August 14, 2020

Because of COVID-19 related Stay-at-Home orders in many states and provinces, the purpose of this report is to keep homebound birders caught up rare bird sightings across the ABA Area during spring migration. We do not endorse the pursuit of rare birds beyond your local area. The ABA urges readers to respect state, provincial, and local restrictions on non-essential travel. The ABA’s Recording Standards and Ethics Committee has released guidelines on how birders should approach this unusual time and we urge birders, whether they are members of the ABA or not, to consider them when deciding whether to travel to see a rare bird. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

Arizona pops to the top of the list for continuing rare birds as the Berylline Hummingbird (ABA Code 4) and Eared Quetzal (4) from earlier this summer made triumphant returns to the RBA. In Maine, Little Egret (4) continues and the California Common Crane (4) persists for a second week.

Few birds on the continent have quite the reputation for bizarre displays of vagrancy as Brown Booby, and the super Sulid makes the case yet again with the discovery of a Brown Booby (3) in Ripley, Missouri, this week. It was initially spotted by a kayaker on the Current River, a bit of a change from the lakes and reservoirs where the species tends to turn up. This is a 1st record for Missouri, but Brown Booby was, for a time, nearly annual in nearby Arkansas.

I missed this report last week in all the noise regarding Hurricane Isaias waifs, but perhaps the best find in the wake of the storm came from New York City where a  South Polar Skua (3) was seen on the Hudson River from Manhattan. New York is also basking in the recent Swallow-tailed Kite irruption, with a bird found this week in Orleans. 

New Jersey also had a Swallow-tailed Kite in Sandy Hook.

And New Hampshire, too, with a Swallow-tailed Kite in Webster.

In addition to the Little Egret, Maine birders also enjoyed a Clark’s Grebe in Kennebec, one of very few records for the state.

Notable for Massachusetts was a well-seen Crested Caracara in Essex. 

Offshore birders in Virginia waters had a European Storm-Petrel (3) this week.

North Carolina had its 3rd state record of Antillean Nighthawk turn up among Common Nighthawks at Cape Hatteras in Dare. Notably both previous records came from the exact same place.

Kentucky boasts a Wood Stork in Jefferson. 

Ohio also had a Wood Stork in Mercer which, incidentally, was determined to be the same bird seen for a few days in Michigan the week prior.

Iowa’s 2nd record of White Ibis was seen in Johnson. 

In Ontario, a Black Vulture was discovered near Markdale.

And in Arizona, in addition to the reappearance of the earlier Eared Quetzal an entirely new Eared Quetzal (4) at a new site was found in Cochise. 



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.