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Rare Bird Alert: October 27, 2017

It’s getting cold up in the Bering Sea, but there are still birds around even if most of the birders have long since beaten a retreat from the cold and dark. On Gambell, Alaska, the potential ABA 1st Red-backed Shrike was seen into the beginning of the last week, along with a Gray Wagtail (ABA Code 4), though as the weather turned the birds disappeared. The Blue-footed Booby (4) in California seems content enough, however, and was seen again by visitors to the Farallones this week.

Most exciting bird of the week comes from New Jersey, where a Common Greenshank (3) was seen at Forsythe NWR in Atlantic, where it would represent a state 1st. It was worried that this east coast mega would be a one-day wonder, but birders have begun to figure out its pattern and it was seen again a couple days after its discovery. Also in New Jersey, Fork-tailed Flycatcher  (3) in Monmouth is the latest of an impressive influx of that species this fall.

Common Greenshank, which attendant Greater Yellowlegs, showing the classic “euro wedge” rump pattern that makes shorebirders’ hearts skip a beat. Photo: Tom Johnson/Macaulay Library (S40091881)

There are 3 more first to report for the week, including a state 1st Shiny Cowbird (3) at a feeder in Montgomery, Maryland.

Nova Scotia’s 1st record of Tropical Kingbird was photographed by many in Yarmouth.

And in Quebec, a provincial 1st Common Ground-Dove that showed well for birders at Val-d’Or.

The first Ash-throated Flycatcher of the season was found this week in Middleton, Massachusetts.

In New York, a pair of nice western vagrants in the form of an Anna’s Hummingbird in Orleans and a Say’s Phoebe in Orange.

Florida had two Thick-billed Vireos (4) this week, both at Bill Baggs Park in Miami-Dade.

In South Dakota, an Anna’s Hummingbird was reported at Fort Pierre.

Alaska is still producing good birds, though away from the western reaches, with a Hawfinch (4), and a Dusky Thrush (4) both in Kenai.

In British Columbia, a White Wagtail was found in Comox, and a young King Eider in Delta.

Washington’s 2nd record of Blue Grosbeak in Clallam, not far from where the first one was found last year.

And in California, Cassin’s Sparrow have been turning up in the south, with individuals in both San Diego and Los Angeles.


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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