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Rare Bird Alert: August 18 2017

The familiar birds we’ve been noting in the space for the better part of the summer – the Tufted Flycatcher (ABA Code 5), Flame-colored Tanager (4), and Common Crane (4) in Arizona, Blue-footed Booby (4) in California, and Black-faced Grassquit (4) in Florida – are continuing this week. They are joined by a new suite of late summer rarities, the White-winged Tern (4) in Pennsylvania that stayed into the first part of the week but has since disappeared, a Little Stint (4) in Massachusetts, and a Slate-throated Redstart (4) in Texas. IN addition to the grassquit, Florida can also boast a Bahama Mockingbird (4) this week.

Most notable new bird is a potential state 1st Common Shelduck in Rockingham, New Hampshire. While shelduck is not yet on the ABA Checklist due to its frequent presence in aviculture in North America, the last few years have seen an increase in records, mostly in New England and the Maritime Provinces, that more or less mirrors the growth of the Iceland breeding population of this Old World species. Most birds have been adults, but the presence of this young bird at the right time in the right part of the continent would seen to provide further evidence that this species is regularly reaching North America on its own.

Photo: Heather Burns/Macaulay Library (S38

What is perhaps the most incredible 1st record from the past week also comes from the northeast. A Gray-tailed Tattler was photographed as it flew past Matinicus Rock, Maine. The birder heard it calling, determined it was something different, and got a camera up in time to record the diagnostic images. A remarkable story of serendipity and skill. This is only the 2nd record of this species on the east coast.

Ontario becomes the latest place to pick up a wandering Wood Stork, a young bird at Point Pelee is the province’s 10th record.

In New Jersey, a Black-bellied Whistling Duck was seen in Cape May.

Annual in North Carolina, but worth noting, a Trindade Petrel (3) was photographed on a recent trip to the Gulf Stream from Dare.

Georgia’s 2nd record of Crested Caracara was seen in Mitchell.

In Texas, a Red-faced Warbler is a nice bird at Big Bend NP in Brewster.

Colorado hosted a remarkable 7 Little Gulls (3) in Kiowa this week. Also the state’s 5th record of Swallow-tailed Kite was photographed in Prowers, the 1st in Colorado in more than 20 years.

The western states are also seeing some interesting wader movements, including in New Mexico where a Reddish Egret was seen in Sierra.

Also in Nevada, where a Little Blue Heron was discovered in Lincoln. A good candidate for Rivoli’s Hummingbird (formerly Magnificent Hummingbird) in Carson City would be that state’s 2nd.

In Oregon, a White-rumped Sandpiper was seen and well-photographed in Clatsop, and a Chimney Swift found in Corvallis.

And in British Columbia, a young Ferruginous Hawk was photographed in Sechelt.


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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