Rare Bird Alert: January 25, 2013
by Nate Swick
Greetings from the Space Coast Birding and Nature Festival, the only place in North America not completely frozen this week. Because the time is so short, I'm going to dispatch with the traditional introduction and run straight into the birds. After all, that's what you're here for.
Three firsts made their appearance this week, continuing our impressive, almost uninterrupted, run that began back in the fall. Perhaps most surprising, at least in terms of amount of time since the state's last first record, was the Slaty-backed Gull (ABA Code 3) at Walker Lake, Mineral, Nevada. This first record (photographed at left by Greg Scyphers) came hard on the heels of the state's first Common Crane (still present) only a few days prior. Also notable for Nevada, a White-tailed Kite has been hanging out near Reno.
A Lazuli Bunting found by Rob Fergus (he of NJ's first Mew Gull) in Hunterdon looks to be New Jersey's first.
We don't talk about Hawaii too much in this spot, but first state records are worth a mention, and an American Bittern on Oahu this week was a first for the Hawaiian Islands.
The most exciting ABA-Area birds come from the top two corners of the continent. In Alaska, a Siberian Accentor (4) was in Seward.
Across the ABA Area in Newfoundland, a Fieldfare (4) has been present in Reidsville, Newfoundland, since December, but only seen 3 times in the period.
Farther down the coast, a Black-headed Gull was found in Sussex, Delaware, and a Say's Phoebe in Carroll, Maryland.
A Western Kingbird has spent most of the week in Seabrook Island, South Carolina. Also in the state, a Chestnut-collared Longspur was in Anderson and a Eared Grebe from shore in Georgetown.
Georgia also had a Western Kingbird, this on on Tybee Island.
A Cinnamon Teal has been seen a by a few Space Coast attendees at Merritt Island NWR in Brevard, Florida, and a late report of a Calliope Hummingbird came from Franklin.
In Alabama, a Wilson's Warbler turned up in Birmingham, and the state's second ever Razorbill (and the second this season, was seen from Ocean Beach.
Louisiana has no shortage of western vagrants every winter, some notable ones for the week include a Tropical Kingbird near Braithwaite and a Bullock's Oriole at Bayou Sauvage NWR.
A Neotropic Cormorant was well-photographed at Lake Conway in Faulkner, Arkansas, and a Red-throated Loon was seen in Taney, Missouri.
Along Lake Michigan in Indiana, both a Western Grebe and a Thayer's Gull were reported from LaPorte.
Great birds for Kansas include a Barrow's Goldeneye in Sedgwick and a California Gull in Riley.
The most recent Varied Thrush east of its range this winter is one in Coshocton, Ohio.
In Michigan, a Slaty-backed Gull was seen along the St. Clair River in St Clair. The bird was also seen on the Ontario side of the border.
Always a nice bird in the west, an Iceland Gull was in Arapahoe, Colorado.
A Pacific Loon is great bird in Arizona, particularly in Pima, in the eastern part of the state.
In Utah, a Blue Jay is visiting a feeder, in Bountiful.
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 <aba.org/nab>, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA. Place names written in italics refer to counties/parishes.