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Rare Bird Alert: February 9, 2018

The most surprising thing about the second month of this year is the fact that so many of the best birds of the end of 2017 are still around, and now with spring not too far away and the return of some of our early migrants to the southern part of the ABA Area only a couple weeks out. But the ABA 1st record Mistle Thrush still seems perfectly happy among the Mountain Ash trees of Miramichi, New Brunswick, and the Nazca Boobies (ABA Code 4) and the Garganey (4) in southern California have shown no signs of vacating their sites. In Texas, a Blue Bunting (4) continues to be seen in the lower valley, and a Sinaloa Wren (5) and at least one Streak-backed Oriole continue in Arizona. Pink-footed Goose (4) continues to be reported in New York.

The most interesting 1st record of the period came from Pennsylvania, where a Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch was discovered at a feeder in Crawford. Gray-crowned Rosy-FInch, and indeed all of the rosy-finches, is known as an alpine specialist and while that is certainly true, the species has a interesting pattern of vagrancy across the east, which multiple records from New York, and singles in Quebec, Arkansas, and Ohio, among other places.

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch is always a surprise when it shows up, despite having a fairly regular pattern of vagrancy. Photo: Geoff Malosh/Macaulay Library

There was one additional 1st to report this week, in South Carolina where a Tufted Duck (3) was seen at Bull Island in Charleston. This is the farthest south record for this Eurasian species in the eastern part of the continent.

Noteworthy for Alabama, a sharp Bullock’s Oriole was seen in Baldwin.

Georgia had a Harlequin Duck turn up in Camden, on the border with Florida.

In New Jersey, a Barnacle Goose (4) was found in Monmouth.

New York’s 3rd record of Crested Caracara was photographed on a game camera in Wayne.

A Pyrrhuloxia in Harper, Kansas, represents that state’s 8th record.

Texas’s 7th Elegant Trogon was found at New Braunfels, near San Antonio, a surprisingly long way from the border.

Good for Arizona was an Eastern Phoebe in Pima.

Colorado had an American Woodcock in Larimer.

In California, a gray-phase Gyrfalcon has been seen on and off in Monterey, and an Arctic Loon was photographed in Santa Cruz.

In Washington, a Brown Booby was found in Grays Harbor.

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Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT aba.org 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 <aba.org/nab>, 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.
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