-necked Grebe at P.L. 3 Nov (FP) was the only report.
An American Bittern was found at W.F. 27 Sep (RF and KW), and a good count of five came from S.N.W.R. NV 25 Oct (BH). A Least Bittern at A.M.N.W.R. 5 Aug (JC) was the only report. Green Heron reports came from four locations in NV and from three in UT (v.o.). Cattle Egrets made a better-than-usual showing in NV, with reports from five locations led by 24 at Moapa (Clark) 30 Sep (MC & JCr).
Small flocks of Tundra Swans were noted at three NV locales 11–19 Nov (v.o.), and more than 200 were seen at Salt Creek W.M.A., Box Elder, UT 10 Nov (JM). Three Trumpeter Swans at H.R. 12–22 Nov (JLf et al.) were the only report. Greater White-fronted Geese numbered 2–7 at three NV locales 26 Aug – 18 Nov (v.o.), while the only UT report was of a single bird at Jordan R. Parkway, Salt Lake, UT 3 Oct (fide MMo). Snow Goose max. was 3000 at C.L. 21 Nov (JW); three "Blue" Geese also were on hand at C.L. on that date (JW). Ross’s Geese were found at four NV locales 11–30 Nov (v.o.).
Wood Ducks at nine NV locations were led by a count of six at Oxbow Park (Washoe) 4 Nov (AW); UT reports included two at Draper (Salt Lake) 15 Nov (SA) and a good 24 at La Verkin Creek (Washington) 23 Nov (SS et al.). A Blue-winged Teal at B.R. 20 Oct (DT) was the only report. A Eurasian Wigeon was a nice find at F.S.N.W.R. 31 Oct (JG). A Greater Scaup was at P.L. 20 Oct – 13 Nov (v.o.), and three were at S.L. 21 Nov (JW). A Long-tailed Duck put in an appearance at A.I.C. 3 Nov (TJ). Scoters went unreported in NV, but they made a nice showing in UT: two Black Scoters were at M.R. 27 Oct (LW) and one was at H.R. 3–11 Nov (v.o.); single Surf Scoters were found at an impressive five locales 20 Oct – 17 Nov (v.o.); and White-winged Scoter reports included a single bird at M.R. 27 Oct (LW) and up to three at H.R. 3–29 Nov (v.o.).
An early (or oversummering?) Common Goldeneye was at H.B.V.P. 19–21 Sep (v.o.), and two Barrow’s Goldeneyes at Logan 10 Nov (CG et al.) were the only report. A Bufflehead was at A.M.N.W.R. on the unusual date of 5 Aug (JC). One Hooded Merganser at A.M.N.W.R. 9 Nov (SG) and two at S.L. 10 Nov (TF et al.) were the only NV reports; there were records at three UT locales, including 15 at Q.C.R. 27 Nov (DS & BS). Red-breasted Merganser reports included one at P.N.W.R. 12–18 Nov (RF et al.), one at H.R. 10 Nov (CG et al.), and three at M.R. 3 Nov (JB & KB).
A Mississippi Kite at Henderson, Clark, NV 5 Aug (ph., †MC & JCr) was one of just a handful of state records. Bald Eagles were noted at four UT locales (v.o.), and a mere six passed by the G.M.H.W. during the fall season (fide HG). Red-shouldered Hawks were reported from an impressive 14 locations in NV, but the only UT records were of single birds at Callao (Juab) 21–22 Aug (RF) and at W.F. 12 Oct (RF & KW). Broad-winged Hawk is hardly the sort of bird that regional birders think of as commonplace, and most observers would count themselves lucky to see one anywhere in the Great Basin. Yet they are of regular occurrence at the G.M.H.W., with a staggering 79 being counted this fall (fide HG).
Two Zone-tailed Hawks were at P.N.W.R. 16 Sep – 11 Nov (JC), and one was at Pine Park, Washington, UT 13 Aug (RF & KCo). A Rough-legged Hawk at S.N.W.R. 15 Oct (BH) was early. Merlins at three NV locales were led by 46 at the G.M.H.W. (fide HG); single birds were found at seven places in UT (v.o.). Peregrine Falcons numbered 29 at the G.M.H.W. (fide HG), and singles were noted at three other NV locations (v.o.); reports of 1–2 birds came from four UT locales (v.o.).
Grouse Through Terns
The Gunnison Sage-Grouse is associated in most people’s minds with Colorado, but the species does range into our region; there was a report of three from near Monticello, San Juan, UT 23 Nov (TB). Two Common Moorhens at H.B.V.P. 19 Sep (TF et al.) were the only report. Migrant Sandhill Cranes numbered 1–5 at four NV locations 9 Sep – 10 Nov (v.o.).
Black-bellied Plovers were scarce, with reports of two at Saltair, Salt Lake, UT 19 Sep (AN et al.), 15 at A.I.C. 27 Aug (LL), and single birds at three NV locations 21 Aug – 30 Sep (v.o.). A juvenile American Golden-Plover was at F.S.N.W.R. 21–28 Oct (†MSt et al., ph. TS). Rather tardy were a Snowy Plover at A.I.C. 16 Nov (JLf) and two Semipalmated Plovers at P.L. 4 Nov (MM).
Solitary Sandpipers were found at three NV locales 5 Aug – 16 Sep (v.o.) and at four places in UT 1 Aug – 7 Sep (v.o.). A Ruddy Turnstone at A.I.C. 13 Oct (JB & KB) was the only report. Single Sanderlings were noted at H.B.V.P. 29 Sep – 4 Oct (v.o.) and at S.L. 21–26 Sep (v.o.), while small flocks were at Saltair, Salt Lake, UT 5 Sep (AN et al.) and at A.I.C. 21 Sep (TJ & PK). The usual scattering of Semipalmated Sandpipers included two at C.L. 21 Aug (JD et al.), one at H.B.V.P. 4 Oct (MC & JCr), and 1–2 at Utah L., Utah, UT 14–24 Aug (DS & EH). Baird’s Sandpipers numbered 1–5 at six NV locations 3 Aug – 6 Oct (v.o.), while reports from six UT locales were led by 35 at Farmington Bay W.M.A. (Davis) 9 Oct (TJ).
The Pectoral Sandpiper passage was a little better than usual: small flocks numbering up to seven were reported from eight NV locations with the last record coming from S-Line Res. (Churchill) on the late date of 10 Nov (TF et al.); there were reports from eight UT locales, including 10+ at Fool Creek Res. (Millard) 13 Oct (DA). Stilt Sandpiper reports included the following: one at Provo Airport Dike, Utah, UT 1 Aug (DS); one at G.L. 19 Aug (JB & KB); and five at G.L. 28–29 Sep (TJ & BB). A Ruff at G.L. 23 Sep (ph. DG et al.), if accepted by the Utah Bird Records Committee, would be a state first. Single Short-billed Dowitchers were noted at C.L. 21 Aug (JD et al.), S.L. 26 Aug (DSe), G.L. 27–29 Sep (v.o.), and at the SR-9 sewage ponds, Washington, UT 10–12 Oct (RF). Single Red Phalaropes were nice finds at P.L. 27 Sep (†SH et al.) and at the Logan sewage lagoons, Cache, UT 20 Oct (JLw).
Bonaparte’s Gulls were scarce in NV, with reports of 1–3 birds at three locations 7 Sep – 18 Nov (v.o.). They were better represented in UT, though; there were reports from six locations 24 Sep – 27 Nov, including several counts in the double digits (v.o.). Herring Gulls were noted at four NV locations, with a top count of 11 at P.L. 4 Nov (MM); 1–3 were found at three UT locales. Single Thayer’s Gulls were noted at P.L. 15 Nov (JW) and at the Logan sewage lagoons, Cache, UT 20 Oct (JLw et al.). P.L. hosted 1–2 Glaucous-winged Gulls 27 Oct – 15 Nov (v.o.) and 1 "Olympic" (Glaucous-winged ´ Western) Gull also during that time span (v.o.). The Sabine’s Gull flight was good: reports from eight NV locations 3 Sep – 12 Oct were led by five at P.L. 27 Sep (v.o.); in UT there were reports of 1–2 birds at 5 locations 19 Sep – 17 Oct (v.o.).
The Common Tern passage was modest: a flock of 12 was found at Rye Patch Res., Pershing, NV 13 Sep (GS); a flock of six were at P.L. 27 Sep (v.o.); and 2–3 were at Q.C.R. 22 Sep – 12 Oct (RF & KCo). An Arctic Tern was a good find at Washoe L., Washoe, NV 28 Sep (KG et al.).
Doves Through Vireos
The plot thickens! Streptopelia doves continue to show up in our region, but several observers have rightly questioned the origin and identification of Ringed Turtle-Doves, Eurasian Collared-Doves, and possible hybrids in the Great Basin. This period’s sightings included: a Ringed Turtle-Dove at Bryce N.P., Garfield, UT 6 Aug (BP & MPa); three Eurasian Collared-Doves at L.S. 2–3 Sep (DG & LW); and one Eurasian Collared-Dove at Fallon, Churchill, NV 2 Aug (MA). A White-winged Dove at M.R.S. 6 Sep (JBr) was northerly.
A Vaux’s Swift at Dyer, Esmeralda, NV 15 Sep (fide GS) was the only report. A male Black-chinned Hummingbird at Reno 22 Nov (ph. LWi) was quite tardy. Northerly Anna’s Hummingbirds were noted at two Reno area locations 3 Aug – 10 Nov (v.o.), and a Costa’s Hummingbird at Reno 12 Nov (LWi) was something of a surprise.
There was a strong passage of Lewis’s Woodpeckers through NV: migrants were reported from at least 22 lowland locations 31 Aug – 27 Oct, and flocks numbered into the double digits at three of these locales (v.o.). Acorn Woodpecker is accidental in NV, so it was thrilling to have two in the state this fall: the first was at Wadsworth, Washoe, NV 4 Oct (ph, †JL & DW), but it did not stick around; the second was at C.C. 19–24 Oct (DC et mult. al.), and it was enjoyed by many. Meanwhile, an individual at D.C. 11 Nov (JB & KB) was at a more expected locale. Easterly Red-breasted Sapsuckers were reported from F.S.N.W.R. 27 Sep (LW), at St. George 4 Oct (LJ), and at three central or eastern NV locations 20 Oct – 30 Nov (v.o.). Meanwhile, hybrid sapsuckers (Red-breasted ´ Red-naped) were noted at four eastern NV locales 10–14 Oct (v.o). Away from far western NV, hybrids are considerably more likely than pure Red-breasted Sapsuckers, and observers should be aware of this problem.
An extralimital Nuttall’s Woodpecker was at Circle-L Ranch, Esmeralda, NV 16 Sep – 2 Oct (GS et al.). Flickers present an interesting challenge to Great Basin birders, especially in southern NV. All three of the major populations ("Red-shafted", "Yellow-shafted", and Gilded) are present to varying degrees, but the occurrence of hybrids complicates the matter. This fall, possible Gilded Flickers were noted at three southern or central NV locations away from the breeding grounds near Searchlight (v.o.), and possible "Yellow-shafted" Flickers were reported from six southern or central NV locations (v.o.). The only "Yellow-shafted" ´ "Red-shafted" hybrids were single birds at two Reno area locations 30 Oct – 14 Nov (TF et al.).
Migrant Willow Flycatchers were noted at eight NV locations 12 Aug – 3 Oct (v.o.), while two birds near Mt. Rose, Washoe, NV were thought to be breeders (TF & KS). The species is nearly extirpated as a breeder in n. NV. Least Flycatchers were reported from three NV locations 26 Aug – 20 Sep (v.o.), and it is gratifying that all three records were accompanied by good written descriptions. Meanwhile, a Least Flycatcher at G.R. 9–14 Sep was seen by many. A late Gray Flycatcher was at C.C. 15 Nov (RF & KW). Black Phoebes made their usual fall incursion into northern and central NV, with reports from eight locations 9 Aug – 2 Nov (v.o.). The most northerly record for UT was of a bird at Draper (Salt Lake) 14 Sep (KC & SC). An Eastern Phoebe strayed to C.C. 22 – 23 Nov (KR, †RS). A male Vermilion Flycatcher at Circle-L Ranch, Esmeralda, NV 2 Nov (JW) was northerly. A Cassin’s Kingbird at H.B.V.P. 28 Oct (MC & JCr) was the only report. Eastern Kingbirds were found at three n. UT locations 17–25 Aug (v.o.).
Northern Shrike reports came from the following locations: M.R.S. 20 Oct (DT); Elko 26 Oct (MP & LP); D.C. 11 Nov (JB & KB); and Utah L., Utah, UT 14 Nov (KC). A White-eyed Vireo was found at Peavine Ranch, Nye, NV 2 Sep (†JBo). Gray Vireos are almost never seen on migration, so a report of an apparent upslope migrant at 8000 feet in the Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness, Washington, UT 18 Aug (SS & PS) was interesting. The Cassin’s Vireo flight was rated by several observers as better than usual. There were reports of a Philadelphia Vireo at G.R. 30 Aug – 25 Sep (m.ob.). The record appears to be credible, but there was some question as to whether more than one individual was present during the period of observation. One or more Red-eyed Vireos were at G.R. 16 Aug – 29 Sep (v.o.), and another was seen at Provo Canyon, Utah, UT 4 Sep (KC).
Single Steller’s Jays wandered to the lowland locations of W.F. 27 Sep (RF) and Dyer, Esmeralda, NV 2 Oct (MS et al.). Western Scrub-Jays staged a major invasion into the lowlands of UT and especially NV (m.ob.). The Pinyon Jay flight was comparatively minor, with reports from only three lowland desert locations in s. NV (v.o.). And the Clark’s Nutcracker flight was virtually nonexistent, with the only sightings coming from C.C. 8 Sep – 9 Nov (v.o.).
Swallows Through Warblers
A Purple Martin at L.S. 26 Aug (JB & KB) was unusual, and a Cliff Swallow at Virginia L., Washoe, NV 29 Nov was quite late (JW). Mountain Chickadees made a better-than-usual incursion into the lowlands of NV this fall. It was felt by several observers that some of the birds exhibited characters of the nominate subspecies, for which there exist no known NV records. Winter Wrens were found at G.R. 9–23 Sep (v.o.), at Q.C.R. 13–29 Oct (RF & KCo), and at six NV locales 31 Aug – 18 Nov (v.o.).
The only Swainson’s Thrush reports came from P.N.W.R. 14 Sep (RF & KW) and Floyd Lamb S.P., Clark, NV 14 Oct – 1 Nov (v.o.). Varied Thrushes were noted at six NV locations 8 Oct – 25 Nov (v.o.), while the only UT report came from G.R. on the early date of 23 Sep (v.o.). Great Catbird reports included the following: 6–8 near Eden, Weber, UT 14–16 Aug (LL); one at Jordanelle Res., Wasatch, UT 14–16 Aug (CD); and a stray to M.R.S. 22–26 Sep (v.o.). Brown Thrashers were found at C.C. 25 Oct – 23 Nov (JC et al.), at S.N.W.R. 17 Nov (ph. BH), and at Garden City, Rich, UT 18 Nov (JBy). A Bendire’s Thrasher was at Hurricane Fields, Washington, UT 11 Sep (RF).
An American Pipit at the summit of Mt. Rose, Washoe, NV 4 Aug (TF & KS) may have been a local breeder. The species was not detected here during the recently completed NV Breeding Bird Atlas. The first migrant Cedar Waxwings were seen at Numana, Washoe, NV 12 Aug (TF). A Phainopepla at Peavine Ranch, Nye, NV was northerly (JBo).
A Tennessee Warbler at Washoe L., Washoe, NV 30 Sep (†PL) was the only sighting this fall. The peak of the Orange-crowned Warbler flight through NV seemed to occur during the period 13–16 Sep (v.o.). A late Nashville Warbler lingered at Willard Bay S.P, Box Elder, UT until 28 Nov (CS & MSo). Chestnut-sided Warblers made a nice showing, with sightings at G.R. 29 Sep (BB & TJ), L.S. 26–28 Aug (JB et al.), Q.C.R. 22–30 Sep (RF et mult. al.), M.R.S. 6 Sep (JBr), and Lida, Esmeralda, NV 22 Sep (GS & MM). A possible Cape May Warbler was reported from M.R.S. 3 Oct (JBr). Black-throated Blue Warblers were found at C.C. 23 Oct – 5 Nov (v.o.) and at G.R. 8 Sep (DG). "Myrtle" Warblers were noted at three NV locales 2–25 Oct (v.o.).
The Townsend’s Warbler flight through UT was better than average and was highlighted by a remarkable one-day high of 20+ individuals at G.R. 13 Sep (TJ). A Hermit Warbler in the Spring Mountains, Clark, NV 12 Aug (SG & HH) was somewhat off the beaten path, and a hybrid Hermit Warbler ´ Townsend’s Warbler was found at the Carson R. Diversion Dam, Churchill, NV 14 Aug (TF). The Parulid of the season was a Prairie Warbler at Q.C.R. 28–30 Sep (DG et al.). Palm Warblers were noted at three NV locations 26 Sep – 3 Oct (v.o.). A possible Bay-breasted Warbler was reported from Lovelock, Pershing, NV 13 Sep (JW). Blackpoll Warblers were found at a good five NV locations 9 Sep – 2 Oct (v.o.).
Black-and-white Warblers were found at L.S. 23–27 Aug (DS et al.) and at three NV locales 19 Aug – 23 Nov (v.o.). American Redstart reports came from eight locations in NV 31 Aug – 9 Oct (v.o.) and from three in UT 23 Aug – 1 Oct (v.o.). Two or more Prothonotary Warblers were found at two locations in the Dyer, Esmeralda, NV area 8–22 Sep (GS et al.). A Worm-eating Warbler was a good find at C.C. 1–2 Sep (KWa & RS). One or two Ovenbirds were at C.C. 19 Sep – 25 Oct (v.o.). Northern Waterthrushes were seen at ten NV locales 23 Aug – 16 Sep (v.o.) and at four locations in UT 15 Aug – 3 Sep (v.o.). A Kentucky Warbler was a surprise at Dyer, Esmeralda, NV 8 Sep (GS et al.).
Tanagers Through Finches
A Summer Tanager at Dyer, Esmeralda, NV 16 Sep (GS & JBr) was somewhat northerly, and one was found at St. George 6 Oct (SS & RF). A well-described female Scarlet Tanager at Crystal Springs, Lincoln, NV 11 Oct (†JD et al.) was one of only a handful of records for the state.
An American Tree Sparrow was at the unexpected locale of C.C. 4–10 Nov (SG & JC). At more expected locations were eight at Ruby Valley, Elko, NV 11 Nov (KV) and seven at Farmington Bay W.M.A., Davis, UT 21 Nov (TJ). A Clay-colored Sparrow was at Q.C.R. 24 Sep – 6 Oct (RF et mult. al.). Possible "Timberline" Sparrows were found above 10,000 feet in Great Basin N.P., White Pine, NV 11 Aug (MP & LP). The status of this form has not been determined in the Great Basin, and more work is needed here. A Black-chinned Sparrow at nearly 9000 feet along the Ophir Creek Trail, Washoe, NV 20 Aug (†JD & GB) was remarkable in every way: latitude, altitude, and habitat.
Single Lark Buntings were reported from Butler Basin, Nye, NV 20 Aug (JBr) and from Torrance Ranch, Nye, NV 9 Sep (JBr), and three were at Tremonton, Box Elder, UT 9 Sep (fide MSt). A Grasshopper Sparrow at Hurricane Fields, Washington, UT 4 Aug (RF) was the only report. Three juvenile Lincoln’s Sparrows near Mt. Rose, Washoe, NV 4 Aug (TF & KS) indicated local breeding. A Swamp Sparrow was reported from Tonopah 3 Oct (JBr). White-throated Sparrows numbered 1–3 at nine NV locations 3 Oct – 25 Nov (v.o.), but the only UT reports were of singles at Cedar City (Iron) 4 Nov (SS) and at Sugar House (Salt Lake) 2–8 Nov (MSt). Harris’s Sparrows were seen at Provo Airport Dike, Utah, UT 3 Oct (EH) and at Jordan R. Parkway, Utah, UT 5–10 Nov (TR et al.). Golden-crowned Sparrows were widespread in w. NV, and single individuals ranged as far east as the Fish Spring Mountains, Juab, UT 20 Oct (MSt) and Red Cliffs Recreation Area, Washington, UT 24–29 Nov (RF). "Slate-colored" Juncos were noted at three NV locales 27 Oct – 2 Nov (v.o.).
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were found at seven NV locations 15 Aug – 19 Nov (v.o.), but one at L.S. 25 Aug (MW) was the only record for UT. Single Indigo Buntings were found at B.R. 8 Sep (GS & JBr), at Lytle Ranch, Washington, UT 29 Sep (RF et al.), and at C.C. on the late date of 23 Nov (KR). An adult male Dickcissel was seen at Tonopah 20 Sep (JBr).
A female Bobolink strayed to M.R.S. 8 Sep (GS & JBr). Single Common Grackles put in appearances at B.R. 9 Oct (†JD et al.) and at Sandy, Salt Lake, UT 11 Oct (KL). Great-tailed Grackles continue to expand in UT, as evidenced by a flock of 35+ (including juveniles) at Cedar City (Iron) 19 Aug (SS et al.). A female Baltimore Oriole at the Carson R. Diversion Dam, Churchill, NV 28 Sep (MG et al.) was a nice find.
Some 25+ Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches were at Arches N.P., Grand, UT 12 Nov (JB & KB). An apparent Brown-capped Rosy-Finch at Monticello, San Juan, UT 23 Nov (TB), if accepted by the Utah Bird Records Committee, would be a state first. Red Crossbills were barely noted, with the only reports coming from the following locales: Incline Village, Washoe, NV 22 Aug (JD); Ophir Creek Trail, Washoe, NV 28 Sep (JD); and D.C. 11 Nov (JB & KB). A Common Redpoll at Woods Cross, Davis, UT 15 Nov (SCo) heralded an impressive invasion of the species in the months to follow. Two Evening Grosbeaks at C.C. 9 Nov (SS et al.) were the only report. Finally, a Nutmeg Mannakin was a delightful if "uncountable" visitor to Rancho San Rafael Park, Washoe, NV 30 Aug (DAr).
Observers: David Allan, David Arsenault (DAr), Mike Amos, Sharon Andrus, Giff Beaton, Joel Beyer, Kathy Beyer, Todd Black, Jim Boone (JBo), Jeanie Boynton (JBy), John Brack (JBr), Bob Bradley, Steve Carr, K.C. Childs, Jack Cochran, Steve Coleman (SCo), Kristen Comella (KCo), Donna Crail-Rugotzke, Marian Cressman, Jim Cressman (JCr), Carol Davis, Jon Dunn, Ted Floyd, Rick Fridell, Kimball Garrett, Shawn Goodchild, Jim Graham, Dana Green, Mike Green, Howard Gross, Carol Gwynn, Bill Henry, Steve Howell, Eric Huish, Heather Hundt, Lee Jones, Tony Jones, Phil Kline, Kim Lane, Peter LaTourrette, Lisa Lister, James Lofthouse (JLf), Jean Lown (JLw), Jim Lytle, Jim McIntyre, Martin Meyers, Milton Moody (MMo), Anne Neville, Bob Parsons, Marilyn Parsons (MPa), Fred Petersen, Lois Ports, Mark Ports, Kathy Robertson, Tuula Rose, Terry Sadler, Mike San Miguel, Rick Saval, Greg Scyphers, Dennis Serdehely (DSe), Bryan Shirley, Dennis Shirley, Kei Sochi, Carolyn Somer, Mark Somer (MSo), Mark Stackhouse (MSt), Priscilla Summers, Steve Summers, Dennis Trousdale, Ken Voget, Alan Wallace, Kevin Wallace (KWa), Jack Walters, Kevin Wheeler, Larry Williams (LWi), Diane Wong, Merrill Webb, Larene Wyss.
S.A.Fox Sparrows breed in the high mountains of the Great Basin, they are commonly encountered on migration, and they are occasional in winter here. But which of the four or more distinctive forms occur in our region? The "slate-colored" form breeds throughout much of the region, and the "thick-billed" form is common in the Carson Range and perhaps elsewhere in western Nevada. Single "sooty" Fox Sparrows were recorded at three Nevada locations this fall, and 1–2 "red" Fox Sparrow were at Corn Creek (Clark, NV) 9–19 (v.o.). It is obvious that virtually any sort of Fox Sparrow can show up in the Great Basin, but it is likewise clear that we lack good occurrence data for the multiple forms that occur here. Observers in the Great Basin are thus urged to try to identify migrant Fox Sparrows at the subspecies level.
Any golden-plover in the Great Basin is notable. After some initial
discussion about the bird in this photograph, it was determined to be an
American Golden-Plover. The bird is a juvenile, and it was at Fish Springs N.W.R.
(Juab, UT) 21–28 Oct 2001. Photograph by Terry Sadler.
When most people think of riparian specialists in the West, birds like Bell’s Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Blue Grosbeak come to mind. In the Great Basin, the Long-eared Owl is definitely a riparian specialist, too. It is not necessarily uncommon here, but it is typically overlooked in riparian surveys – and neglected in management plans for riparian habitats. Photograph by Terry Sadler.