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Rare Bird Alert: December 12, 2014

This coming weekend marks the beginning of Christmas Bird Count season, another period on the calender which tends to be good for ABA Area rarities. That seems to be less because December is such a great time for vagrants and more because there are so many birders out covering areas extremely thoroughly. I look forward to seeing what birders in the ABA Area turn up this year in the far flung, rural parts of the continent. Urban birding, however, was the order of the day this week, particularly in California where an ABA Code 3 Rustic Bunting was found at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, setting off a massive twitch that abated somewhat by the end of the week and the bird lingered and remains in the area as recently as yesterday. This is the 5th record for the state.

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No first records this week for the first time in a while, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t notable birds around. In Alaska, a White-winged Dove in Wrangell is only that state’s 3rd.

A single yard in Grand, Utah was hosting both a Blue Jay and a Brown Thrasher. An apparent Brown-capped Rosy Finch was photographed in Salt Lake.

The third in the Lower 48 this season, a Yellow-billed Loon was found in Larimer, Colorado.

A nice bird for the southwest, and likely an overshoot from the impressive irruption into southern California, a Varied Thrush was notable in Bernalillo, New Mexico.

In Texas, good birds include an American Black Duck in Houston, another Pacific Wren (2nd in the last month and potentially the 2nd state record) in El Paso, and a Trumpeter Swan in The Woodlands.

In Louisiana, a White-winged Scoter was found in Grant.

Florida’s 4th record of Flammulated Owl was picked up by a rehabber in Miami-Dade. Also worth mentioning in the state are a Thayer’s Gull in Volusia and an Eared Grebe in Pinellas.

Annual farther north but still quite rare in the mid-Atlanitc, a Pink-footed Goose (4) was found in Monmouth, New Jersey.

A Townsend’s Warbler was photographed in Essex, Massachusetts, the state’s 18th or so

A spectacular find was a Prairie Falcon in Addison, Vermont.

Newfoundland had not one, but two, Townsend’s Warblers in Trepassy, this week.

In Nova Scotia, good birds included a White-eyed Vireo in Yarmouth and a Harris’s Sparrow in Shelburne.

Quebec had the ever-expanding White-winged Dove at Îles-de-la-Madeleine, and a Thayer’s Gull at Laurentides.

In Ohio, an apparent Ash-throated Flycatcher was photographed in Lake.

In Indiana, a gorgeous Pine Grosbeak, the state’s 4th, was visiting a feeder in Merrillville.

Wisconsin had at least one, and possibly two, American Three-toed Woodpeckers this week in Burnett.

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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 <aba.org/nab>, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA.

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