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Rare Bird Alert: December 30, 2011

The end of another year in rarities ends slowly, though the Snowy Owl irruption of 2011 (-2012?) rolls on.  Owl movement seems to be largely concentrated in the midwest and west coast, with few, if any, Snowies venturing beyond their regular range in the east part of the continent.  But in the middle of North America, another exceptional southerly record this week comes from Missouri, where a dead Snowy Owl was salvaged near Monett, Barry County, not more than a few miles from the Arkansas border.  

In first state records, the remarkable season for western hummingbirds continues, this time in Indiana, where a Calliope Hummingbird in Jennings County is that state's first.

The Nutting's Flycatcher (ABA Code 5) continues in Arizona, but the most recent ABA area rarity comes from Texas, where the season's third Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4) was reported at the National Butterfly Center in Hidalgo County.

In addition to the flashy Myiarchus, Arizona also hosts the state's 4th record of Glaucous Gull, a subadult bird found in La Paz County.

New Mexico has a Glaucous Gull too, this time in Dona Ana County, and another notable gull in a Lesser Black-backed Gull in Sierra County.

The second Little Gull (3) in as many weeks is in California.  The second bird is in Santa Barbara County.  A Common Redpoll has also been present for a week in Shasta County.

A Emperor Goose was discovered this week at Tualitan River NWR, Washington County, Oregon.

Montana hosts a Lesser Black-backed Gull at Ft Peck, Valley County, and Utah has one in Davis County.

Always exiting south of the Great Lakes, a Gyrfalcon was spotted near Toledo, Ohio. 

A subadult Smew (3) at Whitby Harbour, Ontario, invites all the expected provenance questions, but would be the third for the province if deemed to be a natural vagrant.  Also exciting for Ontario, is a Great Gray Owl near Kingsville, near the very southern tip of the province.

In Nova Scotia, a Red-bellied Woodpecker in Allen Heights, is the latest in an apparent influx of this species into the Atlantic provinces this season.

A pair of western strays in Massachusetts include a Townsend's Warbler in Essex County, and a Western Tanager in Barnstable County.

A Mountain Bluebird on Long Island, Suffolk County, is New York's 8th record.

Good birds for New Jersey this week include a Western Grebe in Monmouth County and an extralimital and extraseasonal White Ibis in Cape May County.

Pennsylvania also has a winter White Ibis, in Berks County.

In Maryland, a Western Kingbird was well-photographed in Dorchester County, this week.

And in Florida, a trio of great birds all in Miami-Dade County.  First, a Great Cormorant, and at Bill Baggs State Park, a LaSagra's Flycatcher (3),and a Western Tanager at Mathieson Hammock.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
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