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Rare Bird Alert: December 1, 2017

Into the the final month of the year, where the continuing ABA rarities are for the most part familiar. The Nazca Booby (ABA Code 4) was seen again this week in southern California, which has hosted all 6 species of North American Sulid in the last month. Tamaulipas Crows (4) continue to be seen in Texas, incredibly as far north as Galveston, on the upper Texas coast, this week. And both Barnacle Goose (4) and Pink-footed Goose (4) continue to be seen in multiple sites in the northeast.

Rare birds are infrequently as easy to see as a young male Garganey (4) in Santa Barbara, California, this week. The bird has apparently taken in with a local flock of pond ducks, making for the odd phenomenon of a continental rarity tooling about in search of bread crumbs. Though the bird’s provenance was discussed early on, the consensus seems to be that the plumage and wear are more familiar with a naturally occurring, though naive, individual.

Garganey in the ABA Area are rarely as accommodating as the one this week in Santa Barbara County, California. Photo: Jacqueline Knowlton/Macaulay Library

Other good birds in California this week include a Dusky-capped Flycatcher  in Humboldt and a Rufous-backed Robin (3) in San Bernardino.

Nevada also had a Rufous-backed Robin (3) this week, one in Clark was the state’s 2nd.

Good in the continent’s interior, a Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Another unusual inland species in Alberta, a Common Eider was seen at Cold Lake.

In South Dakota, a Varied Thrush was visiting a feeding station in Renner.

New Mexico had a Red-throated Loon in Colfax. 

Kansas’s 8th record of Harris’s Hawk was photographed in Johnson.

In Iowa, a harp gray Gyrfalcon was seen in Howard.

A pair of noteworthy birds in Louisiana in a Brown-crested Flycatcher in St. Bernard and a White-tailed Hawk in New Orleans East.

Florida had yet another Fork-tailed Flycatcher, again in Orange.

Georgia’s 5th Burrowing Owl was seen in Miller this week.

North Carolina’s 2nd Say’s Phoebe of the fall, and it’s 15th or so overall, was in Washington.

In New Jersey, a Gray Kingbird in Cape May was remarkably determine in photos to be the same bird that had spent several days in Maryland the week before.

New York’s 3rd Hammond’s Flycatcher was seen by several in Central Park, New York.

Massachusetts also had a Hammond’s Flycatcher this week, it’s 6th in Middlesex. Also in Middlesex, an  Ash-throated Flycatcherand in Essex the state’s first Western Meadowlark in decades.

New Brunswick had a young Swainson’s Hawk near Sackville.

And in Quebec, a Mountain Bluebird was seen in Chaudière-Appalaches.


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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