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Rare Bird Alert: December 7, 2018

Lots of exciting rarities continue into the first week of December, including the Great Black Hawk (ABA Code 5) in Maine, which now appears to have settled into a public park in Portland where birders have been able to relocate it fairly regularly as it terrorizes squirrels. This is another chapter in what has been easily the craziest vagrant story of the year. Also around the ABA Area, Roadside Hawk (4) and Golden-crowned Warbler (4) continue to be seen in Texas, the Gray Heron (5) in Newfoundland has been intermittently seen this week, and the Bean Goose in Oregon, now being called Tundra Bean-Goose (3), is present into the week as well.

One rather surprising 1st record to report this week, in New Hampshire, where a Ross’s Gull (3) was seen just offshore in Rockingham this week. It’s a little surprising that this pink pilgrim of the high arctic hasn’t yet been seen in New Hamsphire, a state which sees birds of the higher latitudes with some regularity, but Ross’s Gull is nothing if not enigmatic.

Nova Scotia’s 3rd record of Brewer’s Blackbird was seen this week at Cape Sable.

Always noteworthy for New England, though more regular in the west and in Atlantic Canada, a Tufted Duck (3) was found on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts this week.

New Jersey had a Ash-throated Flycatcher in Mercer.

Pennsylvania has hosted the farthest south record of Barnacle Goose (4) so far this season, with one in Bucks.

In Ontario, a Slaty-backed Gull (3) was seen at a landfill in Nipissing.

Missouri had a Mountain Bluebird this week in St. Clair.

In Texas, a Rose-throated Becard (3) was seen in Starr.

Colorado continues to add to its surprising reputation as a vagrant gull magnet with a Glaucous-winged Gull in Larimer. 

Nevada’s 11th record of Black-legged Kittiwake was seen on Lake Mead in Clark.

Washington’s 8th Vermilion Flycatcher is present near Stanwood, though does not seem to be chaseable for the moment due to local antagonism towards birders.

And in Alaska, the state’s 2nd Marsh Wren was seen in Ketchikan.


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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