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Rare Bird Alert: May 4, 2018

Hello from the Biggest Week in American Birding in northwest Ohio. If you’re heading up this coming week, stop by the ABA booth and say hello! The ABA 1st record Great Black Hawk is included in the continuing rarities by virtue of a sighting earlier this week on South Padre Island, Texas, not far from where it was originally discovered. It’s apparently sticking around, at least it did for a few days, until it finally tires of the local grackles. Tamaulipas Crows (ABA Code 4) are also still being seen in Texas. It’s Arizona where a whole suite of noteworthy birds are sticking tight, including Sinaloa Wren (5) Tufted Flycatcher (4), Flame-colored Tanager (4), Slate-throated Redstart (4), and Streak-backed Oriole (4).

This week lacks the shocking ABA Area records of the last couple weeks, but an apparent Plumbeous Vireo  in DuPage, Illinois, is pretty amazing, in addition to being a potential state 1st. Both western “Solitary” Vireos are very rare in the eastern part of the continent, no doubt in part due to the difficulty in differentiating them from Blue-headed Vireo. This very gray bird looks quite good, however, and is certainly unexpected.

One of the rarest western vagrants, Plumbeous Vireo has only occurred in the east a small handful of times. Photo: Jon G/Macaulay Library

One other 1st to report for the week, a Neotropic Cormorant photographed in Deschenes Rapids, Quebec, represents another outlier for this increasingly itinerant species.

Sticking to eastern Canada, in New Brunswick a Pink-footed Goose (4) was in Keswick, and an American Oystercatcher at Point Lepreau.

Good for Nova Scotia was an Orchard Oriole in Tusket.

Massachusetts had an overshooting Swainson’s Warbler this week in Hampshire.

In Rhode Island, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was found in South Kingstown, one of fewer than 10 for the state.

Connecticut’s 1st cooperative Wilson’s Plover in several decades was found at Milford Point.

In Maryland, a sharp Purple Gallinule was found in Anne Arundel.

Notable for South Carolina, and even moreso for being well inland, a Brown Booby (3) was in Greenville.

Alabama had a White-faced Ibis in Limestone.

In Michigan, a Say’s Phoebe was in Marquette and a nice male Ruff (3) in Monroe.

Long Point was the epicenter of Ontario birding this week with a slough of great birds including a Vermilion Flycatcher, Wood Stork, LeConte’s Sparrow, and White-winged Dove.

Wisconsin’s 9th record of Long-billed Curlew was photographed in Portage.

In Minnesota, a female-type Painted Bunting was visiting a feeder in Steele.

Oklahoma had a Lewis’s Woodpecker in Choctaw.

In Texas, a Mexican Violetear (4) was reported to iNaturalist from a feeder in Cameron.

In New Mexico, both an American Golden-Plover and a Golden-winged Warbler were seen in Bernalillo.

In Arizona, a pair of Elegant Terns were seen in Pima.

Colorado’s 6th record of Zone-tailed Hawk was photographed this week in Denver, and the state’s 5th Ruff (3) in Kiowa.

In Utah, a Whimbrel was photographed in Box Elder.

Wyoming had a Snowy Plover this week in Albany.

In Alberta, a young Slaty-backed Gull (3) was discovered in Edmonton.

In British Columbia a likely Redwing (4) was briefly seen and photographed in Vancouver.

Washington had a Black-headed Gull (3) in Pierce.

Good birds in California include both a Tricolored Heron and a Nazca Booby in San Diego, the latter apparently a different bird than the two that spent much of the winter there. Also, a White-eyed Vireo was seen in San Bernardino and a Curlew Sandpiper in Imperial.

In Hawaii, a Buff-breasted Sandpiper on Oahu is the state’s 9th record.


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.
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