Friday, October 30, 2009

MBRC Berrien Birds

Last Update: Nov 3, 2009 to include old records reviewed by Jon Wuepper in his article "The Birds of Berrien Co, MI," published in 2001 in Michigan Birds and Natural History.

With the unfortunate loss of the Searchable Database from the Michigan Bird Records Committeee site (I think due to server space issues) I've spent a decent amount of time reading the old MBRC action reports. I started taking notes, focusing mainly on birds from Berrien (such as this black vulture -though last year's report presumably containing this bird isn't up on the web yet). Just for ID fun, note that the young turkey vulture in the lower right hand corner of the pic superficially resembles the blackie if you don't look at the shape or the pattern of head feathering.There's a fair amount of data to be mined and I'm certainly not going to claim that this is exhaustive (some of it was reviewed while switching my schedule to nights with an initial all-nighter). My main goal is to record the date range where the birds occurred (and possibly could occur again, so I didn't bother recording the year), but it would be nice to have recorded the rest of the state data ... maybe next time. I'll probably continue to edit this post to keep it current for the uncountable couple of people who would be interested. And of course this is useless for potential first county records (like the probable Sprague's pipit that kicked off my reading).

If a report somewhere along the way mentioned how many records there'd been for the county that number is included in the parentheses. Clearly there's some inaccuracies in my summary here, but it gives the ballpark idea.

With 8 records I'm clearly overdue for a Western Grebe. Pomarine and Long-tailed Jaeger each have 4 relatively recent records. Lark Sparrow apparently has 7 total, but I only came across 1 in the last 20 or so years covered by the committee, though I could have missed some too. With 10 California Gull records (and counting), Berrien is probably the best place in the state to blunder into this bird.

Ross’s 17 Feb – 5 Mar, 27 Apr, 7-13 Nov
Brant 30 Oct; 10, 14-17, 16 Nov; also twice long staying in New Buffalo mid Nov-early Dec and mid Jan respectively
Eurasian Wigeon 5, 18-23 Apr (considered hypothetical by Wuepper as never subjected to MBRC review)
King Eider 15 Nov-28 Dec
Barrow’s Goldeneye 19 Dec-23 Jan
Pacific Loon (1) 25-27 Apr
Western Grebe (7) 11-12, 30 Oct; 6-12, 21 Nov; 7, 16, 17, 22-28 Dec; 4-5 Jan
Brown Pelican (2) 5-19 Jul, 6 Sep (I should have written down the rejected dates, there’s a lot of brown pelicans rejected from the Lake Michigan shoreline. Strangely, inland birders aren’t seeing cormorants and great blue herons and constantly writing them up as pelicans. One of these two records was rejected and then later had to be accepted when a photo surfaced. In full disclosure I've had a pelican record rejected).
Magnificent Frigatebird/Frigatebird, sp - Sep 26, Sep 30, Oct 2 (The Sep 26 followed Hurricane Ike in 2007 whose large size pushed notable numbers of frigatebirds throughout its path. Both the Sep 30th and the Oct 2nd records occurred in 1988. The Sep 30 record is controversial, and apparently a different bird than the Oct 2. It was submitted by legendary Berrien birder and original MBRC committee member Roy Smith based on the verbal description he was given by the primary observer. It was originally accepted, and then re-reviewed by a later committee over a decade later and summarily rejected. However, given that it followed Hurricane Gilbert, one of the largest hurricanes ever recorded and whose remnants ended up directly in southern Lake Michigan, and which was noted in the Vol 63, No 1 North American Birds Changing Seasons column to also be a “frigatebird storm,” my guess is that it’s legit. In any case it doesn’t change the pattern of the other 2 records.)
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 1 Jul
Glossy Ibis 10 May
White-faced Ibis (1) 13-16 May
Plegadis sp 18 May
Black Vulture 8 Apr, 9-12 Apr
Mississippi Kite (2) 11 May
Swallow-tailed Kite (1) 2-16 May
Swainson’s Hawk 5 May, 24 May
King Rail 9 May, 30 May
Ruff 7,21 May [considered hypothetical as above], 9-14 Jul
Black-necked Stilt 6 May – 6 Jun
Black-headed Gull 20 May,
Mew Gull 4-6 Dec, 1 Jan
California Gull 19, 30 Apr; 30 May; 18 Jun; 16 Sep; 1, 11, 15, 25 Nov; 27 Dec
Sabine’s Gull 31 Aug, 2 Nov
Roseate Tern 21 Jun
Arctic Tern 14 May, 6 Jul, 10 Jul, 6 Nov
Least Tern 3-4 Jun, 8 Jul
Sandwich Tern 31 Jul
Pomarine Jaeger (5) 1 Oct, 9 Sept, 23 Nov, 15 Dec
Long-tailed Jaeger (4) 28 Aug; 10, 16-19 Sep, 17 Nov,
Band-tailed Pigeon 24 Dec - 22 Jan
Eurasian Collard Dove 15 May 2005 – 10 Aug 2006
Ani, sp 3-11 Nov
Burrowing Owl 5 Jun (a bird captured in a motel laundry room!!!)
Chuck-will's Widow 16 May – 3 Jul, 7 May – 13 Jul, 2 May – 7 Jul
Selasphorus/Rufous Hummer Aug – Nov, Sep – Nov, 25 Oct – 20 Nov, 20 Oct – 26 Dec, 7 Nov – 19 Dec
Scissor-tailed Fly (1) 15-16 May
Bell’s Vireo 14 May, 18-19 Jul
Bewicks's Wren 30, 31 Mar; 10-11, 20, 22, 24 Apr; 15 Sep
Rock Wren 15 Nov (rejected though 4-3 voted in favor. The details supplied by the MBRC report do seem fairly convincing, my shameless speculation is that the author of the report that year voted in favor)
Mountain Bluebird 22 Oct
Varied Thrush 18 Dec - 10 Feb, 23 Nov - 20 Feb, 11 Nov
Western Tanager (2) 26 May, 6-22 Jan
Lark Sparrow (7) 18, 20, 21-24 Apr; 16 May; 2, 7 Oct
Lark Bunting 13-19 Jan
Brambling 12 Apr (I need to do some research as to why brambling has twice been accepted and all the other European finches are rejected based on origin concerns)
Blue Grosbeak 18 May
Painted Bunting (2) 30 Apr, 19 May

1 comment:

Caleb Putnam said...


Just wanted to clarify that the MBRC searchable database is currently down because the webhost that we were using for the source code has gone under and is offering no data support. We are currently looking for a new provider which will provide us with a free MYSQL database and PHP scripting support. Once we achieve this, we will resurrect the searchable database. Sorry for the delay!

Caleb (MBRC chair)