April 26, 2024

The list of continuing rarities in the ABA Area is a familiar one by now, with Cattle Tyrant (ABA Code 5), Southern Lapwing (5), Mottled Owl (5), Brown Jay (4), Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4), and Golden-crowned Warbler (4) all seen in Texas this week. Arizona is still hosting a Berylline Hummingbird (4) and likely will for the remainder of the summer. Both Yellow-headed Caracara (5), and at least one of the recent Piratic Flycatchers (4) is continuing in Florida. Common Shelduck (4) is still seen in Newfoundland, and the ABA’s 1st Gray Gull (5) continues in Alabama.

The first ABA Area stunner of 2024 came in Oregon this week, as a potential ABA Area 1st record, and subsequent Oregon 1st record, of Blue Rock-Thrush was photographed on the beach in Clatsop Co. The individual was of the westernmost philippensis subspecies, seemingly the most likely to reach North America and the only subspecies with a chestnut belly. It is worth noting that that is not the first occurrence of Blue Rock-Thrush in the ABA Area. A 1997 sighting from interior British Columbia was accepted by the provincial records committee but not accepted by the ABA Checklist Committee at the time due to concerns about provenance. That individual was also a philippensis bird. This subsequent record from the same region of the continent offers an opportunity to re-evaluate that prior record.

As if to emphasize that point, a few days later a Blue Rock-Thrush was photographed by researchers on Southeast Farallon Island in San Francisco Co, California. This bird is approximately 500 miles, as the rock-thrush might fly, from the site of the Oregon bird, which was not refound after the initial discovery. It’s unclear whether this is the same individual or a second individual brought over on the same winds that misoriented the Oregon bird. Both scenarios seem about equally likely. In any case, this represents a California 1st record.

Shockingly, this was not the only mega rarity that Farallon birders turned up, a Swallow-tailed Gull (5) was seen the same day, and even made it on the same eBird checklist. This is California’s 7th record of this Galapagos near-endemic.

One more 1st record to report this week, and another East Asian vagrant, though one that does breed in the ABA Area  at least a little bit. Ohio’s 1st record of White Wagtail was photographed in Montgomery Co this week. The bird appears to be of the ocularis subspecies, which breeds primarily in East Asia across to western Alaska.

British Columbia also hosted a Asian vagrant this week, in the province’s 4th record of Oriental Turtle-Dove well-photographed and seen my many in Surrey.

In Colorado, a Vaux’s Swift in Pueblo is noteworthy for being the first record of this species in the state that can be reliably seen for multiple days.

In Arizona, a Tufted Flycatcher (4) turned up in Cochise Co.

Minnesota’s 3rd Garganey (3), a nice distinctive male as is typical for records of this species in the ABA Area, was seen in  Cottonwood Co.

Notable for South Dakota was a Eurasian Tree Sparrow at a feeder in Sanborn Co.

Texas’s 2nd record of Crescent-chested Warbler (4) was photographed at Big Bend National Park this week.

In Pennsylvania, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was seen in Juniata Co, and the state’s 2nd record of Mottled Duck in Lehigh Co.

Birders in New York enjoyed a nice male Lazuli Bunting at a feeder in Suffolk Co.

Massachusetts also hosted a Garganey (3) this week in Essex Co. Most records of this Asian duck in the ABA Area come from April and May.

In Quebec, a Painted Bunting was visiting a feeder in Les Saules.

And in Nova Scotia, the province’s 5th European Golden-Plover at Cape Sable Island is unsurprising given the influx of the species in Newfoundland this month.

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.