Rare Bird Alert: May 4, 2012
by Nate Swick
The last few days have seen a very significant push of migrants into North America. The birding communities of various states and provinces, particularly those in the upper Midwest and around the Great Lake, have been buzzing with warblers and grosbeaks and vireos and orioles. This is, across much of Canada and the United States, the biggest week of the year. In fact, there's even a festival in Ohio banking on that fact. Rarities across the continent are steady but not as spectacular as the last couple weeks' promises of new ABA species, but it's still pretty exciting out there.
Seabirds continue to lead the way in California. In the wake of last week's remarkable Northern Gannet comes a Red-tailed Tropicbird (ABA Code 4) seen from Año Nuevo Island, San Mateo, on which you can find information here. Other good birds seen recently, a subadult Blue-footed Booby (4) offshore in San Diego, and a great bird for the state in a Field Sparrow in Los Angeles.
Eastern warblers have begun to show in up in migrant traps across the west. In New Mexico they've taken the form of a Kentucky Warbler in Socorro and a Black-throated Green Warbler in Roosevelt.
A Red Knot in Rio Grande and an Eastern Towhee in Yuma are among the most exciting species reported this week from Colorado.
Idaho's seventh Little Gull was discovered last week in Fremont, and a Glossy Ibis is currently present in Custer.
Ruff (3) continue to be seen across the continent this week, with the latest in Lancaster, Nebraska.
A Vermilion Flycatcher was found this week Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Nearly annual anymore in the southern part of the state were a small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in Massac, Illinois.
An regular vagrant somewhere in eastern North America nearly every spring, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was photographed in Wayne, Michigan.
Loads of visiting birders likely contributed to the haul of birds in Ohio this week, headlined by the state's second record of Royal Tern in Auglaize. Elsewhere in the state, another midwestern Ruff (3) in Wayne, a Green-tailed Towhee in Lake, and a possible Black-throated Gray Warbler in Ottawa.
Hard to believe it's still a Code 4 bird, but another Barnacle Goose (4) was present this week in Victoriaville, Quebec. A tad more exciting was a Bullock's Oriole near Saint-Pacôme.
The farthest flung Scissor-tailed Flycatcher of the season so far was on found near Elgin, New Brunswick.
Another Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was near Westboro, Worcester, Massachusetts.
A Gray Kingbird was discovered recently in New Hanover, North Carolina.
Yet to be confirmed, is a possible Zenaida Dove (5) on Big Pine Key, Monroe, Florida. If confirmed this bird will likely be featured in an upcoming #ABArare post.
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.