American Birding Podcast



Rare Bird Alert: December 6, 2019

Noteworthy rarities continuing into the beginning of December include Red-footed Booby (ABA Code 4) and Garganey (4) in California, and the long-staying Antillean Palm-Swift (5) and the likely-to-be long-staying La Sagra’s Flycatcher (4) in Florida


This week had another edition to the annals of epic rare bird stories, surrounding the fate of Washington’s 3rd Ross’s Gull, which showed up in Seattle and sent shock waves through the local birding community. Unfortunately, the bird was as interesting to the local Bald Eagle population as it was to the birding world, and in short order was depredated by one of the urban Baldies right in front of a shocked phalanx of birders.

The story is one that was remarkably similar to the last Ross’s Gull to grace the Lower 48, a San Mateo, California bird that was done in by a Peregrine Falcon.

Such is the fate of these arctic beauties in the south, sadly, but thanks to eBird we can still gaze upon its rosy glory in better times.  Literally minutes before the deed according to the photo sequence in the checklist.

That wasn’t the only exciting birding to be had in Washington, however, and a Mountain Plover in Grays Harbor and a Brambling (3) at a feeder in Richland were also nice birds for the state.

Oregon had a Emperor Goose among goose flocks in Columbia this week.

In Utah, a small group of McCown’s Longspurs in Enterprise were the first in the state in many years.

Always a nice find in the continent’s interior, a Eurasian Wigeon was seen at the Qu’Appelle Dam in Saskatchewan.

Michigan had a Spotted Towhee in Barry, one of many in the midwest in the last month.

Good for Iowa was a Harlequin Duck at Mason City.

In Missouri, an Anna’s Hummingbird has been visiting a feeder in Boone for some time.

The 5th Heermann’s Gull for Texas was seen in Tarrant, interestingly in the interior of the state.

A briefly seen Red-legged Thrush (5) in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the 4th for the ABA Area, 3 of which were seen this year.

Remarkable for North Carolina was the state’s 2nd record of Snail Kite flying down the Outer Banks in Dare. 

West Virginia had a Red-throated Loon in Randolph. 

As it frequently is, Cape May, New Jersey, is loaded with good birds including a Black-chinned Hummingbird and a Harris’s Sparrow this week.

Connecticut becomes the latest state to host a Pink-footed Goose (4), this one in Preston.

Noteworthy for Massachusetts was a Shiny Cowbird (3) in Dukes and a Pink-footed Goose (4) in Plymouth. 

Nova Scotia had a Barnacle Goose (4) this week at Cobequid Bay.

And in Quebec, a Harris’s Sparrow was seen at La Haute-Gaspésie.


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.