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Rare Bird Alert: December 28, 2012

The inclusion of a big, fat family-centric holiday right in the middle of the week likely made for a slower period so far as time in the field goes for many of us.  But the CBC season continues and the increased hours in undercovered locations has seen come dividends, too, at least for those who were able to dig out from the massive precipitation heavy weather system that slammed much of the continent in varying degrees this week.  

Despite the lack of state/provincial firsts, one of the more exciting records for the period came from the left coast, where a Brambling (ABA Code 3) was regularly visiting a feeder in Blaine, Washington.  Also, an Arctic Loon seen offshore from near Vantage was a good bird for the state. 

Excellent anywhere in the west was a Rusty Blackbird seen near Ashland, Oregon. 

In California, "Al", the world's easiest Laysan Albatross (3), has returned once again to Mendecino

Up in British Columbia, good birds include a Little Gull (3) in West Vancouver, the first of likely many Tufted Ducks (3) on the Pacific Coast in Osoyoos, and the increasingly less-exciting Lesser Black-backed Gull in Kelowna. 

Notable for Alaska is a Western Gull in Ketchikan, as most "Western-ish" birds that make it that far north have more than a bit of Glaucous-wing in them.  

A Common Redpoll in Ogden, Utah, is one of many reported from the Great Basin this week.  Also good for Utah is a Glaucous-winged Gull found in Bountiful, and a trio of Mountain Plovers braving the cold in Weber

Two Iceland Gulls found in Douglas, Colorado, are excellent birds anywhere in the west. 

A review species for Texas is the "Black" Brant reported near Amarillo. 

A Black-throated Gray Warbler was re-found on the Grand Isle, Louisiana, Christmas Bird Count. 

Some incredible CBC birds from Arkansas include a Townsend's Solitaire and a White-throated Swift (!) from the Mt Magazine count in Logan

Calliope Hummingbird in Davidson, Tennessee, is that state's 7th. 

A Townsend's Solitaire in Sedgwick, Kansas, is another record of a bird that must be making a serious move eastward this winter.  A Great Black-backed Gull in Pott is also a great bird for the Sunshine State. 

Another of the headliners for the season has been Varied Thrush, and yet another vagrant was reported from Cook, Illinois. 

A Western Grebe was seen in Allegan, Michigan. 

Still another Varied Thrush report from the Great Lakes regions comes from Tippecanoe, Indiana, and a Say's Phoebe was reported in Vermilion

A wild record of a White-winged Dove comes from Côte-Nord, Quebec. 

And in Newfoundland, a Townsend's Warbler was found on the St. John's CBC.  It's the 15th for the province. 

A "Audubon's" Yellow-rumped Warbler is the latest notable bird from Suffolk, New York. 

In New Jersey, both a Western Grebe and a Barnacle Goose (4) were reported in Monmouth.

And in Pennsylvania, a Pink-footed Goose (4) in Bucks may be the same bird that spent much of the winter in the area last year. 

A Western Grebe was Augustine Wildlife Area in New Castle, Delaware. 

For Maryland, good birds include a Black-headed Gull (3) as well as a Harlequin Duck, in Baltimore.

A Harlequin Duck was also on the south end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in Virginia Beach, Virginia. 

Both a Say's Phoebe and an Ash-throated Flycatcher were reported from Washington, North Carolina. The phoebe is the 10th record for the state and the flycatcher is the 4th individual of that species seen this season in NC. 

In Georgia, both a Broad-tailed Hummingbird in Jasper and a Black-chinned Hummingbird in Bibb are currently visiting feeders. 

A Neotropic Cormorant in Miami-Dade is an exciting bird for those Florida birders for whom Razorbills are now blase. 


This post is meant to be an account of the most recently reported birds.  Continuing birds not mentioned are likely included in previous editions listed here.

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

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.
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