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Rare Bird Alert: November 2, 2018

The craziest rare bird news of the week has to do with a returning, which is not something we say often. But the rediscovery of the ABA’s 1st Great Black Hawk (ABA Code 5) in Maine this week represents another chapter in what is turning out to be the wildest rare bird story of the year. Other noteworthy continuing species include the Golden-crowned Warbler (4) in Texas, Pink-footed Goose (4) in Nova Scotia, and Blue-footed Booby (4) in Utah.

The end of October was not quite as spectacular as the beginning in terms of rare birds, but a Northern Wheatear in Suffolk, New York, is a nice find of a species that is pretty rare in North America apart from the part of arctic Canada where they nest.

Photo: Sean Sime/Macaulay Library

There is one potential 1st record to report this week, in South Carolina where a Gray-headed Swamphen was photographed in Charleston. This represents the farthest north record of this large introduced rail, and could be a worrying report if this becomes a trend as swamphens have been a problem species in Florida where the population continues to increase.

Concerning more desirable birds in Florida, a Western Spindalis (3) was seen this week in Miami-Dade.

In Rhode Island, an albatross sp, likely a Yellow-nosed, was seen from the Block Island Ferry.

Maine had a  “Common” Mew Gull in Biddeford.

Noteworthy for Quebec was a White-eyed Vireo in Montréal.

In Nova Scotia, a young Common Gallinule in Halifax is a nice find.

Sage Thrasher was discovered in Woodford, Illinois this week.

Michigan had an Ash-throated Flycatcher in Mason.

Minnesota’s 9th record of Slaty-backed Gull was a subadult in Grand Portage.

In Mississippi, a Groove-billed Ani was photographed in Jackson.

Texas’s 5th record of Western Gull was found in Nueces this week, and an Evening Grosbeak was photographed in Guadalupe Mountains NP.

And in British Columbia, a Red-throated Pipit (3) was found in Saanich.


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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