The Steller’s Sea-Eagle (ABA Code 4), having spent more than a year now in North America, is on the move again. After several weeks in Newfoundland, it seems to be getting restless, now seen this week in New Brunswick. Birders in parts south should definitely keep their eyes open as the sky seems to be the limit for this individual bird. Also continuing, a Little Stint (4) that may end up overwintering in California.
Is this going to be a big year for vagrant waterfowl? Geese seem to be one group of birds that is flourishing in the 21st century, and those population increases should mean more opportunities for unusual species among our expected ones. That was the case in Iowa, where an apparent Tundra Bean-Goose(3) was seen in Decatur this week, a state 1st. The bird was later seen just across the border in Harrison, Missouri, where it represents a state 1st for them as well.
Other 1sts to report for the last couple weeks include a Hermit Warbler in Delaware, Pennsylvania. Hermit is the least common western warbler to turn up in the east, but there is a cluster of records in the region for which Pennsylvania was a notable hole.
And to Mississippi, where a Great Kiskadee was photographed in Harrison. This species has been creeping eastward along the northern Gulf of Mexico for several years and is somewhat regular in Louisiana. Sightings in Alabama and Florida seem imminent.
Florida’s 3rd record of White Wagtail was seen in Leon this week. It is apparently of the lugens subspecies that breeds in northeast Asia rather than a European bird. Edit: Apparently this bird is of the ocularis subspecies.
Notable birds this week in Georgia include a Snow Bunting in Chatham and a Black-legged Kittiwake in Lincoln.
Good for South Carolina was a Western Grebe offshore in Charleston.
North Carolina’s 3rd record of Pacific-slope/Cordilleran Flycatcher was seen in Wilson this week. Neither of the previous records have been confirmed to species.
In Virginia, a Varied Thrush was seen in Virginia Beach.
New Jersey had a Black-throated Gray Warbler this week in Atlantic.
In New York, a Tufted Duck (3) was seen in Erie.
Connecticut had a trio of notable birds this week, including a Brown Pelican in Stamford, a Painted Bunting at Silver Sands State Park, and the state’s 7th Townsend’s Solitaire at Hammonassett.
In Quebec, a stunning Fieldfare (4) in Quebec City suggests a good winter for vagrant European thrushes.
In Ohio, a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (3) was seen in Ottawa.
Texas’s 2nd record of Bar-tailed Godwit was photographed in San Patricio.
New Mexico has not one, but two Buff-breasted Sandpipers in Dona Ana, quite possibly the only individuals of this long-distance migrant in the whole of North America.
Oregon’s 9th Prothonotary Warbler was seen in Coos, and birders on the hunt for it were treated to the state’s 3rd Lucy’s Warbler at the same spot.
Washington’s 4th record of Black-throated Green Warbler was seen in Spokane this week, and its 6th Arctic Loon on the opposite side of the state in Tacoma.
Alaska had a pair of notable Asian vagrants on the mainland this week, a Eurasian Bullfinch (4) at North Pole and a Little Bunting (3) at Fairbanks.
And in Hawaii, the 4th Long-tailed Duck for the islands was seen at North Kona.
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.