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Rare Bird Alert: January 5, 2018

Into the new year and a handful of birds are sticking around making for quite a conundrum for would-be 2018 Big Year efforts, assuming there even are any. Top priority for any 2018 run would certainly be the continuing ABA 1st Mistle Thrush in New Brunswick, that is still being seen though the times when it goes missing are getting longer and longer as the Mountain Ash berry supply is depleted. Tamaulipas Crows (ABA Code 4) continue in Texas as far north as Galveston and look increasingly likely that they will stay put for awhile. California birders are still reporting Nazca Boobies (4) and Garganey (4) in the south and north of the state, respectively. Barnacle (4) and Pink-footed Geese (4) continue to be seen in a number of states and provinces in the northeast.

The most exciting bird of the period came from Florida, a Loggerhead Kingbird (5) found at Bill Baggs Park in Miami-Dade. The bird has continued for a few days since the initial report, and has been hit and miss during its stay with local birders suggesting that poor weather is keeping it tucked away.

2017 was a good year for Loggerhead Kingbirds in the ABA Area, with two recorded, both from Florida. The latest was by far the most accommodating, however. Photo: Douglas Richard/Macaulay Library

One 1st record to report, from Louisiana, where a quartet of Limpkins in Lafourche represent the 1st record for this weird wader in the state.

Very good for Georgia, an American Tree Sparrow was found in Richmond.

Virginia’s run of western strays continues with a Say’s Phoebe in King William.

Noteworthy for Pennsylvania, a Western Tanager was seen on a CBC in Lancaster, and a Harris’s Sparrow was found in Bucks.

On Prince Edward Island, a Black-headed Grosbeak was visiting a feeder in Montague.

Ohio had a young Mew Gull, in Columbus that was seen by many before unfortunately succumbing to illness or exhaustion.

A very unexpected find in Illinois was an adult Ivory Gull in a parking lot in Lake.

A pair of Mountain Bluebirds were seen in O’Brien, Iowa.

Texas had visitors from the north and the south this week, the latter a Blue Bunting (4) in Hidalgo and the former a Snowy Owl in the panhandle county of Hansford.

A Sinaloa Wren (5)has returned to Santa Cruz, Arizona, after a year off. Also in the state, a young Black-legged Kittiwake was photographed in Mohave.

Always a nice find away from Alaska, a Yellow-billed Loon was photographed on Lake Mead, in Nevada, this week.

Any gull in Hawaii is noteworthy, and a Laughing Gull in Maui is no exception.

In Montana, a Blue Jay was seen visiting a feeder in Bozeman.

And in Alaska, a Hawfinch (4) was discovered in Anchorage but has been difficult to find again.


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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