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Rare Bird Alert: August 21, 2015

Things are starting to pick up in the last week of August, as one would expect. This week saw a great array of species on both coasts as we head into the most exciting birding months of the year for rarity hunters. ABA Area notables continuing into this week include the Collared Plover (ABA Code 5) in south Texas, along with Plain-capped Starthroats (4) and the long-staying Tufted Flycatchers (5) in southeast Arizona.

Beginning out on the west coast this week for what was the first of two Eurasian surprises this week, a sharp-looking Lesser Sand-Plover (3) in Ocean Shores, Washington. It was originally found last Sunday (8/16) and has been seen by many every day since. Also notable for the state, a Great Shearwater was photographed off Westport, one of fewer than a dozen records.

Two first records this week, both coming from the northeast. Most notable was a stunning near breeding-plumage White-winged Tern (4) seen at Manuels, Newfoundland. The species is one of the few Euro vagrants that had not been recorded on the island yet. At the time of writing, it had been seen two consecutive days.

In Rhode Island, a Zone-tailed Hawk in Richlands, a state first, was a huge surprise, though the last couple years have seen a small handful of sightings in the northeast US and southeast Canada.

Good birds in Quebec include a Royal Tern in Rimouski, a Swallow-tailed Kite at Les Escoumins, and an Eared Grebe at Laurentides.

Offshore in New York, birders found and photographed a Fea’s Petrel (3) off of Long Island. It would be the state’s 3rd.

A surprise in Georgia, a Brown Booby (3) was photographed on a rooftop in Atlanta, and a Long-tailed Jaeger was seen at Lake Hartwell.

In Illinois, an apparent but still odd Royal Tern was found in Lake.

Kansas’s 6th record of Pomarine Jaeger was photographed at Cheyenne Bottoms in Barton this week.

In Texas, a Short-tailed Hawk was seen in the Davis Mountains.

Noteworthy for New Mexico, a Thick-billed Kingbird was in Hidalgo, and a Prairie Warbler in Roosevelt.

Colorado had a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in Jefferson.

An excellent bird for Idaho was a Brown Thrasher at Camas NWR.

In California, a Ruddy Ground-Dove (3) was reported from Riverside.

A Blue Grosbeak was photographed on a feeder on Bowan Island, British Columbia.

And it’s the time of year we turn our eyes expectantly towards Alaska, where Asian strays have been trickling in of late, the most recent being a Long-toed Stint (3) on St Paul.


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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  • The Blue Grosbeak on Bowen Island in BC turned out to be a Purple Finch, but an actual Blue Grosbeak was subsequently found on private property in Metchosin, BC.

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