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Rare Bird Alert: June 20, 2014

One first record for your state or province in one week is pretty impressive. Heck, for some well-traveled parts of the ABA Area, one new first per year is exceptional. This week, however, New Brunswick enjoyed two first provincial records, one sort of expected and one completely unexpected. We’ll start with the latter first.

A Tufted Puffin was photographed around Machias Seal Island, New Brunswick (or maybe Maine, it’s confusing). The species is generally found on the Pacific side of the continent, but has turned up on the other side on at least three occasions before. Two of those are from Europe (Great Britain in 2009 and Sweden in the late 1990s), and the third is a contentious record of an individual collected by none other than John James Audubon in 1831-32. He illustrated the bird in question and while there is no doubt as to the bird’s identity the validity of stories from nearly 200 years ago was called into question. Perhaps there’s more truth to it than we thought.


This Tufted Puffin from around Machias Seal Island, New Brunswick/Maine, is only the second from the east coast of North America. The first comes from 1830. photo by Ralph Eldridge

So while that bird likely arrived from over the top of the globe, the other provincial first came from parts south. A compelling report of  a Black-bellied Whistling Duck came from Ludlow, New Brunswick. Given that species’s rapid expansion and strong pattern of vagrancy continent-wide, it was only a matter of time.

Another potential first, at least to genus level, comes from Maine where a dead Pterodroma sp was found on a beach at Ogunquit. The bird looks to be a Herald (Trindade) Petrel (3), not only a first for the species in the state, but  first for the whole genus.

Laughing Gulls made a push into Atlantic Canada, with individuals seen in Stephenville, Newfoundland, and Big Island, Nova Scotia.

In Quebec, flycatchers were the order of the week, with the province’s 3rd Tropical Kingbird in Magpie and an Acadian Flycatcher in Témiscamingue.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is a regular vagrant all over the ABA Area this time of year, and one was in King William, Virginia.

North Carolina had two records of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks this week, a trio in Union and a small flock in Henderson.

Illinois’s 2nd state record of Curve-billed Thrasher has shown well for many birders in Chicago.

Michigan had a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, too, this one in Marquette.

In Wisconsin, a Lark Bunting was found in Vilas.

A great bird so far north, Minnesota had a Black-necked Stilt in Grant.

Out of range and out of season was a Pacific Loon in Polk, Missouri.

Unusual inland, a Brown Pelican was found at Cheyenne Bottoms in Barton, Kansas.

In Marathon, Texas, in the western part of the state, a breeding plumage Red Phalarope is an unusual sight.

In New Mexico, a Hudsonian Godwit was found in Hidalgo.

A Hooded Warbler was seen in the Huachuca Mountains, Cochise, Arizona.

In Colorado, a Common Ground-Dove was seen in Archuleta.

Nevada had a Tropical Kingbird in Esmerelda and a Brown Thrasher in a park in Reno.

A pelagic out of San Diego, California, had a Brown Booby (3) this week.

Late last week, an Ash-throated Flycatcher was discovered near Helena, Montana.

Good birds in Oregon include the state’s 10th Blackburnian Warbler in Harney, a Hooded Oriole in Independence, and a Phainopepla in Klamath.

In Washington, that state’s 4th record of Alder Flycatcher has been seen and heard by many in Port Orielle.

Noteworthy birds in British Columbia include a Chesnut-sided Warbler in Gibsons and a Ash-throated Flycatcher in Jordan River.

Last but certainly not least, particularly this time of year, St. Paul Island, Alaska, checks in with a number of good birds including Common Rosefinch (4), Siberian Rubythroat (3), Taiga Bean-Goose (3), and a Pacific Swift (4).


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

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