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    Rare Bird Alert: February 17, 2012

    The excitement surrounding the Snowy Owl irruption of 2011-2012 may have peaked, but the birds themselves continue to show up in farther and farther south, particularly on the southern plains where a recent report of a Snowy Owl in a public park near Dallas, Texas, puts an defiant exclamation point on this season’s records.  Unless one turns up in Mexico, of course.

    The drought of first state records comes to an end this week with a remarkable report of a Virginia’s Warbler in Talbot, Maryland.  This is one of only a few records from the eastern half of the continent.

    And Arizona also gets a state first, a Common Redpoll discovered in the House Rock Valley, Coconino, in the northern part of the state.

    Elsewhere in Arizona, a report of a Snow Bunting in Santa Cruz, and the Nutting’s Flycatcher (5) at Bill Williams NWR in La Paz continues into its third month.

    It’s been a good winter for Iceland Gull in California, with the second in as many weeks discovered in Yolo,  a  Brown Booby (3) was also found just offshore in Los Angeles.

    Always exciting south of Alaska, a McKay’s Bunting was recently identified in Ocean Shores, Grays Harbor, Washington.  The bird has apparently been present for several weeks but was originally identified as a Snow Bunting.

    A possible Steller’s Sea-Eagle (4) was spotted flying over Juneau, Alaska, but the bird was not refound.

    Another western report of Iceland Gull comes from Broomfield, Colorado.

    Very good for the southern Rockies is a Barrow’s Goldeneye in Colfax, New Mexico, and a Common Redpoll in Santa Fe.

    One of only about 20 records for North Dakota, a Barrow’s Goldeneye was reported from Garrison Dam in McLean.

    A Bullock’s Oriole is visiting a feeder in Ottumwa, Wapello, Iowa.

    Both a Mountain Bluebird and a Townsend’s Solitaire are present at Prince Edward Point Wildlife Area, near Picton, Ontario.

    A Golden-crowned Sparrow in Hancock, Ohio, is apparently the same bird that has visited the area for the past few years.  Also, a California Gull can be found around the harbor in Lorain.

    And in Nova Scotia, a Varied Thrush is present in a yard in Shelburne.

    In Essex, Massachusetts, a Spotted Towhee is an excellent bird.

    A pair of Trumpeter Swans have been present around Woodbridge, Connecticut, since the beginning of the month.

    A stunning adult male Bullock’s Oriole is visiting a feeder in Montgomery, Pennsylvania.

    A Western Tanager is visiting a feeder in Durham, North Carolina.

    A Black-headed Gull is an excellent find for Georgia, this one near Savannah, in Chatham.

    A pair of Caribbean wanderers were reported from Florida this week.  A Western Spindalis (ABA Code 3) in Palm Beach and a possible Bananaquit (4) near Hobe Sound, Martin.

    Another Western Tanager report east of the Mississippi River comes from the Dauphin Island, Mobile, Alabama.

    In Missouri, a Thayer’s Gull was discovered in a park in downtown Kansas City, Wyandotte.

    –=====–

    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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    Nate Swick

    Nate Swick

    Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog. A long-time member of the bird blogosphere, Nate has been writing about birds and birding at The Drinking Bird since 2007, but can also be found writing regularly at 10,000 Birds. In the non-digital world, he's an environmental educator and interpretive naturalist. Nate lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children, who are not yet aware that they are being groomed to be birders.
    Nate Swick

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    • http://nomadicbirder.blogspot.com Ethan Kistler

      Not a big deal but there were two California Gulls in Lorain, Ohio, not just one – a 2nd and 3rd cycle.

    Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
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