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Rare Bird Alert: June 2, 2017

It’s summertime, and for much of the ABA Area that means Breeding Bird Surveys and the brief slow-down before migrating shorebirds begin heading back south, sparking the official start of fall migrations. But it also means vagrants, there are still a few migrants up in the northern part of the continent and Alaska in particular is red hot right now. Plus, the magic of post-breeding dispersal is right around the corner. Proving once again that there is no rest for therarity-minded among us.

We’ll start with the continuing rarities, both in southeast Arizona. Slate-throated Redstart (ABA Code 4) and Tufted Flycatcher (5) are still around making a go at nesting on this side of the border. A Flame-colored Tanager (4) has also been seen on and off throughout much of the spring. Alaska is still hosting a bunch of Asian overshoots, including more Hawfinch (4) that we’ve heard of in a long time (maybe ever?), and a nice run of shorebirds like Lesser Sand-Plover (3), Common Greenshank (3), and Common Snipe (3).

As if the continuing birds weren’t enough, vagrants keep piling into western Alaska, with the highlights coming from Gambell this week where a Pallas’s Bunting (5) and a Common “Siberian” Chiffchaff (5) kept birders on St. Lawrence Island excited.

Pallas’s Bunting is one of the flashier Emberizids on the ABA Checklist, and a very rare visitor. Photo: Aaron Lang/Macaulay Library (S37302012)

But that wasn’t all, on St. Paul in the Pribilofs, a Marsh Sandpiper (5) and a Long-toed Stint (3) were nice new birds this week. On Adak, a Far Eastern Curlew (4) was found. And we’re finally getting some reports from Attu, where a USFWS worker was submitting eBird checklists that included  Siberian Rubythroat (4), Eurasian Hobby (4), Common Rosefinch (4), Long-toed Stint (3), and Taiga Flycatcher (4). And the mainland has been worth checking as well, which a small flock of Great Knot (4) in Nome.

Four first records to report this week, including a very unexpected first for Arizona. A Little Bunting (4) was found at a ranch near the Mexican border in Cochise. It could probably go down as one of the more amazing Arizona records in recent memory if not for that state’s fall out of pelagic species last fall. 

Only slightly less unlikely, Quebec had a 1st provincial record of Painted Redstart, found near Quebec City just yesterday.

Georgia had what looks to be its 1st record Blue-throated Hummingbird, photographed at a feeder in Elbert.

And in Alberta, a Sagebrush Sparrow on an army site near Medicine Hat is a provincial 1st, though unfortunately not a chaseable bird.

Good birds in British Columbia this week include a Red-throated Pipit in Victoria, and a young Short-tailed Albatross seen from a pelagic out of Tofino.

Washington’s 11th record of Hooded Oriole is visiting a feeder in King.

Notable for California, a Wood Thrush was singing in Riverside.

Nevada had a Worm-eating Warbler near Dyer.

A Red-headed Woodpecker near Challis and a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher near Rockland are both good birds for Idaho.

Utah’s 4th record of Golden-winged Warbler, a nice male, was found in St. George.

In Colorado, a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was a nice find in Yuma.

New Mexico had a Sprague’s Pipit this week near Lordsburg.

Review species in Texas this week include Brown Noddy in Willacy and a Brown Booby (3) in Port Arthur.

Kansas’s 4th record of Reddish Egret was found this week at Quivira NWR.

Nebraska had an adult Brown Booby, the state’s 2nd, in Harlan.

“Eurasian” Whimbrel is always a noteworthy find, particularly one wekk inland in Monroe, Michigan.

Ontario had both a Brown Pelican near Fort Erie, and a Laughing Gull in Toronto this week.

A shocking find was a second Common Swift (5) of the spring in Newfoundland, this one in Cape Race. It’s unclear whether this is the same individual that spend a few days near St. John’s last month, but with the wind they had it’s just as likely more than one individual came across.

Nova Scotia had a Bar-tailed Godwit in Mavillette.

New Jersey’s 2nd record of Lesser Nighthawk, a rehabbed individual that was released near where it was captured, was seen by many birders in Somerset .

In North Carolina, a Brown Noddy was a nice find on a pelagic out of Dare,  and a Shiny Cowbird (3) was visiting a feeder in Carteret.

Florida returns with another Bahama Mockingbird (4) in Miami-Dade and a Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) in Orange.

Mississippi had a Shiny Cowbird in Hancock.


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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