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#ABArare – Eurasian Wryneck – California

On September 25, and ABA Code 5  Eurasian Wryneck was discovered by a Naval officer on San Clemente Island, Los Angeles County, California. This is potentially a 1st California record and only the 2nd living record of this bizarre Eurasian woodpecker in the ABA Area.

San Clemente Island is maintained by the US Navy and is inaccessible to all but a handful of researchers studying the island’s endemic subspecies of Loggerhead Shrike.

Eurasian Wryneck is widespread in the Old World, but known in the ABA Area by a single record of a live bird, from St. Lawrence Island in western Alaska (2003). Other records include a 1945 specimen from Cape Prince of Wales on the Alaskan mainland, and a desiccated bird found in Indiana that was presumed to have been trapped in a shipping container.

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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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  • Mickey Haddow

    Well, if the advice of America’s Happiest Birder is to be taken about this bird, then “in ones dreams you should fully accept and swallow this report!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    • Chris F

      Monte only wishes in his dreams he could be on San Clemente! (Actually he is having a good time at Gambell). I think the photo says it all!!!! I have seen a lot in China and they all looked like the bird in the photo.

  • Rick Wright

    Nice one!

    I’m confused about how many records there are of this species in the ABA Area. I had believed that there were only two records of living birds from Alaska, the first of them collected, but the specimen record here http://arctos.database.museum/guid/DMNS:Bird:24570 says that that 1945 bird was the _second_, making the 2003 bird here https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/nab/v058n01/p00171-p00176.pdf the third. So is the California bird the third or the fourth for the ABA Area (all of them living when encountered)? And if it’s the fourth, what was the first?

    • jmorlan

      My understanding is that the Alaska bird was found dead by a local and not seen alive. The note that it was the 2nd record appears to be an error. As far as I know, the 2003 Gambell record and the California record are the only records of birds actually seen alive in North America.

      • Mark Brown

        Joe:
        Alfred M. Bailey in the Auk says “Dwight Tevuk secured a male at Wales Alaska on September 8, 1945.” He then states that he sent the specimen to Friedmann. In search of Arctic birds says: two Eskimos Dwight Tevuk and Arthur Nagozruk sent specimens of many rare visitors from Asia, including the first ever Wryneck for North America. (Vaughn 2010) I think that means three live birds? Secured means shot?

        • jmorlan

          Yes, Tevuk found the first bird dead and sent it to Bailey who wrote it up in the Auk. Tevuk and others collected other “rare visitors” not other Wrynecks. I don’t see any other records evidenced.

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Recent Comments

  • Steve Hampton, in #ABArare - River Warbler - Alaska... { Photo by Clarence Irrigoo! Great guy that makes birding on Gambell possible. }
  • Nate, in Rare Bird Alert: October 13, 2017... { That's fair about the weather timing. I recall the observers saying something about Hurricane Nate being involved, but how much is not clear. As to... }
  • Gary Bloomfield, in Birding with a Tricorder... { Great essay, Ted! Feel sorry for the guy in the photo who's wearing a red shirt, though. }
  • Steve Shultz, in Rare Bird Alert: October 13, 2017... { I believe the NC swift was seen on Saturday, October 7 (unless the date indicated by the observer on the photo was incorrect). Nate did... }
  • Rick Wright, in #ABArare - Yellow-breasted Bunting - Newfoundland & Labrador... { What a great bird! Sadly topical: http://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/news/yellow-breasted-bunting-next-passenger-pigeon?utm_source=BirdLife+International+News+Notifications&utm_campaign=3435eeef02-Top_news_notification&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4122f13b8a-3435eeef02-133889729&goal=0_4122f13b8a-3435eeef02-133889729&mc_cid=3435eeef02&mc_eid=8db37ed8c1 }
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