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Rare Bird Alert: June 14, 2013


As we head into the middle of June, the reports of significant vagrants from the ABA-Area slows significantly. That is, unless you're birding in Western Alaska. This week's RBA could very well just be called the Alaska Alert, with a few additions from everybody elese. 

Before we jump into that parade of rarities, there is one possible first record to note. A McCown's Longspur, a putative Washington first, was report from the Seattle area this week. The initial report was not corroborated as of yet, and while I don't feel super comfortable saying that the streak of firsts definitively goes on based on this record, it's certainly intriguing. Perhaps we can retroactively apply it if it is found to be conclusive. 

Gray-streaked-Flycatcher_0814But back to Alaska. Those bird guides tucked in at the Last Frontier's last frontier have been finding some ridiculous birds. The list from Attu includes Far Eastern Curlew (ABA Code 4) Gray-streaked Flycatcher (4) (at left by Isaac Helmericks) Dark-sided Flycatcher (4) Common Cuckoo (3) Siberian Rubythroat (3) Brambling (3) Smew (3) Wood Sandpiper, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, and Gray Wagtail (4). Eyebrowed Thrush (4) was both on St. Paul in the Pribilofs and on Kiska in the Aleutians. And at Gambell, a Eurasian Hawfinch (4) and a couple Olive-backed Pipits (3) were impressive.

A repositioning ship in British Columbia waters off Vancouver Island, had a single Least Auklet as well as a Manx Shearwater. 

A Least Flycatcher in Logan, Utah, is one of only a few accepted records for that state. 

A completely remarkable record for Colorado was a Magnificent Frigatebird in the skies above Jackson

In New Mexico, a Greater Pewee was seen and heard in Socorro. 

Only the third and fourth ever for South Carolina, a pair of Fea's Petrel (3) in waters off Charleston is a phenomenal record and nearly overshadowed by the reports of 212(!) Black-capped Petrels. 

In North Carolina, a Brown Booby (3) off Dare was seen in the wake of Tropical Strom Andrea, and a small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were seen in Henderson. 

That storm almost certainly had something to do with the Magnficent Frigatebird seen around Assateague, Marlyland, too. 

The latest of several this spring, a Western Grebe was notable for Rondeau, Ontario. 

Over in Quebec a White-winged Dove was seen near Sept-Îles. 

And always good on east coast, a Franklin's Gull was found near Avon, Newfoundland. 

My apologies for any mistakes, typos, or omissions in this post. I've been offshore for the last two days helping with the ABA tubenose IFO and was a little tired putting this together.


Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT and I'll try to fix them as soon as possible. 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. Place names written in italics refer to counties/parishes. 

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


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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog. A long-time member of the bird blogosphere, Nate has been writing about birds and birding at The Drinking Bird since 2007, but can also be found writing regularly at 10,000 Birds. In the non-digital world, he's an environmental educator and interpretive naturalist. He is also the author of Birding for the Curious. Nate lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children, who are not yet aware that they are being groomed to be birders.
Nate Swick

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  • Ryan O’Donnell

    The “Gray-breasted Flycatcher” from Attu should have been “Gray-streaked Flycatcher”, right? And I think the Eyebrowed Thrush photographed by Doug was on St. Paul Island, not Attu.

  • Nate Swick

    Thanks Ryan, I’ve fixed them.

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