As we stare into the precipice of the Great Spring Arrival of late April/early May, the minds of birders continent-wide is undoubtedly on the expected (and in hopefully great numbers), but there’s time for the unexpected as well. The California “Mystery” Shrike of Mendocino County has returned, and long may it befuddle. After several days in which it was missing, the bird was found again this week, a little farther along in its molt. It came back to us looking less like a Red-backed and more like a Brown Shrike of a potentially unusual subspecies if I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, but there are still some question marks We may get an identification out of this one yet
Other continuing rarities include the near-permanent Sinaloa Wren in Santa Cruz, Arizona, though the Fieldfare in Nova Scotia seems to have finally vamoosed, as the last couple days have seen it missing from its incredibly reliable spot in the apple tree.
One potential 1st this week, a Crested Caracara seen by a great many birders on a golf course in Orange, New York. This is at least the third report of caracara in New York in the last year, but the first to be conclusively and reliably documented. Photos of this individual have shown it to be missing an eye, though that does not seem to impede it in any way. In any case, it may prove to be a clue to finding out whether this caracara explosion in the northeast consists of one or many birds.
New Jersey’s 3rd record of Chestnut-collared Longspur was found at Sandy Hook in Monmouth.
In Connecticut, a White-faced Ibis was photographed among Glossy Ibis (itself a good bird for the state) in Niantic, and a particularly unusual Mew Gull that is reportedly neither “Common” from Europe or “Short-billed” from western North America was in Milford.
In Massachusetts, a remarkable county of 4 (!) Swallow-tailed Kites came over a hawkwatch in North Truro.
New Brunswick had a Glossy Ibis in West Saint John.
In Quebec, a Pink-footed Goose (ABA Code 4) was in Lanaudière.
A Tricolored Heron is a notable bird at Point Pelee in Ontario.
In Indiana, a Neotropic Cormorant was discovered near Indianapolis.
Kansas had a Lesser Black-backed Gull in Wilson, as that species gets ever more regular in the interior of the continent.
In Colorado, a Common Black-Hawk was seen in Baca, in the far southeast corner of the state.
Montana had a Golden-crowned Sparrow visit a feeder in Missoula, that state’s 18th.
In New Mexico, a Western Gull in Sierra is exceptional away from the coast.
A pelagic out of Palm Beach, Florida, picked up a Red-billed Tropicbird (3) in addition to both Masked (3) and Brown Boobies (3).
And in South Carolina, a stint sp, that might have been either Red-necked or Little was seen, but not quite seen well enough, in Georgetown.
Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT aba.org and I will try to fix them as soon as possible. This post is meant to be an account of the most recently reported birds. Continuing birds not mentioned are likely included in previous editions listed here. Place names written in italics refer to counties/parishes.
Readers should note that none of these reports has yet been vetted by a records committee. All birders are urged to submit documentation of rare sightings to the appropriate state or provincial committees. For full analysis of these and other bird observations, subscribe to North American Birds <aba.org/nab>, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA.