The Northwest’s run of Asian vagrants keeps marching on. While checking feeders in the town of Joseph, OR on January 28, Alan Contreras and Craig Tumer found a Little Bunting (Code 4). The feeder is at the northeast corner of the intersection of College St. and Wm E. Williams Ave. A map of this location as well as the locations of two sightings on Jan 29 is here. [Note that Wm E. Williams Ave. is labelled as E. McCully St. on Google Maps.]
As noted by Wayne Weber on VANBCbirds, the rarity of Little Bunting in the ABA Area, particularly outside of Alaska, is similar to that of Red-flanked Bluetail (which is still showing near Vancouver). Like the Bluetail, this latest sighting is only the third outside of Alaska, and the previous two come from coastal California (one at Pt. Loma Oct 21-24, 1991, and one at Southeast Farallon Island Sep 27-28, 2002). In Alaska, Little Bunting is a fall visitor, unlike Red-flanked Bluetail which has been found primarily in spring. There is also a record of Little Bunting in Mexico. One was found in Baja California Sur on Oct 8, 2008.
Joseph, OR is located in the northeast part of the state, east of La Grande and Pendleton. The closest major city is Boise, ID, a 240-mile drive away. Winter weather can be an issue. At times, roads, including I-84, may be closed due to storms.
As of 3:40 PM PST, there have been no positive reports for Jan 30.
With Dusky Thrush, Siberian Accentor, and multiple Brambling in Alaska (all still present), Red-throated Pipits, Citrine Wagtail, at least four Brambling, and Red-flanked Bluetail in BC (the Vancouver Brambling and Red-flanked Bluetail still present), Brambling in Washington, and now this Little Bunting, it’s been an incredible winter for Asian vagrants. What will be next? Feels like we’re due for a Rustic Bunting soon…
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