Because of continuing COVID-19 cases in many states and provinces, the purpose of this report is to keep homebound birders caught up rare bird sightings across the ABA Area. The ABA encourages readers to respect state, provincial, and local suggestions with regard to non-essential travel. The ABA’s Recording Standards and Ethics Committee has released guidelines on how birders should approach this ongoing pandemic and we urge birders, whether they are members of the ABA or not, to consider traveling to see a rare bird. Stay safe and healthy, everyone. We’re almost through this.
Continuing rare birds in the ABA Area include the now officially ridiculously long-staying Northern Jacana (ABA Code 4) in Arizona, the only sort of ridiculously long-staying Red-legged Thrush (5) and Black-faced Grassquit (4) in Florida, the still very surprising Hawfinch (4) in Yukon, and the not terribly surprising Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4) in Texas.
Our friends at Birdcast predicted that this could potentially be a very good week for European vagrants because of a large high pressure system near Iceland causing strong east winds across the North Atlantic and this certainly bore out this week with a number of notable Old World vagrants turning up in the ABA Area. We start in Virginia where a White Wagtail of the continental European subspecies alba in Hampton is a 1st record for the state. This is almost certainly a result of the weather phenomenon in the North Atlantic.
That same north Atlantic wind probably also contributed to the discovery of a Massachusetts 1st European Golden-Plover (4) in Plymouth and a Eurasian Kestrel (4) in Essex. It probably had less to do with the state 1st Great-tailed Grackle in Plymouth earlier that week, but the combination of state 1sts plover and grackle in the same county is pretty wild nonetheless.
Pennsylvania also gets a 1st record this week, though not from the Old World. A Neotropic Cormorant in Lycoming is a 1st and the latest easterly record for this rapidly expanding species. Also in Pennsylvania, a Scott’s Oriole in Lancaster would be a 2nd record, and a King Rail in Centre is notable.
The Caribbean rarities that have spent the winter in south Florida are joined this week by the year’s first Bahama Mockingbird (4) in Palm Beach and a Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) in Hillsborough.
Tennessee had a pair of notable birds this week with a Burrowing Owl in Humphreys and the state’s 3rd Limpkin taken in by a rehabber in Memphis.
Indiana had a White-winged Dove at a feeder in Bloomington.
Louisiana’s 2nd Black-capped Vireo has been playing hide and seek with birders in Cameron.
In Oklahoma, a Limpkin in McCurtain represents a 2nd record for the state.
About 3 or 4 Tamaulipas Crows (4) have taken up residence once again at the Brownsville Landfill in Cameron, Texas.
In Missouri, a female Vermilion Flycatcher was a notable bird in St. Louis City.
Minnesota had a male Eurasian Wigeon in Stearns this week.
Good for Alberta, a Black-legged Kittiwake was well-photographed in Calgary.
And in Hawaii, an American Pipit seen at Midway is the 2nd for the Hawaiian Islands.
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.