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Summer Rare Birds: Cassin’s Kingbird would be a new state record

Dan Belter photographed what has been identified as a Cassin’s Kingbird in Marathon County on June 5.

By Mark Korducki

The exciting spring for rarities continued into early June. In Marathon County, a trip to search for Dickcissels turned up a much more exciting surprise for a Wausau birder. An unusual flycatcher was photographed and subsequently identified as a Cassin's Kingbird. If accepted, this would be the first documented record for Wisconsin. The kingbird proved quite reliable and was seen by several Wausau area birders that evening and by about two dozen birders from around the state the next day before it disappeared. Other vagrant flycatchers seen in June included a Western Kingbird in Sauk County and a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Price County.

A few great rarities were reported in late May after the last article was written. A very cooperative Bullock's Oriole spent several days at a feeder in Bayfield County, which has been an outstanding location for rarities this year, including a stunning Pacific Loon in alternate plumage. A male Lazuli Bunting was photographed at a private feeder in Burnett County.


RARE Bullocks oriole photo 7 22

Photo by Ryan Brady  

This Bullock's Oriole visited a feeder near Washburn in Bayfield County.

Sheboygan usually produces a large gull flock in early summer, and this year was no exception. A Black-headed Gull was a great find and proved to be a new state bird for many veteran Wisconsin birders. Little and Laughing Gulls were the more expected rarities found here.

RARE black headed gull photo 7 22

Jim Edlhuber managed to locate and photograph this Black-headed Gull (note size and reddish bill) among the hundreds of
other gulls around North Point in Sheboygan on June 13.

Brown County produced a great variety of shorebirds, including some late spring migrants and a few birds that were spending the summer. Included in this list were both Marbled and Hudsonian Godwit, American Avocet, Whimbrel and Red Knot. Piping Plovers successfully nested there as well.

By July 1, the beginning of fall shorebird migration was reported at several locations around the state. A group of Red-necked Phalaropes were unusually early in Marathon County.

RARE Black bellied Whistling Ducks photo 7 22

Photo by Ryan Brady
Ashland County strikes again with this incredible group of 14 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks at a private pond south of the
city of Ashland. This was a second county record and the second largest group of adults recorded in state history (vs. 25 in
Dane earlier this May).

A Black-belled Whistling Duck was a nice find in Ozaukee County. A group of 14 birds provided a first county record for Ashland  County. White-faced and Glossy Ibis were both reported in Dodge County, and a Snowy Egret was present in Dane County. A Snowy Owl in Kewaunee County was a very unusual sighting in June.

Traditional haunts in Sauk County once again hosted Worm-eating Warblers. A Prairie Warbler was present near the Adams County location where Kirtland's Warblers were once again on territory. In addition to returning birds in Ozaukee and Sauk, a singing male Blue Grosbeak was found in Waukesha.

With fall shorebird migration underway, passerines aren't far behind and it's a good time to check hummingbird feeders for vagrants. Late summer is also a good time to get out and search wetland areas for wading birds. Maybe Wisconsin will be the next state to add a Limpkin!

Formerly a south Florida specialty, Limpkins have been seen with increased frequency in the center of the United States the past two summers. Minnesota had a bird last year, and just last month one was found in Lucas County, Iowa, just South of Des Moines. They also have been seen this summer in Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

In addition to compiling this monthly report, Mark coordinates Wisconsin’s 92 Breeding Bird Survey routes.