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Rare Bird Alert: September 8, 2017

To say the weather is bonkers this week is probably something of an understatement. Migrating birds on both sides of North America find themselves navigating a continent-wide obstacle course. If the fire doesn’t get you the giant hurricanes will. Birders have still managed to find a good suite of vagrant birds this week, but it’s hard, probably impossible, to say exactly how birds are managing now.

Continuing birds of note include the ABA’s 3rd record of Swallow-tailed Gull (ABA Code 5) in Washington, which has kept birders guessing as it shuttles around the coastline northwest of Seattle. In California, the Blue-footed Booby (4) continues, as do the Common Crane (4) and the Tufted Flycatcher (5) in Arizona.

Time to turn to Alaska, where the ABA’s 5th Asian Brown Flycatcher (5) was seen well by many birders on Gambell, and in the Pribilofs, a Common House Martin (4) was photographed on St. George Island. From the other direction, a nice male Costa’s Hummingbird was found visiting a feeder in Homer.

Photo: Greg Scyphers

A couple 1st records to report for the week, a MacGillivray’s Warbler was found in Rockingham,
New Hampshire. This was not far from that state’s potential 1st record of Common Shelduck, which is still present making an unlikely pair.

And in the District of Columbia, a Sabine’s Gull has been showing well for birders there, a 1st for that territorial enclave.

We don’t often get to mention West Virginia, but a young Laughing Gull in Taylor is the first for that state in many years.

New York’s 3rd record of Bridled Tern was seen on Great Gull Island in Suffolk, unfortunately not accessible to the public.

Connecticut’s 2nd Sabine’s Gull was found this week near Westport.

A nice find on the eastern half of the continent, a Ruff (3) was in Kentville, Nova Scotia.

In Quebec, a Northern Wheatear was found at Bas-Saint-Laurent.

Whitefish Point in Chippewa, Michigan always turns up good birds, the latest a Say’s Phoebe.

In Wisconsin, a Neotropic Cormorant in Ozaukee is a noteworthy find.

In Texas a Long-tailed Jaeger in Austin and a Red Phalarope in San Antonio were both found in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

In New Mexico, a Great Kiskadee and a Reddish Egret were both found in Sierra.

Arizona had a pair of Roseate Spoonbill in Cochise.

Good for anywhere in the ABA Area, a Guadelupe Murrelet was found in San Mateo, California, waters.

In Oregon, a Prothonotary Warbler was visiting a feeding station in Multnomah.

Not quite a Swallow-tailed Gull, but still pretty nice, a Chestnut-sided Warbler was photographed in Skamania, Washington.

And in British Columbia, that province’s 5th record of Black Vulture was found on Balaclava Island, and a Loggerhead Shrike was photographed at Maple Ridge.


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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