American Birding Podcast



Rare Bird Alert: March 7, 2014

Another week of relatively sparse vagrant reports, but the news across the rest of the continent has been one more of quantity rather than quality. The first part of 2014 has been noteworthy for the impressive numbers of White-winged Scoters, Common Mergansers, Long-tailed Ducks, and Greater Scaup present in impressive numbers in places where they are generally uncommon. This has largely been attributed to the iced over Great Lakes, but the last few days have seen a near “fall-out” of Red-necked Grebes from across the eastern third of the continent such that nearly every decent sized body of water hosted between 1 and 40 of the birds making for a pretty amazing ornithological event. So even if the megas aren’t turning up, there’s still some very cool stuff going on.

One of the more incredible records made public this week came from last December. A photograph of a Redwing (ABA Code 4)  taken in Victoria, British Columbia, in the middle of that month. This would be the first record for the province and one of only a few for the western part of the continent.

A bit late, but still an incredible record, this Redwing is British Columbia's first and one of only a handful for the western half of the continent.  photo by Ken Orich

A bit late, but still an incredible record, this Redwing is British Columbia’s first and one of only a handful for the western half of the continent. photo by Ken Orich

Another potential first comes from the center of the continent. A Slaty-backed Gull (4) was reported in Sedgwick,  Kansas this week. So far as I know, photos have not been taken and given the difficulty large gulls can pose, it’s probably worth being somewhat equivocal about the report. However, records of Slaty-backed Gull are increasing in the ABA Area and it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility. We’ll have more on #ABArare should this bird be confirmed.

In Colorado, a Brant in Douglas is a very nice find.

Noteworthy for Texas, a Brown Booby (3) was seen near Freeport and a Great Black-backed Gull near Galveston.

A Thayer’s Gull was noted near Huntsville, Alabama.

Both a California Gull and a Thayer’s Gull were well photographed by many on a pelagic out of Hatteras, Dare, North Carolina.

Both New Jersey and New York hosted a Barnacle Goose (4) this week. The New Jersey bird was in Union and the New York bird in Suffolk.

Remarkable for late winter, a Brown Booby (3) came to a boat on Long Island sound south of Block Island, Rhode Island.

Another Barnacle Goose (4) was found in Mendon, Massachusetts, that state’s 8th or so record.

Somewhat expected in Nova Scotia, a Mew “Common” Gull was found in Dartmouth.

Yet another Barnacle Goose (4) turned up in the ABA Area this week, this time near Indianapolis, Indiana.

Wisconsin had a Varied Thrush near Eu Claire.

And in Minnesota, a Great Black-backed Gull was found in Lake.


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.