Rare Bird Alert: July 6, 2012
by Nate Swick
For the first week in July, the vagrant report is quality rather than quantity. The vagrant shorebird season appears to be off to a hot start following the parade of Ruffs last month. The word of the week is "stint", of two notable species in two notable states providing first state records for both. Fortunately for birders, these lost Calidrids are still dressed in their summer finest, making identification a tad easier. But special summer shorebirds are sort of expected, even if the particular what and wheres remain to be determined anew every year, but the third first record of the week was one of those wild reports than makes every birder scratch their head in bewilderment when not shaking it in amazement.
That record, of course, has to be the truly remarkable report of a Black-browed Albatross (ABA Code 4) discovered moribund (though apparently seen alive at some point, details are scarce) near Clyde River in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. This is obviously a first territorial record of this south polar nesting species, and on the short list of amazing records from the far north.
The aforementioned stints come from far disparate sites on the continent. A Little Stint (4), seen in the photograph to the left by Carlos Pedro, was discovered in South county, Rhode Island, that state's first.
And the second was a stunning Red-necked Stint (3) found early in the week at Quiviria NWR in Stafford, Kansas.
Congrats to Rhode Island, Kansas, and Nunuvut for the new species.
Starting up the upper right hand corner, Prince Edward Island hosted a Snowy Egret near Covehead this week.
A Little Egret (4) near Montérégie, Quebec, is the first report of that species for the late summer. Birders in the northeast US and Atlantic Canada would do well to scrutinize their small white herons in the coming weeks.
Good for Connecticut is a Gull-billed Tern seen near Milford.
In what may be a repeat performance from last year, a pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks have been seen around Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
In New York, a Ruff (3) at Jamaica Bay NWR, Queens, found early this week, was joined by a second bird. And a briefly seen, but photographed, Brown Booby (3) record comes from Suffolk, on Long Island.
A subadult Purple Gallinule was delighting birders near Middleton, Delaware.
A young Brown Pelican on the Anacostia River near the Navy Yard in DC is only the second ever for the district.
A Roseate Spoonbill in Dare, North Carolina, may portend another push of that species up the coast.
Georgia's first Inca Dove, in Worth, is still present into it's third week.
Exciting for Ontario was a female Magnificent Frigatebird cruising up and down the Lake Erie shore centered around Rondeau.
The first Neotropic Cormorant of the season was reported from Gentry, Benton, Arkansas.
New Mexico also reports a Roseate Spoonbill, at Bosque del Apache NWR.
One of the more exciting shorebird reports of the young season is an beautiful alternate plumaged Spotted Redshank (4) in Lane, Oregon.
Good for Washington is an Indigo Bunting in far northwest Clark County.
A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher report comes from Pemberton, British Columbia.
Birders on St. Paul Island, Alaska, are still seeing cool things, most recently a Mottled Petrel and a Lesser Sand-Plover (3).
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.