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Rare Bird Alert: November 23, 2012


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.  

CIWA BCThe 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.  

Pennsylvania also had a first, a Black-chinned Hummingbird visiting a feeder in Bucks. Also in the very same county can be found the state's 3rd Allen's Hummingbird and a Pink-footed Goose (4). 

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. 

Good birds in Arkansas include a Black-chinned Hummingbird in Pulaski, Western Grebe in Yell, and a Vermilion Flycatcher in Arkansas

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

Groove-billed Ani in Pima is a nice bird for Arizona, as is a Eurasian Wigeon (3) away from the coast in Green Valley. 

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


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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.
  • A video of the Allen’s in Bucks County, PA from 22 November 2012 can be seen here:

  • anon

    That WA Blue-headed Vireo report is from Sep 2010, I think. At least there’s been no recent report on the local lists, and the photo is of the 7th record for the state, from 2010.

  • Thanks. I found it on the eBird rarity photo stream and assumed it was a recent report rather than a recent upload. 

    Sent from my phone

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