Rare Bird Alert: May 11, 2012
by Nate Swick
I'm a little under the weather right now so the usual much-anticipated introduction will have to be abbreviated today. It's May, the birds are coming fast. But you knew that, right?
If you're an ABA area big lister or just a birder looking for the hottest birding on the continent, Florida has to be your destination right now. Bahamanian and Caribbean birds are all over the place including a Thick-billed Vireo (ABA Code 4) in Broward, not one but two Bahama Mockingbirds (4) in Monroe and Palm Beach, and a La Sagra's Flycatcher (4) also in Palm Beach. Good seabirds include a Red-footed Booby (4) and two Black Noddies in the Dry Tortugas, Monroe, and a Brown Booby (3) in Volusia.
Just north in Georgia, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is present in Gordon. There is some speculation that this bird may be one of the few that overwinter in Florida annually.
An Anhinga in Anne Arundel, Maryland, is notable not only for being one of very few records, but a chaseable bird as well. It has been present much of the week.
A Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) near Centerville, Delaware, however, appears to have been a one-day wonder.
Found late last week and not mentioned in the last Rare Bird Alert, was a White-faced Ibis in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, only the state's 2nd ever record.
In Atlantic Canada, a Painted Bunting is notable in Gagetown, New Brunswick.
In Nova Scotia, a brief staying European Goldfinch on Sherbrooke begs the obligatory provenance questions, depite being worthy of note.
A Kirtand's Warbler is an excellent find near Stoney Creek in Ontario.
And practically annual every year at The Biggest Week in American Birding, another (and possibly two) Kirtland's Warbler was discovered in Ottawa, Ohio.
A Ruff (3), the latest of many this spring, made waves in Gennesee, Michigan, but perhaps more remarkable was an apparant Cassin's Vireo in Berrien.
Excellent for the midwest US, a Swallow-tailed Kite was seen in Harrison, Indiana, in the southern part of the state.
In Illinois, a Brewer's Sparrow was reported from Will.
Good so far north and west was a Glossy Ibis in Black Hawk, Iowa.
Fresh off one rare finch, Arkansas snags another, this time a Lesser Goldfinch in Benton.
Remarkable both for its location and the time of year is a Yellow-billed Loon at Tuttle Reservoir, in Riley, Kansas.
Lots of good reports from California this week, including the odd pariting of a Common Redpoll and a Baltimore Oriole on San Clemente Island in Orange. Also in SoCal, a White-eyed Vireo was well-photographed in Los Angeles, a Prothonotary Warbler in San Diego, and a Brown Booby (3) picked up on a pelagic off of San Diego.
A Great-tailed Grackle near Burns, Oregon, in Harney, is yet another outpost for this rapidly expanding species.
And in Bristish Columbia, a stunning male Chestnut-collared Longspur was discovered in Vancouver.
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.