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Rare Bird Alert: August 10, 2018

Noteworthy continuing birders in the ABA Area have a decidedly “little” theme, with both Little Egret (ABA Code 4) in Maine and Little Stint (4) in Massachusetts making appearances. The Zenaida Dove (5) is still being reported at the dove watering spot southwest of Miami.

The doldrums of July are over in a huge way this week. As what is certainly on the short list of the craziest vagrants of the year turned up in Maine. A strange raptor photographed by a novice birder in York turned out to be the ABA’s second record of Great Black Hawk, about half a continent away from where the ABA’s 1st record was seen earlier this year in Texas. Two days after the initial sighting, the bird was re-discovered where it was seen by a great many birders as recently as yesterday.

The presence of the neotropical raptor in New England was strange enough, but it gets stranger. Close examination of the spread wing, specifically the unique pattern on the underwing coverts, established that this individual in Maine actually appears to be the same bird as the one recorded in Texas three and a half months ago. As of the time of this writing this post, the bird was last seen the evening of the 9th, heading out over the ocean. So maybe this story can get even weirder.  Look out, Iceland?

The parade of Roseate Spoonbills this summer marches on, the latest outlier in Saint-Martin-de-Beauce, Quebec, where it represents a 1st for the province.

New Hampshire also had it’s own tropical 1st record with a Neotropical Cormorant in Coos. Also in the state, a Wood Stork was in Rochester.

Wisconsin’s 1st record of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (3) was photographed in Dodge–finally a bird that is a little more expected this time of year.

In Rhode Island, a Little Egret (4) was seen in Washington. In the last couple days it was seen roosting in Stonigton, Connecticut, where it represents a long-anticipated 1st for that state.

On to Massachusetts, where a Red-billed Tropicbird (3) was seen from a pelagic.

That same pelagic trip out of Massachusetts recorded a Band-rumped Storm-Petrel in Nova Scotia waters. Also in the province, a Brown Booby (3) was seen at Brier Island.

In New York, a Bridled Tern was seen on Great Gull Island, and last seen flying across the Long Island Sound towards Connecticut.

In South Carolina, a Burrowing Owl of the western subspecies was seen in Beaufort. 

Florida had it’s first Thick-billed Vireo (4) of the season in Monroe.

Colorado had a pair of Zone-tailed Hawks in Otero, as well as a Neotropic Cormorant and Tricolored Heron in Kiowa.

In California, yet another Nazca Booby (4) was seen, this one on a beach in Ventura.

And in Hawaii, a Red-billed Tropicbird was seen in Honolulu. 


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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