Rare Bird Alert: February 15, 2013
by Nate Swick
Winter Storm Nemo (if you like the new convention of naming winter storms) dumped an excessive amount of snow on the northeastern quadrant of the continent this past week, socking in birders across several states and provinces and likely hindering the number of birds reported this week. Our impressive near-consecutive run of weekly first records does continue this week, however, as the onrushing horde of Razorbills finally breaks into the western Gulf.
That first Razorbill record came from Louisiana, where a single bird was seen among a gull feeding flock in the mouth of the Calcasieu River in Cameron Parish. Early in the invasion it was theorized that the lack of western Gulf records of the auks, despite increasing numbers in Florida, might be caused by turbity in the mouth of the Mississippi River preventing a westward push, but it appears at least one has made the crossing.
Next door in Texas, an ABA-Area rarity turned up in south Texas in the form of an Code 4 Crimson-collared Grosbeak at Sabal Palm Sanctuary in Cameron. This range-restricted species is semi-regular in the Valley, with nearly all records coming from the winter months. That state also got in on the Common Redpoll action, with one turning up at a feeder in Denton. That is the state's 13th record.
Common Redpolls also continue to turn up in Arkansas, where at least three are visiting feeders in Conway.
A second Western Gull has joined the one previously reported from Davis, Utah. A "Nelson's" Gull (Herring x Glaucous) was also seen in the same flock.
Always good away from Alaska, a Yellow-billed Loon was seen in Somers Bay, Montana.
Slaty-backed Gull (3) is increasingly reported from around the Great Lakes, but still notable is one this week in Lake, Indiana.
A European Greenfinch has been visiting a feeder in Toronto, Ontario, this week. This would be a first ABA-Area record if accepted, but provenance issues always plague European finches in the eastern part of the continent.
Kentucky becomes another southern point for Common Redpoll with one in Independence.
Northern birds take the headline in Florida too, with a Common Eider in Pinellas.
Georgia has had an incredible run of birds lately, the latest of which is a White-winged Crossbill in Burke.
A Bullock's Oriole has been coming to a feeder in Mecklenburg, North Carolina, since December, but was only recently reported.
Maryland also has a feeder visiting Bullock's Oriole, a young male in Harford and the state's 3rd.
Nice for Massachusetts is a Le Conte's Sparrow in Middlesex.
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