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Rare Bird Alert: September 13, 2013

A quick clarification on one of last weeks most notable reports. The European Golden-Plover in New Jersey last week turns out to have been, well, not. Subsequent scrutiny of the images suggests that, at best, it’s probably not possible to confidently identify the bird in question as a first record. And given that it wasn’t found again in the days following the initial sighting the consensus seems to be that it’s destined to go down as one of those coulda-had reports that the litter the bird record landscape. At least, this is my perception of the situation and please let us know in the comments if I’m mistaken.

Perhaps now is as good a time as any to clarify that this weekly round-up is not necessarily meant to be the final say on any of these birds. It’s necessarily quick and a little dirty. It’s a temperature taking rather than the full diagnosis. For the broad view, I’d encourage readers to check out Amy Davis’s regular Sightings column in Birding magazine (and increasingly online for members at the ABA website) and in the ABA’s journal of ornithological record, North American Birds.

That out of the way, with the loss of the plover last week our streak of no more than one week without a first state/provincial record finally comes to an end. The streak is dead. Long live the streak.

The slightly longer, and slightly less impressive streak of no more than two weeks with a first continues, however. And it’s Atlantic Canada that does the honors this time.

A provincial first Lazuli Bunting, and a gorgeous adult male besides, was photographed at a feeder in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, this week. Also in the province, a Prothonotary Warbler was seen in Trepassy.

Another potential first comes from Illinois, where a very large hummingbird, initially reported as a possible Magnificent Hummingbird, was seen in Cook. The bird was not coming to a feeder, rather a flowering bush, so perhaps it’s expected that a subsequent search came up empty. More information on this as it develops, if it develops, on #ABArare.

The most productive birding this week comes, somewhat predictably, from western Alaska. The Bering Sea islands are producing an excellent string of rarities including Yellow-browed Warbler (ABA Code 4), “Siberian” Stonechat (4), and two Siberian Accentors (4) on St. Lawrence Island at Gambell, and an excellent Asian Brown Flycatcher (5) was discovered and photographed on St Paul Island.

"Siberian" Stonechat, Gambell, AK - photo by Paul Lehman

“Siberian” Stonechat, Gambell, AK – photo by Paul Lehman

Arguably the bird of the summer, Brown Booby (3) is making a case for the fall too. British Columbia gets a late report of a second bird this fall, offshore near Nootka Island

Washington gets a second Lesser Sand-Plover (3) in as many weeks in Grays Harbor.

Blue-footed Boobies (4) have shown up in California, with separate birds at Point Reyes and Los Angeles. Another Great Shearwater, one of fewer than 10 for the state and the second this fall was seen in San Francisco waters. Also, a Hudsonian Godwit was well-photographed in Napa.

A second Sinaloa Wren (5) was discovered singing in Arizona, in Santa Cruz this time.

Colorado’s 7th record of Swainson’s Warbler was photographed – which is rare enough for Swainson’s Warbler – in Adams.

A rare Mississippi Kite flew over Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Idaho’s 2nd record of Cape May Warbler, and the first in over 30 years, was seen in Boise.

In South Dakota, an Anna’s Hummingbird was coming to a feeder in Pennington.

A Calypte hummingbird, presumed at the time of writing to be Nebraska’s 2nd Costa’s Hummingbird, was seen in Ogallala.  Also in the state, a pair of jaegers, a Parasitic Jaeger in Dawes and a Long-tailed Jaeger in Lincoln.

In Kansas, a Black-throated Gray Warbler was recorded in Sedgwick.

Rare for the Gulf of Mexico, a Sooty Shearwater was seen relatively nearshore around Port Aransas, Texas.

Arkansas gets yet another Brown Booby (3), the state’s fourth and the fourth in two years (!) on private property in St. Francis.

Always good away from the southeast, a young Laughing Gull turned up in Johnson, Iowa.

Becoming annual in northern Ohio, a Kirtland’s Warbler was seen in Lucas.

One of the most intriguing birds of the week comes from Ontario, where a compelling report of a Brown-chested Martin (5) at Stoney Creek made the rounds. The record is not accompanied by photos or subsequent sightings (not unexpected given the species), but with excellent field sketches and notes, available at the link.

A pair of western vagrants are notable in Quebec, a Swainson’s Hawk near Montreal and a Rufous Hummingbird in Montérégie.

New Brunswick is the second province of the week to record Prothonotary Warbler, one was seen at Anchorage Provincial Park.

The first confirmed North American record of the nominate, European, subspecies of Sandwich Tern was initially photographed in Eastham, Massachusetts a few weeks ago. The bird was photographed with a band that placed it on the other side of the Atlantic, though the specific where has not yet been revealed. The bird continues through this week.

Western Kingbirds are beginning to turn up in the eastern part of the continent. One in Madison, Connecticut is good for that state.

Delaware’s second Crested Caracara was seen feeding on carrion at Broadkill Beach.

We rarely mention the District of Columbia here, but a pair of Red-necked Phalaropes lingering at Constitution Gardens is notable for that tiny entity.

Good birds in Georgia include an adult Northern Goshawk seen on Little St Simon’s Island.  Brown Booby (3) and Black-capped Petrel were noted from a pelagic off St Mary’s Island, and a Bewick’s Wren near Dalton is a great bird for the southeast.

Increasingly difficult to find in Florida in recent years, Smooth-billed Ani in Miami-Dade is a bird worthy of a rare bird report nowadays.


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

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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