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Rare Bird Alert: May 18, 2018

The later part of spring is typically a great time for vagrants, and this week is no different. The lingering birds are starting to clear out a bit (not least of which because I was made aware of some ABA Code changes). Florida still has multiple Bahama Mockingbirds (ABA Code 4), and the Eurasian Skylark (3) in Quebec was seen again this week. Both Tufted Flycatcher (4) and Sinaloa Wren (5) highlight the spate of noteworthy birds still being seen in Arizona.

One of the more remarkable records of the year to date comes from Colorado, where a Golden-crowned Warbler (4) was found in Cheyenne. It’s a state 1st and only the second record of this widespread neotropical species away from Texas, where most of the ABA Area’s records have occurred. The record is crazy enough, but it does immediately bring to mind other notable Front Range mysteries, like recent Rufous-collared Sparrow occurrences in Colorado and Montana. Food for thought, at least.

Photo: Glenn Walbek/Macaulay Library

One more first to report, of a slightly more melancholy variety. Ohio’s 1st record of Chestnut-collared Longspur was discovered in the earlier part of the month in Lake. Unfortunately, the bird took to an area near a busy road which it frequently crossed. Such high-risk behavior had it’s almost inevitable end when the bird was struck by a car. On a happier note, the Biggest Week in American Birding reached a crescendo when a Black-throated Gray Warbler was seen on the Magee Marsh boardwalk in Lucas in the last days of the festival.

In Ontario, Point Pelee takes the stage as it so often does this time of year. Both a Black-billed Magpie and a Eurasian Tree Sparrow were seen there this week. Also good for the province, a Ruff (3) in Minesing.

A nice find for Newfoundland, a sharp adult Purple Gallinule was seen near St. John’s.

St. Pierre et Miquelon’s 5th record of Prothonotary Warbler turned up this week.

In Maine, a Wilson’s Plover was seen in Cumberland.

In what might be the biggest twitch in the ABA Area this year, a Kirtland’s Warbler in Central Park in New York, New York, attracted hundreds, if not thousands. Also in the city, a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck was seen in Kings.

New Jersey’s 9th record of Brown-headed Nuthatch made it across the Delaware Bay to turn up in Cape May.

In North Carolina, a stunning breeding-plumage Chestnut-collared Longspur was seen in Dare, the state’s 4th record.

Good for South Carolina was a King Eider in Charleston. 

Wisconsin had a Bell’s Vireo in Fond du Lac.

A Burrowing Owl in Humboldt, Iowa, this week is the latest in a spate of this species along the eastern edge of the Great Plains in the last several months.

The third in the last two weeks, a Painted Bunting was found in Beltrami, Minnesota.

Noteworthy for Nebraska, a Swainson’s Warbler was seen in Lancaster. 

In Wyoming, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was seen in Dayton.

Alberta had a Lesser Goldfinch in Mountain View.

In Montana, a Snowy Plover is a nice find in Phillips.

British Columbia also had a Lesser Goldfinch this week, in Princeton.

It’s about time to turn eyes towards Alaska, where a Tundra Bean Goose (4) and a Common Snipe (3) were seen on Adak, and male Smew (4) on Shemya.


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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