Rare Bird Alert: May 16, 2012
by Nate Swick
Getting to the end of May means migration begins to slow down across much of the southern third of the continent as birds begin to slot themselves into breeding territories across North America. It's peak rarity season in Alaska though, as this week's roundup attests. The hottest birds of the period are undoubtedly the expected east Asian overshoots delighting visitors to the Aleutians and the Pribloffs this time of year.
But perhaps the most exciting report on the continent this week comes from Oregon, where a group of pelagic birders out of Lane County found a possible Newell's Shearwater (ABA Code 5). This Hawaiian nesting species has been reported in the ABA Area only once previously, a moribund individual that was salvaged and taken to a rehab facility in California in 2007. That bird was added to the ABA list as Townsend's Shearwater, but even then it was well known that the two known populations of that species were potentially splitable, and the California bird was identified as being from the newelli group. More on this bird as additional information becomes available, but it is a potential first record for Oregon.
Worthy of their own #ABArare post were a Tundra Bean-Goose (3) and a Eurasian Bullfinch (4) reported and photographed on St Paul Island in the Pribloffs. Elsewhere in Alaska, a trio of White-winged Terns (4) were reported near Homer, as well.
One of fewer than five records for the Yukon was a Tufted Duck (3) near Whitehorse.
A Sedge Wren near Penticton, British Columbia, is also one of a very small handful in the province.
In Wyoming, a Great Crested Flycatcher near Rock Creek, Johnston, is very rare indeed.
A Hepatic Tanager was found this week in Huerfano, Colorado.
The Melrose Trap in Roosevelt, New Mexico continues to nab eastern migrants including Mourning, Blackburnian, Tennessee, and Golden-winged Warblers.
A Tricolored Heron was discovered in Brown, South Dakota.
It continues to be an exceptional spring for Ruff (3), as Wisconsin gets into the action with one in Dane.
A Lark Bunting has been visiting a feeder in Allegan, Michigan.
Exceptional anywhere inland is a Brown Pelican in Orange, Indiana.
Potentially very exciting, particularly away from the Pacific Coast, is a possible Little Stint (3) discovered in Memphis, Shelby, tennessee. More on this bird if information comes in.
Another Ruff (3), this time at the birding mexxa of Merritt Island NWR in Brevard, Florida.
Right on time is a Curlew Sandpiper (3) reported from Cumberland, New Jersey.
Another Ruff (3) in the northeast, this time near Bas-Saint-Laurent, Quebec.
And a fourth different Ruff (3) in Connecticut, alonf with a Curlew Sandpiper (3), at Hammonassett SP, near New Haven, Connecticut.
Remarkably in Maine, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th state records of White-faced Ibis are all present at Scarborough Marsh in Cumberland.
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.