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Rare Bird Alert: September 23, 2016

According to our friends at Birdcast, this past week was a good one for migration with fair to excellent conditions across the continent. As such, the rare birds alerts were more active this week, with a number of notable vagrants moving along with the expected species, particularly on the left half of North America.

Continuing birds include the very long-staying Little Egret (ABA Code 4) in Maine, the Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4) in Texas, and the Jack Snipe (4) on St. Paul Island in Alaska.

One of the more consistent storylines of the fall has been the exceptional number of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (3) found in the interior of the continent. The most recent is a well-documented individual in Carver, Minnesota, where it represents a 1st record for the state.

This Sharp-tailed Sandpiper is one of several seen in the middle of the continent this fall, and a first for Minnesota. Photo: Steve Broste

This Sharp-tailed Sandpiper is one of several seen in the middle of the continent this fall, and a first for Minnesota. Photo: Steve Broste

Saskatchewan also had a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (3) reported this week from Saskatoon, where it will represent a 1st provincial record if confirmed.

Elsewhere in western Canada, a Red-shouldered Hawk was found in Victoria, British Columbia.

Oregon had a young Emperor Goose in Coos.

Good birds in California this week include a Yellow-green Vireo (3) in San Luis Obispo and a Tricolored Heron at the Salton Sea in Imperial.

Nevada also had a report of a Yellow-green Vireo (3) in Clark.

It’s not a storm-petrel, but a Hooded Warbler in Yavapai is still a noteworthy bird for Arizona

In Utah, a Ruff (3) is an exceptional find in Farmington Bay.

New Mexico hosted a number of eastern vagrants this week, the most notable of which was a Philadelphia Vireo in Bernalillo.

Still a great bird in the interior of the continent, a Lesser Black-backed Gull was found at Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas.

Iowa had a lingering Swallow-tailed Kite this week near the town of Hitchcock.

In Michigan, a Glossy Ibis was a good find in Shiawassee.

Maryland had a Brown Booby (3) just outside of Baltimore Harbor in Kent, this week.

New Jersey hosted a handsome Lark Bunting at Sandy Hook in Monmouth.

Connecticut’s 3rd record of Say’s Phoebe was found near Easton. It was the 1st chaseable record of the species in the state.

Excellent for Rhode Island was a well-photographed Northern Wheatear in Bristol.

New Hampshire had a stunning Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) in Grafton this week.

And good birds in Nova Scotia this week include a Pacific Golden-Plover at Cow Bay, and a Gull-billed Tern and Lark Bunting at Bon Portage.


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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