August 25, 2023

Continuing rarities in the ABA Area include both Berylline Hummingbird (ABA Code 4) and Plain-capped Starthroat (4) in southeastern Arizona, and at least one of the Large-billed Terns (5) present in Florida since June.

The major meteorological event of the year so far has been the landfall of Hurricane Hilary just south of San Diego, California, earlier this week. Tropical Storms frequently bring ocean-going birds inland and Hilary, which took a track along the western edge of Baja California before turning north-northeast in southern California, was no different. The full breakdown of windblown birds is still to come (keep an eye on the North American Birds Field Ornithology column in the coming weeks), but Storm-Petrels seemed to make up the bulk of notable storm waifs, in particular Wedge-rumped Storm Petrels (4), which summer in numbers off Baja California but are uncommon in the ABA Area. Dozens of this species, along with Black, Least, and Leach’s* Storm Petrels were seen on southern California lakes and reservoirs in the immediate wake of the storm.

*Leach’s Storm-Petrel also refers to the recently split Townsend’s and Ainley’s Storm-Petrels which may well have been a part of this movement and for which field identification is still being worked out. 

Arizona saw a significant influx of Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel (4), as well as the more expected Black Storm-PetrelLeast Storm-Petrel, and Leach’s Storm-Petrel, the latter of which is included on the state list as Leach’s/Townsend’s/Ainley’s Storm Petrel and may technically be a 1st state record provided identification can be determined.

The storm even brought Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrels (4) as far north as Clark and even Mineral Co, Nevada, where they represented the 1st and 2nd records of this species. Least Storm-Petrel was also found in Clark Co, a 2nd record for the state.

This summer has also seen a number of extralimital Swallow-tailed Kites, particularly in the Great Lakes and southern Canada, and one in Pleasant Grove, Prince Edward Island, is not only the 1st for the province, but also the farthest east record in the ABA Area.

In Newfoundland, a pair of Royal Terns was seen near Cape Ray in the far west of the island.

Connecticut’s 4th record of Roseate Spoonbill was seen late this week in Milford.

New York’s 4th Common Ringed Plover was among a flock of Semipalmated Plovers on Long Island, Suffolk Co.

Ontario’s 2nd Roseate Spoonbill was photographed in Paris.

And Alaska birders are awaiting the peak of fall migration in the Bering Sea, but recent Lesser Sand-Plovers (3), Garganey (4), and Long-toed Stints (4) on St Paul are keeping them happy in the meantime.

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.