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Rare Bird Alert: February 2, 2018

As has the the case for much of this early year, the week in rarities was a little light. There are some high quality birds continuing into this week, once again headlined by the ABA 1st Mistle Thrush in New Brunswick, now into its third month among the Mountain Ash trees of Miramichi. Not far away, the Nova Scotia Kelp Gull (4) was also seen again this week. In California, Nazca Boobies (ABA Code 4) continue to be seen regularly in San Diego, and the long-staying Garganey persists just north. Arizona boasts both a Sinaloa Wren (4) and a reliable Streak-backed Oriole (4), the latter conveniently in the city of Tucson. The Texas pair of Golden-crowned Warbler (4) and Blue Bunting (4) are still being seen. And Barnacle Goose (4) and Pink-footed Goose (4) are present in New York.

In Nevada, a Ruff (3) in Churchill is a nice bird for the state. Ruff is increasingly a regular vagrant in the ABA Area but birds in the interior of the continent, particularly the interior west, as still few and far between.

This week saw one potential 1st record, though with a big of an odd caveat. In Washington, a beach monitoring crew discovered the remains, and by remains I mean a single wing, of what appears to be a Purple Gallinule in Clallam. This would represent a 1st record for Washington, and not the first time such a record is represented by a dead bird, or even part of a dead bird.

Elsewhere in the west, a Brown Booby (3) was found wrecked in Victoria. The bird has made its way to a rehabber.

In California, a Field Sparrow was well=photographed in San Mateo.

Arizona got its second Streak-backed Oriole (4) in as many weeks with a bird seen at San Bernardino NWR in Cochise.

Nice finds for New Mexico include an American Woodcock in Bernalillo and a Pine Warbler in Union.

Texas gets another Snowy Owl in the panhandle in a bird near Amarillo. A Rose-throated Becard (3) was also found at Santa Ana NWR in Hidalgo.

Not long after Louisiana finally added Limpkin to the state’s avifauna, another bird was found in Terrebonne.

In Alabama, a Smith’s Longspur is a nice find in Colbert.

Tennesse’s 5th record of Ferruginous Hawk was photographed in Lake.

And in New Jersey, a dark phase Gyrfalcon was discovered in Somerset.


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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