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2015 Annual Report

TEXAS BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE REPORT FOR 2015

ERIC CARPENTER

4710 Canyonwood Drive, Austin, Texas 78735 


The Texas Bird Records Committee (hereafter "TBRC" or "committee") of the Texas Ornithological Society requests and reviews documentation on any record of a TBRC Review List species (see TBRC web page at http://www.texasbirdrecordscommittee.org).  Annual reports of the committee’s activities have appeared in the Bulletin of the Texas Ornithological Society since 1984.  For more information about the Texas Ornithological Society or the TBRC, please visit www.texasbirds.org.  The committee reached a final decision on 58 records during 2015: 49 records of 30 species were accepted and 8 records of 7 species were not accepted, an acceptance rate of 84.48% for this report. A total of 104 observers submitted documentation (to the TBRC or to other entities) that was reviewed by the committee during 2015. 

The TBRC accepted three first state records in 2015.  The additions of Bar-tailed Godwit, Red-legged Honeycreeper and Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch bring the official Texas State List to 642 species in good standing. This total does not include the five species on the Presumptive Species List. 

In addition to the review of previously undocumented species, any committee member may request that a record of any species be reviewed.  The committee requests written descriptions as well as photographs, video, and audio recordings if available.  Information concerning a Review List species may be submitted to the committee secretary, Eric Carpenter, 4710 Canyonwood Drive, Austin, Texas 78735 (email: ecarpe@gmail.com).  Guidelines for preparing rare bird documentation can be found in Dittmann and Lasley (1992) or at http://www.greglasley.net/document.html. 

The records in this report are arranged taxonomically following the AOU Check-list of North American Birds (AOU 1998) through the 56th supplement (Chesser et al. 2015).  A number in parentheses after the species name represents the total number of accepted records in Texas for that species at the end of 2015.  Species added to the Review List because of population declines or dwindling occurrence in recent years do not have the total number of accepted records denoted as there are many documented records that were not subjected to review (e.g. Brown Jay, Pinyon Jay, Tamaulipas Crow, and Evening Grosbeak).  All observers who submitted written documentation or photographs/recordings of accepted records are acknowledged by initials.  If known, the initials of those who discovered a particular bird are in boldface but only if the discoverer(s) submitted supporting documentation.  The TBRC file number of each accepted record will follow the observers' initials.  If photographs or video recordings are on file with the TBRC, the Texas Photo Record File (TPRF) (Texas A&M University) number is also given.  If an audio recording of the bird is on file with the TBRC, the Texas Bird Sounds Library (TBSL) (Sam Houston State University) number is also given.  Specimen records are denoted with an asterisk (*) followed by the institution where the specimen is housed and the catalog number.  The information in each account is usually based on the information provided in the original submitted documentation; however, in some cases this information has been supplemented with a full range of dates the bird was present if that information was made available to the TBRC.  All locations in italics are counties.  Please note that the county designations of offshore records are used only as a reference to the nearest point of land. 

TBRC Membership -- Members of the TBRC during 2015 who participated in decisions listed in this report were: Randy Pinkston, Chair; Keith Arnold, Academician; Eric Carpenter, (non-voting) Secretary; Greg Cook, Tim Fennell, Mary Gustafson, Petra Hockey, Mark Lockwood, Jim Paton, Byron Stone, Dan Jones, Stephan Lorenz.  During 2015, Mary Gustafson’s and Tim Fennell’s second term each expired with Dan Jones and Stephan Lorenz elected to fill those vacancies. The Chair, Academician, and Secretary were also re-elected. 

Contributors - Dorian Anderson, Lindsey Augustus, Eddie Bartley (EBa), Mark Bartosik (MBa), Aaron Baxter, Theresa Bayoud, Mikael Behrens (MBe), Bob Behrstock, Chris Benesh, David Brotherton, Luanne Brotherton, Erik Bruhnke (EBr), Kelly Bryan, Kirby Campbell, Eric Carpenter, Larry Carpenter, Bala Chennupati, Sheridan Coffey (ShC), Scarlet Colley (ScC), Steve Collins (StC), Mel Cooksey, Tim Cooper, Rich Damron, Tripp Davenport, Kristin Davis, Carolyn Dill, Gil Eckrich, Mark Esparza, Ed Fair, Sam Fason, Robert Ferrell, Joe Fischer, Phyllis Frank, Tony Frank, Bret Fried, Pam Goolsby, Lisa Griffis, Saul Grysman, Mary Gustafson, John Haynes, Mitch Heindel, Petra Hockey, Scott Holt, Eric Hough, Dan Jones, John Kaye, Tiffany Kersten, Florence King, Rich Kostecke, Mark Kulstad, Greg Lasley (GLs), Greg Lavaty (GLv), Cin-Ty Lee (CTL), Natalie Lindholm, Mark Lockwood, Jud Maxwell (JMa), Donna McCown (DMc), Steven McDonald (StM), Sean McElaney (SeM), Nate McGowan, Craig McIntyre (CrM), Jon McIntyre (JMc), Brad McKinney, Candy McNamee (CaM), Arman Moreno (AMo), Alisa Muniz (AMu), Derek Muschalek (DMu), Bob Neiman, Patrick Nowlin, John O'Brien, Dale Ohl, Andrew Orgill, Brent Ortego, Sue Orwig, Greg Page (GPa), Jim Paton (JPa), Wendy Petty, Barrett Pierce, Randy Pinkston, Sharon Pratt, Gene Prejean (GPr), Joann Pruitt (JPr), Martin Reid, Jacob Roalef (JaR), Dan Roberts, John Rosford (JoR), Chris Runk, Suzanne Schroeder, Willie Sekula, Paul Sellin (PSe), Chris Seymour, Dennis Shepler, Rhoda Spuhler (RSp), Eric Stager, Rex Stanford (RSt), Jim Stevenson, Byron Stone, Paul Sunby (PSu), Samuel Taylor, Margaret Viens, Fred Welden, Teri Zambon, Barry Zimmer, Robin Zurovec. 

Acknowledgments -- The TBRC is very grateful to the many contributors listed above, without whom this report would not be possible.  The committee would also like to thank Martha Jordon, Steve Mlodinow, Nathan Pieplow and Peter Pyle for providing the TBRC with expert opinion concerning records reviewed during 2015.  The author thanks Jim Peterson and TBRC members for reviewing previous drafts of this report. 

Additional Abbreviations -- AOU = American Ornithologists' Union; NP = National Park; NS = National Seashore; NWR = National Wildlife Refuge; SHS = State Historic Site; SNA = State Natural Area; SP = State Park; TBSL = Texas Bird Sounds Library (Sam Houston State University); TCWC = Texas Cooperative Wildlife Collection (Texas A&M University); WMA = Wildlife Management Area. 

ACCEPTED RECORDS 

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) (12). One at The Woodlands, Montgomery, from 9 - 22 December 2014 (GPr, LC, LG, FK, PSe, TF, PF, RP, BS; 2014-66; TPRF 3225).

Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) (54). One se. of Cedar Park, Williamson, on 18 January 2015 (MBe, RK; 2015-06; TPRF 3226).

Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) (29). One at Red Bluff Lake, Reeves/Loving, on 20 March 2015 (BN; 2015-24; TPRF 3233).

Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus) (14). One off South Padre Island, Cameron, on 25 October 2014 (EC, AMo, RP, PH, BM; 2014-56; TPRF 3220).

Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria) (11). One at a private ranch, Victoria, on 6 August 2014 (BO; 2014-43; TPRF 3213).

Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) (48). As many as five at Corpus Christi & Nueces Bays, Nueces/San Patricio, from 15 December 2013 - 30 July 2014 (JMc, CaM, CrM, TZ, DR, RSt, PG, SH, AB; 2013-79; TPRF 3201).  One at Espiritu Santo Bay, Calhoun, on 17 June 2014 (PH; 2014-35; TPRF 3207).  One at South Padre Island & Port Isabel, Cameron, from 28 June - 12 July 2014 (ScC, RZ, SS; 2014-39; TPRF 3210).  Up to two offshore, SPI Pelagic, Cameron, on 16 August 2014 (EC, PH, TD, GLv; 2014-45; TPRF 3215).  One at Galveston Ship Channel, Galveston, on 24 August 2014 (CTL, MK; 2014-47).  One at Matagorda Bay, Calhoun/Matagorda, on 27 August 2014 (PH; 2014-46).  One at Windy Point, Lake Travis, Travis, from 6 September 2014 - 8 January 2015 (RK, EC, AMo, EF, RP, JaR; 2014-48; TPRF 3216).  One at Matagorda jetties, Matagorda, on 15 December 2014 (PH; 2014-68).  One at Pleasure Island, Jefferson, on 17 February 2015 (PN; 2015-16; TPRF 3230).

Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) (25). One at Utopia, Uvalde, on 19 March 2014 (MH; 2014-40).

Collared Plover (Charadrius collaris) (2). One at Hargill playa, Hidalgo, from 2 - 17 August 2014 (DJ, RD, NM, ShC, EC, RP, PF, TF, DS, PH, RSt, MC, BS; 2014-41; TPRF 3211).

Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) (1). One at Oso Bay, Nueces, from 9 August - 26 October 2014 (MC, EC, PF, TF, BM, RSt, RP, SF, PH, TB, StM, AO; 2014-44; TPRF 3214). This represents the first documented record for Texas.

Red Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) (45). One at Marathon sewage ponds, Brewster, from 15 - 16 June 2014 (DO, ML; 2014-34; TPRF 3077).

Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus) (25). One at Lake Belton, Bell, on 8 September 2014 (GE; 2014-50; TPRF 3217).  One off South Padre Island, Cameron, on 20 September 2014 (AMo, EBr, BM; 2014-52; TPRF 3218).

Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) (99). One at Texas City Dike, Galveston, on 14 December 2014 (MBa; 2014-70; TPRF 3238).

Mew Gull (Larus canus) (38). One at Keystone Heritage Park, El Paso, El Paso, on 28 December 2014 (JPa; 2015-15; TPRF 3229).

Elegant Tern (Thalasseus elegans) (6). One at Texas City Dike, Galveston, on 1 November 2014 (MBa; 2014-72; TPRF 3239).

Green Violetear (Colibri thalassinus) (77). One at nw. Austin, Travis, from 27 - 29 May 2014 (JMa; 2014-32; TPRF 3204).  One at La Vernia, Wilson, from 27 June - 1 July 2014 (RF, ShC, NM; 2014-38; TPRF 3209).

White-eared Hummingbird (Hylocharis leucotis) (35). Up to three at Davis Mountains Resort, Jeff Davis, from 25 May - 4 September 2014 (KB, ML; 2014-37; TPRF 3208).

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher (Myiodynastes luteiventris) (26). One at Paradise Pond, Port Aransas, Nueces, on 22 May 2011 (CS; 2014-42; TPRF 3212).  One at w. Galveston Island, Galveston, from 5 - 13 May 2014 (JS, RSp; 2014-33; TPRF 3205).

Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana) (29). One at Sabine Woods, Jefferson, on 22 September 2014 (JH; 2014-54).  One at Laguna Atascosa NWR, Cameron, from 27 - 28 November 2014 (BC, SP, ME; 2014-62; TPRF 3222).  One at w. Galveston Island, Galveston, on 22 December 2014 (CD, SO, DS; 2014-73; TPRF 3240).  One at Port Aransas, Nueces, on 22 April 2015 (EBa; 2015-28; TPRF 3234).

Rose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae) (53). One at Santa Ana, Hidalgo, from 11 - 19 November 2013 (BB, SG, AMo; 2013-69; TPRF 3200).  One at Bentsen SP, Hidalgo, on 28 April 2015 (JoR, JK; 2015-30).

Black-whiskered Vireo (Vireo altiloquus) (37). One at Powderhorn Ranch, Calhoun, on 1 May 2015 (KD, AMu; 2015-38; TPRF 3237).

American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) (9). One at McKittrick Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains NP, Culberson, on 29 November 2014 (WS, DMu; 2014-64; TPRF 3223).

Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) (45). One at El Paso, El Paso, from 2 January - 7 March 2015 (JPa; 2015-14; TPRF 3228).

Rufous-capped Warbler (Basileuterus rufifrons) (30). One at Chalk Bluff Park, Uvalde, from 20 April - 28 May 2013 (TF, PF, ST, CB, StC; 2013-30; TPRF 3199).  One at Chalk Bluff Park, Uvalde, from 21 April - 1 June 2014 (ES, StM, GPa, SeM, MV; 2014-28; TPRF 3202).

Slate-throated Redstart (Myioborus miniatus) (12). One at Stanford Park, Plains, Yoakum, on 19 April 2014 (StC; 2014-36; TPRF 3203).  One at South Padre Island, Cameron, from 29 - 30 April 2015 (FW, RSt, DMc; 2015-34; TPRF 3236).

Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus) (1). One at Estero Llano Grande SP, Hidalgo, from 27 - 29 November 2014 (TK, ME, JO, MR, DJ, MG, ST, DA; 2014-65; TPRF 3224). This represents the first documented record for Texas and the first record accepted as naturally occurring by any state's Bird Records Committee in the United States.

Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) (38). One at South Padre Island, Cameron, on 1 May 2015 (NL, LA; 2015-32; TPRF 3235).

Crimson-collared Grosbeak (Rhodothraupis celaeno) (36). One at Frontera Audubon Thicket, Hidalgo, from 10 - 11 May 2014 (MG; 2014-31).

Blue Bunting (Cyanocompsa parellina) (46). One at Santa Ana NWR, Hidalgo, on 4 January 2015 (DJ; 2015-11; TPRF 3227).

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis) (1). One se. of Texline, Dallam, from 20 - 21 November 2014 (DB, LB, BP; 2014-59; TPRF 3221). This represents the first documented record for Texas.

Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus) (13). Four at Wellington, Collingsworth, from 26 - 27 April 2014 (KC; 2014-53; TPRF 3219).  Three at Amarillo, Potter, on 16 February 2015 (JPr; 2015-17; TPRF 3231).  One w. of Bee Cave, Travis, on 20 March 2015 (GLs; 2015-23; TPRF 3232). 

NOT ACCEPTED

A number of factors may contribute to a record being denied acceptance.  It is quite uncommon for a record to not be accepted due to a bird being obviously misidentified.  More commonly, a record is not accepted because the material submitted was incomplete, insufficient, superficial, or just too vague to properly document the reported occurrence while eliminating all other similar species.  Also, written documentation or descriptions prepared entirely from memory weeks, months, or years after a sighting are seldom voted on favorably.  It is important that the simple act of not accepting a particular record should by no means indicate that the TBRC or any of its members feel the record did not occur as reported.  The non-acceptance of any record simply reflects the opinion of the TBRC that the documentation, as submitted, did not meet the rigorous standards appropriate for adding data to the formal historical record.  The TBRC makes every effort to be as fair and objective as possible regarding each record.  If the committee is unsure about any particular record, it prefers to err on the conservative side and not accept a good record rather than validate a bad one.  All records, whether accepted or not, remain on file and can be re-submitted to the committee if additional substantive material is presented. 

Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena). One near Packery Channel, Nueces, from 16 February 2013 - 18 February 2013 (2013-29).

Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster). One at Quintana Jetty, Brazoria, on 1 March 2014 (2014-18).

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea). Two at Lake Travis/Windy Point, Travis, on 6 September 2014 (2014-49).

Buff-breasted Flycatcher (Empidonax fulvifrons). Four at The Bowl, Guadalupe Mountains NP, Culberson, on 14 May 2014 (2014-29).

Pacific Wren (Troglodytes pacificus). One at El Paso, El Paso, from 6 December 2014 - 7 December 2015 (2014-76). One at Junction, Kimble, on 1 February 2015 (2015-18).

Rufous-backed Robin (Turdus rufopalliatus). One at Bentsen State Park, Hidalgo, on 5 April 2015 (2015-26).

Black-vented Oriole (Icterus wagleri). One at Pecos, Reeves, from 22 April 2015 - 25 April 2015 (2015-31). 

LITERATURE CITED 

AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS’ UNION.  1998.  Check-list of North American birds, 7th ed.  

     American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D. C 

CHESSER, R. TERRY, R. C. BANKS, K. J. BURNS, C. CICERO, J. L. DUNN, A. W. KRATTER, I. J. LOVETTE, A. G. NAVARRO-SIGUENZA, P. C. RASMUSSEN, J. V. REMSEN, Jr., J. D. RISING, D. F. STOLTZ, AND K. WINKLER, 2015.  Fifty-sixth supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds.  Auk 132:748-764.

DITTMANN, D. L., and G. W. LASLEY.  1992.  How to document rare birds. Birding     24:145-159.

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