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Rare Bird Alert: January 26, 2018

Continuing ABA rarities on the continent include the long-staying ABA 1st Mistle Thrush in New Brunswick, a continuing Blue Bunting (ABA Code 4) and new for this spot Golden-crowned Warbler (4) in Texas. The Nazca Boobies (5) and the Garganey (4) in California have stuck tight for another week, as has the Sinaloa Wren (5) in Arizona. A Pink-footed Goose (4) in New York was the only one reported to eBird in the last week so perhaps we are reaching the fr side of our annual vagrant goose window.

This week marked the return of one of the ABA Area’s most enigmatic vagrants. A Kelp Gull was discovered in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, where it represented a provincial 1st record and only the 3rd for Canada. The species has been recorded all around the ABA Area with no obvious pattern in any one spot, at least since the small breeding population in Louisiana winked out. The last few years have seen the bird documented in such disparate locations as California, Ontario, Newfoundland, and Florida.

Do recent records of Kelp Gull in Newfoundland, along with this Nova Scotia bird, suggest a pattern of vagrancy to the Atlantic provinces? Probably not, but it’s fun to think about. Photo:Jim Edsall/Macaulay Libray

There were two additional 1st in the ABA Area this week. In Arkansas, a Taiga/Tundra Bean Goose (4/3) was taken by hunters near the Mississippi River in Lincoln. The bird is currently in the hands of University of Arkansas biologists who should be able to confirm the ID.

Maryland also gets a 1st this week, with a Black Guillemot in Worcester. The only guillemot record for the state to this point was not identified to species.

In New Brunswick, a Golden-crowned Sparrow was photographed at a feeder in Albert.

North Carolina had its first Bullock’s Oriole in many years at a feeder in Mecklenberg.

Florida’s 3rd record of Hooded Oriole was seen in Hillsborough.

Texas entered the Snowy Owl game this winter with a bird in Odessa, and a White-throated Swift was photographed in Garza.

New Mexico’s 4th record of Common Redpoll was seen in far northern Union.

Arizona had a Streak-backed Oriole (4) visiting a feeder in Tucson, Pima.

In Washington, a White Wagtail was seen in King, the fifth record of this species on the west coast since last fall.

And in Alaska, a Dusky Thrush (4) has been fairly regular 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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