American Birding Podcast



Rare Bird Alert: December 13, 2019

ABA Area rarities continuing into the middle of December include a Garganey (ABA Code 4) and Red-footed Booby (4) in California, joined by the still continuing Antillean Palm-Swift (5) and a La Sagra’s Flycatcher (4) in Florida.

Highlight bird of the week is likely a Rustic Bunting (3) found in Pacific, Washington, a couple days ago. This Old World Emberizid is the member of its family that is most likely to be found in North America and is near-annual in Alaska. But records away from Alaska, and especially in the Lower 48, are far less common. There are fewer than 10 for Washington. Interestingly, it has been seen feeding on the ground with junco as 19 Townsend’s Warblers.

There are two would-be 1st records to note this week. In Minnesota, a Lesser Goldfinch has been visiting a feeder in Polk. Notably, it is one of very few records of this species for the western Great Lakes.

And in Saskatchewan, a Tundra Bean-Goose (3) in Regina is a provincial 1st and only the 4th record for Canada. Like the Rustic Bunting, this is another species that is very rare outside of western Alaska where it has been annual in recent years.

Notable for Michigan was a Mountain Bluebird seen in Alger. 

In California, a Rusty Blackbird in San Diego was a nice find.

Nebraska’s 4th record of Yellow-billed Loon was photographed in Lancaster this week.

Texas had a nice collection of noteworthy records this week, including a Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4) in Hidalgo, yet another Fork-tailed Flycatcher this time in in Colorado, and a Eurasian Wigeon, always a nice bird in the continent’s interior, in Balmorhea in the western part of the state.

In Alabama, a Groove-billed Ani turned up in Baldwin. 

Georgia’s 2nd record of Gray-headed Swamphen was seen in Mcintosh, though it’s not clear how many birders celebrated a vagrant record of this highly invasive species.

Pennsylvania had a Varied Thrush in Lancaster this week.

In New Jersey, what is likely to be only the first Barnacle Goose (4) of the season was seen in Monmouth. 

Rhode Island’s 8th Eared Grebe was just off the coast near Waverly.

Massachusetts had a female Painted Bunting in Barnstable. 

Nice for Maine was a Harris’s Sparrow at a feeder in Levant.

In Nova Scotia, a Lark Bunting was seen in Green Bay.

And Newfoundland picks up its 4th record of Hermit Warbler in St. John’s to go along with its incredible run of Townsend’s Warblers, which at last count came to 18(!) individuals this fall and winter.


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.