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Rare Bird Alert: October 13, 2017

The California Blue-footed Booby (ABA Code 4) continues in the Farallons, and as the only long-staying ABA Area vagrant seeming to stick tight in this season of bird movement. One exciting re-discovery came from South Carolina, where the American Flamingo (3), originally found in the immediate wake of Hurricane Irene, was refound in the extensive estuary marshes of that state where it has a lot of room to roam.

We’ll start, as we so often do this time of year, in Alaska, where Gambell has been the epicenter of new additions to the ABA Checklist (at least until the Hawaii birds drop). A Brown Shrike reported last week was, after a great deal of study, found to be a juvenile Red-backed Shrike, a potential 1st for the ABA Area, at least as a full species. But that wasn’t all, a few days earlier, the ABA’s 1st record of River Warbler was discovered in the near boneyard, making the 3rd potential ABA 1st in the last 6 weeks, a phenomenal run.

River Warbler was hardly on anyone’s radar for an ABA first, but birders in the Bering Sea have to be prepared for just about anything. Photo: Clarence Irrigoo

Another wild sighting comes from North Carolina, where an apparent Common Swift (5) was photographed as it buzzed lucky birders on the Outer Banks, Dare, in the immediate wake of Hurricane Nate.

Down to Texas, where a young White-crowned Pigeon was received by a rehab facility in Galveston, a potential 1st documented record for that state (the previous record was on the state’s presumptive list).

In New England, a pair of cryptic species represent 1sts for two states. New Hampshire had a Western Wood-Pewee in Rye that was well-documented by photos and audio.

And in Maine, a good candidate for Cassin’s Vireo on Monhegan Island would represent a 1st. Also in Maine, the season’s first Pink-footed Goose (4) in Aroostook.

An interesting hawk in Torrance, New Mexico was originally identified as the state’s 2nd White-tailed Hawk, but subsequent reports have called it potentially the ABA’s 1st record of Variable HawkThe bird is still unidentified at the time this post was written, though it’s very good either way.

California has been full of Dusky Warblers (4) this week, with individuals found in Los Angeles (the second this fall), San Mateo, and San Diego. In the northern part of the state, a Cassin’s Sparrow was in Humboldt, and a McCown’s Longspur in San Francisco.

In British Columbia, a Costa’s Hummingbird was photographed at a feeder in Powell River, one of two in the province currently.

Wyoming had a Yellow-throated Warbler in Laramie.

Good for Colorado, and one of many this fall, a Long-tailed Jaeger was photographed in Pueblo.

In North Dakota, a Red Knot was found in Sargent.

South Dakota had a Flammulated Owl in Deer Mountain this week.

Kansas’s 6th Painted Redstart was photographed in Finney.

In Oklahoma, a Hepatic Tanager was photographed in Cimarron.

Always nice inland, a Great Black-backed Gull was present at Lake Dardenelle in Yell, Arkansas.

In Louisiana, a Black-whiskered Vireo was found in New Orleans.

Tennessee’s 2nd record of Black-capped Petrel was found at Woods Reservoir this week, a surprise waif resulting from the relatively weak Hurricane Nate.

In Michigan, a Vermilion Flycatcher was photographed in Chippewa. Also a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck was found in Antrim and a nice Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on Mackinac Island.

Manitoba had a Townsend’s Solitaire near Selkirk.

In Ontario, a Rock Wren showed nicely for many in Tobermory, and a Lark Bunting was in the same location the week before.

Pennsylvania’s 2nd White-winged Tern, found not long after the state’s 1st last month, was seen by many birders in Philadelphia. It’s always nice when a red letter rarity shows up in a place where lots of birders can see it.

In New York, a Brown Booby (3) was in Suffolk and a Say’s Phoebe in Yates.

Quebec had a young Swainson’s Hawk in Gaspésie and a California Gull in Centre-du-Québec.

And in New Brunswick, the latest of many Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) in the ABA Area this fall, this one in Miscou.


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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