Rare Bird Alert: July 27, 2012
by Nate Swick
Tis the season for shorebirds and across much of the continent, particularly the east and west coasts, have seen a remarkable incursion of Old World species. We've talked in this space about the amazing run of Ruffs across North America, but many of the most recent influx have been stints of one species or another, along with a Godwit or two. Birders all across the continent, but particularly on the east and west coasts, should be on the lookout for exciting rarities of their own in the weeks to come.
This week is highlighted by a pair of provincial firsts, the first a Black-headed Gull (ABA Code 3) in Pawkowki Lake, near Medicine Hat, Alberta, well photographed by Jukka Jantunen.
And the second, also in western Canada, is a great record of a Common Greenshank (3) at Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, which represents a first record for that province as well. Especially exciting, at the same site as the greenshank was a Red-necked Stint (3).
In Alaska, the White-tailed Eagle (4) that spent much of the spring on St Paul Island is still present into late July.
Another Red-necked Stint was reported from the Pacific coast this week, this time from Florence, Oregon.
California's second Little Stint of the season was one found in Humboldt, and in the southern part of the state, a Red-billed Tropicbird (3) was photographed from a pelagic offshore San Diego.
A seemingly incredible record from New Mexico comes in the form of multiple, and apparently breeding, White-winged Crossbills in Bernanillo.
More Black-bellied Whistling-Duck are popping up across parts of the mid and east of the continent. A recent extralimital report comes from Sagamon, Illinois.
A White-faced Ibis, another species showing up in odd places this summer, was seen in Mobile, Alabama.
With all the excitment coming out of the New York City metro region, it's nice to see some birds reported from western New York too, like this week's Curlew Sandpiper (3) at Montezuma NWR in Seneca.
Phemenal for the east coast, but sadly very short-staying, was a Black-tailed Godwit (3) at Prime Hook, in the northern part of Delaware.
The second Little Stint of the season for the New England region was one found in Chatham, Massachusetts (photo at left by Blair Nikula). Also, a trip offshore out of Hyannis found a Black-capped Petrel, one of fewer than 10 records for Massachusetts.
Always nice in the northeast, is an American Avocet at Scarborough Marsh in Cumberland, Maine.
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.