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Rare Bird Alert: September 21, 2018

First things first, thanks to Greg Neise for covering the Rare Bird Alert last week while I was in Cuba.

Mid-September is traditionally a very good time for rare birds in North America, particularly on the western side of the continent. Even so, the landfall of Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas was the major weather event of the week, and the storm arrested the migration of birds like Sabine’s Gull and others who typically traverse the continent without touching down. That species, especially, seemed to be affected by the storm with several inland records in the past week, along with coastal species blown inland along with at least two tubenoses.

But we’ll start with the 1st records, as we do. In Utah, a Blue-footed Booby (ABA Code 4), a noteworthy bird anywhere in the ABA Area, was discovered in Kane, representing a 1st record for that state.

Connecticut also had a 1st record this week, continuing a summer full of 1sts for the Nutmeg State, with a Roseate Spoonbill seen at Milford Point. Given this species’s irruption this year this one must have been expected as several surrounding states have hosted spoonbills in the past months.

Broad-billed Hummingbird in Saint-Lambert-de-Lauzon, Quebec, represented the province’s 1st record of this southwestern speciality. It is also only the 3rd record of the species for Canada.

Colorado’s 1st record of Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) was seen in Larimer this week, a stunning adult with a nearly complete tail.

And in Montana, that state’s first record of Black Vulture was found in a vulture roost in Choteau.

Alberta’s 2nd Prothonotary Warbler was seen and subsequently well-photographed near Canmore.

Alaska continues to produce in the Bering Sea, with Gray-streaked Flycatcher (4) and Red-flanked Bluetail (4) seen this week on St. Paul, and a Brown Shrike (4) found at Gambell.

In British Columbia, a Black-tailed Gull (4) was found in Lund.

Washington had a Phainopepla in Clallam, though surprisingly this bird was not found at Neah Bay.

Oregon’s 5th record of LeConte’s Sparrow was discovered this week at Klamath Lake, and a pelagic out of Newport picked up a Great Shearwater.

In California, a Wood Sandpiper in Humboldt was a very nice find, also in the norther part of the state, an Eastern Yellow Wagtail was found in Marin. 

Minnesota’s 2nd record of White Ibis was in Stillwater this week, and a Wood Stork, the state’s 5th, in Kittson.

Texas had a Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) in Austin.

And in West Virginia, Hurricane Florence dropped a number of rare coastal species on the land-locked state, with a Laughing Gull in Taylor, Black-necked Stilts in Wood, and the state’s 4th record of Sabine’s Gull in Marion. 


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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