New York State Avian Records Committee

a committee of the New York State Ornithological Association

Annual Report - 1985 & 1986


As a body, NYSARC has been resuscitated, circulation to its members has increased, and a prognosis of robust health and full function has been rendered.

There have been several changes in Committee membership since our last report. Ken Able resigned because of professional commitments and was replaced by William Vaughn, who served as acting chairman from 1985 until August 1987. Steven C. Sibley was appointed to fill the remainder of his term. The committee elected F. G. Scheider Chairman in October 1987.

A summary of the 1985 and the 1986 reports reviewed follows. First, several comments concerning these reports are in order:

    1. The majority of reports not accepted almost uniformly suffered from insufficient details regarding physical description (shape, size, plumage pattern and color) and behavior to be judged acceptable. Some of the reports had few details because of the brevity of the observations, but just as no woman can be too thin or too rich, so no report submitted for review can be too detailed.
    2. Legibility of reports continues to be a problem. If possible, type or print the information given.
    3. Since all reports whether accepted or not are archived, please be very specific as to the locality where the species sighting occurred by including the name of the site, nearest community, town and county.

Future reports of species requiring review by NYSARC should be sent to:

c/o Richard G. Evans
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850

Three reports from 1985 and three others antedating that year remain under review. Decisions on these will be published pending circulation of the relevant documentation and/or comments to the NYSARC members. All of 1986 reports have been reviewed and none remain unresolved.


1985 Accepted Reports

Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis).  1985-1-A one near Ditch Plains, Montauk, Suffolk County, 12 January (AM). This is the 13th record of an Aechmophorus grebe for the state; most prior records have been allocated to species but the one substantiated record also is of this species.

Western or Clark’s Grebe (Aechmophorus species). 1985-14-A one on Lake Ontario off Route 272, town of Morton, Monroe County, 19 May (C&RL). The details of the report clearly indicate one of the above species but the facial/loral pattern and bill coloration was not described clearly enough to know which species was present; future sightings of Western type grebes must include sufficient details to ascertain which species is involved.

Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis). 1985-43-A one Chappaqua, Westchester County, 30 September (EDT). This record comes three days after the passage of Hurricane Gloria. There are about 15 prior records from New York, some of large numbers of individuals seen off long Island.

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor). 1985-25-A adult, Manitou Beach, Monroe County, 24 May (ROH). One of a dozen Upstate records, most of which are spring birds observed along Lakes Erie and Ontario.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax violaceus). 1985-16-A adult at South Park Lake, Buffalo, Erie County, 4 August (RFA). There are about a dozen prior Upstate records.

Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis). 1985-3-A adult with two immatures, both of which were suspected to be hybrid Canada X Barnacle Goose, Church Road, Hamlin, Monroe County, 11-15 March (SS, R&CL). The identification of the adult was accepted, but the provenance of these birds is not determinable. An adult Barnacle Goose associated with two hybrid (Canada x Barnacle) young and an apparent Richardson’s Goose were seen together in New Haven County, Connecticut, 22 November 1984 - 10 January 1985 (Connecticut Warbler 5:16-18). This is about the twelfth record from New York.

American Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus). 1985-26-A one over Palisades Parkway, Rockland County, 24 June (JA). This bird, the fourteenth record from New York, probably was displaced by a storm, as the date seem much too late for a spring overshoot.

Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis). 1985-22-A one, Bird Swamp, Town of Machias, Cattaraugus County, 20 April (TB). This is the second record for the state.

Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni). 1985-4-A,B one light morph, Derby Hill, Town of Mexico, Oswego County, 14 April (GAS, FGS). 1985-6-A one light morph Derby Hill, Town of Mexico, Oswego County, 22 April (GAS). 1985-30-A immature, Warren’s Sod Farm, Pine Island, Orange County, 15 September (JCS); a photograph appears in American Birds (Vil. 40:88; 1986). These are the tenth through twelfth records from New York. This is a rare and irregular migrant in hawk flights along Lake Ontario, usually in mid to late April; to date only light morphs have been detected.

Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus). 1985-39-A,B “white morph” south of Bridgeport, Onondaga County, 21 December (FlaF, PR). The white morph is the rarest form in New York State. There are about 45 prior reports from New York, some of which are poorly documented.

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis). 1985-7-A one flying over Derby Hill, Town of Mexico, Oswego County, 22 April (GAS). 1985-35-A two near Mt. Sinai, Suffolk County, 21 November (SBD). These two records neatly demonstrate the present pattern of appearances, either in the spring flights along Lake Ontario (usually in April) or in late fall - early winter anywhere in the state but usually associated with open agricultural sectors. There are about 20 prior records from New York.

Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa laponica). 1985-18-A one, Bay park, East Rockaway, Nassau County, 5 June (MRL). This is only the fifth record for the state.

Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa). 1985-33-A one in a field on North Hamlin Road, Monroe County, 21 September (MR). There are about two dozen prior Upstate records. Although extremely rare away from the coast, its distribution and numbers on the coast suggest that birds of this species must pass over Upstate areas regularly.

Rufous-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis). 1985-20-A,B one in breeding plumage Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Queens County, 27-28 July (AM, RBC). Report dates as above but apparently this bird stayed until 11 August; see The Kingbird 36:3-5; 1985 for a full account of this record. This is the first record for the state but is in keeping with the increasing numbers of Eurasian stints being identified along the East Coast.

jaeger species (Stercorarius sp.). 1985-41-A one Braddock Bay, Monroe County, 22 December (RGS). Submitted as a Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus), this report was accepted as a jaeger but details were insufficient to ascertain which species was involved.

Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus). 1985-32-A immature found dead at Sylvan Beach, Town of Vienna, Oneida County, 3 September (SH); specimen retained in collection of Rice Creek Field Station, SUNY at Oswego. An addition to the half dozen Upstate records of this species, all too often, as in this case, a dead bird.

Thayer’s Gull (Larus thayeri). 1985-21-A immature (Basic 1) on the Oswego River at Oswego County, 21 March (FGS). The date is somewhat late but in the correct Habitat and at one of the more likely areas along the Oswego River.

Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis). 1985-34-A,B one, Pawling, Dutchess County, 9 October (JCM, SG). The date is appropriate for a fall migrant but this species rarely is seen away from the outer coastal areas at this season. There are about 22 prior Upstate records.

Yellow-throated Warbler (Dendroica dominica). 1985-29-A,B one, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Monroe County, 7 June (RGS, AS). 1985-36-A one showing the characteristics of D. d. albilora at a feeder in Dryden, Tompkins County, 26 November - 8 December, 1985 (SCS). The first record undoubtedly is a spring overshoot but quite late, as the species is often on its breeding grounds by late March or early April. Birds of this species should be observed and, if possible, photographed closely to determine if they are from D. d. dominica, the Atlantic Appalachians, populations. There are about 40 prior Upstate records, including two nesting records in 1984.

Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana). 1985-37-A,B one, Croton Point, Westchester County, 7-14 December (BW, JA). This is about the twentieth record from New York.

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris). 1985-12-A immature male at feeder, Staten Island, Richmond County, 18-20 May (HF). A spring overshoot kind enough to remain long enough to be seen by multiple observers and to be photographed. This is about the twentieth record from New York.

1985 Reports Not Accepted

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens). 1985-8-A one, Cayuga, Cayuga Lake, Cayuga County, 12 May.

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor). 1985-11-A one, El Dorado Beach, Jefferson County, 18 May.

Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis). 1985-23-A one, Bailey Road, near Braddock Bay, Monroe County, 21 April.

Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri). 1985-2-A one, Tschache Pool, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Seneca County, 11-19 May. This species requires very careful documentation in New York State in the spring.

Baird’s Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii). 1985-10-A,B two, Hogan Point Road, Monroe County, 22 May. This species requires very careful documentation in New York State in the spring.

Thayer's Gull (Larus thayeri). 1985-9-A immature, Oswego River, Oswego, Oswego County, 23 March. 1985-42-A one at Robert Moses State Park, St. Lawrence County, 28 December.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus). 1985-5-A one, Town of Washington, Dutchess County, 18 June. 1985-19-A one along Mohawk River between Herkimer & Little Falls, Herkimer County, 28 July.

Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis). 1985-28-A one, East Springwater, Livingston County, 27 June.

Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) 1985-45-A one, Gardner’s Bay County Club, Suffolk County, 29 December.

Black-throated Gray Warbler (Dendroica nigrescens). 1985-13-A one, Forest Park, Queens County, 19 May.

Connecticut Warbler (Oporornis agilis). 1985-15-A one, Town of Champion, Jefferson County, 25 July.

Lark Bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys). 1985-17-A three briefly at a feeder Craine Lake, north of Earlville, Madison County, 4 March.

Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus). 1985-40-A eight, East Springwater, Livingston County, 30 June.

Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus). 1985-24-A one, Brick Schoolhouse Road, Monroe County, 19 May.

Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus galbula bullocki). 1985-27-A one, Warren’s Sod Farm, Pine Island, Orange County, 29-30 June. This report was accepted as a Northern Oriole but not as the subspecies bullocki.

Twelve 1985 reports submitted pertained to species which are not currently reviewed by NYSARC and were filed without being reviewed by the committee.

1986 Accepted Reports

Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis). 1986-35-A one on Lake Ontario, East Manitou Road, Town of Greece, Monroe County, 6 December (RGS). 1986-34-A,B one east of Ditch Plains, Montauk, Suffolk County, 5 December (BT,ROP). See the comments under the 1985 accepted reports.

Wilson’s Storm-Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus). 1986-23-A. One on Tappan Zee north of Piermont Pier, Rockland County, 18 August (PD). See The Kingbird 36:207; 1986 for an account of this bird, apparently displaced by tropical storm Charlie from offshore to this upriver site on the Hudson. This is about the fifth inland record from New York.

Northern Gannet (Sula bassanus). 1986-31-A,B immature, Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery, Town of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, 27-28 October (JWK, MCK). There are about 40 prior Upstate records.

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos). 1986-20-A. One, Hamlin Beach State Park, Town of Hamlin, Monroe County, 29 May (RFE). There are about three dozen prior records from New York.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax violaceus). 1986-11-A. One near Hamlin, Town of Hamlin, Monroe County, 13 April (D&DT). See the comments under the 1985 accepted report.

Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis). 1986-32-A,B one with Canada Goose on Montezuma area marshlands, Route 31, Town of Tyre, Seneca County, 27 November (JR, TL). The identification was clearly correct but the provenance of any specific Barnacle Goose in the state is problematical. See the comments under 1985 accepted reports.

Hybrid teal (Anas discolor X sp.?) 1986-9-A one, Parma, Monroe County, 29 March (TD). Submitted as a Cinnamon Teal or possible hybrid, this bird was accepted as a hybrid between Blue-winged Teal and another species, the latter indeterminate.

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus). 1986-2-A one, Pound Ridge Reservation, Westchester County, 28 April (THM). There are about 30 prior records, about half from upstate New York. This species may appear in any month of the year but records concentrate in the spring or early winter.

American Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus). 1986-12-A one, Dansville Reservoir, Steuben County, 25 April (DB). Probably a spring overshoot as are most of the prior Upstate records. See the comments under the 1985 accepted report.

Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis). 1986-4-A one, Rye, Westchester County, 17 May (RL). 1986-21-A one, Braddock Bay, East Manitou Road, Town of Greece, Monroe County, 1 June (FN, JD, MD). An account of the former record appears in The Kingbird [this issue]. These reports constitute the third and fourth records of the species for New York State, all in the last 8 years.

Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni). 1986-13-A one, Manitou Road, Lake Ontario Parkway, Town of Hamlin, Monroe County, 19 April (RGS). This is the thirteenth record from New York. The most likely place and time, in New York State, to encounter a Swainson’s Hawk is along the Lake Ontario shoreline in mid to late April when the heavy Broad-winged Hawk migration is in progress; however, any sighting anywhere of this rare-in-the-state raptor deserves a very careful write-up. All the records since 1950 have been of light morph individuals.

Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis). 1986-5-A one, Marshlands Conservancy, Rye, Westchester County, 9 June (BW). A record away from Long Island - just barely - but still in a saltwater associated habitat.

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis). 1986-10-A one, Braddock Bay area, Town of Greece, Monroe County, 29 March (RGS). See the comments under 1985 accepted reports.

Lesser Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica). 1986-8-A one, Zach’s Bay, Town of Hempstead, Nassau County, 5 January (BB, MS). This is the record late date for the species in the state.

Mew Gull (Larus canus). 1986-27-A adult in winter plumage at Saunders-Moses Dam on the St. Lawrence River, St. Lawrence County, 4-5 October (ILJ). An addition to the New York species list but note that this species was predicted as one of the top ten most likely species to be added to the states avifauna by 4 of the 5 prognosticators of state species possibilities (Kingbird Vol. 33:11; 1983). The report filed with the NYSARC is outstanding as a model of detail.

Thayer's Gull (Larus thayeri). 1986-38-A one in Basic I plumage at Oswego River, Phoenix, Town of Schroeppel, Oswego County, 21 December (FGS).

Ross’s Gull (Rhodostethia rosea). 1986-36-A one in Basic I plumage on the jetties of Montauk Harbor, Town of East Hampton, Suffolk County, 11 December (JR). Another first for New York State, it should be checked for wherever winter aggregates of smaller gulls, particularly Bonaparte’s Gulls (Larus philadelphia), collect.

Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus). 1986-7-A-D one near Manitou Beach Road, Town of Greece, Monroe Co., 3-4 March (MR, RGS, RFB, D&DT). This is the 22nd record from the state. In late February and March isolated pineries along the Lake Ontario shoreline seem to have the best potential for harboring this species.

Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus). 1986-1-A one, Happy Valley Game Management Area, Towns of Albion & Parish, Oswego County, 15 April (PJT).

Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya). 1986-30-A one, north dunes at Sandy Pond, Town of Sandy Creek, Oswego County, 23 October (FGS). This is the ninth record for the state.

Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis). 1986-22-A one south of Dryden, Tompkins County, 6 August (RGE). 1986-25-A one, Edgemere Drive, Town of Greece, Monroe County, 12 September (KCG). Both records are unusual as to inland locality and the date for the first report is early. See the comments under 1985 accepted reports.

Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana). 1986-6-A one, Jackson Street, Brooklyn Kings County, 17 July (JF). Another addition to the New York State list. Previous reports have lacked sufficient details required for admittance to the state avifauna.

Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus). 1986-33-A,B one, Fredonia, Chautauqua County, 29 November - 3 December (FMR, TDM). See The Kingbird (37:55; 1986) for a full account of this record, the first from New York. This species has been reported previously from Massachusetts and Ontario.

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe). 1986-26-A one, Jones Beach, Town of Hempstead, Nassau County, 25 September (AW). This sighting, the 23rd record from New York, fits into the very narrow time frame (approximately 20 September to 5 October) that account for the majority of the state’s Northern Wheatear records.

Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi). 1986-37-A one, McNulty Road, Town of New Berlin, Chenango County, 20 December (CC).This is only the third report of this species for the state, the last prior one in 1953. Apparently late fall 1986 was an incursion year for this species.

Audubon’s Warbler (Dendroica coronata auduboni). 1986-3-A one, Saunders Pond near Belmont, Town of Amity, Allegany County 26 April (VMP).

Yellow-throated Warbler (Dendroica dominica). 1986-15-A,B one Ellison Park, Town of Brighton & Penfield, Monroe County, 3 May (MR, CTC). If possible, loral color should be described; the suspicion is that upstate birds are primarily D. d. albilora and downstate birds D. d. dominica, but the precise data on individual birds are not being reported to determine this. See the comments under 1985 accepted reports.

Connecticut Warbler (Oporornis agilis). 1986-17-A one, Hamlin Beach State Park, Town of Hamlin, Monroe County, 16 May, (WCDA).

Sharp-tailed Sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus). 1986-28-A three individuals, one described with photographs, along Salmon Creek, Monroe County, 4 October (BWK). This species must migrate regularly from its inland nesting areas through upstate New York but the scarcity of sightings there attest to the species ability to remain, like the Scarlet Pimpernel, damned elusive.

1986 Reports Not Accepted

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus). 1986-16-A one, Dewey-Latta Park. Town of Greece, Monroe County, 17 May.

Thayer's Gull (Larus thayeri). 1986-18-A one, Manitou Beach west of Braddock Bay, Town of Greece, Monroe County, 17 May.

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea). 1986-19-A one, Braddock Bay, Town of Greece, Monroe County, 20 May.

Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya). 1986-24-A one, Wells College Campus, Aurora, Town of Ledyard, Cayuga County, 29 August.

Boreal Chickadee (Parus hudsonicus). 1986-14-A one, Braddock Bay Park, Town of Greece, Monroe County, 30 April.

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris). 1986-29-A one, Canajoharie, Montgomery County, 20-23 October.


Nine 1986 submitted reports pertained to species which are not currently reviewed by NYSARC and were filed without being reviewed by the committee.

The Rufous-necked Stint in 1985 and the Mew Gull, Ross’s Gull, Forked-tailed Flycatcher, and Rock Wren of 1986 all constitute additions to the New York State avifauna list, which now stands at 433. These five species should be added to the list of species which require submission of written reports for NYSARC review when sighted in the state.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert F. Andrle
Robert O. Paxton
Fritz G. Scheider (Chairman)
Steven C. Sibley
Barbara Spencer


Contributors, 1985:
Robert F. Andrle, John Askildsen, Tim Bard, Jessie Bontecou, Jeff Bouton, Carolyn T. Cass, Richard B. Cech, Lee Chamberlaine, Jim Clinton, Jr., Chad Covey, Karl David, Paul A. DeBenedictis, Stephen B. Dempsey, Peter Derven, Jeffery Dodge, Howard Fisher, Mark Gawn, Sibyll Gilbert, Kevin C. Griffith, Harriet D. Hamilton, Thomas M. Hampson, Scott Harris, Peter Hunt, Philip Kearney, Charlotte Ladwig, Robert Ladwig, Ferdinand LaFrance, Robert Lewis, Millard R. Lindauer, John C. McIllwaine, Gordon M. Meade, Dorine Morese, Arthur Morris, Richard O’Hara, Paul Radway, Marty Robinson, Andrew J. Ruff, Fritz G. Scheider, Steven C. Sibley, Sharon M. Skelly, Gerald A. Smith, Robert G. Spahn, Ann Stear, John C. Stellwagen, Joseph W. Taylor, Don Traver, Donna Traver, Edward D. Treacy, Berna Weisman.

Contributors, 1986:
Douglas Ayers, Jr., Berry Baker, Robert F. Beal, David Butler, Carolyn T. Cass, Chad Covey, William C. D’Anna, Karl David, Mike Davids, Peter Derven, Frank Dobson, Jeffery Dodge, Robert F. Edgerton, Richard Evans, John Flack, Kevin C. Griffith, Ian L. Jones, Brian W. Keelan, James W. Key, Mary C. Key, Robert Lewis, Tom Linda, Robert G. McKinney, Thomas H. Meyer, Terrance D. Mosher, Frank Nicoletti, Robert O. Paxton, Vivan Mills Pitzrick, Jack Reddal, Martha Reinhardt, Frances M. Rew, Jonathan F. Robertson, Fritz G. Scheider, Martin Sohmer, Robert G. Spahn, Peter J. Tango, Don Traver, Donna Traver, Benjamin Trimble, Berna Weisman.

Corrections from original: Ann Stear, Braddock Bay

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