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Rare Bird Alert: March 4, 2016

As we head into March there are still a great many continuing rarities in the ABA Area. Most notable is the continuing Zenaida Dove (ABA Code 5) in south Florida. Texas also holds on to many of its wintering rarities including continuing Blue Bunting (4), Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4), Northern Jacana (4) and Common Crane (4).  A Pink-footed Goose (4) originally seen earlier in the year in Connecticut has returned. The Ohio Brambling (3) was seen early in the week but has not been reported in a few days. A Common Pochard also continues in Alaska, and the Britich Columbia Redwing is also still around..

There was one no doubter 1st state record this week, in Massachusetts in the form of a young Yellow-billed Loon, a rarity anywhere in the Lower 48 and particularly so on the east coast. The bird was seen at Race Point on Cape Cod in Barnstable, and three other species of loons have been reported in the vicinity, making it the only place on the east coast where four species of loons can be seen together.

One of only a few records for the east coast, this MA 1st Yellow-billed Loon has been accommodating for birders over the last few days. Photo: Steve Arena

One of only a few records for the east coast, this MA 1st Yellow-billed Loon has been accommodating for birders over the last few days. Photo: Steve Arena

Most of the rare bird talk this week has been surrounding the continuing Great White Pelican in Lee, Florida. More information on that bird is available at the link. Provenance is an open question with this bird, and will likely continue to be discussed for as long as it remains and probably beyond.

In North Carolina, a Calliope Hummingbird has been present in Alamance for a couple weeks.

Virginia had a Townsend’s Solitaire, photographed in Rockingham.

Regular in the northeast but very good so far south, a Tufted Duck (3) was seen in Harford, Maryland.

In New York, a Bullock’s Oriole is visiting a feeder in Milton.

A nice bird for Newfoundland, a Thayer’s Gull was among thr regular gull flock at St. John’s.

Wisconsin had a Black Vulture in Madison this week, the 10th for the state and the 1st in winter.

In South Dakota, a “Black” Brant was seen in Sully.

Always a good bird inland, a Eurasian Wigeon was photographed in Ada, Idaho.

Washington’s 3rd or 4th record of Rustic Bunting was photographed in Whatcom , at what was, unfortunately, not a public site. A pelagic out of Westport had 2 Laysan Albatross (3).

And in California, a Blue-footed Booby (4) was seen on Anacape Island in Ventura.


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.
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