New York State Avian Records Committee

a committee of the New York State Ornithological Association

Annual Report - 1979


A total of 84 reports, representing 48 records of birds, was received by the New York State Avian Records Committee in 1979. Nine additional reports of six species sent to the NYSARC were placed on file without review, because they were of less exceptional records than are normally reviewed by the Committee. Of the records received by the NYSARC, 36 (75%) were accepted, two were judged to be of possible escapes from captivity, and nine were not accepted. One report remains under review. All these figures show improvement from our first year of operation. (Kingbird 29; 120; 1979); 70% more reports were received this year, and proportionally more of these were accepted. One species, Mississippi Kite, was added to the New York State List in 1979.

We continue to note a tendency of observers to assume that someone else will submit a report of a rarity which they have observed, with the result that no permanent documentation of the observation is preserved. The NYSARC welcomes multiple reports for all records. As in 1978, failure to provide sufficient detail about observations remains the primary cause of rejection. Our system for cataloguing reports submitted to the NYSARC is described in our previous report (op.cit.). All reports received in 1979 were catalogued as “1979 records” even though they might refer to observations made in 1978. However, in the summary below, records are separated according to year of observation. We use the term “documented” to mean observations for which a written report is on file, and the term “substantiated” to refer to a report accompanied by additional material evidence such as a photograph or specimen. Nomenclature follows the Fifth Edition of the AOU Checklist throughout. Only the names of observers who submitted reports are listed below, regardless of the number of people involved in the actual observation.


1978 Accepted Reports

PARASITIC JAEGER. 1979-2-A, subad. light morph, 16 Dec., Montauk Pt., Suffolk Co., (THD). New late date for this species in New York State.

SWAINSON’S THRUSH. 1979-3-A, one, 29-30 Dec., Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Queens Co., photographs on file (THD). This is the latest substantiated report from New York State.

WHEATEAR. 1979-1-A,B, one, 19 Oct., Robert Moses State Park, Suffolk Co., (LF, FF). This bird reported as photographed, but motion pictures did not accompany the report. It is the 18th reported from New York, the twelfth downstate.

1978 Reports Not Accepted

GREATER FLAMINGO. 11-24 Nov., Brookhaven, Suffolk Co. Probable escape from captivity.

BLACK GUILLEMOT. 1979-6, 23 Dec., Camp Ditmar Scout Preserve, Ontario Co.

GREAT GRAY OWL. 1979-7, 9 May, King Ferry, Cayuga Co.

1979 Accepted Reports

AUDUBON’S SHEARWATER. 1979-45-A,B,C, one, 29 Sept., 39° 48’ N., 71° 18’ W. (Block Canyon ca. 90 mi south Montauk Point), photographs on file (DWC, THD, FGS). Found in a patch of water with 22.5° C surface temperature on the Federation’s September 1979 pelagic.

WHITE-FACED STORM-PETREL. 1979-44-A, one, 39° 18’ N., 72° 16’ W (near mouth of Hudson Canyon) (RSH). This is the second report from off Long Island, and like the preceding report comes from warm (21.9° C) offshore waters.

MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD. 1979-34-A, ad. Female, 25 Aug., Great Gull Island, Suffolk Co., (JDiC). This is the ninth report for New York State.

GANNET. 1979-41-A, two subad., 9 Sept., Lake Ontario west of Rochester, Monroe Co., (RGS). An upstate record, perhaps associated with the passage of Hurricane David.

YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON. 1979-21-A, near ad., ca. 20-30 May, Solvay, Onondaga Co., photographs on file (DWC). This is only the second substantiated report from upstate New York.

WHITE-FACED IBIS. 1979-24-A, ad. in alt. plumage, 10 June, Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Queens Co. (THD). This is the second report from New York State. At least two birds were present during the entire summer; full details, with a substantiating photograph, appear in The Kingbird 30: 3, 1980.

FULVOUS WHISTLING DUCK. 1979-40-A, two, 30 Nov., Irondequoit Bay Inlet, Monroe County. (RGD). This is the third report from upstate New York and about the eleventh for the entire state.

COMMON EIDER. 1979-48-A, B, female, 15-16 Oct., Quaker Lake, Dutchess Co., photograph on file (MWY, HP). This is about the third substantiated report away from the coast.

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE. 1979-18-A, ad., 5 May, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Suffolk Co. (C and JH). This is the thirteenth report for New York State.

MISSISSIPPI KITE. 1979-17-A, B, two subad., 28 May to 3 June, LaTourette Golf Course, Richmond Co., (RZ, RC). This is the first report for New York State. Full details, including substantiating photographs, are in The Kingbird 29: 179; 1979.

SWAINSON'S HAWK. 1979-23-A, B, ad. light morph, 26 Apr., Derby Hill, Oswego Co., (FGS, DWC).

MARBLED GODWIT. 1979-26-A, B, one, 2-6 June, Sharon Station, Dutchess Co., photographs on file (BS, EP, MVW). 1979-39-A, one, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Seneca Co., (HHA). Upstate records.

BAIRD’S SANDPIPER. 1979-28-A, B, C, three birds, 31 May, Sharon Station, Dutchess Co., photographs on file (BS, HCM, EP).This is the first substantiated spring record for New York State.

SABINE’S GULL. 1979-36-A, B, C, imm., 15 Sept., Derby Hill, Oswego Co., (DWC, FGS). 1979-46-A, B, imm., 6 Oct, Derby Hill, Oswego Co. (FGS, PDeB). 1979-47-A, imm., 10 Nov., Niagara River above Canadian Falls, Niagara Co. (RGS).

SOOTY TERN. 1979-36-A, B, C, six ad., two imm., 7-8-Sept., Hudson River at New Hamburg, Dutchess Co. (ABR, MCK, KMM). 1979-37-A, exhausted ad. captured 6 Sept., released 10 Sept., Gardner Co. Park, Suffolk Co., photographs on file (FF). These reports, as well as about 90 other birds not formally reported to the NYSARC, were associated with the passage of Hurricane David.

GREAT GRAY OWL. 1979-4-A, B, one, 8-14 Jan., Lloyd Harbor, Suffolk Co., photographs on file (THD, FF) [2]. 1979-10-A-G, up to 4 birds, 31 Jan. to 3 Mar., 1- ½ mi north Depauville, Jefferson Co., photographs on file (RGS, CCJ, FAC, PDeB, DWC, FGS, RL) [9, 12,13, 25]. 1979-11-A,B, one, 31 Jan., Rotterdam, Schenectady Co., (DEO, PR) [11]. 1979-14-A, one, 28 Mar., Clifton Park, Saratoga Co. (KD) [63]. 1979-16-A, B, C, two birds (not seen together), 17 Feb. to 14 Mar., 2 mi west Oswego, Oswego Co., photographs on file (DWC, FGS, PDeB) [44,54]. 1979-49-A, one, 23 Jan., town of Berne, Albany Co., (KPA) [7]. 1979-50-A, one, 13-19 Feb. (shot when found, later rehabilitated), Cohoes, Albany Co., photographs on file (KPA) [36]. 1979-51-A, one, 23 Feb., Rensselaer Co., (PK) [43?]. 1979-52-A, one, 18-21 Mar., Voorheesville, Albany Co., photographs on file (KPA) [61]. 1979-53-A, one, 4-5 Apr. (moribund when found), Vischer’s Ferry, Saratoga Co., photographs on file, specimen NY State Museum, (KPA) [64]. In addition, newspaper articles with photographs of these birds from North Lawrence, Jefferson Co. [4], and from Pillar Pt., Jefferson Co. [56], are on file with the above reports. These reports represent only part of the greatest incursion of Great Gray Owls yet recorded in New York State. A complete account appears in The Kingbird 30:85; 1980; numbers in square brackets above are the number assignment to the corresponding observation in that account.

BOREAL OWL. 1979-31-A, B, C, one, 4 Apr., Braddock’s Bay, Monroe Co., photographs on file (KPA, FGS, RGS). This is the 21st report for New York State (see The Kingbird 29: 181; 1979).

SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER. 1979-43-A,D, ad., 18 Sept. to 18 Oct., town of Sandy Creek, Oswego Co., photographs on file (DWC, FGS, RGS, PDeB). This is the 15th report from New York State and the first substantiated upstate record.

LARK SPARROW. 1979-35-A, singing ad., 5 Sept., Ithaca, Tompkins Co., (SS). This is about the 8th record from upstate New York.

1979 Reports Not Accepted

BARNACLE GOOSE. 1979-13, 25 Mar., Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, Niagara Co. The NYSARC considers this bird to have been a possible escape from captivity.

CINNAMON TEAL. 1979-30, one, 14 Apr., Big Flats, Chemung Co. The description is suggestive of a Blue-winged X Cinnamon Teal hybrid.

GYRFALCON. 1979-8, one, 9 Sept., Northrup Creek, Greece, Monroe Co.

SANDHILL CRANE. 1979-22, one, 8 May, Derby Hill, Oswego Co. This report is accompanied by a photograph of a bird identifiable as a crane but not to species.

LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER. 1979-20, one, 30 May, El Dorado Shores, Jefferson Co.

ARCTIC TERN. 1979-20, one, 1 June, Elmira, Chemung Co.

GREAT GRAY OWL. 1979-12, one, 21 Jan., 5 mi south Plattsburgh, Clinton Co. [6].

NORTHERN THREE-TOED WOODPECKER. 1979-15, one 4 May, Chatham, Columbia Co.

Reports of Snowy Egret (upstate), White-rumped Sandpiper (upstate), Purple Sandpiper (upstate, spring) Forster’s Tern (upstate), Western Kingbird (upstate), and Kentucky Warbler (nesting upstate) were filed without review. Reports of these species are not normally reviewed by the NYSARC. With the addition of Mississippi Kite, the New York State List now includes 418 species.


Paul DeBenedictis, Chairman
Kenneth P. Able
Robert F. Andrle
Thomas H. Davis, Jr.
Robert O. Paxton


KPA: Kenneth P. Able. HHA: Harold Axtell. FAC: Frank A. Church. RC: Robert Clermont. DWC: Dorothy W. Crumb. THD: Thomas H. Davis. PDeB: Paul DeBenedictis. JDiC: Jo DiConstanzo. KD: Kate Dunham. LF: Lucile Feldman. FF: Fran File. C and JH: Celia and Julius Hastings. RSH: R. S. Heil. CCJ: Catherine C. Johnson. MCK: Mary C. Key. PK: Paul Kerlinger. RL: Robert Long. HCM: Helen C. Manson. KMM: Kenneth C. McDermott. DEO: David E. Odell. HP: Howard Pellet. EP: Eleanor Pink. PR: Paul Riexinger. ABR: Aline B. Romero. SS: Steve Sabo. FGS: Fritz G. Scheider. RGS: RGS: Robert G. Spahn. BS: Beatrix Strauss. MVW: Marion VanWagner. RZ: Richard ZainEldeen.

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