American Birding Podcast



Rare Bird Alert: September 27, 2019

Continuing rarities in the ABA Area include Blue-footed Booby (ABA Code 4) and Red-footed Booby (4) in California, Marsh Sandpiper (5) in Alaska, and the Thick-billed Vireos (4) in Florida that almost certainly bred this year.

It’s a good time to be in Alaska, especially the Bering Sea. Both St Paul and Gambell have turned out some nice birds this week, including the season’s second Jack Snipe (4) and a Siberian Rubythroat (4) on St Paul and two Little Buntings (4) along with the ABA Area’s 6th record of Tree Pipit (5) on Gambell.

There is one first record to report, from Illinois which has seen at least three firsts this fall. A  Cassin’s Kingbird in Cook represents the 1st record for the state and one of surprisingly few extralimital records of this species, at least compared to other, more vagrant-prone, species in the Tyrannus genus.

The most surprising trend for the week is the spate of Northern Wheatears, with at least three records in the last seven days in the ABA Area of this long-distance migrant.

Texas had a Northern Wheatear near Victoria, it’s 3rd.

Another Northern Wheatear turned up on Virginia’s eastern shore just yesterday, in Northampton, the state’s 4th.

But it was Minnesota that led everything off, with a Northern Wheatear in Wright, the state’s 2nd.

But none of those were the most bizarre record of the week, which come from Alabama where a Clark’s Nutcracker was photographed in Jefferson. Even more remarkably, this was not a first record, but the 2nd time this often nomadic species has ended up in the state.

Nebraska also had a 2nd record this week, a Grace’s Warbler photographed bathing in Cass. 

Colorado’s 4th record of Broad-billed Hummingbird was seen in Mesa this week.

British Columbia 7th Summer Tanager turned up in  Fraser Lake.

Oregon had its second Broad-billed Hummingbird in as many weeks in Grant, and a Nazca Booby (4) was photographed just offshore in Lincoln. 

Ontario’s 7th record of Vermilion Flycatcher, a female, was seen at Long Point this week.

In Quebec, Gull-billed Terns continue to filter back south after Hurricane Dorian and two were seen in Bas-Saint-Laurent.

New Brunswick had a Black Skimmer in Saint John this week, likely also a Dorian waif making its way back south.

In Newfoundland, a Townsend’s Warbler was seen at Ferryland on the Avalon Peninsula.

Maine had a Western Tanager in Baldwin. 

Good birds for Massachusetts come on and offshore, with a Wilson’s Plover in Essex and the unquestionable highlight of a deepwater pelagic in the form of a Bermuda Petrel (3), the 2nd record for the state.

Connecticut had a couple Gull-billed Terns in Fairfield.  

At the Avalon Seawatch in Cape May, New Jersey, a passing Brown Booby (3) was a highlight.

And in Florida, a Bar-tailed Godwit was found in Collier. 


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.