Rare Bird Alert: August 17, 2012
by Nate Swick
The record drought centered in the Great Plains states continues unabated this week, but some relief from the hottest summer in memory looks to be heading across the central part of the continent this week bringing temperatures as far below average as those in July were above. Meteorologists call it the North Atlantic Oscillation, but birders may week call it a major push of shorebirds heading south ahead of the weather. This could be a good weekend for birding across nearly the whole of North America.
No bird on the horizon is quite as remarkably unexpected as the one that showed up in Arkansas this past week. A Brown Booby (ABA Code 3) has been hanging out at a boat dock in Saline, offering spectacular looks. Not only is this a first state record, but it's easily the farthest inland of only a few inland records on the continent.
Along with the Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch earlier this year, Arkansas has hosted two species in the past few months that few birders would have had on their radars for the state.
In Mississippi the first eastern Western Kingbird of the year was reported in Clay.
Top bird in the area if not for that booby is a Black-tailed Godwit (3) in Accomack, Virginia.
Excellent from shore, a Brown Noddy was reported in Delaware, from Broadkill Beach, in Kent.
A Townsend's Warbler made a brief appearance at Brigantine NWR, in Atlantic, New Jersey.
Still a great bird in the northeast part of the continent, a Cattle Egret was reported from near Hortonville, Nova Scotia.
A Sandwich Tern, an excellent bird anywhere in Canada, was seen in Côte-Nord, Quebec.
Wood Storks have returned for another year at Goose Pond, in Greene, Indiana.
Rare away from salt water, a Reddish Egret turned up in Jefferson, Illinois, this week.
A harbinger of the return of vagrant hummingbirds to the east, comes a report of a Calliope Hummingbird in Grant, Kansas.
No doubt a surprise was a Red-bellied Woodpecker near Camp Morton, Manitoba.
One of only a few records for the state, a Roseate Spoonbill has been present just over a week in Garfield, Utah.
Arizona's 8th record of Upland Sandpiper came in a pair presently in Cochise.
Good birds from western Alaska include a Terek Sandpiper (3) reported on St George Island,a Yellow-browed Warbler (4) on Gambellm and Dark-sided Flycatcher (4) on St Paul Island.
Always good south of the Canadian border, a Yellow-billed Loon was photographed in San Mateo, Californ
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.