As we sit on the cusp of rarity season, the possibilities seem endless. Late October into November has historically been a very good time to look for unusual birds, and while the floodgates have yet to open completely, a few interesting and notable sightings have the birding community, coast to coast, ready for more.
We’ll start on the west coast this week, where in Washington a pair of noteworthy records in the form of a Black-headed Gull (ABA Code 3) near Everett and a Northern Wheatear on Vashon Island.
Two first records this week, one from a not yet countable part of North America and the other a bird whose identity is not yet confirmed (but looks pretty good). The former, a flock of passerines containing at least 4 Brambling, were seen on Kure Atoll in Hawaii. The Bramblings are a state first, the other birds in the flock have not yet been identified, but as any vagrant passerine in Hawaii is pretty big news, they could yet be something very exciting.
And in Ohio, a good candidate for Arctic Loon was well-photographed in Muskingum. It’s an exceptionally unlikely bird anywhere away from Alaska, and in particular away from the Pacific coast. We wait with bated breath for more confident souls to weight in.
Though the birders are off the Bering Sea islands now, rare birds are still showing up in Alaska, the latest a Rustic Bunting (3) at a feeder in Auke Bay.
Heading back west for one of the strangest vagrant stories of the week. A cargo ship carrying a Brambling (3) arrived yesterday in Long Beach, California. The bird apparently survived the trip, so if you are not averse to ship-assisted birds there one for you.
In Oregon, the state’s 3rd record of Red-throated Pipit (3) was found in Josephine, in the southeast corner of the state. Notably, all three records of the species in Oregon have been well-inland.
In Utah, good birds this week include a Magnolia Warbler in Davis and a Blue Jay at a feeder in Salt Lake.
For Arizona, both a Brown Thrasher and a Baltimore Oriole, both in Pima, are nice finds.
And a Wood Thrush turned up at a migrant trap in Roosevelt, New Mexico.
In Oklahoma, a Rock Wren was seen on a college campus in Kay.
Kansas’s 4th record of Painted Redstart was found in far southwest Ellsworth.
In Louisiana, a Say’s Phoebe was seen in St. Landry.
Florida also had a Say’s Phoebe this week, this one in Monroe/
A MacGillivray’s Warbler was an exceptional find in Fulton, Georgia.
In New Jersey, noteworthy finds include a White-winged Dove in Cape May and an Ash-throated Flycatcher in Monmouth.
A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is a dramatic bird in Nassau, New York.
A number of nice birds were found in Quebec this week, including a Varied Thrush at Côte-Nord, a White-eyed Vireo at Domaine de Maizerets à Québec, and a Barnacle Goose (4) among a flock of Snow Geese in Chaudière-Appalaches.
And in Illinois, a Lark Bunting was found by the lake in Cook.
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.