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Rare Bird Alert: September 21, 2012


It’s fall over over this week, as southbound birds are the talk of nearly every single listserv.  Passerines, sure, but hawks are making a major push with big numbers of Broad-wings turning up at hawkwatches as far south as the Carolinas.  The number of state/provincial firsts dropped from four to zero this week, but there were still a few notable vagrants in the area, highlighted by some warblers from both coasts on the wrong coasts, and a couple austral migrants.

PIFL nm 2Biggest news for the ABA area was the young Piratic Flycatcher (ABA Code 4) that showed up early in the week at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in Eddy, New Mexico.  This is the third record for the state, and the second at this locale.  The bird was still present and showing well as of the writing of this post. Photo at left by Deb Vogt, the original finder.

Fall has finally caught up to California, where great birds in the state include a Ruff (3) in San Luis Obispo, a Yellow-throated Warbler on Southeast Farallon in San Francisco, a Great Crested Flycatcher in Santa Cruz, a  Long-billed Murrelet (3) from shore in Del Norte, and a Bar-tailed Godwit in Ventura.

Another Bar-tailed Godwit was discovered near Tokeland, Pacific, Washington.

Across the international birders in British Columbia, a  Sprague’s Pipit is a great bird in Cranbrook.

This week in Alaska was highlighted by a Eurasian Kestrel on Adak.

In Montana, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher turned up near Billings, in Yellowstone.

A great bird when most of them have even already left the eastern part of the continent was a Louisiana Waterthrush near the town of Lida, in Esmerelda, Nevada.

A Blue-headed Vireo was picked out of a net at a banding station in El Paso, Colorado.

A Masked Booby (3) wrecked on the beach on South Padre Island, Cameron, Texas, and was removed to a rehab facility.  The young bird had a band and was traced to a breeding site in Mexico.

Good birds in Missouri come from all parts of the continent.  First, a Red Phalarope was found at Smithfield Lake in Clay, but before that a Black-throated Gray Warbler was reported from Bollinger, and a Laughing Gull in Adair.

A Townsend’s Warbler is a great bird for North Dakota.  It was seen near Bismarck in Burleigh.

The Hawk Ridge hawkwatch in far northern St. Louis, Minnesota, had a Mississippi Kite fly by this week.

A Green Violetear (3) in Price, Wisconsin, was an exciting find, at least until it was picked off by a Sharp-shinned Hawk.

A Swallow-tailed Kite was seen from a hawkwatch in Lake, Illinois, in the Chicago area.

A good candidate for a Broad-billed Hummingbird was spotted at a feeder in Ottawa, Ohio, but unfortunately the bird did not return and was not seen again.

Good birds for Tennessee this week include a Swallow-tailed Kite in Montgomery, an Allen’s Hummingbird (apparently returning from a year ago) in Hamblen, and a Western Kingbird in Hamilton.

A young Swainson’s Hawk was found in Dorchester, Maryland, this week by none other than our Events Director George Armistead, and a Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) was briefly, but unquivocally, seen in Anne Arundel.

There was also a Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) in New York this week, this one on private property in Oceanside, Nassau.


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 <>, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA.  Place names written in italics refer to counties/parishes/districts.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog. A long-time member of the bird blogosphere, Nate has been writing about birds and birding at The Drinking Bird since 2007, but can also be found writing regularly at 10,000 Birds. In the non-digital world, he's an environmental educator and interpretive naturalist. He is also the author of Birding for the Curious. Nate lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children, who are not yet aware that they are being groomed to be birders.
Nate Swick

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  • Anna Sarca

    Ms Vogt might prefer the correct spelling of her first name in place of the typo in the blog post.

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