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Rare Bird Alert: January 11, 2019

The Great Black Hawk (ABA Code 5) in Maine continues into this week, headlining a familiar cohort of long-staying ABA Area rarities. To it we can add the Golden-crowned Warbler (4) Texas, which was joined by a second bird this week, the Fieldfare (4) in British Columbia, the bizarre Pink-footed Goose (4) Colorado, a slightly more expected Barnacle Goose (4) in New York, and an inshore Red-footed Booby (4) in California.

And it is in California where we start this week, where a Red-flanked Bluetail (4) in Los Angeles is the state’s 3rd record, but the first on the mainland. This is one of fewer than 10 mainland records of this East Asian chat, most of whose records come from the western Alaskan islands.

While the total number of rarities is low this week, the proportion of 1st records is quite high. The first of which comes from Alberta, where a bean-goose, tentatively identified as a Tundra Bean-Goose (4), near Lethbridge represents a provincial 1st.

Arizona birders enjoyed that state’s 1st record of White-throated Thrush at Madera Canyon in Pima. This is the first record of this Central American Turdus away from Texas.

Colorado’s potential 1st record of Pink-footed Goose last week was a surprise. And that surprise was multiplied this week where a Barnacle Goose (4) was found in a nearby flock in Weld, which would also be a state 1st. An incredible 6 species of goose have been seen regularly at this site.

In New Jersey, a Black Phoebe was seen in Sussex, which represents a 1st for that state, and one of surprisingly few Black Phoebe records in the eastern part of North America.

And in District of Columbia, the district’s 1st record of Purple Gallinule was photographed on the windowsill of a DC office building.

In Connecticut, a “Kamchatka” Mew Gull is an exceptional find near Stamford.

Louisiana had a Harris’s Hawk in Sulphur.

In Texas, at least 2 different Blue Buntings (4) have been seen in recent weeks, one in Cameron and another in Hidalgo. Also good for the state, a pair of Evening Grosbeaks were heard in Culberson. 

Rhode Island had a Brown Pelican, especially notable in the winter, in Narraganset.

In Georgia, a Burrowing Owl is being seen in Miller. 

And in North Carolina, a female King Eider is a nice find in Dare. 


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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