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Rare Bird Alert: April 13, 2018

As we sit on the doorstep of spring migration things are beginning to get interesting across the ABA Area, with a new slate of noteworthy records to report this week. But first, those continuing birds including Tufted Flycatcher (ABA Code 4), Streak-backed Oriole (4), and Sinaloa Wren (5) in Arizona, Tamaulipas Crows (4) are still being seen in Texas, and the Blue Bunting (4), previously regular for several weeks, was found again this week there as well. And in California, Nazca Boobies (4) are still being seen in San Diego Bay.

The first jaw-dropper of the season came from Arizona, where a potential ABA Area 1st record Red Warbler was discovered on Mount Lemmon in Pima, near Tucson. The bird was seen by a few birders throughout the day but, as of yet, has not been found again making it one of the more spectacular one-day wonders in ABA Area history.

In the wake of the find discussion has centered around whether this individual represents the northern “gray-cheeked” population or the southern “white-cheeked” population–the former is obviously considered a better candidate to stray into the ABA Area. Despite very good photos, the consensus is mixed on that front, as even the darker cheeked birds can appear quite pale in bright light. Pending rediscovery of the individual, the subspecies identification may remain inconclusive.

An extraordinary potential ABA 1st, Red Warbler is a Mexican endemic that has long been on Arizona birders’ wish lists. Photo: Dave Stejskal/Macaulay Library

Also in Arizona, Flame-colored Tanagers (4) have evidently returned to Ramsey Canyon in Cochise, where they have nested in the past.

Two additional first records to report this week. In Georgia, a male Lazuli Bunting was photographed at a feeder near Fitzgerald, not long after one was discovered in neighboring Alabama.

And in Colorado, that state’s 1st California Quail was photographed in Moffat, in the far northwest of the state where the species has been more or less expected to turn up eventually.

Notable for California, a Fulvous Whistling-Duck was found in Santa Barbara.

Nevada had Lawrence’s Goldfinches for the last week or so in Clark.

In Utah, a Glossy Ibis was photographed among White-faced Ibis in Weber.

Minnesota’s 2nd record of Cassin’s Finch, and the first in 30 years, was found at a feeder in Hennepin.

In Michigan, a Black-necked Stilt was photographed in Mason.

Manitoba had a Mississippi Kite in Winkler.

A pair of nice birds were seen in Quebec this week, a Varied Thrush at La Haute-Côte-Nord and a Mew Gull at Bas-Saint-Laurent.

Nova Scotia had a Pink-footed Goose (4) in Keswick.

Rhode Island’s 2nd record of Mountain Bluebird was found near West Greenwich.

What is evidently New Jersey’s 2nd record of Black-tailed Godwit, a bird identified as the Iceland breeding subspecies, was found in Gloucester.

West Virginia’s 2nd Western Tanager was visiting a feeder in Greenbrier.

And South Carolina’s 3rd record of Snail Kite, a young bird, was seen in Jasper, and in Clemson, a Say’s Phoebe.


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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