Rare Bird Alert: November 23, 2012
by Nate Swick
Winter finches continue to make inroads farther south than they're generally recorded. Pine Grosbeaks and Hoary Redpolls have been seen at several sites in southern Canada and the northern US with the latter as far south as Illinois and Indiana. Also the first reports of northern Owls have popped up in New England and southeast Canada.
The biggest news of the period had to be the first Canadian, and second-ever for the ABA, Citrine Wagtail (ABA Code 5) in Comax, British Columbia. This has long been one of the strangest records in the ABA Area, with the first coming from Starksville, Mississippi (after which all birders are required to add "of all places" when discussing this species). Coastal BC is a bit more expected for a central Asian vagrant. The bird has been present for much of the week and several birders have managed to see it.
Other first records for the period include Say's Phoebe in Penacook, New Hampshire. No doubt a long expected species for the state as this one shows up in the east with some regularity.
Texas has a potential first in a Pacific Wren in the Christmas Mountains, as a report of this species last year was not accepted. Somewhat more expected, though rarer for the ABA Area, is a Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4) in Hidalgo.
Not a first, but an excellent bird for the region is a Thick-billed Vireo (4) found this week in Miami-Dade, Florida, where a Swainson's Hawk was also seen in Okaloosa.
Western hummingbirds have been prevelant in the east this fall, a Calliope Hummingbird in Cobb, Georgia, is among the latest.
Common Redpolls were seen in Orange and Dare, North Carolina this week. Excellent inland was an Iceland Gull in Durham, and a Swainson's Hawk in Orange.
By far the farthest afield Northern Lapwing (4) thus far this season was a one-day wonder in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Always good in the east was a Western Grebe in Worcester, Maryland.
A Great Gray Owl was notable in Shelburne, Vermont, this week.
Maine had a Pink-footed Goose (4) in Cherryfield and a Northern Hawk-Owl is in Fryeburg Harbor.
Newfoundland also had a Pink-footed Goose (4) near St. John's.
In Quebec, a Yellow-throated Warbler was lingering far north of usual in Montreal, and a Barnacle Goose (4) was in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
In Ohio, a King Eider was on Lake Erie in Cuyahoga, a Western Grebe was on LaDue Reservoir in Geauga, and a Lark Bunting, the second of the season, was in Tuscawaras.
The first remarkable report of Snowy Owl this season comes from the Louisville Airport, in Jefferson, Kentucky.
Tennessee's second record of Chestnut-collared Longspur was seen in Shelby.
A Western Meadowlark was seen well near Oakland, Lauderdale, Alabama.
In Missouri, Red Crossbills have been seen in St Louis City and Callaway.
Three different Townsend's Solitaires are present in Berrien, Michigan.
Wisconsin offers a couple great divers in a Pacific Loon in Clark, and a Western Grebe in Bayfield.
Minnesota also has a Townsend's Solitaire in Crow Wing.
A Canyon Wren in Meade City, South Dakota, is an excellent bird for the upper Great Plains.
Still a great bird in the Great Basin, though becoming more common as it is everywhere to the east, is a Lesser Black-backed Gull near Ft Peck, Montana.
A Pacific Loon was found near Laramie, Wyoming.
Colorado's third record of Brambling (3) is visiting a feeding station in Jefferson.
Notable birds in Utah include a Lesser Black-backed Gull in Cache and a Harris's Sparrow in Salt Lake.
A Groove-billed Ani in Pima is a nice bird for Arizona, as is a Eurasian Wigeon (3) away from the coast in Green Valley.
A Masked Booby (3) was seen from shore in Santa Cruz, California.
A a Brown Booby (3) was seen offshore in King before heading into Kitsap, Washington.
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.