Rare Bird Alert: June 29, 2012
by Nate Swick
The post-breeding dispersal season begins with a vengeance this week, as the extraordinary temperatures experiences across the majority of the continent seem to have instigated some expansion instincts among the usual suspects. And handful of expected, but unexpected, wading birds are doing their mid-summer thing, but the most impression extralimital push this week comes from Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, which were discovered in several states this week and in high numbers in the outer edges of their usual range too.
But if this week belongs to anything, it belongs to the extraordinary first ABA record of Eurasian Bittern (photo at left) on far-flung Buldir Island in the outer Aleutians of Alaska. The bird has not yet been refound in the usual places on the island, more information will be made available on the original post as we hear it.
But the bittern wasn't the only first, even if it was the most exciting, South Carolina's long-awaited first state Fea's Petrel was well-photographed on a trip out of Charleston. While the precise location of the bird is known, the jurisdiction of the waters with nearby Georgia is unclear. Odds are, though, that this is a legitimately SC bird.
Georgia didn't have it too bad, though, with Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in Lee, and their first record of Inca Dove continuing.
North Carolina had Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks too, a pair reported from Hyde, and a Vermilion Flycatcher was an apparant one-day wonder in New Hanover.
A Ruff (3) in New York was a nice bird, particularly in that it was in Seneca, away from the coast.
A trio of very nice birds in Maine consisted of the state's second Chestnut-collared Longspur, a stunning male in York, a very briefly staying Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) in Cumberland, and a Black Skimmer in Sagadohoc.
A Tropicbird sp, reported to be White-tailed, was reported from a fishing boat offshore in New Brunswick.
In Ohio, a Black-bellied Whistling Ducks was seen by several this week in Knox.
And across the river, a handful of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were found in Elizabethtown, Hardin, Kentucky.
A very nice bird in the interior of the continent was an Arctic Tern photographed in Fulton, Illinois.
Almost certainly a post-breeding White Ibis was reported from St Clair, Michigan.
An unconfirmed, but promising report of a White-tailed Kite at Teddy Roosevelt NP in North Dakota.
In South Dakota, a Sage Thrasher was seen by several in Pennington.
The two recent potential firsts for Texas, the Black-tailed Godwit in Brazoria, and the Tropical Mockingbird in Jefferson, are still present through this week. The Mockingbird, in fact, has fledged young with a Northern Mockingbird mate!
Vagrants from the southeast that made their way to New Mexico include a White Ibis in Chaves and a White-eyed Vireo in Harding.
A Tricolored Heron was seen in Jefferson, Colorado.
An intriguing news from California, where the first state record of Northern Gannet, photographed from the Fallarones a couple months ago, is apparently still around and has been seen this week by boats heading out to the islands for seabirding.
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.