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Rare Bird Alert: May 26, 2017

It’s that time of year where the eyes of the rarity-seekers turn away from the southern tier of the ABA Area and look towards Alaska, and strong west winds across the Bering Sea this week mean that the birding did not disappoint there. But before all that, a look at the continuing notables in the ABA Area, which have dwindled down to the nesting Slate-throated Redstart (ABA Code 4) and Tufted Flycatchers (5) in southeast Arizona. EVen the long-staying Streak-backed Oriole is absent this week, or at least it was not reported to eBird.

But on to Alaska, where arguably the most exciting find of a very exciting week came from an island that is infrequently birded. A Gray-streaked Flycatcher (4) was found on little St. George Island in the Pribilofs, a site that is known more for being the place you have to land on your way home from St. Paul.

One of the most interesting vagrants of the western Alaska spring, this sharp Gray-streaked Flycatcher, has turned up on the relatively underbirded St. George Island (Photo Nat Drumheller/Macaulay Library)

That doesn’t mean that St. Paul was lacking at all, however, as a great many Asian vagrants have been discovered on this island this week including White-tailed Eagle (4), Eyebrowed Thrush (4), Olive-backed Pipit (4), Wood Sandpiper, Lesser Sand-Plover  (3), and multiple Hawfinch (4). St. George also featured a Gray Wagtail (4)In the Aleutians, Eyebrowed Thrush (4), Eastern Yellow Wagtail (3), Common Greenshank (3), and Hawfinch (4) were on Adak.

Staying out west, a Black-tailed Gull (4) was discovered in San Francisco, not far from where a young individual of this species was seen earlier in the year.

In Nevada, eastern vagrants include a Tennessee Warbler and a Dickcissel, both in Clark.

Good for Colorado was a Swainson’s Warbler  in Jefferson.

Michigan had a Painted Bunting in Iosco, which has been a real midwest hotspot this spring.

In Ontario, a Blue Grosbeak was found in Toronto, and a Yellow-throated Warbler made an appearance at Long Point.

Noteworthy birds for Quebec include a Mississippi Kite at Montérégie, a Painted Bunting in Îles-de-la-Madeleine, and a Western Meadowlark at Côte-Nord.

We don’t often mention Prince Edward Island here, but it became the latest spot with a Ruff (3), one at Racket Bay.

The ABA’s 7th record of Common Swift (5) was present for several days near St. John’s, Newfoundland, which was particularly remarkable for this species that never sticks around on this side of the ocean. Also in Newfoundland, a Garganey (4) in Glovertown is the province’s 2nd this spring.

In Maine, an Ancient Murrelet was once again found at Machias Seal Island, the state’s 2nd and most likely the same bird that represented the state’s 1st record just last year.

In New York, a Swainson’s Warbler in Kings has been exciting many city birders.

In New Jersey, a sizeable flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were found in Cape May.

Gulf Stream pelagics out of Hatteras, North Carolina, picked up European Storm-Petrel (4) and Fea’s Petrel  (3) this week.

And in South Carolina, a Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) in Anderson was a 3rd record 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.
Nate Swick

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