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Rare Bird Alert: December 8, 2017

The first week of December brings some interesting new birds to spots across the ABA Area. But we’ll start with the continuing ones, some of which should be familiar to readers by now. In Texas, Tamaulipas Crows (ABA Code 4) continue in the Rio Grande Valley and elsewhere and may stay all winter. The Garganey (4) in California remains in its strange little flock of domestic waterfowl. A Pink-footed Goose (4) in Pennsylvania continues and Barnacle Geese (4) are present in a handful of northeastern states and provinces.

Best bird of the period comes from Texas, where a young Green-breasted Mango (4) has been reliable for the week in Hidalgo. There are a number of mango records for the ABA Area and all but a few have been from Texas.

The mango is the first in the ABA Area since 2009. Photo: Teresa Connell/Macaulay Library

Elegant Tern was discovered in Brazoria.

We have a couple 1st records to report this week. One from Newfoundland where an Eared Grebe at Peter’s River represents the province’s second 1st in as many weeks (a Black Vulture was noted in this post last week, but I didn’t recognize it as a 1st then). On the mainland of Labrador, a Western Tanager at Forteau Bay represents the province’s 5th.

And in Alabama, a Harris’s Hawk in Mobile is a 1st, the latest in a minor movement of these species northward and now, east.

In North Carolina, a small flock of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were seen in Hyde.

West Virginia had its 5th LeConte’s Sparrow in Mason last week.

In Maryland, a Western Tanager was in Calvert.

A nice bird in Pennsylvania, a California Gull was photographed in Butler.

Massachusetts had an Eared Grebe seen off the beach in Barnstable.

A Western Kingbird was present in Cape Spear, New Brunswick.

Ontario had another Mountain Bluebird, its second in the last couple weeks, in Prince Edward.

In Ohio, a King Eider was seen on the Ohio River, in Clermont. It also was seen crossing the river into Bracken, Kentucky.

Michigan’s 2nd Hepatic Tanager was visiting a feeding station in Keneenaw, and a Couch’s Kingbird was seen in Alpena.

An adult Brown Pelican was photographed in Yell.

A trio of noteworthy birds were in Colorado this week, a Prairie Warbler in Pueblo, a Harris’s Hawk in Larimer, and a Purple Finch in Logan.

Idaho had a Palm Warbler in Nez Perce, the state’s 6-7th record, and a Swamp Sparrow near Moscow.

In Utah, a notable find was a Swamp Sparrow in Farmington.

Oregon’s 2nd record of Eurasian Skylark was seen at Cape Blanco, only a couple weeks after the 1st was found to the north. And a repositiong cruise through Oregon waters picked up multiples of Short-tailed Albatross (3), Cook’s Petrel (3), and Mottled Petrel (3).

In British Columbia, a sharp male King Eider was see in Vancouver.

And in Alaska, a Dusky Thrush (4) was a great bird in Sitka.


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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