March 6, 2020
Still continuing into the first week of spring, at least meteorologically speaking, Garganey (ABA Code 4) in California, and the Caribbean pair of La Sagra’s Flycatcher (4) and Thick-billed Vireo (4) Florida. The Siberian Accentor (4) in Washington was seen into this week as well, a real treat for birders still looking to see this special Siberian vagrant.
We are well into the early spring doldrums with regard to significant ABA Area rarities, though your part of the continent is probably seeing an increase in bird song of late and activity if my neighborhood is any indication. It’s only a matter of time before songbird migration begins in earnest and things begin to pick up. But in the meantime, we can enjoy avian oddities like a Bananaquit (4) in Franklin, Florida. While Bananaquit is a somewhat regular stray in the southern part of the state, this would be the first record in the panhandle of Florida, an entirely not tropical part of the continent. So in the lieu of any other top shelf rarities in the ABA Area, spare some appreciation for the novelty of a Bananaquit in what is apparently a Redbud tree.
There are a couple maybe/maybe not 1sts to report this week. In Vermont, a Crested Caracara in Woodstock is either the 1st or the 2nd record, pending a local committee decision on an older bird in the Lake Champlain area (which might have stayed in New York). In any case, the individual has shown well for birders. While vagrant Crested Caracaras have not been quite as prevalent around the continent as they were a couple years ago, they still have the potential to wander just about anywhere.
And in Alabama, a Couch’s/Tropical Kingbird in Sumter would be a 2nd record if the first and a 1st if the second. That seems a little backwards given that Tropical has, by far, the more extensive pattern of vagrancy but the ways of vagrant kingbirds are a mystery to us still.
Other noteworthy birds on the continent include a lovely MacGillivray’s Warbler in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
And we head to eastern Canada for the rest, starting with a Carolina Wren on Prince Edward Island.
Nova Scotia had a very sharp Varied Thrush at Cape Breton.
And in Quebec, a Black Vulture was photographed at Antoine-Labelle.
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, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA.
Not sure of its provenance or how long it’s been present, but there’s a Blue-gray Tanager(!) in California – https://ebird.org/checklist/S65459242 Crazy. Thought you might have led with that. ;)