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#ABArare – Virginia’s Warbler – New York

On October 31st, the day after Superstorm Sandy made landfall along the New Jersey coast, Eric Miller reported a well-described Virginia's Warbler from Alley Pond Park in Queens, New York.  Pending acceptance, this would be a first state record for New York. 

In the following days many birders attempted, unsuccessfully, to find the bird at the park, and with the recent nor'easter bringing significant snow on the area it was believed that the Virginia's Warbler was long gone, destined to be a unphotographed single observer record.  That is, until November 9th, when Andrew Baksh returned to Alley Pond Park and not only found it, but managed some excellent photos to finally confirm the record.

VIWA-5519

photo by Andrew Baksh

Alley Pond Park is located in the Queens borough of New York City, and bordered on three sides by the Long Island Expressway, the Grand Central Parkway, and the Cross Island Parkway.  The bird was most recently seen by Baksh in the vicinity of the "Adventure Course", which is visible across the soccer fields from the parking lot on Alley Pond Park State Route off of the Grand Central Parkway. 

Virginia's Warbler is a breeding bird of the Great Basin and the Rocky Mountains as far north as Wyoming.  It has a long history of vagrancy across the eastern part of the continent, and records of Virginia's Warbler east of the Mississippi River include those from Ontario (1958, 1974, 1975, 2001, 2003), Maine (1998, 2005, 2011), Michigan (1993), New Jersey (1962, also unconfirmed in 1966), Maryland (2012), West Virginia (2007), Georgia (1997, 2010), Louisiana (1988), Newfoundland (1994), Rhode Island (2006), and a hypothetical record from Illinois (1979). 

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

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  • Alan Wormington

    Also a 1974 record for Ontario. And even more significant, a record for Newfoundland (Labrador) about 10 years ago!

  • Thanks Alan. I’ve added those records to the list.

  • Patrick Belardo

    Nate, I was only aware of one NJ record, the 1962 one which I believe was a banded bird at Island Beach State Park. Where was the 1966 one?

    And boy, Eric must be relieved with Andrew’s photos!

  • The book I found reported a second bird in NJ at the same site as the first, remarkably enough.  

    Sent from my phone

  • Marshall Iliff

    Rhode Island and one additional Maine record as well (all three Maine records from Monhegan; the first was a spring (!) bird in 1998, I think

  • Thanks! They’ve been added.

  • According to Boyle’s Birds of New Jersey, the 1966 record was not photographed and not accepted by the BRC. I’ve clarified.

  • Adam Byrne

    In addition to 1993, Michigan also has records from 1997 and 2006.

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