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Rare Bird Alert: February 19, 2016

Most rare birds in the ABA Area this week are continuing, and the impressive list of lingering ABA notables has not decreased much at all this week. Texas still leads the way with the Blue Bunting (ABA Code 4), at least two individual Crimson-collared Grosbeaks (4), and at least 3 individual Northern Jacanas (4), all in the valley. The Brambling (3) and the Kelp Gull (4) in Ohio were both seen this week, as was the Kelp Gull (4) in southern California. The Streak-backed Oriole (4) and Sinaloa Wren (5) are still present in Arizona, as was the Redwing (4) in British Columbia through at least last weekend. Nova Scotia’s Redwing (4) is also still around, and the Common Pochard (4) in Alaska is still hanging out on Kodiak Island.

Easily the weirdest record from the last week came from Wisconsin, where an Ivory Gull was discovered visiting an impromptu feeding station (meat scraps, of course) in Bayfield. It was a spot not particularly close to any body of water, and the bird spent a fair bit of time sitting on a snow-covered trampoline. Hardly expected gull behavior. This is the 4th Ivory Gull in the western Great Lakes this winter, so perhaps that the bird was in the area is not entirely unpredictable, but the species are certainly among the oddest we’ve heard in an already very strange birding year.

That an Ivory Gull is in Wisconsin maybe isn't that strange, but that it was in the middle of the woods sitting on a trampoline is more than a little strange. Photo: Nick Anich

That an Ivory Gull is in Wisconsin maybe isn’t that strange, but that it was in the middle of the woods sitting on a trampoline is more than a little strange. Photo: Nick Anich

One potential first came this week, next door in Minnesota, where an apparent Mottled Duck  was photographed in Anoka. Given the messiness of Mallard-type ducks, scrutiny is in order, but it seems to be within the range of variation for the western-Gulf population, almost certainly the source for a vagrant in the Midwest.

Varied Thrush continue to make a move into the midwest and mortheast, the latest coming from Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In Pennsylvania, a small group of Barnacle Geese (4) are among Canadas in Philadelphia.

In West Virginia, a Common Redpoll was visiting a feeder in the town of Dry Fork.

Louisiana had a nice Broad-billed Hummingbird this week in Marrero.

And a mini-invasion of White-throated Thrush (4) seems to be happening in south Texas, as at least two additional individuals have been discovered in Hidalgo.

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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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