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Rare Bird Alert: May 9, 2014

For the second week in a row, the main action in the ABA Area is centered in the northeast. Newfoundland’s numbers of European shorebirds continues to astound. The species involved are mostly the same, with a couple notable exceptions, but the numbers keep increasing. Currently, there have been 12 Black-tailed Godwits (ABA Code 3), 31 Northern Wheatears, and 227 European Golden-Plovers. At least the wheatears are beginning to turn up elsewhere, with a few in Quebec and one in Maine this week.

Newcomers include an apparent schinzii “Greenland” Dunlin (a first ABA record for this subspecies), a “Eurasian” Whimbrel, and 2 ABA Code 5 Common Redshanks, both around the harbor at Renews. At least one of the redshanks has stuck around through the week offering exceptional views to birders on the island.

Photo by Jared Clarke

One of two Common Redshanks present at the Renews harbor, Newfoundland, this week. Photo by Jared Clarke

We have to head to the other side of the continent for the week’s lone first record. A long time coming for Alaska was Long-billed Curlew, and one was seen hanging around with a Whimbrel near Juneau. This would be the first confirmed record for the state.

Alberta continues to do well with vagrant gulls, the latest being a Slaty-backed Gull (3) near Calgary.

In Utah, a Ruddy Turnstone at Salt Lake is noteworthy.

One of very few records for Colorado, a Swainson’s Warbler was found in Bent.

Remarkable particularly for the time of year, a stunning Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (3) was well-photographed in Coconino, Arizona, that state’s 5th record.

Flycatchers highlight Texas’s week, a Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher in Corpus Christi and a Dusky-capped Flycatcher in Cameron.

In Kansas, a Swallow-tailed Kite and a Brown Pelican are both in Manhattan.

Missouri’s second record of Wilson’s Plover was well-documented in St. Charles, and a Black-chinned Hummingbird was reported from St. Francois.

In addition to the regular eastern warblers, Illinois also hosted a Black-throated Gray Warbler in Kane and a Townsend’s Warbler in Bloomington this week.

In Minnesota, a Say’s Phoebe was in Crookston.

Wisconsin also had a Townsend’s Warbler, that state’s 5th record, in Middleton. A Tricolored Heron was also seen in Dodge.

Michigan had a number of great birds this week including a Mississippi Kite in Berrien, a Long-billed Curlew near Ypislanti, a Say’s Phoebe in Keweenaw, aTricolored Heron in Cheboygan, and a Purple Gallinule in Tawas.

A Glossy Ibis was notable in Ottawa, Ohio, but perhaps most exciting for that state was the news that an adult Neotropic Cormorant was seen at the same site that a young bird, Ohio’s first, was seen last week in Erie.

In West Virgina, a Western Tanager was reported in Preston.

An Ash-throated Flycatcher turned up on Dauphin Island, Alabama, this week.

Florida now has two individual Bahama Mockingbirds (4) in Monroe, one of which seems to be afflicted with avian pox, and a Western Spindalis (4) was found, also in Monroe.

In Maryland, a Franklin’s Gull was found in Montgomery.

New Jersey also had a Townsend’s Warbler this week, this one in Sussex, and aCrested Caracara was seen amongst a flock of vultures in Cape May.

Massachusetts had a Brown Booby (3) on Nantucket, and a Swainson’s Hawk, the state’s 6th or so record, was photographed in Essex.

As mentioned before, a Northern Wheatear turned up in Scarborough, Maine, and a Swallow-tailed Kite was seen in Brunswick.

The third in the ABA Area this spring, a Garganey (4) was seen in Bas-Saint-Laurent, Quebec.


Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT and I will 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

Latest posts by Nate Swick (see all)

  • Andrew Keaveney

    I believe Ontario has an accepted record of this subspecies – See Ontario Birds; April 2003 (21:1) – First “Greenland” Dunlin for Ontario and Canada by Bob Curry, Kevin McLaughlin and Bill Crins. Provides a detailed description of a small, short-billed Dunlin at Hamilton that appears to be of Greenland/Iceland origin. A detailed discussion of Dunlin subspecies is included.

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