Nikon Monarch 7

aba events

Rare Bird Alert: December 25, 2015

I mentioned last week that as Christmas Bird Counts ramp up across the ABA Area, the opportunity for interesting birds is only going to increase along with them. Close scrutiny of common birds is the age-old recipe for finding vagrants, and this past week made me sound prescient, even if, in all honestly, my prediction was of the bet the sun will come up tomorrow variety.  A number of the noteworthy reports this past week, including a couple continent-level megas, came about because birders were counting birds closely. Lo and behold, with enough quality eyes in the field the expected unexpected birds are sure to follow.

First, those that are continuing. At least one and likely two Northern Jacanas (4) are still hanging out in south Texas, even if they’re not always easy to find. The Kelp Gull (4) in Ohio is of the same sort, and has been seen on and off all week. The Western Spindalis (3) in Florida, however, has been a show-off since the day it was discovered.

On to those exciting new birds, though. Last weekend was a big one for vagrant thrushes in the northwest, as a pair of exciting Asian turdids highlight their respective CBCs. Barely eking out the top spot this week was a Fieldfare (4) in Missoula, Montana, if only because it’s a 1st for Montana and only the 2nd record for the center of the continent. The last update had the bird seen on the 23rd, but not yesterday.

FIEL MT

This Montana Fieldfare is only the second record of the species in the center of the continent, and one of two Asian thrushes in the ABA Area this week. Photo by Alex Hughes

And that second exciting thrush was in British Columbia, where the province’s 2nd record of Redwing (4) (and the first twitchable one) was found on the Victoria CBC, bizarrely not more than a few hundred meters from the province’s 1st Redwing a couple years ago. Also notable for the province, an Indigo Bunting at a feeder in Coquitlam.

There were two additional first records this week, in addition to the Montana Fieldfare. Kansas had what is likely it’s 1st Purple Sandpiper in Russell, in the western part of the state. This makes them the second inland state in the last few months to get their first Purple Sandpiper, following one in Montana earlier this year.

And in Louisiana, a Pyrrhuloxia in Jefferson Davis is the state’s 1st record, and one of the farthest east records of this species.

Good for Florida was a Western Grebe in Polk.

In Georgia, a Calliope Hummingbird was visiting a feeder in Cobb.

North Carolina had a pair of Trumpeter Swans at Lake Mattamuskeet NWR in Hyde. The species is becoming more regular many places in the Mid-Atlantic as the re-introduced Great Lakes population grows.

In Tennessee, a Lesser Black-backed Gull was a nice bird in Blount.

New Jersey had a Varied Thrush in Cape May.

Pennsylvania becomes the latest place to host a “western-type” flycatcher, in Berks, though the consensus on this one is strongly leaning towards Pacific-slope Flycatcher, it would be the state’s 3rd “Western” Flycatcher pending acceptance.

A likely Black-browed Albatross (4) offshore Suffolk, New York, is an excellent bird anywhere in the ABA Area.

Connecticut also has a “Western” Flycatcher, as yet unidentified as far as I can determine, in New Haven. The same county is also hosting a Western Tanager.

In Massachusetts, a Swainson’s Hawk in Essex is the second in the northeast in as many weeks.

New Hampshire had a Bullock’s Oriole visiting a feeder in Rockingham.

There was also a Bullock’s Oriole in Sydney, Nova Scotia, this week.

In Newfoundland, a Townsend’s Warbler was found in Trepassey.

Quebec also had some vagrant warblers, with a Black-throated Gray Warbler on Morrison Island and a Hooded Warbler at Longueuil.

A Smew (4) south of Ottawa, Ontario, is getting a lot of attention, and some suspect an escapee given that a breeder claims to have lost a Smew 400km to the south. But 400km is a very long way and it seems (to me, at least) that natural provenance is an equally likely explanation. I know there’s been a lot of discussion on this bird, so any local information would be appreciated in the comments. Also in the province, a Vermilion Flycatcher was discovered in Wallaceburg.

Manitoba had a Eurasian Tree Sparrow at a feeder in Winnipeg for the second straight winter.

In Saskatchewan, a Scarlet Tanager is noteworthy in Regina.

A Pine Grosbeak photographed in Douglas, Nebraska, is an interesting find, particularly after one was found in Iowa earlier in the season.

In Texas, a Rufous-backed Robin (3) was found in Del Rio, and a Great Black-backed Gull at Quintana Beach.

Arizona had a Streak-backed Oriole (4) seen in Yuma.

In California, a Brown-crested Flycatcher in Contra Costa was a great find.

And in Washington, a dead Red-flanked Bluetail (4) was salvaged on Lopez Island sadly before any birder could see it as a live bird.

–=====–

Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT aba.org 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 <aba.org/nab>, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA.

 

Facebooktwitter
The following two tabs change content below.
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)

  • Tony Leukering

    Birders should really endeavor to determine the type/subspecies of out-of place Pine Grosbeaks (PIGR; such as the Nebraska bird), as the combo of quite-different plumages (in adult males, at least) and vocalizations suggest the possibility of splitting. While a PIGR in Nebraska is probably a rep from the northern subspecies, recent records of Rockies birds on the Colorado plains suggest a second possibility for that bird.

  • Alan Wormington

    Surely a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher found on the Cedar Creek, Ontario, CBC (December 19) is worthy of mention — most likely the only one of its kind to be reported this winter anywhere in the ABA Area.

    • A cool record, for sure. But the species is regular in the province in season, correct? If I included records of out-of-season birds this thing would be 5000 words long! 🙂

      • Alan Wormington

        True enough!

  • Andrew Keaveney

    Southwestern Ontario has an accepted Pyrrhuloxia record! This is farther east than Louisiana.

    • My mistake. I’m surprised that wasn’t in eBird. Ontario generally does a good job getting historical records in there.

      • Andrew Keaveney

        Hey Nate. I found out that Ontario doesn’t have any of their accepted records post 2011 in eBird yet… they are getting to it.

  • Andrew Keaveney

    Your link to the “Western” Flycatcher in Connecticut is misplaced with the Brown-crested Flycatcher in Cali.

American Birding Podcast
Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
Read More »

Recent Comments

  • Steve Hampton, in #ABArare - River Warbler - Alaska... { Photo by Clarence Irrigoo! Great guy that makes birding on Gambell possible. }
  • Nate, in Rare Bird Alert: October 13, 2017... { That's fair about the weather timing. I recall the observers saying something about Hurricane Nate being involved, but how much is not clear. As to... }
  • Gary Bloomfield, in Birding with a Tricorder... { Great essay, Ted! Feel sorry for the guy in the photo who's wearing a red shirt, though. }
  • Steve Shultz, in Rare Bird Alert: October 13, 2017... { I believe the NC swift was seen on Saturday, October 7 (unless the date indicated by the observer on the photo was incorrect). Nate did... }
  • Rick Wright, in #ABArare - Yellow-breasted Bunting - Newfoundland & Labrador... { What a great bird! Sadly topical: http://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/news/yellow-breasted-bunting-next-passenger-pigeon?utm_source=BirdLife+International+News+Notifications&utm_campaign=3435eeef02-Top_news_notification&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4122f13b8a-3435eeef02-133889729&goal=0_4122f13b8a-3435eeef02-133889729&mc_cid=3435eeef02&mc_eid=8db37ed8c1 }
  • Older »

Categories

Authors

Archives

ABA's FREE Birder's Guide

If you live nearby, or are travelling in the area, come visit the ABA Headquarters in Delaware City.

Beginning this spring we will be having bird walks, heron watches and evening cruises, right from our front porch! Click here to view the full calender, and register for events >>

via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Open Mic: Young Birder Camp at Hog Island: Coastal Maine Bird Studies for Teens September 11, 2017 3:07
    At the mic: Dessi Sieburth, an avid birder, photographer, and conservationist, is a 10th grader at Saint Francis High School in La Canada, California. He is a member of the Pasadena Audubon Young Birder’s Club and Western Field Ornithologists. Dessi enjoys birding in his home county of Los Angeles. Last summer, Dessi attended Camp Colorado, […]
  • Introducing the Whimbrel Birders Club! September 7, 2017 2:33
    Whimbrel Birders Club was established at the first annual Illinois Young Birders Symposium in August 2016. We are a birding club truly meant for everyone, no matter your age, disability, or ethnicity. […]
  • Open Mice: Kestrels–An Iowa Legacy May 16, 2017 6:29
    A few years ago, a short drive down my gravel road would yield at least one, if not two, American Kestrels perched on a power line or hovering mid-air above the grassy ditch. Today, I have begun to count myself lucky to drive past a mere one kestrel per week rather than the daily sightings. […]

Follow ABA on Twitter