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Rare Bird Alert: May 11, 2018

For the second week in the row Arizona retains many of its ABA Area vagrants, including a Berylline Hummingbird (ABA Code 3) first seen a couple weeks ago. Also in the southeast part of the state,  Sinaloa Wren (5), Flame-colored Tanager (3), Tufted Flycatcher (5), Streak-backed Oriole (4), and Slate-throated Redstart (3). In Texas, Tamaulipas Crows (4) continue to be seen at sites around the Lower Valley.

Most interesting bird of the period is arguably a Eurasian Skylark  in Lanaudière, Quebec, representing a provincial 1st and a 1st record anywhere east of the Pacific Coast. This bird looks like it represents the nominate subspecies of Europe rather than the East Asian birds that are infrequent vagrants to western Alaska.

Photo: Nathalie Rondeau/Macaulay Library

There was one other 1st reported this week, one nearly as strange as the skylark. In Pennsylvania, a male Varied Bunting was visiting a feeder in Alleghany, one of only 3 records of the southwestern species east of the Mississippi River.

Quebec and Pennsylvania also had additional birds of note, both named after 19th Century ornithologist John Kirk Townsend, oddly enough. A Townsend’s Solitaire in Huntingdon in the latter and a Townsend’s Warbler  in Capitale-Nationale in the former.

Tis the season for Bahama Mockingbirds (4) in Florida, where two were seen this week. One each in Key Largo and Palm Beach.

Good for Nova Scotia, American Oystercatchers were seen at Big Island.

In Maine, a White-faced Ibis has returned to Cumberland.

Connecticut had a Tricolored Heron in Stratford.

Swainson’s Warblers were seen overshooting their range in Massachusetts, with birds at Cape Cod and Amherst, and in New Jersey, where they were photographed in Passaic and Cape May.

Ontario continues its hot streak with a Bell’s Vireo in Port Weller and a Neotropic Cormorant at Rondeau.

In Ohio, a Curlew Sandpiper (3) was seen in Logan and a Least Tern in Auglaize.

Manitoba recorded a Western Tanager in Charleswood this week.

Michigan’s 4th record of Wilson’s Plover was seen in Alger.

And Minnesota’s 5th Curlew Sandpiper (3) was photographed in Lyon.

A Black-headed Grosbeak was reported in Crawford, Iowa.

Missouri had a Lazuli Bunting in Holt.

North Dakota’s 2nd record of Painted Bunting was seen in Jamestown.

In Texas, a Aztec Thrush was seen in Willacy, the state’s 7th record of this sharp-looking Mexican thrush.

Good for New Mexico was a Kentucky Warbler in Los Alamos.

Colorado also had a Swainson’s Warbler this week, in Lamar. Other good birds for the state include an Eastern Towhee in Yuma and a Prairie Warbler in Bent.

In Saskatchewan, a Golden-crowned Sparrow was seen near McTaggart.

Notable birds for British Columbia this week include a Great-tailed Grackle in Williams Lake and an Indigo Bunting in Prince George.

And in California, a Hawaiian Petrel (3) was seen on a pelagic in Humboldt waters.


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.