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Rare Bird Alert: November 25, 2017

The presence of a mid-week holiday didn’t seem to slow down the rare bird world this week, even despite the lack of first records. The new ABA Checklist includes an overhaul of ABA rarity codes, so you may see some new numbers this week. Bear with me as we all adjust to this new normal. Continuing birds include the Tamaulipas Crows (ABA Code 4) in south Texas and Thick-billed Vireo (4) in Florida. The Red-footed Booby persists in Northern California, but that species has been downgraded to a Code 2, so this will be the last mention of it in the introduction. Barnacle Goose (4) and Pink-footed Goose (4) retain their codes ( one too high in this birder’s opinion), but individuals continue throughout the northeast.

The impressive number of Fork-tailed Flycatchers (3) in the ABA Area this fall continues into late November, with a bird seen in Worcester, Maryland this week. There have been more than a dozen incidences of this species since July of this year, most east of the Mississippi River but with one outlier in California.

The latter half of 2017 has been a exceptional year for Fork-tailed Flycatchers in the ABA Area, the latest being one in Maryland this week. Photo: Gina Sheridan/Macaulay Library

Staying on the east coast, a Common Eider was photographed near Savannah, Georgia

In South Carolina, a Vermilion Flycatcher was seen in Georgetown.

A pair of Ash-throated Flycatchers were seen in New Jersey this week, one in Ocean and another in Monmouth.

In Massachusetts, a Black-throated Gray Warbler was seen in Middlesex.

Notable for Newfoundland, a Black Vulture was found in Burgeo.

Ontario hosted a trio of good western birds, a Mountain Bluebird in Waterloo, an Anna’s Hummingbird at a feeder in Ottawa, and a Townsend’s Warbler in Rondeau.

Illinois had a female-type Bullock’s Oriole in Glencoe.

A good bird inland, a Brant was found in Knox, Tennessee.

In Arkansas, a Say’s Phoebe was in Benton this week.

In western Kansas, a pair of mountain birds add to the influx of those species into the lowlands this fall/winter. A Pacific Wren and a Pygmy Nuthatch were both photographed in Scott.

In Texas, a Northern Goshawk was seen in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

In Mohave, Arizona, an Iceland (Thayer’s) Gull and a Purple Finch were both good finds.

California had a Groove-billed Ani in San Diego, and a Nazca Booby (4) in Orange.

Nice for Idaho, a LeConte’s Sparrow was found in Grand View.

Washington had a striking male Painted Bunting in Skagit, though provenance is an open discussion.

And in British Columbia, a pair of eurasian gulls with a Black-headed Gull (3) in Squamish and a Little Gull (3) in Penticton.


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

Latest posts by Nate Swick (see all)

  • Rob Hilton

    The Montgomery County, Maryland Shiny Cowbird (which is a first state record) originally discovered in late October was refound on Thursday afternoon (November 23) and continues through late this morning. The Harris’s Sparrow in neighboring Prince George’s County also continues through this morning. (I saw the former yesterday and the latter this morning.) I haven’t seen any eBird reports from today of the Fork-tailed Flycatcher mentioned above.

  • Egret1

    In Nevada, a Rufous-backed Robin was spotted at Spring Ranch State Park (Clark County) on the 11/25 & 11/26).

  • Beardo819

    San Diego’s Groove-billed Ani continues as of 11/28, and Orange County’s Nazca Booby popped up at the end of a breakwater (still in OC) on 11/27, drawing in birders from throughout southern California. The booby had previously been unchaseable as its first two appearances had both been photographs from boat captains of the bird sitting on their boats and posted online after the fact; its third appearance was the charm when it sat in the open for most of the day yesterday. See here for some spectacular photos from one of our locals:

  • Melissa H

    The reported Black-headed Gull in Squamish is not confirmed in BC most experts think it is a BOGU.

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