American Birding Podcast



Rare Bird Alert: September 4, 2015

According to our friends at Birdcast, it was a quiet week for migration, with low to moderate movement across the continent. That bears out in the vagrant report as well, with little in the way of long-distant migrants ending up in odd places. The vagrants of the week were by and large post-breeder dispersals, and even among that limited number they’re overwhelmingly two species, Swallow-tailed Kite and Brown Booby, which are both staging large movements northward in this early fall.

Continuing rarities come from Arizona, this week, where Slate-throated Redstart (4) and Sinaloa Wren (5) continue into second weeks, and several Plain-capped Starthroats (4) visit feeders around Cochise County.

We’re at the point in the year where we can pretty much just start with Alaska every week. Gambell saw a trio of notables this week including Common Chiffchaff (5), Common Rosefinch (4), and a Little Bunting (4). A  Dark-sided Flycatcher (4) on Shemya in the Aleutians is off-limits to birders, and a Steller’s Sea-Eagle was reported near Homer, for a good mainland bird.

Little Bunting from St. Lawrence Island yesterday, photo by Gary Rosenberg

Little Bunting from St. Lawrence Island this week, photo by Gary Rosenberg

Two first records this week, the first from Prince Edward Island, a place we don’t get to mention here often. A Say’s Phoebe in Kingsboro this week is a provincial 1st.

And Iowa hosts the current vanguard of the Brown Booby (3) invasion of 2015, where an individual at a reservoir near Des Moines is the 1st for that state.

On the west coast, British Columbia is the farthest north that a Brown Booby (3) has turned up. One was photographed near Knight Inlet.

In California, a Masked/Nazca Booby (3/5) was reported form a whale-watching boat in San Diego waters.

Nevada’s 2nd record of Black Turnstone has been present in Clark for over a week.

In New Mexico, a Louisiana Waterthrush is noteworthy in Lea.

Kansas had at least two Swallow-tailed Kites this week, one found dead in Osborne and a live one in Barber.

In Texas, a second inland Red Phalarope in as many weeks was a nice find, this one in Tarrant. Also, a Greater Pewee returned to Houston and a Great Shearwater was seen in the Gulf off Cameron.

Tropical Storm Erika may have fizzled out, but it was likely behind a White-tailed Tropicbird (3) off Miami-Dade, Florida, this week.

In llinois, a Swallow-tailed Kite was been seen by many in Champaign.

Indiana also had a Swallow-tailed Kite this week, in Harrison.

A pelagic out of Brooklyn, New York, had both Black-capped Petrel and Band-rumped Storm-Petrel.

In Nova Scotia, a Western Kingbird was seen on Seal Island.

Good birds in Newfoundland include an Orchard Oriole on the Brunn Peninsula and an Albatross sp, probably Black-browed, off Cape St. Mary’s.


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.