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Rare Bird Alert: January 11, 2013


Northern birds, from finches to owls, continue to turn up far to the south.  Razorbills are still inundating Florida and at least one finally broke free of the border to be seen from Gulf State Park on Alabama shores to count for a first record for that state early this week.

ROGOOther first records for the week include one I neglected to mention last week.  Nova Scotia gets loads of Eurasian geese, but a Ross’s Goose near Halifax was the first of that species to turn up in the province.

photo at left by Richard Stern

And the last first comes from New Jersey, where an apparent “Common” Mew Gull seen in Hunterdon is a long awaited addition to that state’s list.

Also in New Jersey, a Pink-footed Goose (ABA Code 4) was discovered in Mercer, a Common Murre offshore from Cape May, and also in Cape May, a Crested Caracara seen eating roadkill.  A candidate for New Jersey’s first accepted Caracara was seen just last summer.  There are also two records unaccepted due to provenance questions.

Maryland has a female Tufted Duck (3), the second of the season, in Queen Anne’s, and a briefly staying Black-throated Gray Warbler at a feeder in Montgomery.

A Calliope Hummingbird had been coming regularly to a feeder in Union, North Carolina, until a Rufous Hummingbird chased it off.

Georgia has a Say’s Phoebe in Baker.

Exciting for Florida and the ABA-Area is a Bananaquit (4) in Miami-Dade, also a Bell’s Vireo was seen in Alachua and a Common Eider in Indian River.

Good birds in Cameron, Louisiana, include a Cinnamon Teal and a White-tailed Kite.

There’s a Say’s Phoebe in Calloway, Kentucky.

A remarkable inland record of Purple Sandpiper comes from near Stillwater, Oklahoma.  It’s that state’s second record.

Lawrence’s Goldfinch are turning up all over New Mexico, with reports from Dona Ana, Eddy, and Sierra.

Last week’s anouncement of a state first Hoary Redpoll in Colorado was quickly followed by nearly ever birder in the state taking a close look at their redpolls, and turning up a couple more Hoaries in Larimer.

Salt Lake, Utah, is the place to be with reports of Lesser Black-backed GullVaried Thrush, and McCown’s Longspur.

An Arctic Loon was well-photographed nearshore in Monterrey, California.

A Sedge Wren in Lane, Oregon is that state’s 3rd record.  Other good birds include a Hooded Warbler coming to a feeder in Astoria and a Mountain Plover in Coos.

In Washington, an offshore Thick-billed Murre brought several birders to Clallum.

Brambling (3) has been attending a feeder in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Perhaps not unusual for the province, but good for near Winnipeg, was an Ivory Gull in Manitoba.

A Glaucous-winged Gull was discovered in Bay, Michigan.

Pink-footed Geese (4) continue to show up in the northeast, with the latest in Lehigh, Pennsylvania.

The Common Pochard on Lake Champlain  was seen finally on the New York side, which would make the bird a state first.  However, the discovery that the Pochard id wearing a band flends further creedence to those who argue for a captive origin for this bird.  Elsewhere in New York, a Western Grebe was found offshore in Suffolk.

Always excellent in Canada, particularly in Quebec, was a Black Vulture near Îles-de-da-Madeleine.

A candidate ‘Kamchatka’ Mew Gull was photographed near Swampscott, Essex, Massachusetts.

In Maine, a single Brewer’s Blackbird was reported near Portland.


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.
Nate Swick

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  • Jeff Bouton

    Of particular note & interest in regards to the Bananaquit, it bears mentioning that this bird is being seen on Key Biscayne at Bill Baggs State Park, however before you drive over the causeway to Key Biscayne you have to drive by Virginia Beach County Park (~10 minutes north of Bill Baggs) which is also hosting a La Sagra’s Flycatcher and a female-type Western Spindalis! At least one lucky birder was fortunate enough to see all three in a single morning earlier this week. It’s VERY unusual to have three rare birds being seen at the same time all in one geographic area, and it definitely makes the chances of being rewarded for the trip much greater.

  • Andy Boyce

    ABA folks,

    I think that Tufted Duck is from 2008. Why it was posted to surfbirds now is anyone’s guess, but I think it’s long gone now.

    Andy Boyce
    Missoula, MT

  • Yikes. Thanks, Andy

  • Tony Leukering

    It is my understanding that the NJBRC has not voted on the 2012 occurrence of Crested Caracara, so it cannot have been accepted.

  • Derek

    Maryland’s female Tufted Duck is believed to be the same bird relocating to a very close-by location due to hunters.

  • Thanks, Tony. I’ll edit to make that more clear.

  • Carol Ferguson

    Where can I find info and listing forms for the 2012 ABA Listing Report?

    Carol C. Ferguson

  • Funny you ask, Carol. Greg Neise and others are working furiously on the online version of the Listing Report that is scheduled to launch *this week*. So the answer to your question will come very very soon.

  • Carol Ferguson

    I will look forward to finding out about the online list.

    Carol Ferguson

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