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Rare Bird Alert: November 30, 2013

Sorry for the tardy post, all. The mid-week holiday put a little kink in the regular schedule. All the turkey and family time necessitated a slightly later deadline. I hope it didn’t put a damper on too many post-holiday festivities. I almost needed to put it off even one day more, because I finally got involved in one of these rare bird twitches I write about so often. North Carolina’s first Snowy Owl in 13 years, and about the 9th since the 1960s (though the actual number of older records is unclear) turned up at Cape Point in Dare County, and I, along with a caravan of companions, managed to cross paths with it yesterday. It was a long twitch, but a satisfying one.

In any case, this individual represents the southernmost extension of a good sized push of Snowy Owls into the eastern part of the continent this last week, including reports from Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia, in addition to the NC bird. Could it be that birders in the east will get to enjoy the sort of Snowy Owl show those in the midwest and west have seen in recent years? It’s certainly looking that way.

Snowy Owl, Dare Co, NC, photo by Nate Swick

Snowy Owl, Dare Co, NC, photo by Nate Swick

Anyway, aside from that bit of preamble, I’m going to jump straight into the business this week.

West Virginia comes through with a first this week, with a Say’s Phoebe seen in Gallipolis Ferry. West Virginia had a Snowy Owl this week too, in Preston, and notable for being away from the coast.

There was one more first reported this week, though the bird was actually seen more than a month ago. A vireo in Vancouver initially recorded as Red-eyed was determined to be the province’s first Yellow-green Vireo.

The Dusky Thrush (ABA Code 4) that had spent the last two winters in Anchorage, Alaska, has returned for a third year. There was also a Brambling (3) in Seward.

Zzyzx, California, hosted its second state rarity in the last month, an unexpected Bohemian Waxing.

Black Scoter is a great bird for Arizona, particularly in southeastern Pima, a Ruddy Ground-Dove was also photographed in Cochise.

It continues to be a good year for Blue Jays in the west, with one seen in Utah, Utah.

Another Black-legged Kittiwake was seen in Texas, this time in El Paso. No doubt Mexican birders are waiting with anticipation for it to cross the border.

Louisiana’s 2nd record of Iceland Gull was photographed near Mandeville, and a Tropical Parula (3) was seen in Cameron.

Alabama also had a Black-legged Kittiwake, this one in Muscle Shoals.

A Calliope Hummingbird was visiting a feeder in Calhoun, Florida.

Always a good bird in the south, a Pacific Loon was seen on Lake Lanier, in Florida.

A pair of Little Gulls in Hamilton, Tennessee were that state’s 10th and 11th. A Say’s Phoebe in Lake, is the 9th.

In Virginia, a nice male Western Tanager is visiting a feeder in Williamsburg.

Pennsylvania’s 2nd ever MacGillivray’s Warbler is showing incredibly well near Harrisburg.

New Brunswick had a Harris’s Sparrow near Hampton.

A Yellow-throated Warbler is a great bird for Quebec. One was seen in Gaspésie.

It may be that we’re seeing a minor incursion of alcids in the great lakes, as murrelet sp were seen on the lakeshore in both Indiana and Ohio this week.

In Wisconsin, a Gyrfalcon is exciting near Ellison Bay, and 3 Little Gulls were seen near Superior, part of a irruption of the species into the Great Lakes.

A Roseate Spoonbill, notable for the time of year as much as the location, was seen near Springfield, Illinois.


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.
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