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Rare Bird Alert: April 20, 2018

All the rare bird action of the last couple weeks seems to be centered on Arizona. And why not? Spring is a great time for overshooting migrants, even those short-distance or altitudinal migrants of western Mexico who take up with ABA Area breeders and slide into the southeastern corner of the state. In the last month, returning Tufted Flycatchers (ABA Code 5), Flame-colored Tanager (4), Streak-backed Oriole (4), and Sinaloa Wren (5) have returned to sites where they have occurred before. All continue this week, and provide a baseline on which to compare the extraordinary birds that have been seen more recently. But Arizona isn’t having all of the fun, Tamaulipas Crows (4) are still being seen in south Texas, having been joined by a couple noteworthy birds of their own. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

It’s hard not to begin in Arizona again, and while the Red Warbler’s stay was all too brief, it as been replaced by a couple additional Middle American warblers, including an exceptionally confiding Fan-tailed Warbler (4) that belies the species’s skulking reputation to shamelessly parade about in a yard in Cochise. In the same county, and gettable in the same day for the ambitious warbler-chaser, a Slate-throated Redstart (4) has also been seen.

Fan-tailed Warbler is without doubt a vagrant par excellence for Arizona and the ABA Area. Photo: Chris Rohrer/Macaulay Library

There is one 1st record to report, exciting despite not coming from the neotropics. In Maine, a Violet-green Swallow in Bar Harbor represents a 1st record for that state, and one of an increasing number of records for the east.

But back to the southern vagrants, in Texas an adult Northern Jacana (4) was seen in Nueces, and a Blue Bunting (4), the second of third of the year, was seen in Cameron.

In California, a Marsh Sandpiper (5), the state’s 4th record, returned to Yolo. This is almost certainly the same bird that was seen at this same site in 2016.

British Columbia’s 5th record of Great-tailed Grackle, a female, was discovered in Vancouver.

In North Dakota, a subadult Great Black-backed Gull was photographed in Burleigh.

South Dakota had a Eurasian Wigeon at Badlands National Park in Pennington.

An Evening Grosbeak, the first in several years, was seen in Mahaska, Iowa.

Ohio had a Western Tanager in Richland, and a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in Hamilton.

New York’s 3rd record of Wood Sandpiper, and one of only very few records on the Mid-Atlantic, was found in Suffolk. Also in the state, a “Common” Mew Gull was found in Schenectady, and a Western Meadowlark was seen in Wayne.

Massachusetts had a Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) in Barnstable.

And in Florida, a Bananaquit (4) in Brevard likely represents the farthest north this species has even been recorded.

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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.

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American Birding Podcast: eBird’s Global Big Day with Ian Davies & Kyle Horton

Spring is right around the corner. And if you’re going to be birding, you might as well be eBirding. You should definitely be eBirding on May 5th, eBird’s annual Global Big Day. Last year birders recorded more than 6600 species from 160 different countries on one day. eBird’s Project Coordinator Ian Davies joins me to talk about the Global Big Day initiative.

Also, radar ornithologist Kyle Horton is also here to talk about Cornell’s Birdcast project, which recently launched live migration maps, an amazing tool to help birders maximize their opportunities to see great birds this spring.

I’m back in the driver’s seat to talk about warbler obsession, Florida birding, and birds at airports.

You can help us out by participating on our listener demographic survey here.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

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#ABArare – Marsh Sandpiper – California

On April 16, an ABA Code 5 Marsh Sandpiper was discovered, or perhaps re-discovered, at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area in Yolo County, California. This is the same site that hosted a Marsh Sandpiper in 2016.

Photo: Steve Hampton/Macaulay Library

Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area lies directly between West Sacramento and Davis, California, just off [read more…]

#ABArare – Wood Sandpiper – New York

On the evening of April 16, 2018, Patricia Lindsay found a Wood Sandpiper on a golf course in Suffolk County, New York, the 2nd record for that state and only the 4th record for the Atlantic coast.

Photo: Shai Mitra/Macaulay Library

The bird was seen on the Timber Point Golf Course, in a puddle [read more…]

#ABArare – Fan-tailed Warbler – Arizona

The Red Warbler didn’t stick around long, but a couple of very nice ABA Area warblers took its place in southeast Arizona. The most notable of which is an ABA Code 4 Fan-tailed Warbler in Cochise County, found by RIck Taylor at his home on April 13.

Photo: Chris Rohrer/Macaulay Library

The bird has [read more…]

Rare Bird Alert: April 13, 2018

As we sit on the doorstep of spring migration things are beginning to get interesting across the ABA Area, with a new slate of noteworthy records to report this week. But first, those continuing birds including Tufted Flycatcher (ABA Code 4), Streak-backed Oriole (4), and Sinaloa Wren (5) in Arizona, Tamaulipas Crows (4) are still [read more…]

Caribbean Hurricanes and Birds: Interview with Dr. Joseph Wunderle

In 2017, the Caribbean was hit with several powerful hurricanes, most notably Irma and Maria, both Category 5 storms. The April 2018 issue of Birding will include an article I wrote about the impact of hurricanes on Caribbean birds.

Dr. Joseph M. Wunderle Jr. wrote a number of the key scientific papers on this subject [read more…]

Happening NOW: Winter Wrap-Up and Looking Ahead

Those of you who are tuned into the American Birding Podcast will know that my co-Editor Tom Reed and I recently sat down to discuss some of our favorite trends from this Winter-that- was. We had a great time discussing everything from Tufted Ducks to Tufted Flycatchers! If you haven’t yet had a chance to [read more…]

Blog Birding #359

Meet newly minted ABA Young Birder of the Year Adam Dhalla, interviewed at The Eyrie.

Yes, I started birding around five years ago when I was seven. The bird that really got me started, or my ‘spark bird’ was definitely the majestic Snowy Owl. It was December 2012, and after hearing about the huge [read more…]

#ABArare – RED WARBLER – Arizona

On April 9, 2018, Janet Moore and Janet Stein discovered a potential ABA Area 1st record in a Red Warbler at Rose Canyon Lake, Pima County, Arizona, near Tucson. The bird was refound at the same location later that day by Dave Stejskal, Mark Stevenson, and Molly Pollock.

Rose Canyon Lake is 17 [read more…]

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