by Nate Swick
It's April, and the minds of birders slip away from those ephemeral vagrants and rarities and focus once again on the birds returning now in the first waves of spring migration. Which is as it should be, really. The great seasonal ebb and flow is how we keep our own yearly clocks. Tis the season for warblers and vireos and flycatcher and the lot. No one can be blamed if we decide to put our vagrant hunting on hold for a few weeks to revel in this bounty. And the slower pace of rarities on the continent is a expression of that priority shift, and the fact that spring is probably the worst season for finding extralimitals relative to the others.
But just in case you were worried about "The Streak", it's still on, saved this week by birders in Nova Scotia where a Crested Caracara was discovered near Lawrencetown. This has been a remarkable season for caracaras in the northeast, with first records from New Jersey and Delaware, as well as compelling but not confirmed reports from Virginia and Quebec. Who knows when this run will end?
The increasingly expected Barnacle Goose (ABA Code 4) turned up this week near Alburg, Vermont.
Sandhill Crane is a very nice bird for the northeast, and one was in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the Tufted Duck (3) reported last week near Groveland has been joined by a second.
Always a great find in the eastern half of the continent, a Brewer's Blackbird was well-photographed, in flight (!) in Salem, New Jersey.
Delaware got a duo of rare shorebirds at Bombay Hook in Kent, with both a Ruff (3) and a Northern Lapwing (4).
A Franklin's Gull in Frederick, Maryland, is a great bird for the spring.
A Broad-tailed Hummingbird that was only recently reported to be spending the winter in Sharpsburg, Georgia, is that state's 12th, and the second this season.
Arkansas's third Scott's Oriole was reported to be visiting a feeder in Benton, Saline, this week.
A Ruff (3) turned up in Wayne, Ohio, and in addition to hosting the continuing Spotted Redshank, birders in Greene, Indiana, also found a Prairie Falcon.
It was a good week for Ruff (3) as a third was discovered at Dodge, Wisconisin.
A Western Gull in Sitka is a nice bird for Alaska, as most Western-y gulls have more than a bit of Glaucous-winged up that way.
Good for British Columbia was a Burrowing Owl found near Williams Lake.
A Brown Booby (3) was photographed from shore in San Diego, California.
Pretty much annual anymore, a Rufous-backed Robin (3) was reported from Santa Cruz, Arizona, this week.
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 <aba.org/nab>, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA.