Rare Bird Alert: July 20, 2012
by Nate Swick
As the continent heats up again, the birds cool down. Last week's run of vagrancies may have been the exception rather than the rule, as the third week of July was a relatively slow period. Notably, however, a not insignificant proportion of rarties this week from from this summer's vagrant du jour, Ruff. I haven't gone back to previous week's RBAs to be sure, but we're pushing well over a dozen states and provinces with Ruff records just this year. Crazy, and I'm considering renaming this regular post the "Ruff Report" until further notice.
But on to the birds.
There was some excellent birding in Florida this week, if you were able to catch up to the birds. A Ruff (ABA Code 3) - what else - was reported from St John's and a one-day wonder record of Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) came from Lake Apopka in Orange.
A pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at Brigantine, NWR in Atlantic, New Jersey, is the latest report of this seasonally wandering species.
Nowhere on the continent has seen more Ruffs (3) of late than Jamaica Bay NWR in Queens, New York, where the third individual of the season - a female type this time - was discovered this week.
Remarkable for Maine is a report of a Sooty Tern found near Biddeford.
A Royal Tern, one of several in the northeast of North America lately, was discovered at Laurentides, Quebec.
A nice bird for Michigan, a Black-billed Magpie report comes out of South Manitou Island in Leelanau.
Another midwestern Ruff (3) was found in Calhoun, Illinois, making that state the most recent winner in the Ruff sweepstakes.
Following a report last week from nearby Missouri, a duo of young Wood Storks were found this week in Linn, Kansas.
A Magnificent Hummingbird is certainly a nice bird for Colorado. This one comes from Larimer.
Perhaps chased by fire and drought in the west, a Western Scrub-Jay was reported near Kalispell, in Flathead, Montana.
And another potential drought waif in British Columbia is an Ash-throated Flycatcher found near Agassiz.
A Ruff (3), but of course, molting awkwardly from its breeding finest was well-seen by many in San Diego, California, this week.
And a Red Knot, one of fewer than 20 Arizona records, was well-photographed at the Willcox ponds in Cochise.
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. Place names written in italics refer to counties/parishes/districts.