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#ABArare – Red-flanked Bluetail – British Columbia

Things are getting crazy in British Columbia. First, there was a Citrine Wagtail on Vancouver Island (which is still there as of Jan 13). Then Bramblings started showing up, with two in the interior of the province, one in Vancouver, and another in Victoria. There was a one-day one-observer sighting of Baikal Teal south of Vancouver. Now a Red-flanked Bluetail (Code 4) has been discovered in New Westminster, just southeast of Vancouver.

Colin McKenzie found the bird on Jan 13. He did not know what it was, but he made sketches and very detailed notes on its plumage and behavior. Based on that material, Mike Toochin and George Clulow tentatively identified it as a Red-flanked Bluetail. They and other birders went to check it out on the morning of Jan 14 and confirmed that their identification was correct.

ABArare Bluetail RFBL-4-SharonToochin-14Jan2013

ABArare Bluetail RFBL-3-SharonToochin-14Jan2013

ABArare Bluetail RFBL-2-SharonToochin-14Jan2013photos by Sharon Toochin

The Bluetail is at Queen’s Park. You can find a map of the park here, and I created another map showing the approximate location of the bird in the park here. If you look for the bird, park at the lot at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and First Street. Walk north for about one minute to the playground. The Bluetail was feeding around the picnic tables here on the morning of Jan 14.

Red-flanked Bluetail_front view Peter

ABArare Bluetail Peterphotos by Peter Candido

Red-flanked Bluetail is an Old World Flycatcher known in the ABA Area almost exclusively from the Bering Sea region. I believe there are only two ABA Area records from outside this region, both coming from islands off the coast of California. This would be a first record for Canada and only the second from mainland North America (the other being one at Hooper Bay, Alaska on May 22, 1992).

Please check back for updates.

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John Puschock

John Puschock

John Puschock reports ABA rare bird alerts and manages #ABArare for the American Birding Association. John is a frequent participant in rare bird forums around the web and has knack for gathering details necessary to relocate birds. He has been a birder since 1984 and now leads tours for Bird Treks, as well as for his own company Zugunruhe Birding Tours. He has led tours to locations across North America, from Newfoundland to New Mexico and from Costa Rica to Alaska. He specializes in leading tours to Adak in the Aleutian Islands.
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