Rare Bird Alert: September 7, 2012
by Nate Swick
The big weather event of the past week was the rise and fall of Hurricane Isaac, which strengthened to a Category 1 storm before striking the Louisiana coast. Following landfall it moved slowly up the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys before petering out over the midwest. While far from the waif-rich storm we saw this time last year with Irene, Isaac did push some interesting birds, including a first state record, far inland.
That first state record was in Kentucky, where an almost certainly hurricane related pair of Great Shearwaters were found near the dam of Kentucky Lake in Livingston. The shearwater show was short lived, however, as the birds had vamoosed the next day, being replaced by a Long-tailed Jaeger, itself a pretty good bird in Kentucky.
Probably not hurricane related, but a state first nonetheless, was the report of an apparent Elegant Tern at Sandy Hook in Monmouth, New Jersey. (photo at left by Sam Galick). This is one of only a handful of records of this species on the Atlantic Coast.
In Atlantic Canada, a Say's Phoebe report comes from Mary's Point, New Brunswick, and a Northern Wheatear from Queens, Nova Scotia.
The farthest north and east record of Rufous Hummingbird this fall comes from Outaouais, Quebec.
A Red-necked Phalarope was found in Addison, Vermont, at Dead Creek WMA.
The continuing Curlew Sandpiper (3) in Chatham, Massachusetts, was joined this past weekend by a Little Stint (ABA Code 4).
Good birds for Pennsylvania this week include a White Ibis in Lancaster and a Long-tailed Jaeger in Allegheny.
it's getting late for Ruff (3) reports but one was found this week in Chincoteague NWR in Accomack, Virginia.
Always remarkable inland, was a possibly hurricane related Magnificent Frigatebird in Durham, North Carolina, and then half an hour later in Chatham.
In South Carolina, a Bell's Vireo was captured at a banding station on Kiawah Island in Charleston.
Definitely hurricane related was a Royal Tern at Lake DeGray in Clark, Arkansas.
Another inland Great Shearwater report came from east Texas, where one was found west of Texarkana, Bowie. A better bird for the state was a recently reported Short-tailed Hawk in Hidalgo.
Missouri's 12th report of Roseate Spoonbill can from a quartet of birds in Boone.
A Roseate Spoonbill was also in Polk, Iowa, that state's 3rd.
A fantastic Great Lakes record was a Brown Pelican seen flying along Lake Erie in Ottawa, Ohio.
A Swallow-tailed Kite was very good in Lake, Illinois, north of Chicago.
Wisconsin's 6th record of Snowy Plover came from Crawford, and a belated record of White-tailed Kite is a bird photographed in Burnett.
A subadult Sabine's Gull was found in Pima, Arizona.
A pair of Ruff (3), a male and a female-type, were seen in Grays Harbor, Washington.
Most of the best birding in Alaska has been concentrated at Gambell and St Paul Island. At the former, highlights include Common Sandpiper (4), Lesser Sand-Plover (3), and a second Dark-sided Flycatcher (4), and at the second, Ruff (3) and Little Stint (4). A Baikal Teal (4) was also discovered on Adak.
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.