Lots of weather news this week. A massive cold weather system pushed into the Lower 48 putting much of the ABA Area (aside from Alaska, weirdly) in the deep freeze. It still remains to be seen whether the system will affect the movement of birds, but those that were found this week seem mostly to be unassociated with that cold air blast. Like last year, this winter is starting out as a good one for Snowy Owls, as the birds have been discovered on both sides of the continent already moving south. An early outlier was found dead in Oklahoma this week.
The week was good for first records, particularly for those states on the west side of the Gulf Coast, even though neither of the birds in question were found anywhere near salt-water. Whenever a state like Texas, whose list runs 640 large, gets a potential new bird, that has to be the highlight of the week. An ABA Code 4 Common Crane was found among the flocks of Sandhills at Muleshoe NWR in Bailey, Texas. Despite difficult conditions consisting of several thousand Sandhill Cranes, the bird in question has been seen on and off in subsequent days, a good sign for Texas listers this weekend.
Photo by Justin Bosler, used with permission
And that wasn’t even the only state first for Texas. A late report of a Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch came in from Dallum, in the far northwest corner of the panhandle for the first record of any rosy-finch in Texas. Also in the state, a pair of Masked Ducks (3) were reported in Cameron. The birds were reportedly very secretive though, refusing to move out of thick vegetation for confirmatory looks, as is their wont.
A well-photographed Vaux’s Swift in West Baton Rouge. Louisiana, was a great find this week. It’s certainly one of those species that may occur in the southeast more often than people realize, but is easily missed.
A surprise in Mississippi, a Burrowing Owl has been seen this week by a number of birders in Tunica.
Good birds in Florida include a Franklin’s Gull in gull-heavy Volusia and yet another Say’s Phoebe for the fall in Palm Beach.
A stunning adult male King Eider has been hanging out at Chincoteague NWR in Accomack, Virginia.
In New Jersey, a Calliope Hummingbird is visiting a feeder in Milford, Hunterdon.
New York’s 2nd record of Cassin’s Kingbird was found in Kings, and a White-winged Dove made an appearance in Queens.
An early season Barnacle Goose (4) was found in East Windsor, Connecticut.
In Maine, a Varied Thrush was in Whitneyville and a Western Kingbird on Mount Desert Island
Returning for year another year, a Yellow-legged Gull (4) was at Bally Haly, Newfoundland.
A Bullock’s Oriole was visiting a feeder in Gaspésie, Quebec.
In Indiana, a Prairie Falcon was well-photographed in Union.
Missouri’s 2nd Calliope Hummingbird endured multiple days of sub-zero temperatures in Christian.
And remarkable for a vagrant hummingbird in the east, an Anna’s Hummingbird was found away from a feeder in the botanical gardens in Dane, Wisconsin.
A Golden-crowned Sparrow is notable for Broadview, Saskatchewan.
A Costa’s Hummingbird was found in Mesa, Colorado.
Utah’s 4th record of Little Gull was seen from the Antelope Island Causeway in Davis.
In Nevada, a Lark Bunting in Sparks is a noteworthy record.
Arizona’s 6th record of Glaucous Gull was found in Santa Cruz, and the state’s 6th record of American tree Sparrow was nearby in Cochise.
And for New Mexico, a Brant of unrecorded subspecific identify was found in Bernalillo.
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.