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Rare Bird Alert: May 12, 2017

The jet stream across North America in the last week has taken a strange, unseasonal, turn, plunging south into the eastern half of the continent and arresting migration east of the Mississippi River. Thankfully that looks to be breaking, and migrants are pushing northward and filling listerv reports from sea to sea.

Continuing notables in the ABA Area into this week include a number of Western Spindalis (ABA Code 3) and Bananaquit (4) in Florida, suggesting that some might stick around and try to breed.  That’s certainly what the Tufted Flycatchers (4) in southern Arizona have done, and they continue along with Slate-throated Redstart (4) and Flame-colored Tanager (4). In New Jersey, a Little Egret (4) stuck around at least into the beginning of the week. And in Newfoundland, a Garganey (4) continues.

Arizona has seen a number of Mexican species in the state this spring, but the most exciting find of the spring came from the other direction. A Common Crane (4) in Coconino, represents a 1st record for the state, and the second for the interior west this year following an individual in Utah a few weeks ago.

Staying in the southwest, a Swainson’s Warbler was discovered at a migrant trap in Roosevelt, New Mexico.

Colorado had a Lesser Nighthawk, photographed in Bent.

In Utah, a Black-and-White Warbler was photographed on Antelope Island.

Notable eastern migrants in Nevada include a Yellow-throated Vireo and a Gray Catbird, both in Clark.

British Columbia had a number of good birds this week, including a Lesser Nighthawk in Victoria, a Manx Shearwater from a pelagic off Ucluelet, and a Black-tailed Gull (4) in Ginglox.

Arizona has had Tufted Flycatcher (5) for two years ago, but one finally turned up in Texas, at Big Bend NP in  Brewster.

Chippewa, Michigan, has seen a surprising mix of birds in recent days, including a Garganey (4), and a Neotropic Cormorant

Good for Ohio, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was seen in Butler.

Quebec had a striking mle Painted Bunting in Capitale-Nationale.

In Newfoundland, a week of east winds brought a few Eurasian shorebirds, including European Golden-Plover (4) and a couple “Eurasian” Whimbrel  near St. John’s.

Noteworthy for New Brunswick, a Brown Pelican was seen near Kent Island.

An overshot Hooded Warbler turned up in Portland, Maine.

New Hampshire also had a Hooded Warbler, in Claremont, and a Yellow-throated Warbler in Hampton.

Massachusetts had a Brown Pelican  Essex

An extraordinary record for New York, a Yellow-nosed Albatross (4) was seen from shore in Suffolk.

New Jersey had a good week for European shorebirds with a Ruff (3) in Atlantic, and Bar-tailed Godwit at Cape May.

The birds in Florida have petered out, but a Yellow-green Vireo in Pinellas, was a great find for the state.


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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