Mr. Swick is in the air as I type this, flying back from the Global Bird Watchers’ Conference in India, so I’m taking the reigns of the Rare Bird Alert this week. Here we go:
The headline bird this week is the Little Bunting (ABA Code 4) in the northeast corner of Oregon. This is only the fourth record for the ABA Area outside of Alaska.
Other Asian vagrants continue throughout the Northwest: the previously-reported Siberian Accentor (4) and up to four Brambling (3) continue in Seward, Alaska, and the Red-flanked Bluetail (4) in New Westminster, British Columbia and Brambling in nearby Vancouver are still there as well, all as of Feb 1. Another Brambling was found in Homer, Alaska, the fifth of the season.
On the other side of the continent, a Yellow-breasted Chat continues at St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Northern Lapwings (4) are hanging on, with the previously-reported pair at Nantucket, Massachusetts and trio at New Egypt, NJ still there and a new report of a pair at Little Compton, RI.
Other notable birds in Massachusetts included a Gyrfalcon at Hadley, a Tufted Duck (3) at Little Nahant, and a Blue Grosbeak at Merrimac. There was also a belated report of a Black-throated Gray Warbler last seen on Jan 23 in Taunton.
New York had a Great Gray Owl at Massena, while over in New Jersey, there was a Barnacle Goose (4) at Plainsboro and Pink-footed Goose (4) at Toms River (and I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed additional goose reports).
Maryland’s Say’s Phoebe in Carroll stuck around, while a White-winged Dove was discovered on Feb 1 in Calvert. In Virginia, Western Grebes were still at Lake Anna.
Moving south, South Carolina had a Cinnamon Teal. There was a Little Gull in Hall and a Great Cormorant and California Gull at Walter F. George Reservoir in Georgia.
The Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival’s pelagic trip found two Razorbills and a Brown Booby, all in Volusia waters. Neighboring Brevard had a Brown Booby (the same one?) at Jetty Park and an Ash-throated Flycatcher at Viera, while still further south in Indian River, there was the continuing Razorbill at Sebastian Inlet and a White-cheeked Pintail (4) (for which provenance is always a concern) at Pelican Island, NWR. The La Sagra’s Flycatcher (3) at Green Cay, Palm Beach and the Western Spindalis (3) at Virginia Key, Miami-Dade were still hanging on, and there was a Warbling Vireo, also in Miami-Dade. Further north in Florida, another Razorbill was at Ft. Clinch and hummingbirds continue to make a strong showing with a Broad-billed Hummingbird banded near Tallahassee.
Boreal Owls are starting to show in the northeast corner of Minnesota. Elsewhere in the state, a Spotted Towhee continues at Faribault.
Both Indiana and Illinois have a Varied Thrush, while the latter state also has a Barnacle Goose (4) in McLean.
Tennessee hosted a Western Grebe (Chattanooga) and a Harlenquin Duck (Kingsport). Next door in Arkansas, a Common Redpoll visited Little Rock. Just across the border in Oklahoma, Crested Caracara was seen at Red Slough WMA in the southeast part of the state and a Long-tailed Duck at Tulsa.
In Texas, a Golden-crowned Warbler (4) was in Zapata on Jan 31. The Flammulated Owl is still at the South Padre Island Convention Center.
Arizona still has its Nutting’s Flycatcher (5) at Bill Williams NWR along with Eurasian Wigeon and Yellow-belied Sapsucker at Glendale, Red-breasted Sapsucker and Least Grebe in Maricopa (however, the grebe may be gone), and Ruddy Ground-Dove (3) at Whitewater Draw, and a Rusty Blackbird at the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve.
Utah has Hoary Redpolls at an undisclosed location in Park City. Nevada’s Common Crane (4) and White-tailed Kite were still present as of Jan 30.
Over in California, the Gray Hawk is still there, as well as the Arctic Loon at Monterey Harbor. Some other rarities include a Trumpeter Swan at the south end of the Salton Sea, Dusky-capped Flycatchers in Riverside and Los Angeles, Slaty-backed Gull at the Davis Sewer Ponds
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.
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