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Rare Bird Alert: December 27, 2019

As we head into the end of 2019, there are still a handful of rare birds in the ABA Area to note. A Crimson-collared Grosbeak (ABA Code 4) continues in Texas. California has both a Garganey (4) and a Red-footed Booby (4) and Florida birders have kept tabs on the continuing La Sagra’s Flycatcher (4) and Antillean Palm-Swift (5).

I thought we were putting 2019 to bed in terms of rare birds, but this week saw the report of a real stunner in the open ocean off of Washington in the form of a Northern Giant Petrel photographed in a scrum of seabirds following a fishing boat. The captain of the boat knew pelagic species well enough to take a photo of something different and the photographs were made public just recently. This is not only a 1st ABA Area record, but a 1st for the North Pacific of this burly tubenose of the southern oceans.

Northern Giant Petrel (center) has been considered possible off the west coast for a while now, but it’s still pretty remarkable when it finally does turn up. Photo: Zed Blue

Staying out west, Oregon had a Hooded Oriole in Clatsop. 

Notable for California was a Field Sparrow in Inyo. 

In Arizona, a Streak-backed Oriole (4) was seen in Pinal. 

Texas had another Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) in what has been a crazy year for them, this time in Aransas NWR.

In Wisconsin, a Varied Thrush was seen in Dunn. 

Pennsylvania is the latest state to host a Barnacle Goose (4) this one at Lower Makefield.

And Florida’s 3rd record of Hooded Oriole was seen in Hernando. 

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Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT aba.org 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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