Hurricane Nora walloped the Pacific coast of Mexico, making landfall 28 Aug 2021 south of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. The storm caused US$125 million in damage from Guerrero to Sinaloa, and several deaths were reported in the days after the storm. Its remnants headed north, drenching the U.S. Southwest from southern California to Colorado.
Hurricane Nora’s track in late Aug 2021.
Remnants of Nora on 1 Sep 2021.
ABA Area birders realized the impact of Hurricane Nora in the form of a trifecta of spectacular out-of-range storm birds: two Yellow-footed Gulls and a Magnificent Frigatebird.
On 10 Sep 2021, first-cycle Yellow-footed Gulls turned up in both Arizona and New Mexico. The usual range of Yellow-footed Gull is limited to the Gulf of California and closeby areas, including California’s Salton Sea. The Arizona bird first appeared at Lake Havasu in Mohave Co and was later seen on the San Bernardino Co, California side of the lake. It was present 10 Sep–1 Oct and was only the second for Arizona; the state’s first record pertained to an adult at Lake Powell in 1999.
Another first-cycle Yellow-footed Gull was further afield in New Mexico at Sumner Lake State Park in De Baca Co. It was continuing there as of 20 Oct 2021 and is a first for New Mexico.
Finally, a Magnificent Frigatebird over Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve in Clark Co, Nevada 2 Sep 2021 was meticulously documented. There is only one previous record for Nevada, from Lake Mead in 1976. This species is present on the Gulf of California year-round.
The above records have been gleaned from eBird and other social media and have not yet been vetted by state/provincial records committees.
Davis, Amy. 2021. Hurricane Nora Report. North American Birds.
No stranger to ABA publications, Amy Davis has served as Sightings department editor at Birding and technical reviewer at Birder’s Guide. She was also photo editor for Pennsylvania Birds. Amy loves citizen science and volunteered extensively for breeding bird atlases in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. She resides in Forked River, NJ, and recently broke her home county’s big year record. When she’s not birding the Barnegat Bay, Amy studies nursing and plays classical piano.
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