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Rare Bird Alert: February 23, 2018

Continuing rarities in the ABA Area are once again highlighted by the ABA 1st Mistle Thrush in New Brunswick, which is still hanging on and looks increasingly like it has survived the worst of the winter. In California, Nazca Boobies (ABA Code 4) are still being seen in San Diego, and the Black-tailed Gull (4) first reported last week continues at the opposite end of the state. The Garganey (4) was also seen last week. In the border states, a Sinaloa Wren (5) is still present in Arizona, and Blue Bunting (4), Golden-crowned Warbler (4), and Tamaulipas Crow (4) were all seen this past week in Texas. Pink-footed Goose (4) and Barnacle Goose (4) are present in a couple places in the northeast.

It has been a very good winter for Tufted Duck (3) in the northeast, with the species being seen beyond its traditional Atlantic province/New England haunts. In recent weeks, males have been present as far west as Ontario and as far south as South Carolina, with the latest individual found this week in Ocean, New Jersey.

This young male Tufted Duck in New Jersey this week is one of many in the eastern part of the continent this winter. Photo: Karmela Moneta/Macaulay Library

No 1st record to report this week, but Massachusetts has had a nice run of noteworthy gulls, with a Slaty-backed Gull (3) in Middlesex and a Mew Gull in Essex.

A Harris’s Sparrow is a nice find in Albany, New York.

Maryland’s 4th record of Pink-footed Goose (4) turned up in Caroline.

In Kentucky, a Little Gull (3) was photographed in Barren.

Mississippi had a Say’s Phoebe this week in Chickasaw.

Arkansas had a Say’s Phoebe, this one in Craighead.

In Ontario, a Mountain Bluebird in Gananoque was a surprise Great Backyard Bird Count find.

Oklahoma’s 3rd record of Ringed Kingfisher was found in McCurtain.

In Texas, a Purple Sandpiper was seen in Calhoun, a very unusual find in the Gulf of Mexico.

And in Oregon, a Slaty-backed Gull (3) was found in Ranier.


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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