This week may be the birdiest one yet for 2014, at least as far as vagrants are concerned. Notable birds were seen in all corners of the ABA Area this week, helped along by strange weather and the overwhelming urge to move.
Our friends at Cornell’s Birdcast (and you really should be reading Birdcast this spring), explain it thusly, “Scattered light to moderate movements that begin the weekend give way to much more widespread movements to end the period in the West, while moderate to heavy movements will occur in many areas of the East as low pressure organizes and moves off the coast (and begets more Gulf Coast fall outs). ”
What does that mean? Well, birds mostly. Lots of birds. And when birds are on the move, a not insignificant number of them end up in odd places. And we’re hear to catch them.
We usually associate vagrant shorebirds with the fall season, but Spring can offer some suprises, not least of which was a Ruff (ABA Code 3) in Beaufort County, South Carolina, the second in the state for the season. There was a time not that long ago that coastal South Carolina seemed like the place for spring Ruff, and in recent years that title seemed to drift up to the coast to Delmarva and New Jersey, but South Carolina might regain the crown with this spring’s showing. The fact that this one is an attractive male bird certainly helps.
Florida had a MacGillivray’s Warbler arrive in Palm Beach.
In North Carolina, a Purple Gallinule was found in the marsh at Cape Point in Dare.
Two more of a handful records in the northeast this spring, a Swallow-tailed Kite was photographed in Kings, New York, and another was seen near Guilford, Connecticut.
A good candidate for Yellow-legged Gull (3) was seen in Lowell, Massachusetts. It’s a species that attract a lot of scrutiny outside of Newfoundland. The state also had a Ruff (3), a female type bird on Nantucket.
Increasingly expected but still notable in the ABA Area, Vermont hosted a Pink-footed Goose (4) in Addison.
It was all waders in Nova Scotia this week, with a Little Blue Heron in Richmond and a Snowy Egret in West Lawrencetown.
In Indiana, a Swainson’s Hawk was photographed in Montgomery.
A Spotted Towhee was visiting a yard in Madison, Wisconsin.
Perhaps an indication that winter is not through yet, a Black-legged Kittiwake was seen in Polk, Iowa.
Good birds in Colorado include a Lucy’s Warbler in Montezuma, a Yellow-throated Warbler inEl Paso, aScissor-tailed Flycatcher in Huerfano, and aGlossy Ibis in Fremont.
Good for Alberta was a Lesser Black-backed Gull in Medicine Hat.
In British Columbia, a White-tailed Kite was seen in Port Alberni.
No longer chaseable but notable all the same, an oiled King Eider turned up in Ventura, California, where it was taken in by a rehabber.
In Nevada, a young Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen in Washoe.
A Black-throated Green Warbler was seen consorting with its superspecies companions (Townsend’s and Hermit) in Santa Cruz, Arizona.
And in Texas, an Iceland Gull was photographed in Brazoria, and a Great Black-backed Gull was seen near Galveston. Perhaps more remarkable, however, was a Rufous-backed Robin photographed by a game camera in Edwards. No word on whether it has been seen live yet.
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.